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Canadian Rail 475 2000

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Canadian Rail 475 2000

ISSN 0008-4875
Permit No. 1494279
FRONT COVER: The operator looks out of the cupola of C.P.R. plough 400825, busy clearing the yard at Maniwaki Que. on
3, 1963. 1t was a bright day after a big snowfall the night before, and the occasion was an excursion from Ottawa
shortly before passenger service on the Maniwaki line was discontinued. No. 400825 was built in June 1921, so was more
than forty years old when this photo was taken. This plough was typical
of those found on almost all Canadian railways, big
and small, and many are still in use.
by Fred Angus
BELOW-C.P.R. rotary plough 400811 in action at an unknown location in January, 1926. Originally numbered 300811, this
is the same unit described and pictured on pages 48 to 51 of this issue. C.P. rotaries were retired before 1960.
Canadian Pacific photo No. 17768.
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EDITOR: Fred F. Angus
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W. Bonin
F. Angus
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Fighting Equipment
by W.H. Winterrowd
Chief Mechanical Engineer,
Canadian Pacific Railway
this issue of Canadian Rail we have the pleasure to reprint a major article on snow fighting equipment first published eighty
ago in the Canadian Railway imd Marine World for September, October and November 1920. Although more modem devices
such as bulldozers are now used to clear snow from the tracks, and the use of rotary ploughs has almost entirely ceased, much of what
was true in 1920 still applies today. The history of snow fighting on railways, as related by Mr. Winterrowd, is second to none in
Canada. Some of the photos, copied from eighty year old yellowed pages, may be somewhat indistinct compared to modern photos,
but in view of their historic interest we are including 61 of the 62 illustrations (omitting figure 28 which was unaccountably missing
the original article). Where necessary, computer enhancement has been used to make them clearer. In the article, the author Llses
the old spelling plough, so to be consistent we have used this spelling throughout the issue.
The author of this article was Mr. William Henry Winterrowd (a rather apt name, given the subject matter) who was Chief
Mechanical Engineer of the Canadian Pacific Railway from 1918 to 1921. Mr. Winterrowd was born in Hope, Indiana on April 2,
graduated in Engineering from Purdue University in 1907, and occupied various positions with railroads in the United States.
He came to Canada in 1912, and worked for the C.P.R., becoming Chief Mechanical Engineer on April I, 1918. He was thus in charge
of development of equipment on the C.P.R. until the office of Chief of Motive Power and Rolling Stock was created in January, 1921.
Two years later, January 1923, Mr. Winterrowd left the C.P.R. and went to work for the Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, Ohio,
eventually becoming that companys Vice President. In 1938 he went to the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, but had been
there only tluee years
when he died at the rather young age of 57. The date of his death has gone down in history for reasons quite
unconnected with Mr. Winterrowd. It was December 7, 1941.
In certain portions of Canada and
the United States the successful and
regular movement of trains during the
winter often depends upon the use of
special equipment, the purpose of which
is to
remove snow and ice from the tracks
from the direct right of way. The
object of this paper is to describe briefly
various types of such equipment. In
study of snow fighting equipment, it is
interesting to note that its
is very largely due to Canadians and to
Canad i an rail ways, al though snow
conditions in Canada are no more severe
than those met with on roads passing over
the Rocky or Cascade Mountains in the
Fig. 1. One of the earliest locomotive snow ploughs.
The Russell design of snow plough was first put in
service in 1885 on the Intercolonial Railway, now a part of the
Canadian National Railways. The present rotary snow plough
is a development of the invention of a compound revolving snow
shovel, patented in 1869 by 1. W. Elliott, a Toronto, Ontario,
This elementary device was modified by Mr. Orange
Jull of Orangeville, Ontario. The Jull rotary was taken up by
Leslie Brothers, also of Orangeville, who built a full size
which was tried in the C.P.R. yards at Parkdale, Toronto,
in 1884.
The success of this trial led the Leslie Brothers to
made for them a complete plough which was tried by the
Union Pacific Railroad during the winter of 1886-87. This
plough was the forerunner of the modern rotary. Orange Jull
invented, in 1889, the Jull centrifugal excavator. This type
not a success. Only one or two were built.
The principal types of snow fighting equipment may be
generally classified as follows:
Locomotive and pilot ploughs,
push ploughs, wing ploughs, spreader ploughs, machine
. ploughs, flangers, ice cutters and snow sweepers.
As far as the writer can ascertain, the first snow plough
ever built was of the push plough type. This was a wedge shaped
wooden plough mounted on trucks and pushed in front of a
locomotive. As this
plough derailed frequently, an endeavor
was made to take advantage of the weight of the locomotive. A
plough was constructed utilizing the front end
of the locomoti ve
as a support.
This was called a locomotive plough and fig. I
shows an application made in 1880. This plough was made of
steel. Locomotive ploughs are still in use today and their general
arrangement has not been changed, except to adapt them to
Fig. 2. An early form of locomotive pilot snow plough.
Typ/: C
Fig. 3. Some types of small pilot ploughs.
larger locomotives. The mold plates are generally
built on a
strong frame, which is bolted to the
bumper in place of the pilot. On some of
the original locomotive ploughs, a framework
fastened to the front of the pilot supported the
of the mold plates. With the construction
in the illustration it is usual to apply cast
wearing shoes, which rest on and slide along
the top
of the rail if the weight and force of the
snow cause a depression of the nose of the
plough. Several railways have advised that
occasionally locomotive ploughs are permanently
secured to the front
of a locomotive assigned only
to plough service, thus making a complete unit
available at any time. For severe work this
locomotive may be assisted by others.
The pilot plough was developed for use
in light snow. One form of pilot plough is made
by either
boarding over the front of the pilot or
filling between the slats with wood, thus
converting an ordinary pilot into a makeshift
snow plough. This arrangement has not always
proved satisfactory, as the construction
of pilots
is not always sufficiently substantial to resist the
strains imposed when ploughing. The pilot
ploughs usually constructed consist of mold
of steel plate securely fastened in front of
and over the pilot, and braced to the front bumper
and smoke box. These ploughs vary in size and
An early plough of such type is shown in
fig. 2.
In moderate snows which do not pack
or drift, and where the railway is free from
deep cuts, and train operation is fairly frequent,
locomotive and pilot ploughs are of great
assistance in maintaining an open
line. They are used on both freight
passenger locomotives.
Some types of modern pilot
ploughs are shown in diagrammatic
form in fig. 3. To obtain the greatest
efficiency the angle formed by the
mold plates should be fairly acute so
that snow will slide aside instead of
being pushed along in front of the
A push plough is a self con-
tained unit, consisting
of a substan­
tially built car, with a wedge shaped
plough attached to its front end. This
plough is generally pushed by one
or more locomotives. The car may
be fitted with flangers for cleaning
space between the rails. When
the car is equipped with wings for
widening the cut it is called a wing
plough. Many railways use, for snow
of moderate depth, a plough secured
to the front end
of a flat or ballast car,
as shown
in fig. 4. the car being loaded
down with scrap iron or oth
er heavy
material. A more permanent con­
struction is shown in fig. 6, where the
mold plates are attached to the front
end of a specially constructed car.
This figure shows a plain, square
nosed, single track plough without
wings or f1angers. The side walls are
carried down ov
er the trucks to prevent
snow from working into them.
