And what one looks like playing in the snow:
Why do these matter? Because we’re needing them again…
Heard on The Weather Channel – Rotary Plow Returns to Nebraska
On The Weather Channel they had film of a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train plowing snow in Nebraska. The kind of rotary plow they were using has most often been seen in the mountains lately, rather than the flats. They stated it was brought in, after several years of not needing one, to handle the deep snow.
If you would like to have an honest measure of how cold it is, just watch how much rail is being plowed, and where! Has it gotten colder? Just ask the guys dispatching snow plows to Nebraska…
There is a nice picture of an actual BNS rotary plough that is like the one brought to Nebraska at this site:
Given that the English rail system just came to a halt from a very minor snow depth, folks in Europe might want to see how we handle it “out West” in Real Snow! Story here:
What was it like in the Blizzard of 1949? Pretty bad!
http://www.theyardbull.com/images/winter/winter.html does a great job of presenting a picture story of what it was like in that brutal ’49 winter. They had to resort to dynamite to clear the snow! It has some nice pictures of folks plowing rails in “The Winter of ’49” when it was very cold and snowy.
And I particularly like the train in a snow chute in the picture here:
One hopes we are not headed back to that era. Many of the old “rotary plows” have been scrapped or retired. The present inventory may be too low for a reprise of those conditions…
Wonder how long it takes to recreate one of these from scratch… I find it fascinating that so many of the plows in that list have very old build dates and “converted from steam” in their descriptions. There are 60 year and 180 year (roughly) cyclical processes in weather, and it looks like this equipment was from about 60 years ago…
I really hope that “connection” does not hold up… I don’t want to be hearing about the need to take museum pieces out to plough the rails to Iowa. (Though at least one on the list says it is at a museum ‘in runnable condition’.)
http://www.northeast.railfan.net/plow2.html has a nice collection of pictures too. Some of them look fairly new, but that might just be fresh paint ;-)
As a child, I got to watch the one they show in Donner Pass plough some very deep snow. I’ve seen it since then, working the rails near I-80 in the Sierra Nevada mountains. But not in quite as deep a snow. Now, much of the track has “snow shed” built over it, so the plough has not been needed as much. We’ll see what happens in the next couple of years. Conditions now “feel” to me a lot like they did in those “1950s” when the snow was much deeper in the mountains. I know, not scientific. But there are those immersive memories where you are back ‘in the moment’… and while this isn’t quite identical, there is a lot in common.
It is impressive equipment to watch. If you get the chance to see it, by all means do!