Speed 1909 snowplough as railway looks to beat big freeze

Volunteer Patrick Turner with the new plough
Volunteer Patrick Turner with the new plough
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VOLUNTEERS on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) have turned to a century-old method to prepare for another feared big freeze, by restoring a 1909 snowplough to be bolted onto the front of locomotives.

The huge plough, half the length of a railway carriage, was taken out of service by British Rail in the 1960s, but has been bought back into action by the Yorkshire railway after last year’s severe winter almost caused it to grind to a halt.

The North Eastern Railway (NER) snowplough no 18, which has recently been restored by the NYMR York Area group, was showcased at last week’s Autumn Steam Gala and is now being kept at the New Bridge depot, near Pickering, ready to be called into action in the coming months.

NYMR general manager Philip Benham said: “It has been shovelling snow for more than a century and is still more than capable if needed.

“Last year we had over 2ft of snow and the low temperatures were even worse for the steam engines. For two to three weeks it was a very difficult time for us, but we kept it going.

“We are now getting ourselves prepared as best we can.”

Meanwhile, it has been revealed today that councils are stockpiling thousands of tonnes of extra road salt this year in case of another severe winter.

Salt orders have increased to 1.4 million tonnes, the Local Government Association said.

The association said local authorities aimed to have more salt in stock for the start of October than the total amount used throughout the cold spell last year.

On average, councils each aimed to have 1,500 tonnes more salt at the ready to treat roads and pavements than they did at the start of October 2010.