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Canadian Railroads > flanger plows, CN and CP

Date: 06/29/19 09:05
flanger plows, CN and CP
Author: eminence_grise

Yesterday, there was a discussion about a strange caboose like car seen in Jasper AB in 1980, where I pointed out that the car was a flanger plow.

Here are images of the CN and CP flangers, both older wooden bodied cars, photographed in 1975 and 1976.

Note that the CN plow faces inward, and that the CP had two plows mounted in the centre of the car. Note also that the CP flangers have arch bar trucks.

The controls within a flanger were simple, one handle to raise or lower the plow. Inside, the operations end of car included a large air reservoir, and a piston and cranks to raise and lower the plow. 

The CN design included accommodation for the plow operator in the other end of the car.

Due to a Canadian Government regulation dating back the the early days of railway operations which stated that wedge plows had to be operated by themselves on a work train, rather than in front of a freight train, the flanger was developed. They travelled on the rear of a freight train . 

On the vast network of prairie branchlines, which saw service once a week, the use of flangers meant that a work train using another crew would not be needed.

The person operating the flanger was usually a track worker familiar with the portion of railway the flanger was operating on. Both CP and CN had distinctive trackside signs with two dots. These were flanger signs, to notify the flanger operator of turnouts, road crossings and other items located between the flanges.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/02/19 16:26 by eminence_grise.

Date: 06/29/19 09:41
Re: flanger plows, CN and CP
Author: gcm

Thanks for these.
Now I have an understanding of these types of cars.

Date: 06/29/19 11:44
Re: flanger plows, CN and CP
Author: TCnR

Another interesting story with photos, especially like the branch line example.

The operations were quite different than how the Donner Pass Flangers have been used.

The CP flangers looks a bit like the flanger that has been moved to the BBCRC in Northern California, perhaps something to do with the Central Vermont RR heritage.


Date: 06/29/19 14:48
Re: flanger plows, CN and CP
Author: eminence_grise

Interesting that the Central Vermont had a design distinct from the CN in the era of wooden cars. Later CN built center cupola steel bodied flangers also.

Date: 07/04/19 17:09
Re: flanger plows, CN and CP
Author: hepc46

We actually have 2 ex-CN flangers at the Niagara Railway Museum in Fort Erie.  Both are different ages.  First one, CN56452 started life as a boxcar in 1923, sits outside. It was formerly a tourist info booth in Welland until the kids burned it.  Ended up being stripped and went to Trillium before being turned over to us.  Has the plow blades,  but no body.  The other car, CN 56323 was built in 1935, started life as a flatcar, and was last used as a conference room by Genaire at the Niagara District Airport.  It is gutted inside, has its full wood body, but no blades.  Before anyone asks, no, the blades can't just transfer from one to the other without modifications. The original plan was to rebuild the first car, CN56452, but we were then able to acquire the second car, 56323, which we are currently restoring with new wood. The attached pics are of the 2 cars together outside the shop for the first time on Decmber 9th, 2016. Second image is 56323 on its own ,and 3rd is 56323 with the first new boards in place.

Ken Jones
Niagara Railway Museum Inc.

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