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Cooke Locomotive and Machine Works
1889 - RW&O Railroad Leslie Rotary Plow

           The rotary snow plow was originally invented by Canadian Dentist JW Elliot while living in Toronto in 1869. He never built a working model of his invention, but by 1883, Orange Jull of Orangeville, Ontario had expanded on the original design and worked with the Leslie Brothers of Toronto to build the first successful prototype. The Leslie Brothers contracted with the Cooke Locomotive Works to build the actual units.

           Built by the Cooke Locomotive and Machine Works of Patterson, NJ in January 1889 as builder's number 28 for the Rome Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad. Original Number not yet known. This Leslie Rotary plow fought the heavy lake effect snows along the shores of Lake Ontario from Lewiston to Watertown weighing in at 79 tons.

           The New York Central & Hudson River Railroad Co. acquired the RW&O in 1891 and the plow was renumbered as X-659, later NYC X-659, PC #60021 and CR #64599. Originally steam powered, the plow was converted to electric in 1951.

       Four large EMD traction motors power the large rotating fan blades. Conrail© was not even a year old when their Buffalo Division was put to the test during the "Blizzard of 77." Over seven feet of snow hit the region blown in off of Lake Erie.

#64599 was put into service and was used for six consecutive days to open up the mainline and yards. One of our Societies founders, Devan Lawton and friend Richard Horstmann, braved the elements and captured the rotary in action around Buffalo on February 2nd, 1977. The rotary was last used during the winter of 1993-1994.

           The Plow still retains its original "Fox Plate Trucks", although the axles were converted to roller bearings. From research on the internet, there appears to be 50 rotary snow plows still left, some are newer models still in service on the western railroads. A Northern Pacific plow built in 1887 is the oldest preserved unit with ours being the second oldest Cooke Leslie Plow and is the oldest Standard Gauge Rotary plow in existence east of the Mississippi. The WNYRHS acquired the plow from CSX Transportation in November 2003. We need to replace copper wiring stripped from the unit in 2005 to bring the plow back to full operation.

NYC Flanger - #64569

CR 64569, ex. PC 60079, was built by the Russell Snow Plow Company of Ridgeway, Pennsylvania, for the New York Central System in November, 1948. It weighs 89,000 lbs. It was designed as a single-wedge flanger for the movement of snow off the multiple tracks of the NYC's, New York to Chicago mainline. It also was aquired by the Society in November of 2003 from CSX and is now on lease to the Arcade & Attica Railroad in Arcade, New York.

All photo's ©2004 Joe Kocsis & smph50

C&O PLOW - #914025

Built by the Chesapeake&Ohio RR in 1965 and originally numbered SP - 25. Equipped with Pere Marquette trucks, #914025 weighs in at 42,800 lbs and is 44'-4" in length. It was last used in service on the B&O (B&P) in 1986 seeing service between Buffalo and Salamanca, New York. Stored in Hamburg, NY.

"M-19" Fairmont Speeder

This 1950's Fairmont "M-19", series "F" speeder was donated to the WNYRHS in 2014 by William Agate, retired Chief Mechanical Officer of the South Buffalo Railway. The speeder is stored serviceable at the  Heritage DiscoveRY Center.  in Buffalo, NY.

This page was last updated: October 24th, 2019

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The WNYRHS, Inc. P.O. Box 416, Buffalo, NY. 14231-0416 is an independent organization and has no affiliation with any other local or national group.
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