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And the West is History: Rotary Snowplow at Durango Depot – 1916

An impressive rooster-tail of snow is shown being thrown across the Durango train yard by a rotary snowplow in this picture from February 1916. Rotary snowplows were used on the narrow gauge line when simple wedge snowplows could not clear the tracks. The snowplows had their own steam engine to turn the blades and were typically used when the snow was too deep or hard to be moved by traditional snowplows. They were not generally used in the steep Animas Canyon, as there was no place for the snow to go. They required a lot of maintenance and were thus quite expensive to operate. Two Denver & Rio Grande Western narrow gauge rotary plows still exist and are on display in Chama, New Mexico, at the Cumbres & Toltec Yard. One of these was last operated for photographers in 2020. – Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum.org (Catalog Number: 93.23.25 from the La Plata County Historical Society Photo Collections)