Nigel Burkin takes a close look at Hatton’s OO-gauge Beilhack ZZA snow plough, of which 12 versions were released this spring.
In a classic example of the railways’ make-do-and-adapt approach to saving money, the need to supplement the ‘standard’ independent snow plough fleet with additional ploughs was met by mounting a plough on the inner end of bogies recovered from scrapped Class 40 and 45 locomotives. The conversion was quite simple, involving the removal of traction motors and gearing, together with the small load-bearing wheel at the front of the bogie.
Having been stripped of such equipment, the bogie frame would have been too light to be propelled in snow-clearing duties, so it was given a new floor and body to add weight to the structure. A toolbox was fitted to the outer end with the original buffers and coupling, and the V-shaped plough, designed and manufactured by Beilhack, was fitted to what would have been the inner end of the bogie. Two tall stanchions allowed lamps to be used above the top edge of the plough, and a cross-access walkway was located behind the plough.
The result was an effective snow plough, constructed from redundant parts for minimal cost compared to that of a completely new vehicle.
Introduced in 1984, they were painted in engineers’ yellow, but the yellow plough itself appeared to be of a different shade.
Upon privatisation they passed into the ownership of Railtrack, under which overhauled examples were painted black and equipped with solar panels and electrical equipment boxes for on-board lighting. A small number of the ploughs have been further overhauled by Network Rail
for continued use, while many have been scrapped.
The re-use of redundant equipment for snow ploughs is not an unusual practice, with many examples constructed from a variety of pieces of rolling stock to be seen on railways around the world. Former steam locomotive tenders once commonly formed the basis of snow plough designs on the BR network – in a wide variety of forms depending on the type of tender used. The BR standard snow plough that remains in service today was built on modified tender underframes.
For the full article, see the July edition of Modelling – available now!
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