Skip to main content

Does such a thing exist? I know it sounds like a disaster looking for a layout, but I should would love to find something I could actually plow, even for a few feet. I tried packing noodles but they got stuck on the ties (when I was using tubular track). I have a nice hand-painted MEC wedge plow/spreader that would really look sharp if I could do what it was built for. Any thoughts?? I can't be the only one just staring at my plow all dressed up and nowhere to go!

'Tis the season, as they say!

Last edited by endless tracks
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

@Dewman51 posted:

Couldn't you use regular "snow" used for decorating at Christmas?

Yeah, I remember boxes of very light-weight 'snow' as a kid, which could be spread around to simulate snow or sprinkled over wet paint to add sparkle to pictures. Dunno if it is still available or how compatible (and removeable!) it would be with track and other landscaping, but I'd take a look at one of the craft stores like Michels to see what they have on offer. Good luck, and let us know if you find something!

I've been thinking about this as well. When I was young (when the Rocky Mountains were still being formed), on rainy days, my mother would get my brothers and me a box of corn meal, and we would use that as "dirt" on the floor to plow around with our bulldozers, load in dump trucks, etc. When done, the meal would be scooped up and put back in the box, and any residue vacuumed up. So I'm going to try using white corn meal for "snow" to plow on a section of the holiday layout this year.

Last edited by breezinup
@breezinup posted:

I've been thinking about this as well. When I was young (when the Rocky Mountains were still being formed), on rainy days, my mother would get my brothers and me a box of corn meal, and we would use that as "dirt" on the floor to plow around with our bulldozers, load in dump trucks, etc. When done, the meal would be scooped up and put back in the box, and any residue vacuumed up. So what I think I'm going to try for "snow" to plow on a section of the holiday layout this year is white corn meal.

I'd be very cautious if you have any potential vermin issues. Rats, mice, silverfish cockroaches and just about every other creepy-crawly would just *love* your corn meal leftovers. I'd *strongly* suggest sticking to non-edible materials!

@Steve Tyler posted:

I'd be very cautious if you have any potential vermin issues. Rats, mice, silverfish cockroaches and just about every other creepy-crawly would just *love* your corn meal leftovers. I'd *strongly* suggest sticking to non-edible materials!

Possible concern, esp. if in a basement layout, and/or you leave the cornmeal "snow' in place for awhile.  Wherever used, it probably shouldn't be left for extended periods, or even overnight, perhaps, depending on the location. After use, as noted earlier, it can be put back in the box and the area vacuumed. I'll probably use this in a fairly small area - mostly clearing drifts.   Haven't tried it yet, so just have to see how it works.

A bigger concern might be having the cornmeal stick to the wheels, and maybe getting into gears, etc. I'll probably use a small, dedicated engine without much drive gear exposed and with decent access for possible cleaning.

Last edited by breezinup

Thanks All! I love all these ideas. I guess no matter what I try, I should either use a older locos, or find a way to keep things out of the gears. My new MTH PS3s with that fancy Teflon grease probably is not a good idea.

My first couple attempts was with a Jordan spreader with packing peanuts. Two things went wrong: 1) the peanuts would get pushed around sideways and become lodged between the rails or stuck in the ties. 2) The plow was too light and would *float* up over the now-lodged foam popcorn. I'm going to try some of these ideas in the next week or so and see what shakes out, but I might try to stick to something inedible, although as I write here, SKINNYPOP is starting to sound pretty good. Smart Food is too gooey.

Breezinup ,  how did those muffins taste after the bulldozer ran around for a while?? LOL. Your post made me smile! When we were kids on the farm we put wooden V-plows on our Flexible Fliers and dragged them around the walkways. I plowed snow for over 50 years on tractors with no cab up until 2015 when I splurged on a new tractor. Plowing is in my blood, so if I can make this work in O Scale, life will be grand! Stay tuned!

Our Dollar Trees have black (coal) and white sand in the floral section. If you want Christmas trees, figures etc. they’re in stock right now as well. There are also some really tiny, as in about 1/16” bulbs, white or multicolor, button cell powered light sets if your town park is doing a display and there’s no wiring nearby.

