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Historic 1920s Rotary Snowplow Goes on Public Display at the Railroad Museum


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.

One of a less than 200 rotary snowplows still existing in the world today, 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.

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, please call 916-323-9280 or visit californiarailroad.museum.

About the author

Traci Rockefeller Cusack

Traci Rockefeller Cusack has 25+ years of media and public relations experience.  Her work experience includes News10 (ABC) as Promotion Manager from 1989-1998 (where she developed and launched “Coats for Kids’ Sake,” a winter coat drive that lasted 20+ years plus coordinated Oprah Winfrey’s first ever visit to Sacramento) and Fleishman-Hillard as Vice President from 1998-2005 (where she led the wildly successful statewide “California Grown” program and also produced the five-minute video that played on the Jumbotron on Opening Day at Pac Bell Park). In 2007, she launched T-Rock Communications and currently handles a wide range of marketing activities for a number of top-notch organizations.

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