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Jordan Spreaders


The next step up from the wedge plows on the snowfighting ladder are the Jordan Spreaders. Spreaders are generally large, complex pieces of equipment, and they may carry a variety of snow removal devices. Most spreaders have a large front plow blade. The lower sections of the blade may be hinged to allow them to push light snow to only one side. There may also be extension wings off the front blade. All spreaders have large side wings or arms, which can push snow well clear of the tracks. A "broken wing" spreader has pivoting extensions on the side arms to clear a wider swath or clear deeper snow. Many speaders also have flangers. Spreaders are the largest pieces of snow removal equipment to see frequent service.

Click on the inline image to view the full-sized image. All images are copyright by the photographers.

US Western Railroads
US Eastern/Midwest Railroads
Canadian Railroads


US Western Railroads


 [THUMBNAIL] Chicago & Northwestern (Union Pacific) 11991 at Gukeen, MN, 13 January 1997. This ex-C&NW spreader was recently used to open the Fairmont Branch after heavy snow and high winds blocked the line with drifts. The crew has stopped to clear the plow after pushing through a 12 foot snow drift; later this day they will encounter 15 foot drifts. This spreader is based at Mason City, Iowa.
Photo: K. Schmidt



 [THUMBNAIL] Union Pacific 903032 at Emmett, Idaho. This broken-wing spreader shows an impressive front plow.
Photo: Bryan Loftin



 [THUMBNAIL] Front view of UP 903032 at Emmett, Idaho.
Photo: Bryan Loftin



 [THUMBNAIL] Union Pacific Jordan at the Portola (CA) museum, summer 1996.
Photo: Alan Radecki



 [THUMBNAIL] Western Pacific spreader at Keddie, CA, in the mid 1970's.
Photo: Frank Radecki, courtesy of Alan Radecki



 [THUMBNAIL] Southern Pacific Jordan Spreaders (numbers ?). Part of SP's legendary snowfighting fleet, this spreader shows the rotating windows designed to preserve the crew's view in heavy snowfall. These two spreaders are smallish fixed-wing pieces.
Photo: Jim Bryant



 [THUMBNAIL] Southern Pacific MW4030 at Roseville, CA, 17 August 1996. A member of SP's legendary snowfighting fleet, this spreader now works for Union Pacific.
Photo: Evan Werkema



 [THUMBNAIL] Santa Fe 199246 at Richmond, CA, 5 April 1996. This was ATSF's oldest spreader at the time of the BNSF merger; it was built in 1957. In this view it is working on a ballast train.
Photo: Evan Werkema



 [THUMBNAIL] ATSF 199237 at Albuquerque, NM, 16 April 1983. This old spreader, build in 1930, was retired two years later, in 1985. It is officially listed as a Jordan Ditcher, presumably due to the small blades at the front, which may be used for ditching/ballast work.
Photo: Evan Werkema



 [THUMBNAIL] Denver & Rio Grande Western AX-41 at Minturn, CO, 3 Aug 1987
Photo: Evan Werkema



US Eastern/Midwestern Railroads


 [THUMBNAIL] Broadside view of Conrail 64633 at Meadville, PA in May 1994. Conrail maintains an impressive fleet of snowfighting equipment, including the oldest operational rotary plow.
Photo: Larry Smith



 [THUMBNAIL] Left-side view of CR 64633 at Meadville, PA in May 1994.
Photo: Larry Smith



 [THUMBNAIL] Front view of CR 64633 at Meadville, PA in May 1994.
Photo: Larry Smith



 [THUMBNAIL] Derilect Jordan Spreader on the Gettysburg Railroad, July 1994. This small spreader has clearly seen better days.
Photo: Larry Smith




[THUMBNAIL] Soo Line RD816 at Marquette, MI, on 28 Sept 1986. This is a relatively small spreader, but it features a large plow blade and "broken" wings.
Photo: Dan Dawdy



 [THUMBNAIL] US Army spreader SN85 at the Army Transportation Museum, Ft. Eustis, VA, April 1995 This spreader has an unusual cab, apparently a custom-built affair.
Photo: Keith Ranker



 [THUMBNAIL] Rear view of US Army SN85, April 1995.
Photo: Keith Ranker



 [THUMBNAIL] Buffalo Southern spreader at Hamburg, NY. This is a very unusual spreader, not a Jordan; it may be homeuilt.
Photo: John Stewart



 [THUMBNAIL] Buffalo Southern (ex-D&H) spreader at Eden, NY, 28 December 1996. This Jordan, well equipped for snowfighting, still bears the markings of its former owner.
Photo: John Stewart



 [THUMBNAIL] Another view of Buffalo Southern's ex-D&H spreader at Eden, 28 December 1996.
Photo: John Stewart



 [THUMBNAIL] Ontario Midland spreader at Sodus, NY. This spreader is about as small as they come, completely lacking front blades.
Photo: John Stewart



 [THUMBNAIL] Rock Island (CRIP) Jordan north of Burlington, Iowa, January 1980. This was Rock Island's last winter; the railroad closed down a few months after this photo was taken.
Photo: SEDD@aol.com



 [THUMBNAIL] Wisconsin Southern's ex-BN spreader at Janesville, WI, 5/1996. This spreader was previously BN 972624.
Photo: Dan Dawdy



 [THUMBNAIL] Jordan Spreader cabride. View from the cab of a Jordan Spreader on an unspecified railroad.



Canadian Railroads


 [THUMBNAIL] Canadian National 50948 at Capreol, Ontario, 28 Dec 1993 This view shows the front plow blade, spreader arm and "broken wing" clearly. The "broken wing" can be rotated to a horizonatal position to extend the spreader arm, or used in the vertical position (shown) in deep snow or narrow clearances.
Photo: Dan Dawdy



 [THUMBNAIL] Canadian National 50957 at Capreol, Ontario, 28 Dec 1993 Another good view of the workings of the spreader.
Photo: Dan Dawdy



 [THUMBNAIL] Canadian National 50957. A small spreader is coupled behind; see below.
Photo: Paul Duncan



 [THUMBNAIL] Canadian National 51041 This is a small spreader, having no front blades, only spreader wings. It is similar to the smaller of the two spreaders in the photo above.
Photo: Paul Duncan



 [THUMBNAIL] Canadian Pacific 401200 with CP plow 400777, North Bay, Ontario, 29 Dec 1993 This is another small spreader, equipped with a low front blade.
a Photo: Dan Dawdy



 [THUMBNAIL] Canadian Pacific 402895. This view shows the great length of a fully-equipped Jordan spreader. The spreader appears to be in maintenance serivce -- note the ballast cars trailing behind. Spreaders are often used for right-of-way maintenance in the non-snow season.
Photo: Paul Duncan



 [THUMBNAIL] CP spreader #402870, summer 1997.
Photo: Alan Radecki



This feature created and maintained by Andrew Toppan.
Copyright © 1997,1998, Andrew Toppan. All Rights Reserved.
All photographs are copyright by the photographer.

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