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Snow Movers

Image of JULIAN LILLEY.JULIAN LILLEY takes us through what you need to remove snow from your railway.


Following on from the last edition’s article on creating snow scenes, and with parts of the country currently covered in snow, I thought it would be good time to discuss how snow is removed from our tracks.

Two Class 37s with an Independent plough at either end.

Network Rail's Winter Development Vehicle uses steam power. It blows hot air onto the rails to melt snow and ice and they are used specifically around points and crossings to keep them working. Steam lances are used on thicker ice patches.

Freezing fog and sleet can affect overhead wires and stop the current flow. Electric locomotives knock this ice off before there is a problem.

There are three different types of snowplough on the Network Rail network - Snow and Ice Treatment Train Plough can be added to the front or rear of a train. These are used if significant snowfall has closed a route with a third rail. Two more robust ploughs, the Independent and Belihack V, are used for heavier snowfalls. They can't be used after avalanches though, as there may be hidden rocks or debris in the snow pile.

Due to its size, the Independent plough has to be coupled to two locomotives. These ploughs are stored at strategic locations around the country - In Scotland they have two snowblowers which are fitted with propellers to cut through snowdrifts.

A snow blower fitted with propellers.

Models Available

For the steam era modeller, we have Oxford Rail's Dean Goods complete with snowplough.

OR76DG005 Dean Goods Steam Locomotive GWR 2534 with Snow Plough

For the continental modeller in N Scale, we have two versions of the Henschel Design steam powered rotary snow plough by Minitrix. The first being the DR version below.

M15820 DR Henschel Design Steam Powered Rotary Snowplough IV

The second with similar features is the DB version.

M15422 DB Henschel Design Steam Powered Rotary Snowplough IV

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For the modern-era modeller in HO we have three Beilhack rotary snow blowers complete with full working functions and sound from Roco. The first two are run by American operators and the third run by SNCF from France. All three have similar functions.

BNSF Beilhack Rotary Snow Blower V (DCC-Sound)

CSX Beilhack Rotary Snow Blower V (DCC-Sound)

SNCF Beilhack Rotary Snow Blower V (DCC-Sound)

You can’t have snow blowers and ploughs without snow. Deluxe Materials again come to our rescue with their snowflake product. An easy to apply white flake powder which creates the effect of fallen snow. Packed in convenient 500ml containers the snow can easily be dispensed from the specially designed twin size shaker pack.

DLBD-25 Scenic Snowflakes (500ml)

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