Push ploughs were frequently
built V-shaped,
simply throwing the
snow to
each side, without lifting it
These ploughs did not
always prove satisfactor
y, as the snow
was crowded aside, and
if drifts were
or in cuts it fell back on the track
after the plough had passed. In hard
drifts this plough packed the snow. In
eavy side drifts, the form of the
plough. tended to derailment, Also,
backing, unless shields were
supplied, snow was picked up on the
of the mold plates and carried into
the trucks.
The square-nosed plough,
ig. 5, was developed to overcome
these objections. The front of this
plough consists
of two wedges. The
main, or bottom wedge (a), with its
edge horizontally across the
is a plane inclined upward and
backward. Its
purpose is to lift the
snow. The upper, or vertical
superimposed (b) is set some distance
back from the front edge and is eith
V-shaped for single track operation,
fig. 6,
or triangular for double track
operation, fig 7.
The upper wedge
clear of the track tbe snow
which has been lifted by the bottom
wedge. On single track ploughs the
vertical wedge
is placed centrally and
is thrown to both sides of the
track. On double track ploughs, tbe
vertical cutting edge
is at the side of
the plough so that all the snow is
thrown to one side.
The advantages of the square
nosed plough are obvious. The snow
is lifted
and thrown without being
packed, and with greatly reduced side
thrust to the plough. Many modern
ploughs of this style have an
additional feature known as the drop
This consists of a plate hinged
to the front of the bottom, or lifting,
Fig. 4. Snow plough attached to ballast car,
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Fig. 5. Plain push snow plough.
Fig.6. Push snow plough, wing type, single track, Canadian Pacific Railway.
fOR t)OJ6Lr TRRCt(
Fig. 7. Push snow plough, wing type, double track, Canadian Pacific Railway.
TypE .,
1.11: 0
Fig.8. Some types of push and wing ploughs.
plane in such manner that it may be brought down between the
removing the snow to a depth of two or three inches. The
nose is ordinarily operated by means of either hand levers or by
compressed air cylinders controlled from the cupola of the
plough. Fig. 8 shows
some various types of push and wing
• .. ……….,.14 :a.
-16·0 £ …. T£~Oc:O
One well known push plough is the Russell design. This
plough, figs. 9 and 10, is of the square nosed type and is
generally built
of strong timbers reinforced with structural steel.
The framing on which the mold boards are laid has as its main
~. _ ~ .. …:c;~£= … ,-,.:…;e:=~ _____ —t
4E.-S .. ————-~
Fig. 9. Russell snow plough with wing elevator.
feature a heavy timber called the
back bone. Power is applied
directly to the front of the plough
lhrollgh a steel
reinforced timber
bar, hinged or pivoted to the back
bone. This bar extends between
the two center sills the entire length
of the car frame. At its rear end the
coupler is attached. A 4 in.
clearance on each side of the bar
permits sufficient lateral
for adjustment on curves. This
method of transmitting power
directly to the front of the plough is
to be responsible for the claim
that Russell ploughs are seldom
derailed. On account of the heavy
Fig. 10. Russell snow plough, with wing elevator, Grand Trunk Railway.
pressure on the front of tbe square nosed plough, the Russell
design is fitted with a front truck which has journal bearings
each side of each wheel. Each axle, therefore, has fourjournals.
The surfaces of the plough which come in contact with the snow
have been developed to minimize resistance. The back end of
the car is several inches narrower than the constructed
of continuous 3/16 in. plate, in order to eliminate
s, joints and riveting at the junction of the two wedges.
At the nose the mold plate is radiused downward. For 3 ft.
back of the lower cutting edge, the framing under the nose is
filled solid with wood, securely bolted.
The nose piece is a
front, in
order to relieve the car of snow
friction against its sides. The top of the
plough is fitted
with a cupola or lookout
from which its operation is controlled.
These ploughs are made in several sizes
for both single and
double track operation
and are often
equipped with elevator wings
and fJangers. The wings of the Russell
plough are
of the elevator type. The face
of each wing is formed into two concave
chutes called elevators. These chutes slope
at an angle of approximately 10
degrees. Tills type of wing first loosens
the snow at the side
of the cut and then
carries it up and out.
The distance the snow
is thrown depends upon the speed at which
the plough is travelling.
These wings are
forced Ollt into position by means of
gearing operated within the car. When not
in use these
wings fit into recesses in the
of the car.
Fig. 11. Fuller single track snow plough, Pennsylvania lines.
Another style of push plough is that designed by the
Union Pacific Railroad and known locally as the Fuller plough,
see fig. 11.
The framing is 30 112 ft. over end sills, and is
composed principally
of wood. The side sills are 12 in. by 13
members. The center sill is 12 x 12 in., and the two
intermediate sills are each 6 x 8 in. The end sills are 12 x 16
., and the entire frame, in addition to being mortised and
tenoned, is braced by brackets and held together by 3/4 in. bolts.
In addition, the coupler castings at each end are connected by
two I
112 in. diameter rods, extending the entire length of the
frame and passing through the 12 x 24 in. body bolster
s. At the
end of the frame is a system of bracing that supports the
steel plough.
The steel mold plate, 11 ft. wide, is of the square
nosed type, the vertical wedge and the horizontal wedge being triangular steel bar over which the
cutting plate is placed. The
front end of the plough, when depressed, is carried on cast iron
s. These slide along the rail and are arranged so they can
be readily replaced in case
of breakage. The sides below the
mold plates are carried down to within 8 112 in. of the rail, in
order to prevent
snow crowding in under the front truck. The
bottom portion is hinged to facilitate truck inspection.
The car is of the ordinary box type, equipped with doors
and windows, and has
at the front end a small cllpola, with
seats for accommodation
of the operator. All devices for the
of the plough are located in tills cupola. Over the
rear truck is a large box, filled with blast furnace slag to weigh
down the back end.
The ploughs are fitted with a flanger but
have no wings.
They have been built for single and double track
operation, the only difference being in the construction
of the
mold plates and the plough framing.
Fig. 12. Single track, steel snow plough, Canadian Pacific Railway.
type the roof extends forward over the mold
plates to prevent snow flying upward. The
other type
shown in fig. 13 does not have
the extension
roof and is used where snows
are usually wet and heavy. Fig. 14 shows a
double track all steel plough, and fig.
15 a
general arrangement drawing
of the single
track type.
Trucks.-The rear truck is of the standard
arch bar freight type, with 33 in. diameter
cast iron wheels mounted on 4 1/4 in x 8
.. M.C.B. axles. It is equipped with
Simplex truck bolsters, M.C.B. coil springs
rid roller side bearings. The wheel base is
5 1/4 ft. The front truck is a special design
of arch bar type, with 28 in. diameter steel
tired wheels
mounted on 5 x 9 in. M.C.B.
s. Simplex truck bolsters are used, the
of which are fitted with a combination
For many years the
c.PR. has built
its ploughs
of steel. It was the first railway
to build and use an all-steel plough. The
given by this type has been very
satisfactory. The all-steel plough has a
number of advantages, including greater
strength, lower maintenance cost, and affords
greater protection to the men operating it.
These steel ploughs have been built for both
single and
double track operation, and are
equipped with drop nose, wings, and in some
instances with ice cutters and flangers similar
to those applied to rotary snow ploughs, a
devices being controlled from the cupola.
