California rotary plows

They may prefer not to, but they still do when they have to. It sounds like they have had quite a bit of snow recently, but I don't know if they've been used this year. They are kept down at Roseville, and brought out when the Jordan spreaders and flangers can't keep up. They wouldn't keep them if they never used them.

Dominic Mazoch posted:
SP and now UP prefer not to, because of the expense.

It has absolutely NOTHING to do with expense! It has EVERYTHING to do with the fact that the rotary snow plow cuts a square canyon, and thus must then be used over and over. The specially modified Jordan Spreaders do a far better job of moving the heavy, wet snow, out of the way, with the assistance of the big "snow cats", which continue to shove the snow over the side of the mountain grade. The rotary plows are used only as a last resort, generally in the event of a big avalanche/slide.

MarkStrittmatter posted:

But a Jordan Spreader and Snow Cats can only push the white stuff so far.

When the snowfall is measured in feet instead of inches per storm the snow is going and will continue to pile up.

I am sure the UP personal are starting if not already turning their attention to the snow that is above the tracks.

That is where the problem lies !!!

Obviously you are not familiar with the winter snow fighting procedures on Donner Pass!

Above the tracks is what the snow sheds are for, they also protect the tracks from accumulation. When the snow is really piling up, the spreaders and flangers are running almost non-stop, until it ends. That's why the rotaries don't get used much. UP goes years at a time without needing them.

Pentrex, the train video company, used to have one called "The Battle for Donner Pass". It was on VHS. They later combined it with another Donner video and put both on a single DVD. It's a great video, and you ride along with the crew and see the rotaries in action. They show a lot of other winter activities, like shooting down icicles, and blasting ice from flangeways.

I think they kept four sets. You can actually see three of them on Google Earth. Too bad there's no way to see real time.

My wife and I stopped in Roseville back in 2013. Kind of weird seeing a snow plow with a palm tree in the background.

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The answer to the original question is not yet for the rotaries. I just pulled up the Truckee, CA railcam, and by magic, saw a snow train consisting of spreaders front and back with two power units in the middle. This suggests that they are keeping up with what's falling.

Truckee, CA railcam, click to view

The winter storm warning is about to expire in an hour and a half. So far, I haven't seen any real trains go through Truckee. The first real test will be along shortly, when the westbound Zephyr gets there, in a few hours. Even though we can see downtown Truckee live, it doesn't mean that the rotaries haven't been used, but I still doubt it. This storm only called for up to a foot of snow in the higher elevations. Spreaders and flangers can handle that easily.

It's amazing what information can be gathered using the internet from the comfort of your own home 1500 miles away.

Big_Boy_4005 posted:

The answer to the original question is not yet for the rotaries. I just pulled up the Truckee, CA railcam, and by magic, saw a snow train consisting of spreaders front and back with two power units in the middle. This suggests that they are keeping up with what's falling.

Truckee, CA railcam, click to view

I like magic

I've seen multiple snow trains coming and going all day. They finally got both Zephyrs through, with huge delays. I expect the freights to start coming anytime.

We don't get the same large snowfalls that they get in the Sierras, but blowing and drifting can create spots deep enough to require a rotary. Most of the time a simple wedge plow gets through, a lot fewer moving parts. 

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