New York Subway snow and ice removal machines

In the winter of 2016, during a heavy snowfall in New York, the entire fleet of snow removal machines was used to clear the subway tracks: ten Snow Throwers, seven De-Icer Cars, four Jet Blower rail cleaners, eight R156 diesel locomotives and other auxiliary equipment.

snow and ice removal machines

The New York Subway is one of the largest subway systems in the world. The total length of the operated metro tracks is 1355 km, 1056 km of which  are used for passenger traffic. At the same time, 40% of the tracks are ground or overhead, and in winter the metro is faced with the need to clear the tracks from snow. A wide variety of technology is working on this task in the New York subway.

One of the most charismatic is the Jet Blower, a snow blower with a jet engine mounted on it. The technique is specific, therefore it is used only on the territory of the depot and on access roads. The principle of operation is simple – with the help of a powerful jet, the machine blows snow off from everything that comes in its way. The jet temperature reaches 315 degrees, so most of the snow and ice simply evaporate during the process.

The main disadvantage is its loud noise, that is why jet snow blowers are rarely used outside the depot. The purifier has two power units: a diesel engine for moving along the tracks and a jet engine for blowing snow. The cleaners used in the subway are powered by General Electric / Westinghouse J57 engines, which were once used on B-52 bombers. In addition to high fuel consumption, they have another drawback – at heavy workloads, they begin to smoke terribly.

snow and ice removal machines

Jet Blowers assigned to the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) have recently undergone upgrades. They were equipped with “new” Rolls Royce Viper jet engines, which are twice as economical as the old ones and have almost no smoke. But they are “new” only for railroads. As in the previous case, engines were removed from decommissioned aircrafts. The Rolls Royce Viper consumes about 378 liters of aviation kerosene per hour at 70% workload. Fuel tank capacity is 6800 liters, so the machine can work for almost 18 hours without stopping.

Rotary Snow Thrower (Rapid Snow Removal System (RSRS) manufactured by RPM Tech) – removes and throws aside snow lying on the tracks, and also cleans the contact rail using additional side brushes. It can throw snow up to 38 meters. Powered by 280 kW (375 hp diesel engine). Productivity is up to 3000 tons of snow per hour.

Cleaning the contact rail with brushes sometimes is not enough. When the contact rail is iced, a special car is used – De-Icer Car. It is equipped with special shoes that scrape the contact rail and a spray system that sprinkles it with anti-icing fluid. Liquid tanks are located inside the car. De-Icer works in conjunction with a diesel locomotive and does not depend on electricity in any way. The locomotive is equipped with a snow plow and scrapers.

snow and ice removal machines

The RPM Tech HR-700 mobile blower is also used to clean the track, third rail and turnouts. This is a machine with a very powerful pumping unit with a speed of up to 525 km / h. The adjustable nozzle allows you to control and direct the required air flow to ensure accurate and efficient cleaning of tracks and switches.

The machine can move both on rails and on roads, which allows you to quickly move to sections of the track that require cleaning. The mobile blower is used not only in winter – it can be used to remove leaves, dirt and debris.

Railway magazine “Railway Supply”


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