Adam Stevens Photography

November 9, 2009

Getting Ready for Winter.

Filed under: Nature & Landscape, Personal — Tags: , , , , , — photobby @ 7:17 pm

Or at least I think that’s what they are doing. It took me a minute to figure out that this thing was a snow plow (I think). I cross the tracks near my house on my way to work and with a train running every couple of hours it’s not uncommon to see one. Typically it’s lumber and box cars, but I saw this coming and managed to bang off a few frames while I waited in line. I wish the train was a bit sharper but, it’s hard to re-shoot and I was sitting in the car trying to pan with the moving train.

Edit: Thanks my very knowledgeable father in law, he has helped me see the errors of my ways. He’s a kick, if you aren’t careful, when you ask him for the time, he might end up helping you build a sun dial. Here’s wheat he sent me:


Hi, Adam.

While you made a good guess, that car is actually far too light to be a snow plow. Because snow plows have to move incredibly deep and heavy snow, especially in the Cascades, they are very big, heavy beasts with giant weights in them that are put in front of the engines. They are called “flangers” by the railroads because at the front they have large, curved vertical flanges that meet at a point in the bottom middle near the track and then curve upward and outward to shove the snow aside. When the snow gets too deep for flangers, then the railroad goes to rotary snowplows, which have those giant whirling blades at the front to throw the snow quite some distance to the side.

The car in the photograph is a MOW (“maintenance of way”) car, which works with other modern, specially designed cars to maintain the roadbed and the track on a railroad. Today, the automated machinery on these cars can replace railroad ties (they use concrete now, rather than wood), cut and remove rail and replace it and weld it in place, and grade, level, and tamp the roadbed. Although it is difficult to tell from the photograph, I would say that the MOW car you “shot” is a tie replacement car, because it has hydraulic arm and also has hydraulic blades on both sides to level the ballast around the ties and along the line. The rail replacement cars and the tampers are bigger and heavier units. Often, you will see an entire gang of three of these cars (tie replacer, rail replacer, and tamper), followed by flatcars carrying supplies, moving as a team down the track. As few as three men running those cars can do what it took a crew of fifty to do years ago!

Hope that helps! That was a nice shot, and it would have been a difficult picture to take, I’m sure!

🙂 Boppo

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1 Comment »

  1. Shooting a moving train while sitting in a car can’t be an easy task, great job on the panning Adam!

    Comment by kkhphotos — November 12, 2009 @ 8:27 am


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