Watch: Here’s How Crews Clear Snow From Michigan’s Railroads
You already know winters in Michigan can be brutal. Keeping the roads clear when we get several feet of snow can be difficult enough, but have you ever wondered how Michigan keeps its nearly 3,600 miles of rail corridors clear of snow?
YouTuber Jason Asselin shared an amazing video that captures every facet of Pure Michigan: Snow, Escanaba, and freight trains.
We've got plow trucks that keep our roads clear, why not plow trains to keep the railroads clear?
In Jason's video, you'll see the Escanaba and Lake Superior Railroad's snow plow, ELS 112, as it passes through Iron Mountain, MI. The plow train has a similar appearance to that of a standard road plow, but instead of the usual crescent moon-shaped plow the train is shaped like a wedge.
Why the wedge? This shape helps push snow off to the side of the tracks. There are also several giant fan-shaped panels located on the side which help to clear snow from the area surrounding the tracks as well.
Often called a wedge or bucker plow, its smooth surface allows snow to slide over the plow face versus accumulating and being pushed along-- as is the case with road plows. Although the bucker plow compresses the snow and packs it down tight, the weight and the force of the train are enough to push the snow off to the side.
Who knew so much science and physics went into plowing snow?
Check out the bucker plow in action!