Medford Railroad Park

SP Flanger

Southern Pacific flanger SPMW #330

This unusual piece of rolling stock is called a flanger. You've heard of railroads clearing snow off their tracks with the used of push plows or rotary plows, the flanger was used to clear the snow between the two rails. It usually was pulled behind a locomotive and 2-3 men inside would operate the flanger by lowering and raising the small plows that would dig just far enough below the railhead to “carve out” an area for the flanges of the wheels to safely operate over.

Markers along the tracks, plus communication between the foreman in charge, would tell the flanger operaters where to lower or raise the plows, such as at road crossings and switches.

SP #MW330 was built December 1950 at Southern Pacific's Sacramento Shops. It has a steel underframe and weighs in at 46,100 lbs.

This flanger came to the chapter as a donation from the Southern Pacific Railroad on October 6, 1981 . It was moved to the Medford Railroad Park soon thereafter.

The Southern Oregon Chapter is grateful to the National Railway Historical Society for a grant to help fund the restoration of this unusual piece of railroad history.

The Chapter is still researching the history of this flanger. One report says it was built with a steel underframe December 1950 at SP's Sacramento Shops, and it does have a steel underframe. It's sister flanger SPMW#331 currently resides at Dunsmuir , CA . However, it is of an all-steel design, likely due to a rebuilding later on.

Photographic evidence show this flanger stationed at Wendel, California, near Susanville, on Southern Pacific's Modoc line in April 1981, but was not on the May 3, 1981 SP roster. Wendel is not a place for the flanger to push snow as it's at the edge of the Smoke Creek Desert . However, snow did accumulate between Susanville and Westwood on SP's old Westwood Branch. This branch connected with the Modoc Line at Wendel , CA .

The flanger has been cosmetically restored, both inside and out. Visitors may enter one end of the car and view the interior.