One last winter blast (Part III)

Call out the plow

Breathtaking! Tearing across the McBeth Road crossing south of Salford, the OSR plow heads for Tillsonburg.

Breathtaking! Tearing across the McBeth Road crossing south of Salford, the OSR plow heads for Tillsonburg.

The skies were beginning to clear as OSR crews readied the plow at Salford. Stove lit, brakes, wings, and flanger blades inspected and tested, CP 401005, a 1927-vintage product of Angus shops was ready to do battle. Jack Hyde and Brad Jolliffe were in position in the cupola; engineer Nick Dionne at the throttle of OSR 378.

OSR 500 and 502 ease past the plow at the Salford shop.

“OK on the plow,” Brad radioed to the engineer, and they were off.

I’ve been watching and photographing snowplows in action for better than 40 years and followed them for thousands of miles, but the thrill simply never wears thin. Indeed, the sight of the OSR plow tearing across the fields, slicing through crossings, and smashing through drift after drift in a fast-moving fury of flying snow, quite literally took my breath away.

It still does, and always will.

Plow foreman Jack Hyde gets ready for the road as the Woodstock job heads northward.

Flanger blade cleans up on the second pass at mileage 5.57.

Flanger blade cleans up on the second pass at mileage 5.57.

Flying on the ground, north of Ostrander.

This is how a wedge plow is supposed to be operated!

Victory. Southbound plow closes in on the mound of snow that marks the stalling point of the Tillsonburg freight.

Victory. Southbound plow closes in on the mound of snow that marks the stalling point of the Tillsonburg freight.

Reversing at Ostrander for a second run at the drifts that claimed the Tillsonburg freight.

Slow order at Ostrander Road provides a rare glimpse of the power.

Over the slow, accelerating southward.

About to be swallowed in a cloud of snow, OSR 378 shoves toward Tillsonburg.

Deadheading northbound at mileage 6.

After the incident at Ostrander, the two 500s developed MU problems. Reversing their order provided a temporary fix.

On the road again, the Tillsonburg heads south; the hot salt loads for Kissner will be delivered as promised.

Kicking up snow at Dereham Road.

More speed! Cleaning up the cut at mileage 4.

... a fast-moving fury of flying snow.

Second pass at mileage 4.

Deadheading northward after plowing the cut at mileage 4.

Pacing eastward on Highway 2 out of Beachville.

Brad spotting for a place to stop.

St. Thomas bound, east of Woodstock at Mileage 2.

Final frame.