Two styles
of ploughs have been built. The
type shown
in fig. 12 is used in territory
where light, dry sriows are frequent. On this
Fig.13. Single track, steel snow plough, Canadian Pacific Railway.
Fig. 14. Double track, steel
snow plough, Canadian Pacific Railway.
roller and wedge lateral motion device.
This truck has no springs, the space usually
occupied with springs being fitted with a
wooden block.
The first front trucks used
under these ploughs had no lateral motion
arrangement, and the wheels were
mounted on locomotive truck axles with
inside journals.
The bearings and boxes
were, therefore, practically inaccessible,
except when the plough was standing over
a pit.
This resulted in numerous hot
journals. Occasionally the arch bars bent
sidewise, indicating the need of some
lateral motion to prevent excessive side
strain when the ploughs were passing
sharp curves and guided by the
flanged wearing shoe. The present truck,
outside jomnals, and with lateral
motion device, has overCOme these
T/lrO«)/I M;?h Pfules
~ –
?.I!.j:-?-i-~J8·T~~i-_____ ~+-~_
~——–J?frOve.rA/~.4lF StCTION THIlOl/6H CENTER
Fig. 15. General arrangement, single tr?ck snow plough, C.P.R.
Brakes.-The rear trunk only is equipped with brakes.
The air brake consists
of a schedule K.D. 812 equipment; the
brake pipe extends the full length
of the plough with standard
angle cock and hose at the rear. On the front end
of the pipe an
angle cock
is located behind the mold plate. Access to it is had
through a small hinged door
in the mold plate and connection
is made by means of a special length of air hose. The hand
is the ordinary standard box car type.
Draft Attachment.-The rear end is equipped with draft
gear. At the front a standard pilot coupler
is supported in a
large steel casting riveted to the sloping front
of the plough.
Underframe.-The center sills consist of two 15 in., 33
lb. rolled steel channels, with top and bottom cover plates.
side sills are 15 in., 331b. channels. The bolsters are box section,
of pressed plate diaphragms, with top and bottom
cover plates. Approximately 6 ft. back
of the center of the front
is a very strong cross strut, consisting of two 15 in., 22 lb.
channels applied horizontally to the top and bottom
of the center
sill. The stl1lt extends entirely across the plough.
Front End Frame.-The center end post consists of two
15 in. 33 lb. channels which extend from the top of the center
sills, at a point
just back of the front center plate,-to the roof.
The center
of the bottom, or lifting wedge, is supported by two
10 in., 20 lb. channels, riveted to the front end of the center sill
channels, and to the center end posts.
The sides of the lifting
wedge are also supported
by two 10 in., 20 lb .. channels. These
are supported
by the front bolsters and extend diagonally upward
and toward the rear to a point near the roof and about midway
between the trucks.
The roof extension, or hood, is built up of
3/16 in. steel plate, braced with 7 in., 9 3/4 lb. channels.
Side Construction.-The sides are constructed of 3116
in. flat steel sheets reinforced by angle iron braces and posts.
End Construction.-The ends are also constructed of
311.6 in. flat steel sheets. Attached to the side frames are heavy corner angles extending from the bottom
of the side sills to the
of the side plate.
The cupola consists of a steel frame made of
plates and angles.
Drop Nose.-The drop nose consists of a heavy plate,
carried on large cast steel hinges. The front edge
is equipped
with removable flanged rail shoes, provided with hardened steel
wear plates. Adjustable cutter plates which extend down on
either side of, and between the rails, are bolted to the front edge
of the nose. These plates are beveled to a sharp edge, and are
applied in a number
of narrow widths, so that sections can be
if damaged_ The drop nose is operated from the cupola
by an air operated toggle arrangement placed under the nose
Plough Side Sheets.-The plough side sheets extend
from the end
of the lifting wedge to about midway between the
trucks. They are very well braced and stiffened, particularly at
the lower edge, where contact with hard ice
is likely, in order to
resist inward bending caused by side pressure.
Wings.-At the back edge of the side plates, steel
extension wings are attached
by four heavy steel hinges. The
of plough over sides is 10 ft. The width over ends of
wings, when fully extended, is 16 ft. When folded, these wings
are flush with the side
of the plough. The outer edges of the
wings are provided with a beveled extension, about 4 ft. in
height. When the wings are folded, this beveled extension fits
snugly against the body side sheet, and extends under the side
sill as far as proper clearances for the rear journal box will
permit. This beveled extension prevents snow from gathering
when the plough
is backing up.
Interior Finish.-Wooden furring strips are fastened to
the interior
of the plough body and cupola frame, and to these
furrings standard tongue and groove caboose lining
is applied.
The floor is of I 3/4 in. freight car decking. A platform is
Fig. 16. Arrangement, operating mechanism, steel snow plough, C.P.R.
provided for the plough operator. The cupola windows are fitted
double glass, with air space between. There
is one window
each side, and one at the back of the body of the car.
Furnishings consist
of a work bench, standard caboose stove
and oil lamps.
Operating Mechanism.-The operating mechanism is
in fig. 16. The drop nose is raised and lowered by air
operated cylinders located inside the
car and securely anchored
to the center sills.
The operating valve is located on the right
hand side
of the cupola. The wings are forced outward by air
pressure applied in large cylinders fastened
to the bottom of
the undelt·rame. The piston rods in the cylinders are made of
large diameter pipe, with a hinged connection fitted at each end.
The wings are closed by air pressure, applied in two short
stroke locomotjve driving brake cylinders fastened under the
side sills.
The push rods are attached to levers. One end of the
is anchored to the undelframe and the other end is attached
to a chain connected
to the wing. Separate operating valves,
in the cupola, are provided for each wing. The supply
of compressed air is obtained from the air brake system, and to
perrrut repeated movements of the drop nose or wings, promptly
without interference to the operation of the air brakes,
storage reservoirs
of large capacity are provided, these being
located inside
of the car. In front of the cupola, on a platform,
is an electric headlight. Current for this light
is obtained from
the locomotive headlight set through a suitable extension cord.
Fig. 17. Snow spreader or dozer.
Figs, 17, 18 arid 19 show what is
commonly known as a snow spreader or
dozer. The front of the car is V-shaped, A
low V-shaped plough, with drop wings, is
attached to the front. When these wings are
dropped into working position they form a
of the plough mold plates, The
simplest form of spreader consists of a flat
car with wings attached to each side, the
wings being operated from the floor
of the
by means of levers, The illustrations
show a house car spreader.
The drop wings
are raised and lowered by air cylinders,
side wings are supported by jib cranes,
hinged to the side of the car, and are held in
working position by means of heavy bar
braces, On some ploughs these braces are
moved into working position by means
air cylinders, Some types of spreaders are
equipped with drag wings hinged to the back
corners as shown
in fig, 17, This type of
spreader is used by some roads to widen cuts
after a plain push plough has passed, When
widening cuts these wings are in such a
position that they serve as
sn9wbank cutters,
snow is carried in toward the center of
the track, from which it can be thrown by
either a wedge plough
or a rotary, When
equipped with drag wings dlese spreaders
are often called cut wideners,
The large side
wings when extended to their full width have
a total spread
of approximately 30 ft. The
snow is first cut by the V-shaped plough and,
after it is dlrown or pushed to
one side, the
long wings push it out still further. This type
of plough is frequently used for cleaning up
yards, Some roads utilize their ballast
spreaders for this purpose,
On roads which have to fight drifts, snow slides, or other
conditions beyond the
capacity of push ploughs, the rotary
machine plough is used, and to date is the most effective
instrument that has been developed for the purpose. These
ploughs can work their way through deep cuts and slides where
it would be impossible for any type
of push plough to lift the
snow and, in addition can throw the snow clear
of the track, If
the snow is much higher than the top of the casing it is only
necessary to loosen
itand throw it down in front of the plough
in order to have it picked up aild thrown Clear of the track.
