The Rotary Snow Plow AKA “The War Wagon”!

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The Rotary Snow Plow  AKA “The War Wagon”! | Train Fanatics Videos
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Going to war against mother nature? You need one of these!

The rotary snow plow is also known as “the war wagon“, as if going to war against mother nature.

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Unbelievably, the basic rotary snow plow design was invented by a dentist from Toronto, Canada, back in 1869!

These 16 foot high A-units can plow snow banks as high as 12 feet! The centrifugal force created by the swirling 11 foot fan blades can propel the snow upwards of 100 feet to either side of the unit. Turning at 60-90 revolutions per minute, the rotary unit can move around 4-8 mph, acting as a giant auger chewing into snow banks.

Rotary snow plow trains are usually configured a plow front and back so they can make their way back from their starting point should more snow fall after their initial plow through an area.

Rotary snow plow trains usually have the following:

    1. 2 rotary A-units front AND back of the train.
    2. 2 F7 B- power units for the blades front and back.
    3. 2 EMD F7 1500 horsepower power locomotives in the middle.

Most of the rotary plows in the United States have been retired to museums due to the high cost of operating. However, one is still on call in California’s Donner Pass. This infamous area (known for the legendary Donner Party) has annual snowfall upwards of 450″ in a normal winter. The tracks are usually buried and they need this big cannon to effectively handle the drifts.

If you have ever seen one of these rotary plows in action, we would love to hear about your experience or questions and comments below.

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