SACRAMENTO, Calif. – For the first time on public display, visitors to the California State Railroad Museum will have the opportunity to see a 251,000-pound rotary snowplow from the Museum’s impressive collection along with an exhibit titled Clearing the Way that highlights various snow removal methods used by the railroad. The SP MW205 (formerly known as SP 715) snowplow was built in 1920, converted to electric in 1958, retired by Union Pacific in 2004 and was donated to the Railroad Museum in 2008. Since then, the historic snowplow has been housed in the Shops in the Sacramento Railyards.
The newly repainted snowplow and new Clearing the Way exhibit will give Museum visitors an understanding of the various snow removal methods used by the railroad to allow for year-round locomotive use. In addition, guests will get a glimpse about how cumbersome, arduous and dangerous snow removal on the railroad can be and how the preferred methods have changed over time.
Rotary snowplows were often used by the railroad as a very last resort due to the incredible expense involved because of the time consuming nature of the equipment (that only moved five to ten miles per hour), high fuel costs and the elite crew that was needed to operate the plow. It is estimated that less than 200 rotary snowplows still exist throughout the world today.
The rotary snowplow and the companion Clearing the Way exhibit will be on display in the Museum’s Roundhouse at least through March 2017 and are included in Museum admission: $12 for adults; $6 for youths ages 6-17; free for children ages 5 and under. For more information about the snow plow, exhibit or the California State Railroad Museum in general, call 916-323-9280.