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Locomotive Plows

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Locomotive Plows
Posted by MARTIN STATION on Sunday, September 03, 2017 8:31 PM

  I was installing a plow to one of my Atlas locomotives and it just got me wondering how are they installed on real locomotives? And are they sometimes removed after the winter season? What made me think about this is looking at photos of the prototype, sometimes they had them and sometimes they didn't (same locomotive). This was CSX, MEC and BAR. The last two being in the state of Maine you would have thought they would have been an ordered option with the long hard winters of New England?

Thanks, Ralph

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, September 03, 2017 8:48 PM

Good question... and if my share your thread with a follow up question...

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How useful were locomotive mounted snowplows? How come they were never (as far as I know) installed on steam locomotives?

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Thanks.

.

-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by GraniteRailroader on Sunday, September 03, 2017 10:53 PM

About as useful as teets on a bull. They don't clean the rail head well, instead leaving a couple inches over it which you just run through. When a storm leaves behind more than say 6", you're constantly cleaning out the steps on the front and back because they notoriously hold snow and gets packed tighter than an 8 day clock is wound.

One place where they are a benefit is road crossings. Road plows tend to pile up the snow across the tracks as they enter the pavement. Having the plow on helps push it to the side.... 

 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, September 03, 2017 11:07 PM

This brass loco, originally a model of a B&M B-15, but modified for my freelance road...

...came with an optional plow pilot, which could be installed by the purchaser.  While my layout is sorta set in southern Ontario's snowbelt, I'm modelling early summer (usually), so the plow remains a piece of scenic detail.
It's shown here, sitting on blocking in front of the loco shop...

Wayne

 

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Friday, September 08, 2017 5:42 PM

SeeYou190

Good question... and if my share your thread with a follow up question...

.

How useful were locomotive mounted snowplows? How come they were never (as far as I know) installed on steam locomotives?

.

Thanks.

.

-Kevin

.

 

They were in fact installed on steam locomotives.  Boston and Maine put plows on some of their locomotives in the fall and removed them in the spring.

Also I if memory serves D&RGW narrow guage locomotives have full time plow pilots.  

There are various photos available via google of different steam locomotive plow pilots.

 

Rule 108: In case of doubt or uncertainty, the safe course must be taken.
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Posted by BMMECNYC on Friday, September 08, 2017 5:56 PM

MARTIN STATION

  I was installing a plow to one of my Atlas locomotives and it just got me wondering how are they installed on real locomotives? And are they sometimes removed after the winter season? What made me think about this is looking at photos of the prototype, sometimes they had them and sometimes they didn't (same locomotive). This was CSX, MEC and BAR. The last two being in the state of Maine you would have thought they would have been an ordered option with the long hard winters of New England?

Thanks, Ralph

 

Do those photos have dates and locations associated with them?

Rule 108: In case of doubt or uncertainty, the safe course must be taken.
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Posted by 1019x on Monday, September 11, 2017 8:46 PM

Ralph,

On the more modern diesels the plows are bolted on and stay on the year around. Some railroads started ordering them on new locomotives in the 1970s not so much for clearing snow, but as additional protection in grade crossing accidents. While the automobile always comes out losing in a crossing accident they could sometimes render the locomotive unserviceable because they had broke off the air line connections on the pilot plate of the locomotive. Also the bottom corners of the pilot plate were subject to bending and thus bending the steps making the locomotive non-compliant per the regs. The snowplow would either take all of the blow without damage or if damaged it could be removed and the locomotive remain in service until a replacement plow was available.

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Posted by dti406 on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 8:11 AM

The Alaska Railroad custom built their plows on each locomotive, as you can see on the link, the railroad removed the existing pilot and steps and mounted the plow under the front platform moving the steps back from their usual location.  They kept their plows on all year long.

http://www.csxthsociety.org/images/csxgauleytrolley20130405/8alloy08-2.jpg

Rick Jesionowski

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Rule 2: I make the rules.

Rule 3: Illuminating discussion of prototype history, equipment and operating practices is always welcome, but in the event of visitor-perceived anacronisms, detail descrepancies or operating errors, consult RULE 1!

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Posted by BigJim on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 8:18 AM

MARTIN STATION

  I was installing a plow to one of my Atlas locomotives and it just got me wondering how are they installed on real locomotives?

