Watch Union Pacific’s Massive Rotary Snow Plow Train Blast Through the Donner Pass
These amazing locomotive propelled monsters are nearly 100 years old, and still able to clear snow better than any other vehicle.
The fleet of maintenance machinery that keeps our nation’s railways and roadways clear comprises some of the coolest machines out there today. The Union Pacific Railroad’s three rotary snowplows are no exception. Built in the 1920s, the rotary snow plows originally ran on steam, but were converted to diesel in the 1950s. The monstrous rotaries are still running today, ensuring our country’s tracked lifelines remain passable all winter ling.
This year, the Sierras experienced the third-snowiest winter in documented history with a mind-blowing 13 feet of snow. Understandably, flangers and spreaders were unable to successfully clear the Donner Pass on their own, so Union Pacific needed to call in the big guns: the rotary snow plows.
According to retired Southern Pacific Superintendent Bill Lynch, the rotary snow plows “are sometimes called war wagons,” as they wage war against Mother Nature.
In the video below, you see the Union Pacific Roseville Division working hard to clear the tracks and ensure safe travels for freight and passenger trains. The video primarily focuses on a couple of shots of Troy and Norden, California, but the rotary snowplows were tasked with clearing fourteen miles of the snow-covered Donner Pass.