Here is a rare steam powered rotary snow-clearing operation on the former Rio Grande Narrow Gauge (now Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR) in northern New Mexico and Colorado. The rotary OY snow plow is steam operated, but her own boiler can only power her blade, thus locomotives are required to push it ahead. The southern Rockies are the fabulous scenic background for this incredible event as famous narrow gauge steam locomotives 487 and 488 (K-36 locomotives) push the rotary higher into the mountains to clear the drifts – some as high as the top of the rotary!
The sound of the engines and sights are incredible as we here all the whistling signals, and roaring exhausts. It took one day to plow the few miles of snow to Cumbres Pass (10,015 ft) and a second day to plow eastward to Osier. On the second day a special passenger train was run for photographers. You’ll see scenes from two camera-crews, and learn how the plow works from the chief mechanical officer of the railroad, John Bush. Unique and timeless scenes are recorded as crews dig out switches and the train operates in trenches of snow.