Look here: http://imc-info.com/products-services/pilot-plows-2/

And are they sometimes removed after the winter season?

No, there is no need to.
They are also not "
About as useful as teets on a bull" as one poster would have you believe!

 

.

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Posted by areibel on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 12:26 PM

I was always told that on diesel locomotives the plow wasn't intended to totally clear the rail, but to keep the deeper stuff from packing in and freezing around the traction motors, air and fuel lines, etc.. I don't know if that's the gospel truth but several railroaders told me the same thing!

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Posted by BigJim on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 2:45 PM

There is an FRA rule that the bottom of the pilot must be minimum of 3 inches or so above the top of the rail. That would include the bottom of the snow plow. Remember that the next time you survive getting run over by a train!

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Posted by cx500 on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 11:22 PM

The plow is always useful in grade crossing collisions, since it encourages the offending automobile to get punted off to the side rather than going underneath where it could cause a derailment.  Same for rocks or trees on the track.

On the big road locomotives, on many railroads often the rear has little more than a flat plate since it is not intended to lead a train running backwards.  (Ditch lights also missing.)  When forced to operate that way, with no rear plow, there will be a speed restriction.

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Posted by BigJim on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 7:26 AM

cx500
When forced to operate that way, with no rear plow, there will be a speed restriction.

Where did you come up with that? Total BS!

.

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Posted by mlehman on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 7:56 AM

If there are no ditch lights AND no rear plow (yes, the paragraph was poorly constructed, but that's a more accurate take on what was being conveyed), then speed over public road crossings was limited to 20 mph per this (as one example of how it was promulgated): http://tn.utu.org/Files/[4420]Ditch%20Light%20Q&A.pdf

And this: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/49/229.125

 

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Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 8:03 AM

cx500
On the big road locomotives, on many railroads often the rear has little more than a flat plate since it is not intended to lead a train running backwards. (Ditch lights also missing.) When forced to operate that way, with no rear plow, there will be a speed restriction.

There is NO speed restriction regarding a snowplow or not.  No ditchlights there is a speed restriction, no snowplow maximum speed permitted.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by gdelmoro on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 10:17 AM

Here are some;

Gary

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Posted by BigJim on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 12:23 PM

mlehman

If there are no ditch lights AND no rear plow (yes, the paragraph was poorly constructed, but that's a more accurate take on what was being conveyed), then speed over public road crossings was limited to 20 mph per this (as one example of how it was promulgated): http://tn.utu.org/Files/[4420]Ditch%20Light%20Q&A.pdf

And this: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/49/229.125


Let's keep in mind that this thread is about SNOW PLOWS. Your link is about lights! Just because a unit has no snow plow, DOES NOT mean that it has to operate at a restricted speed!!!

.

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Posted by cx500 on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 12:38 PM

dehusman
 

 

There is NO speed restriction regarding a snowplow or not.  No ditchlights there is a speed restriction, no snowplow maximum speed permitted.

 

 

A quote from CP Rail's General Operating Instructions of June 1, 1983, Section 9.1.15.  "...movements not headed by an engine or an engine not equipped with a pilot on the leading end, in the direction of motion, must not exceed twenty-five miles per hour."

Some 2nd generation units, when built, did not even have a flat plate below the coupler on the rear end.  Perhaps it was an option, and certain railroads were notorious for being pennypinchers.  Cab units also generally were open at the rear (both ends on B-units) and this rule would apply to them when running light units in reverse.

John

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Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 1:22 PM

cx500
A quote from CP Rail's General Operating Instructions of June 1, 1983, Section 9.1.15. "...movements not headed by an engine or an engine not equipped with a pilot on the leading end, in the direction of motion, must not exceed twenty-five miles per hour."

Still doesn't have anything to do with a snow plow, just a pilot sheet.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by cx500 on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 2:25 PM

Agreed, Dave, although the thread at times was somewhat vague about whether it was about definite plows or the various designs of pilots that sometimes hinted at the plow shape.  As long as there is a pilot, even just the flat pilot sheet, no restriction.

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Posted by MARTIN STATION on Saturday, September 16, 2017 9:18 AM

 Just checked back on this thread and I want to say "thank you" to all who responded. I learned a lot and had my questions answered.

Thanks again,

Ralph

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