Ah, winter. Snow falls gently from the sky and covers the countryside in a think blanket of…white crap that needs to be put somewhere else if you plan on driving a car or flying a plane anytime soon. Over the years, a lot of crazy people have come up with some insane, gigantic, widow-making snow removal equipment. Here’s a look at some of the most eye-opening versions of it:
Nowhere is large-scale snow removal more of a national sport than in Norway. So when the Oslo Airport decided they needed some new equipment, they didn’t go looking for the 12-horse Toro your dad used to clear the driveway. They contracted with the Norwegian firm Øverassen, which provided two of their TV2000 snow removal units. The TV2000 is an animal. It’s powered by a 650hp MTU diesel engine, but all that thing does is put power to the wheels.
The real power unit is the 1,300hp MTU diesel that turns an enormous auger at the front of the TV2000. It provides enough turning force to chuck 12,000 tons of snow an hour more than half a football field away. It’ll clear snowbanks more than seven feet tall. You need this to throw snow into the driveway of your neighbor with the inflatable Santa and the blinking LED icicles on his eaves.
Portec RMC Hurricane Jet Snowblower, Model RP-3
So say you’re the head of the public transportation system in one of America’s most technologically advanced cities, and you’re tasked with removing snow on the tracks. Where do you turn? To the Portec RMC Hurricane Jet Snowblower, of course. With the ol’ Portec, you simply spool up a Korean War-era Allison turbine mounted to a crusty old locomotive, and point the business end down.
In a matter of seconds, you’re generating 3,000 pounds of thrust at a temperature of 1,000 degrees, and you’re turning miles worth of snow drifts into rainwater. The only trouble you run into is it’s not particularly efficient. It burns 900 gallons of fuel on a single run and has to have a fuel truck on standby.
School Bus Snowblower
More and more states are passing regulations to ensure that commercial vehicles clear the snow off their roofs, because once it becomes icy, it turns into a massive projectile at speed, crushing windshields in its path.
School buses need to have their roofs cleared, but the idea of getting up there with a snow shovel and a bucket of sand seems like a lawsuit waiting to happen. This solution is analogous to the jet dryer at the car wash, simply blasting the snow off the roof in a few seconds.
UP 4652 Plow Train
Wayne, Illinois apparently gets a lot of snow and the folks at Union Pacific need to get rid of it. Instead of employing expensive augers and jet engines, they just simply affix a plow to the front of a gigantic locomotive and blast through it like a boss.
Look for these bad boys to come to a highway near you. Rather than employing a network of more trucks, more drivers, and more fat union benefits, highway departments are spending $100,000 a piece for the Tow Plow, a trailer with a plow mounted to the side that crab-walks out into an adjacent lane, thereby clogging up two lanes of traffic for the price of one inebriate behind the wheel. The Tow Plow can also sand and salt, spreading rust like Santa spreads Christmas cheer.