Photos courtesy of Casey Durand


In the first photo you see the Ballast Regulator plow-end. This plow is a v-shape that can be run like a wedge as pictured, inverted to be a wedge in the opposite direction, or be fixed as a straight blade angled to one side or the other. There are "flange notches" in the blade to allow it to be lowered down around the rail profile. In the summer months this plow is used to spread and place ballast. In the winter it can be lowered to scrape snow down around the rails where all other plows cannot reach.

The second photo is of the broom-end of the machine. There is a large rotating drum affixed with stiff round composite fingers. In the summer this broom is used to clean debris and do final profile work. The v-plow can only move and spread material, the broom can actually get down to the surface of the ties and clean the ballast from the flange ways. This broom is vital when a tamper is working. After a tamper firms and adjusts the track- bed by packing ballast around the ties, there is usually a need to sweep any displaced ballast free from around the rail, most importantly the flange-ways.

In the winter time this broom is fitted with the snow shoot shown in this photo. Now the broom is in effect a snow-blower. Without this attachment the broom would just raise a cloud of snow and not actually move any snow away. This setup is used around sensitive track work and tight areas where the v-plow cannot reach.

On the side of the Ballast Regulator you can see another plow in its raised position. In the summer this side plow (there is an identical unit on the other side) can be used to both pull ballast from the lower sides of the track back up top, spread and contour ballast, and also carry ballast in an effort to shape the contour of the sides of the rail bed. The center piece of this side plow can be angled slightly, while the ends are able to open and close a wide range depending on the direction of travel and work. In the winter these side plows can be used to "wing-out" snow from the track for better clearance. But the machines are somewhat limited in this function due to their light weight.