Author Topic: Snow removal and other odd creatures  (Read 31594 times)

Mike Fox

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Re: Snow removal and other odd creatures
« Reply #30 on: January 30, 2011, 01:24:19 PM »
I had thoughts of a very simple flanger for the plow. The only problem I could not work out was the amount of side to side movement of the plow while going up the line.
Mike
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Craig "Red" Heun

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Re: Snow removal and other odd creatures
« Reply #31 on: January 30, 2011, 09:20:51 PM »

Craig "Red" Heun

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Re: Snow removal and other odd creatures
« Reply #32 on: January 30, 2011, 09:22:43 PM »
came out.... sorry about the spelling..fingers don't work as fast as mind

Wayne Laepple

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Re: Snow removal and other odd creatures
« Reply #33 on: February 04, 2011, 05:01:25 PM »
One thing to keep in mind with the use of a flanger. That is the necessity for the area within the gauge to be fairly level. Frozen heaps of ballast or other materials above the ties will hinder any forward progress with a flanger, no matter how powerful a locomotive is pushing the blade. And as Stewart noted elsewhere, all crossings and switches would have to be marked so the blade can be raised to clear.

John McNamara

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Re: Snow removal and other odd creatures
« Reply #34 on: February 04, 2011, 05:17:48 PM »
While a flanger would be nice, it seems the me that we have two basic problems, nether of which is solved by a flanger:

1. There is too much snow on the line.
2. There is ice in the flangeways at the crossings.

I think there are several possible solutions, none of which people are going to like:

1. A snow blower
2. Salt on the crossings.
3. No charters until mid-April.

-John

Mike Fox

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Re: Snow removal and other odd creatures
« Reply #35 on: February 04, 2011, 05:39:40 PM »
I have planned on bringing my blower with me again on the Saturday of the work weekend to clean up the yard like I did last time. No plow on the south side of the 52. It is a lot easier than shoveling. The line may be another story. If the snow has dried out since I was there last, there may be a chance of it moving easily. But if snowmobiles have been using the line North of AC, that stuff will be like lead and may not move easily, or at all.
Mike
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Wayne Laepple

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Re: Snow removal and other odd creatures
« Reply #36 on: February 04, 2011, 05:56:01 PM »
The key to dealing with snow on the railroad is getting if off the track as soon as possible after it stops falling. When it lays for several days or weeks, it tends to settle, freeze and thaw and get harder and harder. (That's one reason the folks at the Cumbres & Toltec don't use their rotary snowplow anymore -- plowing ice just shakes the machine apart.) The big railroads don't use plows too much any more because they run lots of trains that keep the track mostly clear. I suppose someone could be hired to run a skidder to plow, which has been done at the East Broad Top, back when they used to operate the Winter Spectaculars in the 60's and 70s.

As for crossings, there are two choices. You get out there and shovel them clear as soon as the snow stops, or you salt the dickens out of them and send a couple of guys out with picks to clear the flangeways just before the train runs. Of course, this doesn't work so well with little-used crossings.

Unless we are prepared to buy a BIG commercial snowblower with its own power unit, a snow blower won't help much. The kind used to clear a driveway would be worn out in no time trying to clear our line.

I suppose the bottom line is a consensus whether we try to keep the line open during the winter or just let it hibernate.

Ken Fleming

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Re: Snow removal and other odd creatures
« Reply #37 on: February 04, 2011, 07:00:57 PM »
During the Winter of 93-94, here in Reading, PA., Conrail dusted off their wedge plow and headed West to Harrisburg.  At the second or third road crossing, the plow derailed.  Cause was ICE in the flange ways of the crossing and buildup of snow (now frozen) from the city road plows that got to crossing first.  The plows wheels just rode right up the ice.  That goes to show you that neither plow nor flanger can solve this problem.  Only clearing the crossings first would have prevented the derailment.

In the 1880's, a C&S narrow gauge train left the tracks due to ice buildup.  The engineer thought the train was riding too smoothly so he stopped.  The train was now about a mile from the tracks.  It had been riding over frozen ground and a lake.  This was out in Ira's country.

Bottom line - get out the shovels, FIRST.

Another note: flanger blades clear only the area around the rail head.  The area between the rails "shaved" off with a taper going to the center.  The blade goes nowhere near ballast or tie tops.

