The next time you find yourself growling about a few inches of white stuff wrecking your morning commute, think about this marvel of blizzard-chugging genius.
It’s a massive rotary snow plow used to clear our nation’s railways during epic snowstorms. Standing 16.5 feet tall, it takes up 48 feet of track and weighs 137 tons. Powered by an 11-foot fan and a 17,050-horsepower engine, this plow can slice and swallow a wall of snow 12 feet deep and spin it a distance of 100 feet—thanks to the circular blades on its bow spinning at 90 revs per minute.
Granted, the rotary plow is only used for the most paralyzing of snowfalls—typically around once per decade. Last year, the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California experienced the third snowiest winter in documented history, with 13 feet of snowfall prompting Union Pacific to bring out the big guns.
What they don’t tell you is that small children must be fed to the rotary plows once a decade for the beast to awaken from its slumber...