The American northeast is still digging out from Friday's blizzard. Core77 HQ and the rest of NYC got off relatively easy, with just under a foot of snow. Up in New England, Coroflot HQ was buried in the two-foot range, and Massachusetts got walloped with closer to three.
While our Yankee snow removal techniques are not as involved as Japan's Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority at least has some pretty bad-ass machinery. The MTA's job is to keep the tracks clear, and they use this thing for the outdoor subway lines:
That's a jet-powered snowblower, which sweeps, grinds and launches the snow up to 200 feet away, where it becomes someone else's problem. But for clearing the Metro-North rails, which run proper trains up and out of the city, the MTA uses this beast:
That's one of three jet-powered snow melters the MTA's recently tuned up. While they move along the tracks via a conventional diesel motor, it's a powerful turbine engine designed for aircraft that does the melting.
The engines produce exhaust that's 600 degrees Fahrenheit, which virtually vaporizes snow. "If the jets do the job right, all you see is steam coming off the steel," said Peter Hall, Foreman of the Maintenance of Way Equipment Shop in North White Plains. "They produce 2,500 pounds of thrust, which makes them very good at getting under heavy, wet slush, ice and crusty snow."
If you're wondering why they only use the jet-blower on upstate tracks and not the subway, the simple answer is: Noise. While the jet engines are spooled up to about 70% while in operation, the entire vehicle crawls along at less than 30 miles per hour. This would drive nearby residents insane as you'd get the sound volume of a jetliner without the swift disappearance.
The jet engines, by the way, are Rolls-Royce Viper turbines. Amazingly, the ones they replaced (just last year) were GE/Westinghouse J57 turbines—taken out of decommissioned B-52s.
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