Good Evening All
Here's an update from the folks at R&D, which BTW, includes all of you!
Me thinks the comments and suggestions here are almost as fun as the project. For starters, sand or anything abrasive needs to off the table. I'm starting with light and fluffy and may move on the more dense material, e.g corn meal, based on obtained results. My sacrificial Russel plow is on the way. I am going to modify the plow to emulate something closer to what the real plows are. Our O Scale ones sit too high above the rails. For now, I'm ignoring switches.
For now, I'm starting out with snipped up foam peanuts (all I have kicking around), I'm hoping that 2-4 blowers and power stick mounted in a dummy GP7 directly behind the plow will be able to keep the rails clear, especially the power rail. See attached video. I will then use a post-war loco (no electronics to short out) as motive power. This will be built and toyed around with indoors. My old layout room is going to gutted sometime this winter, so I'm not overly concerned about a mess. Reading about crumpled paper lead me to think of using paper from the shredder, It's certainly light and airy!
Hopefully, I will get this perfected enough to do outdoors with a 1-2 inches of fresh powder and at night. Sun is definitely not helpful when it comes to keeping snow fluffy. The key to working outdoors is to keep everything cold. 20 degrees would probably suffice. That means cold track, cold plow and defiantly cold locomotive (wheels anyway) Any of you that ever took a warm plow out of the garage knows what happens when you try to make that first run. Cold grease is easily dealt with.
This may only make one run....if it even works. But ask yourself where we'd be if Robert Fulton or Rudolf Diesel ate a piece of pie and went to bed?? LOL. I doubt this will ever be a "Watson, come here I need you" moment, but I'd hazard a guess that sillier things have been tried!
Again, I love all the suggestions and concerns but especial the camaraderie . If nothing else, we're getting a laugh or two! For the record, I may have to slightly mist Styrofoam or like material to cut the static down. There are days here we have 5 degree dew points and the stuff sticks to everything.....