By the way, if you cut thin paper or white felt to a building roof’s dimensions, then “snow” on it, hairspray it and lay it over the actual roof, it’s a lot easier to take off. White glitter nail polish, judiciously applied, gives your glued-down drifts a touch of shine without quite so much spillage. One of this year’s short stories involves a slight glitter problem because it’s one of my craft nightmares.

endless tracks: Please do keep us informed. This is a hoot! And, of course, I would never try such a thing, oh, no.    Off topic:  "I plowed snow for over 50 years on tractors with no cab up until 2015 when I splurged on a new tractor." Wow: warmth! Air-conditioned, too? Since 1995 I have enjoyed the ROPS brushing the low tree limbs laden with snow. Going backwards with a show blower it adds the fun of heaps of snow right down the back of the neck.

Becky, Tom & Gabe Morgan: "Our Dollar Trees have black (coal) and white sand... If you want Christmas trees, figures etc. they’re in stock right now." I was ticked when our town, which lacks a complete grocery store, got a dollar store.  Now I may eat my words as I drive into town soon.

@endless tracks posted:

Breezinup ,  how did those muffins taste after the bulldozer ran around for a while?? LOL. Your post made me smile! When we were kids on the farm we put wooden V-plows on our Flexible Fliers and dragged them around the walkways. I plowed snow for over 50 years on tractors with no cab up until 2015 when I splurged on a new tractor. Plowing is in my blood, so if I can make this work in O Scale, life will be grand! Stay tuned!

Tasted fine, as long as we kept the dozer blades clean.   I'm also a big fan of snowplows, and have a number of models I bring out over the holidays. The county in northern Wisconsin were I grew up had some big orange FWD (Four Wheel Drive) dumptrucks (not made anymore, but were like the big Oshkosh trucks), complete with wing plows, which were my favorite.

There are some great videos of snowplows in action. Those recent offset plows they tow on multi-lane highways are pretty neat. In high school, I used a 2x4 to prop open the right rear door of the old '57 Ford station wagon my brothers and I drove, and used it as a wing plow on snowbanks. Fun times. I have a friend in Colorado with a snowplow on his pickup, and has invited me to come up and plow some snow. Have to do that sometime.

Last edited by breezinup

Folks,

These comments here are just too funny! I love the 57 Ford with the door open for a wing! What a hoot! In the 60s, they plowed our road with a Walter Snow Fighter, which is pretty much just like an Oshkosh. As you know, they are made strictly for what the name implies: fighting snow. The new Town Manager decided he could use in the summer for a dump truck, which in one short summer pretty much ripped the drivetrain out of it.

Ed, I did the snow-down-the-neck thing too. I started plowing at age 12 with a Ford 8n, then graduated to a WD45 Allis Chalmbers. The last rig I had was a big old Oliver that weighted about 7000 lbs. It was unstoppable. I had a legitimate wing on it and loved it, but it was just time to move "indoors". Heat/AC and cup holders!

Back to the subject at hand: I am presently working to procure a less expensive sacrificial Russel plow that I have no emotional attachment to. That will be the test bunny. Now I wish I kept the Jordan spreader I sold. I am leaving soon for FL until after Thanksgiving, but do intend to resume R&D as time allows when I get back. I have a couple thoughts on using 2 old post-war Lionel GP-7s and have ideas mulling over about how to keep the power rail clear enough. On a related note, I am going to focus on Lionel Fastrack as there are less nooks and crannies to deal with than anything with else I've seen or tried. I can only work on this piecemeal, but the winter is young yet!

Later, Gators!

Bob

When I was a kid my brother and I used saw dust one time.  My dad did not think much of the idea at the time, but it still makes sense.  It is not that abrasive.  It is not magnetic.  It is light weight and cheap.  It is relatively easy to vacuum up when you are done.  It is not prototypical in appearance, but it should behave about the same as snow would.

Bill, That is an excellent idea! I think it could also be painted or otherwise coated white. "Green" sawdust from a mill is not dusty either. We used trailer loads for the cows when I was a kid. Table sawdust would likely be too fine. I'm planning on ultimately building or modifying a train set specifically for the purpose. Needs to be heavy. Weight is going to be important, as well as keeping the power rail bare.

Not sure I see any advantage of sawdust over the ground cornmeal. I'm thinking I'll take a look at the decorative snow products. If that doesn't work out, I'll go with the cornmeal and see what happens. Using a can of compressed air afterwards to clean the loco, I don't think that'll be much of problem.

Keep on plowin'!

Last edited by breezinup

I've been reading this thread with interest, a couple more thoughts...

