A plow in August?

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In the comments to my previous post about the snow plow, reader Craig Townsend asked:

How are you going to justify having a plow on the layout in August?

That’s an excellent question, Craig – thanks for asking – and it deserves a better answer than, “See Rule 1″*.

In fact, there are two possible answers.

The first is, I can’t justify it. There’s no reason a plow would be in Port Rowan in August, unless there was a nearby plowing match and the railway was being a bit cheeky. (Unlikely.)

However, my primary reasons for building this plow are that it’s a cool, old-style craftsman kit… and that I like MoW equipment (which is why I’ve kit bashed a speeder and acquired a Burro crane). I’m enjoying building this just for the sake of building it – and I may run it in a work train on my layout (repositioning the plow) just to watch it sweep past:
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The plow may spend most of its time slumbering in my excess stock storage drawers during regular operating sessions with visitors.

The second possible answer is that while I’ve picked a season to represent on the layout, I may adjust the operating patterns to match the season in the real world.

In the spring, I’d run MoW trains to patch up the roadbed after a harsh winter. I would love to build a Jordan spreader for this – and already have a prototype in mind: A CNR model very similar to this one, which I like because it does not have a cab. (The late Ron Keith – also known as “The Plow Man” – built such a model from photographs of CNR 51069, which appears in an article on his work in CN Lines V16-3)

In the summer, an extra passenger car may be added to the mixed to handle vacationers headed to Long Point.

In the fall, I’d run an extra train collecting reefers full of produce.

And so on.

Under this scenario, running a work extra in late fall and early spring to position the plow in case of storms and retrieve it at the end of the season makes sense. It can rest at the end of the team track over the winter, ready to go into service should the need arise.

I haven’t decided whether I’ll run a seasonal schedule. I will have to determine whether it’s warranted and what changes I could make to the operating sessions to represent such seasonal activity. But it’s one way to add some variety to the operating sessions.
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(*Rule 1: “It’s my layout.” This is often invoked by people to justify things that are hard to justify. It’s a fine rule, but I feel it needs to be invoked with extreme caution.)

10 thoughts on “A plow in August?

  1. My first thought since it is freshly painted that it has been through the shops and it was brought to the end of the line in anticipation of fall/winter operations. No reason to hold it in a yard somewhere down the line when it can be stationed where it will be needed later.

    • I agree Bill – although it would likely be stored in Hamilton since no trains originated in Port Rowan after the second passenger train was dropped in the 1930s.
      But yes – a plow move to store it in Port Rowan? I can justify that to myself.

      • Did the branch in the final years ever have per diem car storage anywhere along the line (big money for modern day railroads, all sizes. I’m not sure how much of this was going on in the years you are modeling)? If so, you could justify the plow being moved from say Hamilton (where storage capacity was at a premium due to per diem car storage) to Port Rowan where the plow would be out of the way, but still easily accessible when the yard emptied out.

  2. Re “Rule1”, I agree that it needs to be used with caution, at least when sharing one’s work with others. In private, of course, then no self-justification is required. Like many private activities, maybe it’s best kept that way!

  3. Hi Trevor,

    You could always run it as a ‘training train’. Training new sectionmen on the machine before it’s time to start plowing. A quiet branch line like yours would be an ideal training ground.

  4. Rule 1 is the ultimate reason why we do things (a B&M inspired air line for instance). Caution to the winds, flaunt your plow in summer, cuz it’s just so darn cool!


  5. ‘Rule 1: “It’s my layout.” This is often invoked by people to justify things that are hard to justify. It’s a fine rule, but I feel it needs to be invoked with extreme caution.’

    Yes! Looking for the “Like” button.

  6. Thank you, everyone, for the excellent ideas for the plow, as well as the feedback on “Rule 1”. Much appreciated!

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