Stuck Train, March 10, 1979

FTLComm - Tisdale - Sunday, January 12, 2003

It was late on a Sunday morning that my father was in our part of Saskatchewan digging out a buried train. We were living in LaFlech at the time and a snow plow making a run down the Needpath subdivision had gone into a cut East of Gravelborg and remained firmly planted in snow up to its windows.

We drove up to Gravelborg then East looking out across the fields for some sign of action along the rail line and at last spotted activity.

It was bright and sunny but a little chilly as we put on our cross country skis and headed out across the field. I broke trail with eight year old TimII behind me and five year old Andrew in front of his mother.

We had all begun cross country two years earlier when Andrew wanted "keys" for Christmas.

One of the things that can happen to a snow plow lunging into a mountain of snow is that it compresses beneath the machine and it will

build a new track of its own above or diverging off of the rails. When this one became lodged the units were dug out and they were fortunate in being able to ease out of the cut. When we arrived a bulldozer had already cleared the cut and a work crew were clearing snow beneath the plow readying it to be pushed backward out of the cut by the units that had come in from the East.

Hardly a unique event, 1979 was a winter with lots of snow and plenty of grain to be move out of

branch line system which still functioned. It was the habit for the Roadmaster (my father) to ride along with the plow operator or in some cases the flanger to both assist the process of keeping the track open but also be on hand with the authority to take action when things literally went off the rails.

As the locomotive eases the plow from the cut you can see the design that

blows the snow from the track with the wings that can be moved outward from aft of the blade to move the snow further back. Beneath the plow is a smaller blade system that moves the snow and ice out from between the rails. Like the side panels this has to be moved to avoid destroying crossings and switches.

After the plow was removed the work had only begun for the bulldozer operator as the whole cut had be pushed out otherwise the furrows would only catch the drifting snow from the next blow jamming it up

even worse.

But as all guys know, when the going gets tough, the tough guys build a fort and Andrew and I were well on the way with ample material at hand to build a dandy of a fort.

Timothy W. Shire



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