I would run locos that DON'T have exposed spur gears on the outside.  Good choices would be the original "growlers" (2343 / 2353), large 773-type Hudsons, Berkshires, PRR Turbines, and most modern-era steam locos fit this description.  The Atlas SW switchers and 3rd Rail diesels don't have exposed gears either, but they might be a bit delicate (and valuable!) for plowing snow.

It also occurred to me that this might be the perfect application for battery-powered remote control!  You could actually remove the pickup rollers, and the center rail entirely.  A loco thus equipped would keep going no matter what, even if the "snow" interferes with contact between the wheels and the rail.

Please post a video when you get it working!

Last edited by Ted S

Well the like minds are out tonight! Just ordered some battery packs on Amazon! I also just cruised the pantry and was eyeballing a bag of something she had in there that was small and round....like cous cous. I really like the corn meal idea too. Whenever I get my consist ready, it will def be an outdoor adventure, at least to test. Maybe 2 inches of fresh powder on a 10 degree night (no wet, packy melted snow) would make for a good run. No matter what, I'll be recording....even the bloopers! LOL.

I have a dummy GP7 that I am going to use for a power car, if you will, and ordered micro blowers to nozzle down between the rails. They're cheap. Figure I can cut them through the bottom of the dummy. That will be right behind the plow. If that works well enough to keep the rails clean, then I may be able to push it with something meatier than another  post-war GP7. I'm also thinking that blowers...if they work....will add to the drama!

I have a full week of down-time on the radar but the squirrel cage in my head never stop! By this time on Sunday, I'll be on a beach in Sarasota with a T&T in-hand. Plenty of time to think about snow!!

I do have at least one Atlas switcher, I think with TMCC. Might be a bit light but it's not off the table! (yes, not cheap, but I'm into this now!)

Stay tuned!

Yes, there are many things to try!! I do have a track cleaning car. Great suggestion!

One of my themes, if you will, is a granite quarry in Vermont. I bought a model rock drill for it, which I think is also 1/50. I had to fight for it on eBay, Not many of those sorts of things. The MEC plow is too near and dear, as it was hand-painted by a guy in Maine. I have another Russel plow coming that I'll fill with BBs or whatever it takes to keep it planted on the rails.

Attachments

Images (2)
  • IMG_9179
  • IMG_9177
Last edited by endless tracks

Geez, I'm really sorry to say this.

But all of this sounds like a super bad idea, the negative consequences of which will monumentally outweigh the couple of minutes of delight in seeing a snowplow push something.   :-O

Cornmeal?  Really?   It attracts moisture from the air and will eventually turn into a sticky crud.  Aside from all of the vermin previously discussed, it will turn into green and black mold.

My advice:   Take two aspirin, go to bed, and wait for this urge to pass.  :-)

Mannyrock

I realize my post might be taken the wrong way. I do understand the basic idea and premise and it does sound fun. We all have seen movies and animations- in particular I'm thinking of the original 1964 version of Rudolf.

It's just that I am in the repair business and I far too often and this time of year, see the abuse that some of these beloved trains are subject to.  Some of the ideas that really just send me into a spiral is sand, glass beads, sawdust, and anything fine powder. The tiny individual foam pellets also would generate huge static voltages- and be a real risk for modern electronics. Even without exposed gearing, it's still an axle and a bushing.

I wouldn't do this to my lowest cost loco- just because it deserves the same care and respect as expensive locos.

Again, not trying to spoil the mood, I get the idea and the imagery.

As always, your railroad, your rules, your wallet.

@Mannyrock posted:

Geez, I'm really sorry to say this.

But all of this sounds like a super bad idea, the negative consequences of which will monumentally outweigh the couple of minutes of delight in seeing a snowplow push something.   :-O

Cornmeal?  Really?   It attracts moisture from the air and will eventually turn into a sticky crud.  Aside from all of the vermin previously discussed, it will turn into green and black mold.

My advice:   Take two aspirin, go to bed, and wait for this urge to pass.  :-)

Well, you don't leave it lying around!   What would happen to it "eventually" isn't a concern.

I'd put some down in a relatively small area just for an individual operation session. When done, scoop the cornmeal up and put it back in the box, and vacuum up whatever is left. We used to play with it for an hour or two before putting it away, and never had a problem.

My advice: Have a beer and a piece of pie, and give it a shot. 

Add Reply

Post

OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
800-980-OGRR (6477)
www.ogaugerr.com

×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×
×