Train Rotary and Plow now that’s some Snow!

Were getting the snow I remember as a kid deep and heavy. This has provided some filming fans of trains a unique opportunity to catch these behemoths in action pushing and throwing  snow to clear the tracks and they even get stuck!

If you have never saw this before thank the planet because were getting some deep snow!


Fr Wikipedia:

The rotary was invented by Toronto, Ontario, Canada dentist J.W. Elliot in 1869, however he never built a working model or prototype. Orange Jull of Orangeville, Ontario, expanded on Elliot’s design, building working models he tested with sand. During the winter of 1883-1884, Jull contracted with the Leslie Brothers of Toronto to build a full-size prototype that proved successful. Jull later sold his design rights to Leslie Brothers, who formed the Rotary Steam Shovel Manufacturing Company in Paterson, New Jersey. Leslie Brothers contracted with Cooke Locomotive & Machine Works in Paterson to do the actual construction.


Rotary snowplows are highly expensive due to their high maintenance costs, which the owning railroad must pay regardless of whether they are needed in a given year. As a result, most railroads have eliminated their rotaries, preferring to use a variety of types of fixed-blade plows that have significantly lower maintenance costs, in conjunction with bulldozers, which can be used year-round on maintenance-of-way projects. In addition, because rotaries leave an open-cut in the snow bank that fixed-blade plows cannot push snow past, once rotaries have been used, they must be used for all further significant snowfalls until the snow bank has melted. Since rotaries, which need some form of fuel to power the blades, also cost more to operate than fixed-blade plows, they are now generally considered to be a “weapon of last resort” for the railroads that own them; they are only used when snow is too deep or heavy for fixed-blade plows.


Early rotaries had steam engines inside their car bodies to power the blades; a few are still in working order, and in particular one on the White Pass & Yukon Route in Alaska performs annual demonstration runs through thick snow for the benefit of photographers and enthusiasts. Newer constructed rotaries are either diesel or electric-powered; in the latter case, an electric supply is required. Many steam plows were converted. Some electric plows can take their power from a locomotive, while others are semi-permanently coupled to power units, generally old locomotives with their traction motors removed; these are colloquially called “snails”. (This is derived from the fact that engineless but motored units that take their power from another locomotive are “slugs – thus the opposite, with engine but no motors, is a “snail”).


On 13 January 1952 the Southern Pacific Railroad “City of San francisco” luxury passenger train was stranded at Donner Pass. After being marooned for days, 222 people were rescued from the snowbound streamlined train high in the blizzard swept California Sierras.

Video uploaded by U Tube user 


Plowing snow at Goodland Ks. on the Kyle Railroad.

Video uploaded by U Tube user  

BNSF Rotary

BNSFs Alliance based rotary works southward at milepost 17 on the Giltner Subdivision which runs between Aurora and Hastings, Nebraska, on December 28, 2009.

The line has been closed due to a Christmas snow storm that brought 40mph sustained winds and heavy drifting during BNSFs annual holiday shutdown on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Video uploaded by U Tube user 

Strasburg Railroad

Today, we take a trip to Strasburg to catch quite an unusual event. Due to this Winter’s large amounts of snow, Strasburg has to pull out the Russel Snow Plow to clear the line for the upcoming Pete Lerro Charter. So sit back and watch as the 475 struggles through the tough snow drifts.

Video uploaded by U Tube user 

Rotary Snow Plow


The BNSF was clearing the tracks southwest of Aurora and I had a chance to capture it on film.

Video uploaded by U Tube user 

Getting Stuck

Took a total of 6 units to get unstuck. This was between Genoa & Limon Co. on the Kyle Railroad.

Video up loaded by U Tube user 


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