Northern Pacific rotary snowplow designated as mechanical engineering landmark

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The Lake Superior Railroad Museum's former Northern Pacific snow plow has been designated a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark.
Jeff Terry
DULUTH, Minn. – The Lake Superior Railroad Museum’s Northern Pacific rotary snow plow No. 2 has been designated a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. A formal ceremony to mark the designation will be held at the museum later this year. Curator Tim Schandel plans to move the rotary to a prominent location in the museum for the event.

The Cooke Locomotive Works constructed steam-powered rotary No. 2 for the NP in 1887, making it the oldest plow of its type in existence. Used originally to clear drifts in the Cascade Mountains, it was sent east to less rigorous duties in Minnesota when larger, more powerful equipment took over in the mountains.

The rotary has its own boiler to power the plow blade, but steam locomotives pushed the plow to propel it. In the deep snow of the Cascades, this sometimes required three or four locomotives to get it through snowdrifts.

The rotary was purchased from the Steam Preservation Society of Cadillac, Mich., in 1975. Members of the Lake Superior Transportation Club performed the restoration of No. 2 for museum display.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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