Here is a giant snow blower

Just look at it.

Thanks to Aaron Bockelie for posting this in the comments from a post earlier this week. And to Tom Levenson for pointing it out to me!


  1. You can visit one of these in person if you’re ever in Anchorage. The Potter Section historical site has a rotary snow plow parked outside.. the diameter is somewhere around the 14 foot mark.

    Obviously seeing one in action is way cooler, but beggars can’t be choosers. 

    1. There is one at the colorado railroad museum too.  Has a bright red painted rotary dohicky on the front.

      Google images ‘colorado railroad museum snowblower’ and you can find lots of pictures.

    1. *Many* years ago.

      Train wedge plows were developed in 1840 and the rotary plow (like the one shown) was developed in 1869. Even spreaders which are still used pretty frequently were developed over 100 years ago.

      By the time we had a transcontinental railroad, we had had train wedge plows for almost 30 years.

  2. I can see the utility of this in passes and in cuts, but relying on something like that to move a train at a crawl over hundreds of miles of snow-covered plains seems impractical.  I suspect it would be more practical just to raise the bed a few feet and let the wind blow the snow off the tracks for the most part.

    1.  After you gouge out all the large snow with the blower, you use one of these little guys to keep the tracks clear on a more regular basis.

    2. Nah, you’re thinking about it wrong. Think of it as an analogue to a snowplow. People in the same areas don’t all have snowplows on all of their vehicles nor do they have specially raised roads. Like a snowplow, this special snow blower is a piece of specialized equipment that is used only when it is needed after a big snowstorm or when big drifts occur.

  3. Man, that’s a slow snowblower!  I bet it would be more efficient to have two or three smaller blower/fans with feeder augers, than that one large fan – which HAS to rotate slower – ‘cuz of physics, no?

    See how it’s done in Montreal – which bounces back, 100% fully operational, from a 30 cm snowstorm after just 24 hours:
    (Note: This snowblower is clearing plowed and compressed snow and ice, not the dryer, more powdery snow in the video above) :

    1.  The snow being cleared in the video above is not “powdery”, it’s hard packed from wind. They’re WALKING on it… It gets broken up into powder by the ridiculously powerful rotary auger. Also, the locomotive snowblowers need to be able to clear much higher drifts than the relatively puny auger in the video you posted.

  4. Interesting to see Bruce Springsteen explaining the operation of the snow blower at the beginning of this clip.

  5. There’s a LOT of videos out there from the train chasers.  I know this because I have a young boy who went through a train phase.
    Watching a train smashing through 6 foot snow banks is might impressive.

  6. The sound of it, oh blessed yummy, it is far superior to the ocean waves on my night time noise machine.

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