A rotary
plough, invented in 1869 by l.W. Elliott,
consisted of a wheel having four flat arms and which was
supported on
a horizontal shaft, rotating in line with the track.
The wheel was enClosed in a casing, the front of which was
shaped to collect the snow and the rear
of which was shaped
The flISt machine plough built was known as the Hawley
plough, and was exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial
Fig. 18. Snow spreader.
Fig. 19.
Snow spreader.
exhibition in 1876. The plough was equipped with a large
vertical conveyor screw supported in a rectangular casing, the
of which was shaped to collect the snow: This plough
was tested on what was then the Teeswater Division, Toronto,
& Bruce Railway, now a part of the C.PR This plough
was an absolute failure, as the elevator screw revolved without
any snow.
The next development was known as the Marshall
. plough, a full size working model of which was tried either on
the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad or the Chicago &
North Western Railroad, in the northwestern part of Iowa, in
the latter
part of the 1870s. The wheel, which revolved on a
shaft at right angles to the line
of the track, was a large wooden
disc on which were fastened a humber of radiating blades. This
plough was also a failure.
Another attempt to construct a successful machine
plough was known as the Blake machine snow plough, and it
embodied a rotary principle. It was tried on the Winona & St.
Peter Division, Chicago
& North Western Railroad, in the early
1880s, and was also an absolute failure.
A later attempt to develop a
machine plough resulted in
what was
as the Kryger steam snow
shovel. In some ways this plough
looked very much like a modern
ditching machine. Buckets were
placed on an endless conveyor and
were supposed to pick up the
and convey it up and back to a point
where it could be automatically
thrown clear of the track by a
revolving wheel. This
machine was
built at the Minneapolis, St. Paul and
Sault Ste. Marie Railways
Minneapolis shop, in 1889
or 1890,
but was never tried in the snow.
The Cox machine snow
plough, which was never built, was
illustrated in several of the U.S.
journals in the early 1890s, and
unsuccessful efforts were made to
organize a
company to build it.
Fig. 20. Jull cutting wheel for rotary snow plough.
21. Elliott rotary fan wheel for rotary snow plough.
44 MARS -AVRIL 2000
Fig. 22. Leslie Brothers model rotary snow plough, tried in C.~.R.
Parkdale Yards, Toronto, in 1883-84.
Mr. Elliott was the original inventor of the rotary
principle. His invention was improved by Orange Jull, who
applied a knife or cutting wheel, fig. 20. in front of the Elliott
wheel, fig. 21. In 1883 the Leslie Brothers built the first rotary
embodying the Jull modification. The fan wheel was mounted
on a hollow
shaft in which revolved a solid shaft supporting the
knife wheel. The fan and cutting wheels were revol ved in
opposite directions by means of a gear system. During the
of 1883-84, the C.P.R. gave this model, fig. 22, a trial at
Parkdale, Ontario. This preliminary trial,
in which snow and·
were thrown over 300 ft., demonstrated the practicability of
removing snow with a revolving wheel. It, however, also
indicated that the plough should be constructed
so that snow
could be thrown to either side of the track and that a flanger
was necessary to prevent derailment in hard snow
and ice and
to leave a satisfactory rail after passing.
To overcome these objections the Leslie Brothers
developed a wheel with manually reversible knives which could
changed in position to enable them to cut in either direction.
They also applied a movable hood to the cylindrical portion of
the casing through which snow could be thrown to either side
of the track. In addition they designed an ice cutter, and a
flanger, which were applied to the front truck
of the plough.
The ice cutters, one for each rail, were fastened to the front of
the truck. The part of the cutter which dropped down inside of
and about 2 in. below the rail head was shaped like a planer
The part of the cutter above the rail was shaped like the
blade in a wood plane, and
in service position came within 1/2
in. of the top of the rail head. Two flangers, shaped very much
like the mold boards
of an ordinary farm plough, were fastened
to the rear
of the truck. These picked up the ice removed by the
cutters and
put it in the comer of the cut made by the rotary
The cutters and f1angers could be either raised or lowered
simultaneously by air.
A plough containing these
improvements was built for them by
the Cooke Locomotive Works, of
Paterson, New Jersey. This plough was
put in service on the Chicago
& North
Western Ry. during the winter of 1885-
86, fig. 23.
It is very interesting to note
that the engines
of this plough were
equipped with Walschaert valve gear.
One difficulty, however, was
experienced. The friction caused by
snow passing between the knife
wheel and the fan wheel absorbed
more power than that required to cut
and throwaway the snow. The
. principle of opposite revolving wheels
was then
abandoned and the Leslie
Brothers designed a single fan wheel
with adjustable cutting edges.
cutting knives were attached directly
the wheel and automatically
reversed their position as the direction
of rotation was changed. The Cooke
Locomotive Works rebuilt the plough,
embodying these improvements, fig.
24, and during the winter
of 1886-87,
it was
put into service on the Union
Pacific Railroad, doing particularly
work in opening up one 70-mile
branch which had been blocked for
some time and through which no
ploughs of other types had been able
to proceed. 1. S. Leslie personally
operated the plough during the trial.
The operation of this rotary was so
successful that the railway company
. not only purchased it, but three others
in addition.
Fig. 23. Leslie Brothers rotary snow plough, 1886.
24. Improved Leslie Brothers.rotary snow plough, as rebuilt by Cooke Locomotive
Works in 1886 .
26. Leslie Brothers rotary snow plough with ice cutters and flangers …
Fig. 25. Improved fan type wheel for rotary snow plough.
In Canada in 1888, the C.P.R., through the Polson Iron
Works Co.
of Toronto, built eight of these ploughs in its Montreal
shops, applying a fan wheel which had been still further
improved by the Leslie Brothers. This wheel is shown in fig.
Fig. 26 shows a plough with the perfected Leslie wheel.
The ice cutter and flanger can be seen very well in this
Fig. 27. Jull centrifugal snow excavator.
In 1889, Orange lull devised a centrifugal excavator
which was first put
in service on the Union Pacific Railroad,
during the winter
of the same year. Fig. 27 shows a pLQ.ugh of
this type. This excavator was intended to remove snow by means
of a cone shaped screw conveyor. The screw was built up of
plate and supported on a shaft. It was not only set diagonally
across the track, but inclined so that the nose pointed down
toward the right hand rail.
The shaft
was supported by two bearings, the
front one being located in the
bottom right hand corner of the
hood; the back one in the left hand
corner. The screw was
made up of
four spiral blades of 112 in. steel
plate. The action
of the excavator
was similar to that
of an auger, the
snow being carried back and up
through an opening in the top of the
hood. The screw was revolved at
250 to 300 revolutions per
minute. The lull plough was
unsuccessful. The screw conveyor
filled up solid with snow and ice;
the cutter was easily
damaged by
rocks and ice; the screw also had a
tendency to raise the front
of the
plough, resulting in derailment.
powerful. The size of the cutting wheels
has increased
to such an extent that on the
heaviest and most modern ploughs the
knives will
cut through small trees and
successfully open up snow slides
containing a very large propOItion of dirt,
rock and gravel.
