Many spectators and a few unwitting travelers watched history being preserved Sunday as a 100-ton Southern Pacific rotary snow plow was trucked from Chiloquin’s rail line to its final resting place at Train Mountain.
“It came off pretty smooth,” said Steve Panzik, a Train Mountain member and preservation enthusiast. “It’s been a good effort from everybody concerned.”
A monster move
Director Chuck Scott’s crew consisted of three Portland-area camera operators, three Canadian operators and Aaron Bentson, a Chiloquin resident and railroad DVD maker.
“This show’s … about moving big, heavy stuff,” Scott said. This is Scott’s first season filming “Monster Moves” and said moving the snow plow involved an interesting object requiring interesting engineering.
Bentson got involved with the film crew by being at the right place at the right time, he said.
“This is a historic piece of railroad equipment,” Bentson said. “I would have loved to have seen it work.”
Bentson said although most of these snow plows are now retired, they are still used in some mountain passes.
“This is kind of a last resort for clearing the railroad right-of-way when the snow gets too deep,” he said. “It really can throw snow.”
Bentson estimated the plow can throw snow 200 feet in either direction.
Train Mountain proprietor Quinton Breen looked on as the snow plow was positioned on a display track. He said it was time to see it moved.
“Not that the Union Pacific aren’t good people, they’ve been quite helpful,” Breen said. The snow plow waited in Chiloquin for seven years to be relocated. “They said, ‘We’d really like you to move it.’ And that’s what we’ve done.”
Quinton’s wife, Sharon, said, “It’s kind of like watching your baby being handled by someone else.”
For fourth-generation structural mover James Dent, it was all about having the right equipment and permits. Dent National donated two dollies and rockers to assist in moving the snow plow.
“It’s not very long, only 40 feet,” Dent said. That provided some unique challenges in distributing the weight. His crew ended up being close to 20 people, many of them friends and family, he said.
“This move went really smooth,” but having the camera crew there added a little pressure, he said. “I’m just kind of honored to get this job. I try to save as many historical houses or buildings as I can. That’s one of the main reasons that I’m in this business.”