Nevada Northern Rotary B. One of the most interesting pieces in the collection of the Nevada Northern Railway Museum, and one that is rarely photographed, is Rotary Snow Plow "B". She rarely ventures outside the engine house and even when she's inside, she's usually tucked away in a dark corner.
Rotary B is a standard gauge, steam-powered rotary snow plow, built in 1907 for the NN by Alco's Cooke Works. (Her designation is a bit deceiving, because the line never owned a Rotary A. MOW equipment on the NN was given letter designations (vs. numbers) and the "A" piece was a wrecking crane.) Like many similar machines built in the same time frame, she has a full-body wooden cab, and is attached to a tender, which provides coal and water for her internal steam engine. This steam engine has no other function other than spinning the big impeller up front. Maintenance access to the steam engine is provided by the steel hatches you see in the side of the cab. Plows like this one have no internal propulsion system and were typically pushed by one or more steam locomotives. The steepness of the grade, and the depth and consistency of the snow determined the amount of power required for a plow extra.
At 106 years old, the wooden cab of Rotary B is actually relatively well-preserved. Living indoors has been relatively kind to her. Mechanically however, she would need some pretty substantial work to be made operational. Although the museum would obviously like to have her operable, the snow in Ely rarely gets deep enough to need a plow this large, and the museum has other priorities at the moment.