The first rotary ploughs with the
improved Leslie wheel were equipped with
17 in. diameter by 24 in. stroke 2 cylinder
engines. Steam was supplied by a
locomotive type boiler having 1,259 sq. ft.
of heating surface and carrying 180 lb.
The cutting wheel was supported
by an 8
112 in. shaft geared to the engines.
The shaft was supported in a main bealing
34 in. long. These snow ploughs, as well
as many other early rotaries, were equipped
with a wheel
of the fan type, illustrated in
fig. 25.
The back of this wheel consisted of steel plate, to which
the fan blades, or partitions, were secured.
The fronts of the
partitions. were .supported to.beavy.inner and
outer rings. The
reversible cutters were supported by trunnions riveted to these
rings. When the plough was in operation the revolving knives
cut the snow and delivered it into the space between the
partitions. The snow was then carried around the casing until
the top opening was reached,
through which it was thrown in a
straight line by
centrifugal force.
Fig. 28 shows
how these cutrlng
knives were supported and how they
assumed a cutting position, no
matter in which direction the wheel
revolved. [editors note: Unfortun­
ately Fig. 28 is missing in the
original article.] In light and dry
snow these wheels were satisfactory,
in heavy work their construction
proved inadequate. In
wet and heavy
snow the partition and cutting plates
buckled and the
supporting rings
became distorted. This caused the
knives to fail and the wheel to
in the casing. These troubles were
overcome by heavier construction.
During 1889, another snow
plough, called the Cyclone, was
brought out and put into service on
the Central Pacific Railroad, now a
of the Southern Pacific System.
Fig. 29. Leslie Brothers scoop type wheel, for rotary
snow plough.
This fan type wheel is still in
service on very many railways. It
the opinion of most users, an opinion
endorsed by 1.S. Leslie, that a well
constructed, heavily built, fan type
wheel is the
most efficient snow
This plough, like the lull excavator, had a revolving anger, with
a fan placed behind it to remove the snow. The fan wheel and
auger were mounted on the same shaft, and driven by two
powerful engines. This plough was also unsuccessful.
Although there has been considerable development, the
general arrangement
of the modern rotary is very similar to
that of the improved Leslie ploughs. As development
progressed, the ploughs became heavier and were made more
remover that has yet been devised. On these ploughs the boiler,
the engines, the main shaft and gears were supported on an
underframe the sides
of which were steel channels. At the front
these side members were tied together by a very large casting
which formed a bed for the main wheel shaft and the engine
shaft bearings.
Back of this casting two sills extended to the
rear end sill. A wooden cab protected the engines and boiler.
The plough, without the tender, weighed 125,000 lb.
The Leslie
brothers also developed
the scoop type
of wheel
shown in fig. 29. Mr.
1.S. Leslie states that this
wheel was developed to
handle the soft, fluffy,
wet snow found on the
Pacific slope near the
citrus belt. Such snow
had a tendency to adhere
to and clog the partitions
of the fan wheel.
Reference to the figure
shows that the wheel
composed of 10 cone
shaped radially placed
scoops, the backs of
which are fastened to a
steel plate.
The sUlface
of these scoops is Fig. 30. Boiler and machine arrangement of rotary snow plough, built by American Locomotive Company.
smooth to prevent snow
Fig. 31.
Canadian Pacific rotary snow plough, built in 1907.
from adhering. Each scoop
is open its entire length on the front
side. A cutting knife
is hinged on each side of the opening.
These kni ves adjust themsel ves automatically into cutting
position. The knives on the adjacent edges of each scoop are
by links so that when one knife is cutting snow the
other knife
is depressed to afford the necessary clearance.
Wi th the
exception of special ploughs, the general
of the modern rotary has not changed greatly. The
cutting wheels have been increased to 11 ft. in diameter; the
of the boiler and power of the engines have been
increased; the original cast iron beveled gear drive has been
changed, and two bevel pinions
of steel with cut teeth and supported on independent engine shafts are used.
The cutting
knives have been made heavier and
of cast steel. The strength
of the surrounding casing has been increased at the cutting edges
and cut wideners have been added. Fig. 30 shows a plough
this type built by the American Locomotive Co. Fig. 3J shows
a plough built for the C.P.R.
in 1907 [editors note: The article
said 1911, but the very same photo appeared
in the Railway
and Marine World for March 1908, and said that the plough
was built late
in 1907]. This figure shows hinged CLlt wideners
in working position. When not in use these CLlt wideners are
folded back flat against the sides
of the casing, the supporting
rods being removed.
Fig. 32. Grand Trunk Pacific Railway rotary snow plough.
The front edges of the 112 in. plate
partitions are riveted to the arms without
bosses. The plain arms also serve
as stops
for the knives, which are double edged
and of cast steel, and which adjust
themselves independently without
connecting links. These knives are hinged
to the bossed steel
arms by means of
continuous pins. A drop nose and very
substantial cutting wings are fasten
ed to
the front casing. The drop nose is
operated by air and the cutting wings are
heavily braced in working position.
When not in use, the wings are drawn in
by means of levers operated by a hand
screw. The boilers on these ploughs are
equipped with superheaters.
The use of
highly superheated steam provides a
substantial increase
in power and reduces
the consumption of fuel and water,
enabling the plough
to remain out longer
without running for an additional supply.
Fig. 32 shows a rotary plough built by the Bucyrus Co.
for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. As far as the writer has
been able to learn, only two
of these ploughs were built. The
wheel is
of a modified scoop type, and has 10 radial scoops,
the inner ends
of which are fastened to a steel casting keyed to
the main shaft.
The general form of the scoop
the same as in the rotaries described
previously, except that the adjoining edges of
the scoops are brought straight out towards
the face
of the wheel. The flanges of a heavy
hinge casting are placed over the double edges
thus formed. This casting
is fastened by rivets
passing through both flanges and the adjoining
edges of the scoop plates. Near the outer
periphery of the wheel, heavy braces or spacer
bars are applied between each hinge casting.
The cutting blades are double edge and made
of cast steel. Each blade adjusts itself
automatically and independently and no
connecting links are used. The inner ends
five of the knives are carried close to the center
of the wheel; the other five knives are
shortened so that they will not inteJiere with
the longer ones.
The greatest test, of a rotary plough is its ability to cut
tluough snow slides.
The plough can be subjected to no heavier
service than one which
is occasionally required on all roads
crossing the Rocky, Cascade and Selkirk Mountains.
The snow
in these slides is not only packed exceedingly hard, but often
Fig.33. Canadian Pacific Railway heavy rotary snow plough.
Four rotary snow ploughs were built
by the Union Pacific Railroad. The cutting wheel is built up
around a cast steel center secured
in the usual manner to the
front end
of the wheel shaft. This casting is spool shaped, the
is 50 in. in diameter and contains a number of spokes. On
of these spokes the small center cutting knives are hinged.
The outer ring of this center casting forms the inner ring of the
The outer is of mild steel I x 4 in. section. Between the
inner and outer rings are riveted two types
of cast steel arms.
Each alternate arm
is provided with bosses for hinging knives. contains trees and rocks. It
is impossible for rotalies to overcome
such obstacles.
