Re: Buying rotaries
Date: 01-14-2007 - 14:08
It would not be that difficult or expensive to build a new rotary.
Take an F40, F45 or F59 carbody, frame, trucks, fuel tank, engine, alternator and Dash 2 control system. Cut the nose off and raise the cab, fabricate and install a wheel, housing, chute, wings and other necessities. Use a mill motor and Falk reduction gearbox (both are off-the-shelf items) to power the wheel, or use the HEP output to power a big motor and Falk gearbox. Install a small Vapor steam generator (they are still very much in production today) and water tank. Leave one or two traction motors to be used only in hostling or switching movements (as was done with the gas-turbines) install electric cab heat.
Paint it, train people to use it, provide money each year to keep it in top shape and update it as necessary, and you are in business.
Now, if any of you think for a moment that any railroad is going to make this investment for a piece of equipment that will be used only every few years, think again. For the past 25+ years, railroads have handled their snow problems by hoping it won't snow, and thinking that major blizzards are the stuff of legend, not modern times. When neither of these methods work, they get serious about snow removal equipment. Until the snow is cleared; then, having learned nothing, they go back to those same methods. This is what leads to the madness of wedge plows being scrapped right and left after a hard winter. To rotary plows being unmaintained and quietly scrapped, and so forth.
It's funny to watch a railroad finally wake up to a problem. Usually, they don't know what equipment they have, where it is, what kind of shape it's in, and whether or not anyone is left who knows how to operate it. They call out plows that were scrapped long ago or that have been inoperable for years (with no money budgeted to keep them repaired) or have been moved to other locations and forgotten. They start calling neighbor roads looking for equipment to lease or borrow, usually to find the neighbor road isn't any better prepared (and maybe even less prepared) than they are.
Then begins a search for someone to blame for the fiasco. Hint: it will NOT be any of the people who ordered the equipment scrapped or failed to provide money to maintain it or people to operate it. Some mid-level guy who's warnings went unheeded will be hauled up as the scapegoat and have his career ruined as a result.