• Snow melting oil

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by BobLI
I remember reading some where in an old employee TT about using snow melting oil. Was that kerosene that was put on the switch points to melt the ice and snow? Or was it used in a smudge pot by the points? WEas there such a thing called by that name at all?
  by roadster
I have only seen a couple pictures of a practice, involving a large maybe 5 gal. buket with a lid and a spout/nozzle end. The Nozzle end appears to be flaming(albiet: small flame), and a MoW person is dribbling the flaming liquid onto the switch points and connecting bars. The pic.s were of the Lehigh Valley at Niagara Junct., Buffalo NY and a midwestern RR, unknown name.
  by Ken W2KB
Used to see it in the 1960's on the 4 track CRRNJ mainline in Bayonne, NJ. There was a large interlocking plant between the West 8th Street passenger station and the east end of the Newark Bay drawbridge. Rectangular shaped metal containers, I would say in the vicinity of 6x8x18 inches with a large wick at one end were placed between ties under movable parts of the switches and ignited by track maintainers when freezing rain/snow was falling. Used kerosene same as marker lights, switch lights, etc. Very pretty scene at night.
  by Arrestmespi
still done today
its called a smudge pot
  by krispy
Snow melting oil is different from Kerosene and much more flammable. On railroads around here it's called "Hydro" and I'm not sure what substance it exactly is. You can see 55 gal drums of it laid on a horizontal rack next to drums of kerosene near major outdoor interlockings, so the maintainers or MofW workers can get at it. As roadster mentioned it is laid out in a device that resembles a metal watering can with a real long spout. At the tip of the spout is a thing that resembles a flash suppressor from an M-16 and it may have a small pilot flame lit there, whether by fumes or wick I'm not sure. This stuff is poured directly on the switch points and switch mech so as to aid in freeing a stuck/frozen switch.