It is generaJly customary to probe the slide
with sounding rods
in order to locate them, and, if possible,
they are removed by blasting, or by being pulled out.
Sometimes, however, these obstacles are not discovered and
when the plough encounters them the ordinary cutting knives
are generally damaged and the plough often put Ollt of
commission. The repair of the knives is generally difficult and
Fig.34. Canadian Pacific Railway heavy rotary snow plough.
During the winter of 1908-09,
George Bury, then General
Manager, Western Lines, C.P.R.,
decided that a plough was needed
which would not break down, and he
stated that he wished a rotary plough
with clltting
knives of 2 in. armor
plate, and the rest of the plough built
in proportion.
The following spring,
authority was given for two such
ploughs and arrangements were made
with the Montreal Locomotive Works
The segments are
bolted to the center
casting with 2 114 in.
diameter bolts.
adjacent segments
are bolted together
through flanges at
their rear edges.
Fig. 38 shows
the wheel assembled Fig.37.
Cast steel segment.
. for their construction. H.H. Vaughan,
then Assistant to the Vice President
of the C.P.R., engaged John Player,
Engineer of the American
Locomotive Co., to prepare the
designs in collaboration with him. As
a result it was
decided to modify,
considerably the construction of
existing ploughs. It was Mr.
Vaughans idea that better results
could be obtained by driving the
plough wheel direct
in marine engine
style, and that the frame
of the plough
should resemble a bridge girder to
thoroughly support the casing or
hood. This idea has been justified, as
the ploughs operate with practically
no vibration. It was decided to build Fig. 35.
Front of center casting ..
Fig. 38.
Assembled wheel without cutting knives.
before the cutting knives are attached. The view shows
the I
114 in. thick by lOin. wide band bolted to the
segments, and
which helps
hold them in
place.The band
is increased
F:ig.36. Rear of center casting. thickness to
ploughs, incorporating these
ideas. The finished ploughs are shown in figs. 33 and 34, and
are the largest
and most powerful that have ever been built.
The design
of a tremendously strong and rugged wheel
was one of the most important problems. To have made the
cutting knives and
scoops of exceedingly thick plate, and all
other construction
in proportion, would have resulted in a weight
that was impractical. A wheel, made
of steel, however, was
built which was
quite different from any others and which was
intensely strong.
As no facilities were available for machining
or annealing a casting
of the required size, a built-up constnlction
was used. The
center casting, the front and back of which is
shown in figs. 35 and 36, was made
in octagon form 80 in.
across the flats. Fig 37 shows one
of the eight segments which
were bolted
to the faces of the center casting. These segments
follow the curved form
of a scoop wheel and have at the outer
edges 6 in. diameter bosses
for 2 112 in. diameter hinge pins. compensate for
the hinge pili-and bolt
holes. It is made in
section with L-shaped
lugs on each end which
fit into grooves in the
Fig. 39
the inside of one of the
cast steel knife blades.
Figs. 40 and 41 are
other views of these
blades and show how
they are heavily ribbed.
These blades are 5/8 in.
thick at the cutting
Figure 39.
Figure 40.
. Fig. 42. Cutting knives and nose piece.
Fig. 43. C.P.R. heavy rotary
snow plough
wheel being balanced.
Fig. 44. Completed wheel in place on
heavy rotary snow plough.
50 MARS -AVRIL 2000
Fig. 42 shows the nose piece for the center of the wheel.
Fig. 43
shows the completed wheel, without the nose piece,
being balanced. As shown in this view, the wheel weighed
24,000 lb. and as
itwas designed to run at 400 revolutions per
minute it was necessary to balance it accurately. Fig.
44 shows
the finished wheel in place on the plough.
Figs. 45 and 46 show the
arrangement of engine and
The casing is made of 3/4 in. plate and tapered to
eliminate any flat surfaces on which snow or ice might
accumulate. The bottom of the casing is reinforced by an
additional 3/4 in. plate.
The back of the casing consists of steel
castings with flanges for attachment to supporting gusset plates .
This view also shows the boiler and engines in place, as weJl as
the taper wheel fit on the front end
of the main shaft. The main
shaft is
II 1/8 in. in diameter and 12 ft. 2 in. long. The front
bearing is
11 1/8 in. in diameter by 28 in. long. Behind the
front bearing
is a marine type thrust bearing with 10 collars.
There is a rear bearing lOin. in diameter by 16 112 in. long.
The thrust bearing, which is peculiar to this plough, is intended
to take up the thrust ordinaril.y received by the back waJl
of the
wheel casing.
It has proved of decided benefit in service. The
engines are of the marine type and have cylinders 20 in. in
diameter and 24 in. stroke.
The steam chests are cast integral
with the cylinders.
The supporting columns are cast steel. As
head room was limited, the connecting rods are short in
proportion to the stroke, and the area
of the crosshead bearing
surfaces was increased accordingly.
The crank pin of the engine
. was connected
toa cmnk disc on thereaf-of the-wheelshaftby
means of a drag link coupling. This was used in case there·
should be any variation in alignment
of thewheel shaft and
engine crank shaft and to prevent any bending strains from being
transmitted from
one to the·other. Duplicate reverse lever and
throttle are provided so that the
engine can be operated from
ei ther side.
Fig. 47 shows the main frames and gusset plates which
support the casing.
The frames are box girders 36 in. deep at
the front end.
The outside plate of the girder is 3/8 in. thick and
the inner
112 in. thick. The top and bottom members are 13 in.
ship channels.
The boiler applied to these ploughs is similar to
of the Canadian Pacific class M-4 consolidation type
locomotives. It has 2, I
08 sq. ft. of heating surface and 44 sq.
of grate surface and is of greater capacity than any boilers
that have been used for
snow plough f;ervice. The trucks are of
the 6-wheel type speciaJly designed for the purpose, and have
cast steel frames. The axles
have 7 x 12 in. journals, and the
steel tired wheels are 34 in.
in diameter.
In working order, these ploughs weigh 260,000 lb.
weight is practicaJly equal on the two trucks. The tender has a
water capacity
of 7,000 Imperial gaJlons and holds 16 tons of
coal. The tender was made 32 ft. long over end frames, as, on
of bridge limitations, it was necessary to separate the
weight of the plough from the weight of the pushing
locomotives. The tender trucks are of the 4-wheel, equalizer
pedestal type, using standard
engine truck wheels and axles.
An officer who has
lIsed them states that the knives are quite
sufficient for dealing with smaJl trees.
They have cut trees 4 in.
in diameter.
He also states that the slight angle at which the
cutting knives are placed makes the
plough somewhat slower
in its progress through a slide. but the knives do not break when
they strike obstructions such as rocks and trees.

held in raised position by means of a strong
. spring
in each cylinder. The air is lIsed only to
keep the flanger down
in operating positioll.
These flangers make a cut 2 in. deep on the
inside of the rail and I in. deep on the outside.
The total width of the cut is about 20 inches.
Air for the cylinders is supplied from the
locomotive main reservoir, the operating va
being located
in the cab within easy reach of
the engineer. Ray flangers are made in different
styles. By extending the inner
edges of flanger
blades a very useful combination
snow plough
and flanger is made. Such a type is
shown in
fig. 52 [Editors note. This drawing is similar
to fig. 3, so is printed smaller here.], illustrating
various types
of pilot ploughs. Fordouble track
operation, a
singl~ cutting plate extending the
full width
of the trackway is used.