Mike Fox

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Re: Snow removal and other odd creatures
« Reply #38 on: February 04, 2011, 10:18:17 PM »
We have always cleared the crossings first. Even the unused crossings like Davis, get out and check the flanges before crossing. The lightweight of our equipment is no match for the ice. Finding someone with a snowblower mounted to a bobcat would be a way to remove some snow, leaving the rest for the plow and shovel brigade.
Mike
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Wayne Laepple

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Re: Snow removal and other odd creatures
« Reply #39 on: February 04, 2011, 10:44:13 PM »
I once hit a crossing that was heavily iced over and hidden beneath a couple of feet of snow. The lead truck derailed, and when everything came to a stop, the wheels on the left side of the engine were against the rail on the right side. That was all that kept us from going into the ditch! We got another engine and coupled to the rear end of the train to pull us back. Unfortunately, the derailed engine didn't come back toward the rail, so I hired a big tow truck, and using his winch to slew the truck as we moved, we were able to get it back on the rails. It was a long cold night.

After that experience, I always sent a crew out ahead of the train with a backhoe, picks and plenty of salt.

John Kokas

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Re: Snow removal and other odd creatures
« Reply #40 on: February 05, 2011, 08:27:42 AM »
Great idea mike!  Does anyone know the gauge of the wheels of a Bobcat?  Maybe the answer is making new wheels for a Bobcat and bolting them on in place of the rubber tires.  Might be a pattern job for Bernie.
Moxie Bootlegger

Mike Fox

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Re: Snow removal and other odd creatures
« Reply #41 on: February 05, 2011, 10:27:05 AM »
Bobcats are too wide for the tires to sit on the rails. Some guys around have tracks on their bobcat that help keep them from getting stuck.
Mike
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Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: Snow removal and other odd creatures
« Reply #42 on: February 05, 2011, 05:08:10 PM »
I spoke to the fellows at the Friends of the C&TS table at the Big E show.  They didn't have any info on the D&RG style flanger blade that is on the front of the K-36s, etc.  They suggested contacting the C&TS and/or D&S shop foreman.  They told me that one of the D&S engines has the flanger blade in place so there would be info available on its design.  As Jason noted, a small flanger blade could be added to 52 which would give the loco better clearing ability.  That's probably the easiest way to get a flanger on the line.  52 clears pretty well when (as Mike noted) you plow up to a crossing, stop, then hand shovel the crossing.  This gives you an idea what is under the snow, especially if the road was plowed.  You clear the flangeways then back the engine and run forward, through the North end of the crossing.  We did this when I worked on the Stewartstown RR because we derailed the 44 tonner one time on ice at a dirt road crossing.   We used to apply salt when the temps were above 20.  It worked well when the sun was out.  I know salt has been used on the narrow gauge, it's good if you can get it down a day or so before you plow.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I like the idea of having a reproduction of the original WW&F flanger.  It would be handy in Winter and could be used to carry tools, etc. at other times of the year.  Of course it's a non-revenue car so building it would be a few years down the track.   

Stewart

Mike Fox

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Re: Snow removal and other odd creatures
« Reply #43 on: February 05, 2011, 05:53:10 PM »
An externally braced car like the original would be perfect. Could be a future car for the car shop (when built).
Mike
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Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: Snow removal and other odd creatures
« Reply #44 on: February 05, 2011, 06:58:52 PM »
Hey Mike,  It's snowing again ... looks like we're gonna need your snow blower for the mainline up to the switch, and the rest of the yard.

Wayne made a good point about the condition of the pack when clearing snow.  There's an old film on youtube that shows the D&RG clearing snow with a rotary over  Cumbres Pass.  The 1930's era footage shows the plow extra with a couple of K-36s running at a good clip as they push the rotary through the drifts.  The reason for the speed is that the D&RG sent a plow extra out after every considerable snowfall and the plow could easily handle the fresh powder.  The C&TS tried a few times to clear their line with the rotary but they waited until early Spring.   One video I have shows them making a number of running hits into a deep drift only to stall and then back out and try it again.  The rotary actually lost some of its sheathing from all the pounding.  Snow had to be put on the shaft bearings because they were overheating.  

As Wayne noted, clearing before the snow gets compacted with ice is the key.  So far the snowfall in Maine has been powder and there has not been any rain to freeze and compact it. There can still be ice in the crossings but it may not be as bad.  When a plow extra is run in these conditions, even if there is a couple of feet of snow the result is good and the equipment does not take a beating.  The condition of the snow pack is what we should consider if we run a reproduction plow and flanger for a Winter event.  It would take planning (and a little luck) but with #9 powering the train it would be something to see.

« Last Edit: February 05, 2011, 09:32:31 PM by Stewart Rhine »