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Plowing Over Railroad Tracks

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by CBJason, Oct 8, 2013.

  1. CBJason

    CBJason Junior Member
    Messages: 9

    Driving into work today, a train delayed me briefly, and got me to thinking:

    What equipment is used to clear snow from train tracks? Surely the train itself is not used because....well, just because, right?

    Tangentially...say in a hypothetical scenario, I get a gig where I am plowing streets where there's a train crossing. Is there a technique or best practices to clear snow from around these areas?

  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    You don't cars will keep the snow clear of the tracks and the train will do the rest.
  3. CBJason

    CBJason Junior Member
    Messages: 9

    Huh? I'm talking about a new snow where there's been no travel yet at that crossing. Snow still accumulates there, right?
  4. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

  5. 2006Sierra1500

    2006Sierra1500 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,758

    I know what he means. Like, what if the road hasn't been plowed, how do you plow over a railroad crossing
  6. peteo1

    peteo1 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,660

    Angle your plow, lift it an inch or two off the ground, go slow and traffic takes care of the rest. We used to plow an industrial site that had tracks all over the place. I can't say as it was anywhere near enjoyable.
  7. Jim74

    Jim74 Member
    Messages: 50

    Wear a hockey helmet and a mouth guard.
  8. 2006Sierra1500

    2006Sierra1500 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,758

    And have the pliers handy for those teeth that do get lodged in the steering wheel.
  9. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Yes to all of the above.
  10. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

  11. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge PlowSite Veteran
    from NJ
    Messages: 3,699

    anytime I have a situation where I have an uneven surface like that, I simply 45* the blade and go really slow. This way I don't break my teeth on the steering wheel as others with experience have done previously.

    Here's one of the local plow guys who works for my town..... well, they all look like this, as this town is just full of railroads...

  12. CBJason

    CBJason Junior Member
    Messages: 9

    I thought that's what I was saying, but yes!

    And to the rest that shared the youtube videos, thanks, those were fun to watch. However, that doesn't mean all trains can just shove on through:



    That of course means that the sheer volume and wet nature of the snow was likely going to stop anything... :)
  13. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Train tracks are no different than city streets.

    You make a pass throwing the snow one direction, which might be to a side street, and another plow comes along eventually to clear the side street.

    Eventually, there is enough salt or traffic that any residual snow left behind gets packed down or melted off. Or, some driver makes an effort or has the direction to clean off the intersection.

    Same with train tracks, but no different.

    Usually, our tracks in our area are extremely bumpy from the packed snow after storms. But cars can pass and so can't trains. Eventually it melts off.


  14. CBJason

    CBJason Junior Member
    Messages: 9

    Makes sense, thanks - my original question was just what process to follow if I end up plowing a roadway where there's a railroad crossing as I didn't think it would be a good idea to leave the plow all the way down. That suspicion was confirmed by the helpful ones! :)

    Then, as threads tend to do in forums, a tangential angle came up of trains plowing through snow, and others getting stuck. That's when it got fun! :)

    Maybe we can go back to sharing vids of trains either pushing aside amazing mounds of snow, or getting stuck in a packed mess...LOL :)
  15. wagil90

    wagil90 Junior Member
    from normal
    Messages: 5

    Make sure your blade isn't at the same angle as the tracks. This is also helpful for bridge expansion joints as well. The last thing you want is for the blade to get caught in the channel. One sure way to ruin a drive shaft or tranny when you come to an abrupt stop.
  16. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,707

    Hypothetically and tangentially speaking, lift your plow a tad so you don't injure yourself or your equipment.

  17. 2ExploreSnow

    2ExploreSnow Member
    Messages: 64

    I know what you meant from your 2nd question. As to the first, Youtube is loaded with videos, new and old, of trains going through, plowing with massive V-blades and some with hydraulic extensions, and huge snowblowers. Typically, a lot of the v-plow vids are from the Northern Plains. Trains have what pickup trucks and tractors don't have -- lots of weight. Of course they do have this peculiar issue of derailing...

    From what I learned, a steam engine is one of the better engines to plow on tracks with. The lugging ability can get down to an almost stall yet still manage to recover and keep going. Just need a few strong kids to load the coal (or wood) to the boiler :)

    IPLOWSNO PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,620

    I used to do it in a Walters at a brewery RR track, if it caught you would ride down the tracks,,

    As far as train plows we have a small engine locomotive with a jet motor on it stationed in fulton but never seen it used!!
  19. mercer_me

    mercer_me PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,371

    When I worked for Maine DOT I plowed over two crossing. I the angle of the tracks was different from the angle of the plow so the plow and wing would slide right over to rails smoothly. I now work for a railroad and they have a specific engine that is just a big V plow and that's what they use to plow the tracks with.
  20. mercer_me

    mercer_me PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,371