Fig. 48. The Temple and Miller flanger.
In order to properly clean up the track and to clear out
the space between the rails for a depth
of from 2 to 4 in., flangers
are generally used. Flangers are applied either to the front
the locomotive, temporarily to box cars or flat cars, or
permanently to snow ploughs or flanger cars.
Fig. 48 shows one
of the early type of flangers
used on locomotives.
It was known as the
Temple and Miller typ
e. It consisted of a knife­
like blade, one end
of which was pivoted to
the nose
of the locomotive pilot. It was lowered
and raised
by means of lever connections from
locomotive cab, and when down in working
position was practically parallel to the side
the pilot. The blade was made in two pieces.
The lower one, which could readily be removed
or replaced, formed the cutting plate or shoe,
and was attached to the upper one by means
An improved type was
known as the Priest flanger. Its
general arrangement is similar to
of the Ray type described later,
except that it was raised and
lowered through a system of levers
similar to
those of the Temple and
Miller flangers, the motive power
being supplied by an air cylinder
bolted through the running board
of the locomotive. The man u­
facturers of the Priest flanger
developed the Ray flangeI. This
widely used flanger
is shown in
figs. 49, 50 and 51. These
illustrations show how the air
cylinders for raising and lowering
the flangers are bolted
to the cross
Fig. 50.
The Ray flanger. tie which connects the front end of
special equalizers. The flanger is
As stated previously, flangers are applied
to snow ploughs of various types. Sometimes
flangers are attached
to a special car. The
smallest flanger car is practically a 4-wheel truck to which
flangers have been applied. A platform
is built over the truck
and carries the operating mechanism as well as a load
of heavy
material to hold
the flanger down to its work. The.large flanger
Fig.49. The Ray flanger.
Fig. 51. The Ray flanger.
c. .
cars are ordinarily of
the caboose type. and
usually equipped
with two 4-wheel
trucks. The mechan­
ism for lowering and
raising the flanger is
contained within the
car. The majority of the
large cars are equipped
with two flangers in
order that the
car may
operated in ei ther
direction. On some
roads the flangers are
hung from the underframe
of the car between the trucks. On
. other roads they are placed at the ends of the cars au tside the
Some of the various styles of flangers used under such
cars or other equipment are shown
in fig. 53. Figs. 54,55 and
56 show
some different types of flanger cars.
Above: Fig. 52. Flangers attached to pilot ploughs.
Right: Fig.53, Some types of flangers.
4( ] I t>.; 111

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1&. s c …. ,.tr:tt!>
~ t
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Above: Fig. 54. Diagram of a flanger car.
Left: Fig. 55. Canadian Pacific flanger.
Below: Fig.
56. Canadian Pacific flanger car
without cupola.

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Fig .. 57. Ice cutter, Canadian Pacific Railway.
Fig. 58. Ice
cutter in operation, Canadian Pacific Railway.
The formation of ice
around and
over tracks in
yards is a cause of great
delay. Removal by hand is
slow and retards switching
operations. To remove such
ice quickly, the
C.PK has
developed and is llsing a
of ice cutter shown in
fig. 57. This cutter is
applied to the plough
of a
Jordan spreader car.
cutter consists of 29 2 in.
square cutting tools of
hardened steel, ground to a
point at the bottom end.
Fig. 59. Ice cutter after clearing track, Canadian Pacific Railway.
These knives are carried in a flanged channel which is fastened
to the plough at the front
of the spreader. This method of
attachment permits the entire cutter to he raised and lowered by the existing spreader mechanism. Fig. 57 shows the cutter
in working position. Figs. 58 and 59 show the cutter entering a
snow and ice covered track and leaving
it in clear condition.
Fig. 60. Snow sweeper, Pennsylvania Railroad.
For removing ordinary light snows in yards, a few
have used the well known street railway type of
sweeper. A sweeper of this type is shown in figs. 60 and
The revolving brooms at each end of the sweeper are
operated by means of a single cylinder steam engine
located in the body of the car. This engine takes steam
from the locomoti ve pushing the sweeper. The broom shaft
is driven by means of a chain drive, The writer has been
advised that these
cars are very efficient in removing light
snow, and particularly in cleaning up terminals and terminal
All snow fighting equipment should be in good
condition before the start of the snow season, This is best
accomplished by means of a definite summer repair
programme, Snow fighting conditions vary greatly, Some
roads, in order to determine the probable weather
conditions, keep in close touch with the government
observatories, which advise the localities or areas in which
storms exist or are probable,
Operation of equipment usually starts with the
beginning of a storm. In clearing snow under ordinary
conditions, pilot, push and wing plows are generally rlln
at a
good speed, in order that the snow may be thrown
well clear of the track, If a good speed is maintained, the
plough will frequently
go through a cut without stalling,
whereas if the speed is slow the plough may catch or stall
way through the cut or drift, with the result that it
be stuck or buried and have to he shoveled Ollt,
Particular care should be used upon approaching a
particularly one with a side drift at the entrance, as
with a
double track plough sufficient side pressure may
develop to calise derailment. Such an approach is generally
Fig. 61. Snow sweeper engine.
squared off before pushing the plough into it. If the snow is too
deep for the plough to handle, it
is leveled off by shoveling to a
reasonable depth.
The man in charge of the snow plough must
one with considerable initiative as weather and snow
conditions vary greatly, and situations frequently arise which
call for good
judgment and quick decision.
Rotary snow ploughs are handled in an entirely different
manner from the push and wing ploughs.
Instead of depending
upon speed to get through the drifts, the rotary plough
approaches the drift slowly and the cutting wheel is fed into the
drift instead
of bucking it. A snow bank or slide is generally
approached at a speed
of about 3 or 4 miles an hour with the
rotary wheel r
evolving about 150 revolutions a minute. When
coming close to the obstruction the speed of the wheel is
increased, and the pusher engines keep moving
just fast enough
to keep the plough up against the dlift. If
the pusher engine
crowds the rotary too much the pilot signals the locomotive
of the rotary to increase the speed of the wheel. In case
the pusher engine still crowds the rotary, the pilot should apply
the air brakes to cheek the pusher. If the pusher cannot be
checked with the brakes, the pilot should signal the locomotive
of the pusher to shut off. He should respond quickly to
prevent stalling the rotary.
In case the rotary is stalled the
flangers are raised and the plough drawn back four
or five feet
from the cut.
When again ready, the wheel is started and pushed into
the cut.
The rotary plough should never he pushed into the
bank from a distance
of more than 4 or 5 feet, as failure of the
rotary will result. If the wh
eel of the rotary becomes blocked
with snow the plough should be stopped and backed up a few
The snow can then be loosened between the casing and
the scoops, after which the wheel will clear
itself. Rotary ploughs should not be forced
through snow deeper than the hood. When
the snow is deeper than the hood the top
bank should be shoveled off.
In slides or
ice formations the top
of the obstruction is
frequently loosened
by blasting.
The successful operation of the­
rotary depends greatly upon the manner in
-which it is handled, and it is highly
essential that the men on both the rotary
and the pusher engines should be
experienced men.
At points where it is known that snow will drift it is
usual to construct snow fences; these may be either temporary
or permanent.
