The Union Pacific’s Donner Summit line crosses the Sierra Nevada range at over seven thousand feet. Keeping this “All Season Pass” open is vital to the railroad and California’s economy. When the snow gets too high for the Flangers to remove snow from the rails, the second line of defense is called into action. The Spreader is deployed to remove large amounts of snow from the mainline and shove it off banks and bridges clearing the path for new snow to fall. With the nose blade down, the wings extended out and a little speed, the Spreader will move a mountain of snow. Harsh winters, temperatures in the low teens, snow falling forty eight inches in a single day and up to sixty five feet a year, have long been an obstacle to keeping trains rolling over the Sierra. Learn some of the amazing history of Norden, Southern Pacific’s former snow removal headquarters. See how employees lived under the snow all Winter long using covered connecting hallways to get from place to place.
Winter Rails over Donner, Day of the Spreader
The Union Pacific’s Donner Summit line crosses the Sierra Nevada range at over seven thousand feet. Keeping this “All Season Pass” open is vital to the railroad and California’s economy.
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