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Roger Hensley

Page Updated
July 04, 2000

  Railroads of Madison County
Snowplow and Flanger

CR Snowplow & Flanger

July 4, 2000

The two cars pictured in your page are identified further as follows:

1. CR64514 was originally PRR 497783, built November, 1946, for the PRR.

2. CR64721 was originally a PRR Class X25 or X29 boxcar rebuilt into a flanger car by the PRR in 1962. The original built date as a boxcar was January, 1925 (making it probably an X29 -rph).

While both of these pieces of equipment have flanger blades their function was not the same.

The use of the Russell Plow was not only intended to clear the track and several feet on either side but the flanger blade was used to remove the first three inches or so of ice and snow below the top of the rail. This build up of ice and packed snow could tear off steam connectors on passenger cars and air hoses on all equipment. Both the single track and double track Russell Plows had doors which were pushed out by air cylinders to essentially push the snow away form the edge of the ballast as far as possible. These Russell plows, when the shipping or movement fixtures were removed and stored in the car body, would run with the plow blade resting onto of the ball of the rail. The special coupler and its support features was also removed and stored in the carboy when plowing. The true Russell Plows had a floating draft sill that extended to the center pin of the front truck so that when plowing and the weight of the snow was on the blade, the blade would ride on the ball of the rail and the force from the pushing locomotive would be applied where needed. The Erie-Lackawanna plows which were built on old steam locomotive tender underframes did not have this floating sill. These E-L plows also utilized the tender trucks.

There was a door that covered the opening for the attachment of the front coupler and its fittings. This door was closed during plowing operations to prevent snow from becoming packed between the backside of the plow blade and the front truck. If snow was allowed to become packed in this area the plow body would be lifted off the truck and derailment could occur.

The PRR flanger cars were used to remove ice and snow from between the rails down to the cross ties. If ice was allowed to accumulate between the rails the track gauge could become widened to a point that wheels sets could fall between the rails. There were several places on the old PRR that ice was a problem such as at Cresson, Pennsylvania.

John Reehling

Picture Credits:
CR 64514 and 64721 Snowplow and Flanger in South Anderson Yard Aug. 9, 1999 - Roger Hensley Photo

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