The usual temporary snow fence is about 7 ft.
high, frequently of the style shown in fig. 62. The horizontal
slats which are attached to the top extension
of the back braces
tend to throw drifting snow backward and to cause
it to pile
upon the outer side
of the fence. Some roads use a portable
fence, the alternating panels
of which form an A design.
Permanent Fences.-Permanent fences may be of any
recognized type, but are usually
of boards placed close together,
although in some cases stone fences have been used.
The writer
has been advised that metal la
th or metal fences have proved
satisfactory under some conditions.
56 MARS -AVRIL 2000
Trees. -One of the Canadian roads uses spruce hedges
and finds this a very satisfactory method
of forming a snow
r. The distance at which trees or hedges are spaced or
planted from the track depends entirely upon local conditions.
On the C.P.R. tree planting has been done
in selected localities,
species native to the
locality being used. Along the north shore
of Lake Superior jack pine and spruce are utilized. In Quebec
spruce and balsam and
some cedar are used. The trees, when
planted, are generally not
over 30 in. high. The practice of
using hedges and trees for this purpose is quite general in
Europe. When properly planted, hedges and trees not only give
snow protection but enhance
the appearance of the right of way.
Snow Sheds. -On roads passing through mountain
territory where slides are frequent, snow sheds are generally
used for protection.
Snow sheds are of various types and built
to suit local conditions.
The level fall type is of box-like section
and used simply to protect the road from falling or dlifting snow.
The valley type shed is generally placed against an embankment
in such a way that a slide will pass over
the roof of the shed
without falling on or damaging the track. The sheds are
ordinarily braced with cribwork backed with earth or gravel.
Several years ago at Rock River, the Union Pacific Railroad
constructed a very interesting
permanent snow shed of concrete
sections fitted together.
This shed covered a track which had in
previous years given a very great deal of trouble on account of
deep drifting snow.
The question of preventative measures is a very large
The writer has not felt that it is within the scope of this
description to more than make reference to the b
est known
Fig. 62. Diagram of snow fence.
In conclusion the writer wishes to acknowledge his very
great indebtedness to 1.S. Leslie, one
of the Leslie Brothers,
whose ingenuity and untiring efforts have made possible the
of our railways under severe winter conditions. His
assistance and collection
of data and photographs were placed
at the disposal
of the writer and made it possible to complete
the historical review
of the subject. Tl}e writer also wishes to
acknowledge his indebtedness to the various railway and
manufacturing companies, particularly Q
& C Co., and the
American Locomotive Co., for information placed at his
disposal. Acknowledgment
is also made to H.H. Vaughan for
much valuable information.
More Photos of Snow Fighting Equipment in Action
To complete this Snow Fighting Equipment issue of Canadian Rail, we present seven pages of photos showing the constant
battle between the railways and snow storms. A wide range
of time and place is covered from the nineteenth to the late-twentieth
centuries. Although the
equipment has changed, the battle goes on, and will continue as long as railways exist.
This woodcut entitled The Triumph of the Snow-Plough appeared in the book Picturesque Canada in 1882. We see an early
wedge plough, pushed by two
locomotives, clearing the line after a huge snowfall. The view is strongly evocative of, and may indeed
be based
on, the 1869 Henderson views we saw in the January-February 1999 issue of Canadian Rail.
I .
Almost 100 years late I; the principle is the same as the plough, scarcely visible amid the flying snow, breaks through the drift.
Canadian Pacific photo
No. £4556-15.
, .
58 MARS -AVRIL 2000
TOP: A CP.R. wedge plough. at work in the Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia, stopsfor the photographer some time in the late
J 880s. The photo was used on a Christmas card which accounts for the fake snowflakes sprinkled over it.
Canadian Pacific photo No. A-658.
ABOVE: Working on the snow plough can be dangerous as we see what happened
to this CP.R. plough extra in New Brunswick in
J 894. It hit a rock embedded in the snow and veered to the right, while the locomotives went to the left. Engine 570 crashed
through the ice
of Harvey Lake and disappeared, while the second engine came to rest on the bank. The crews jumped.
Daily Telegraph, Saint John N.B., January 15,
J 894.
CP. s earliest rotaries had lelfers instead of numbers. About 1890, rotal) c posed for this photo in the mountains.
The crew did not stand as shown when the plough was
in action Canadian Pacific photo No. ]77].
MARCH -APRIL 2000 61
. L
. .,


OPPOSITE TOP: Coming to the aid of a snowbound train on the prairies about 1909.
A. _;4._
OPPOSITE MIDDLE: The first train through, January 31, 1909. Note the snow fences visible to the right.
CN.R. 2814 struggling through a drift almost as high as it is. Canadian Pacific photo No. 12496.
TOP: White Pass and Yukon
rot{IJ), No.1, buill in 1899, being pushed by two locomotives across the famous cantilever bridge. Rotwy
No.1 is still in service and is pictured on the back cover of this issue. Photo from the late John Loye.
A rotary in action put on a truly spectacular show. This photo was taken in 1910, and shows one tackling a large snow slide.
Note the tree fragments and other debris
mixed with the snow. Such debris caused a lot of problems and eventually led to the
ement of the rotaries. Canadian Pacific photo No. 19268.
ABOVE: This snow meUer was
photographed in action in February,
It was useful in ya rds where there
was little room to dump the snow.
Canadian Pacific photo
No. 12418.
LEFT This typical single-track snow
plough was built in
1924. Many ploughs
of this ~)Ipe are still in service.
Canadian Pacific photo
No. 3886.
more modem way. A
snowblower kicks up a
slor1J7 as il clears.
snow from yard tracks in January, 1966.
Canadian Pacific photo
No. 1231.
ABOVE LEFT: A view of the modern way; clearing snow from
around a marooned train at Gull Lake Saskatchewan
in 1978.
CP Rail photo No. 79-34-5.
ABOVE R1GHT: White Pass & Yukon rot({/) No. 1 at work
near White Pass summit
in December, 1899. The long exposure
time required in those days makes the speed
of the blades seem
greater than they really are. A century later, this historic rotary
is still functional (see photo on back cover).
ABOVE: The modern way of clearing snow from tracks is exemplified by these ploughs, which can run on track or road. They are
seen at Ross Bay Junction on
the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway on December 16,1999. Photo by Fred Angus
C.N.R. s last rotary was No. 55361, built by Montreal
Locomotive Works in 1928. Retired in 1965, it came to the Canadian
Railway Museum at Delson where this photo was taken on Febllla/)
5, 1966.. Photo by Fred Angus BACK COVER, TOP:
An original Leslie rotary still in service!
of the oldest pieces of snow fighting equipment still
servicable anywhere is this venerable rotary plou
gh, No.1 of
the White Pass and Yukon Route. No.1 was built by the Cooke
Works, under contract to Leslie Brothers, in 1899.
1t was retired in 1962, but was restored to operating condition
in 1996. Here we see it at Skagway, Alaska on September 19
7, the end of the tourist season, being moved by steam
73 from its display place, near Skagway station, to
the WP&Y shops. Next year No.1 will become one of the few
pieces of railway work equipment to have served its original
owner in three centuries. Photo by Fred Angus
BOITOM: CPR. snow plough extra 400775,
8773, clearing the track at Piedmont, Que., north of
Montreal, about 1968, just before the new paint scheme
appeared on CP This scenic line is now abandoned, and the
of way is a hiking trail. Photo by Peter Murphy
This issue of Canadian Rail delivered to printer March 8, 2000.

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