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UK TV Filming SPMW 208

September 2017


On August 23rd, 2017 WPRM was contacted by a TV production company based in the United Kingdom interested in producing a documentary series including pieces of American railroad equipment.

They traveled to California in September 2017 to produce a short segment about Rotary Snow Plows.  The piece will discuss the history of the rotary plow, how it worked and why it was such a successful piece of machinery.

They were interested in learning more about the Southern Pacific Rotary MW208 at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum at Portola and already had some great footage of it in action.  They were very interested is visiting the museum when they learned in was "stored operational" and with some TLC (and some funding), could be demonstrated for their film crew.

They came on the property on Saturday, September 16th for a day of living history.

For the film crew we provided an operating crew who demonstrated the equipment.  Steve Habeck was the engineer for the snow plow that controlled the entire consist with Charlie Spikes as his fireman.  The second unit, and the motive power, was SP 2873 (the SPMW 208 cannot move by itself, it needs a pusher engine) engineered by Loren Ross with David Elems as the fireman.  In addition to the engine crews, we had a ground crew with Bil Jackson as conductor and brakeman Ed Powell.  The operation ran for four hours.

Learn more about the SPMW 208 & SPMW 8221, Rotary Snow Plow & Snail on their collection page.

- by Paul Finnegan 9/21/17



The Day of the Shoot
September 16th, 2017

Watch a short video of SP 208 Leading a work train
out of the station at the museum on September 16th, 2017.

Ethan Doty, Steve Habeck, David Elems and Loren Ross are taking the front coupler off the rotary with the forklift for the day's shooting.
Photo by Greg Elems

Chris Potts in the door way with Gavin McRae and Tom Weller moving and adjusting Go Pro camera's on the Rotary.
Photo by Greg Elems

Eddie Powell watches Tom Weller attaching a Go Pro before starting the day's shooting.
Photo by Greg Elems

The rotary, snail and 2873 as seen from the back platform of the SP caboose and from inside the balloon track.
Photo by Greg Elems

The rotary, snail and 2873 as seen from the back platform of the SP caboose and from inside the balloon track.
Photo by Greg Elems

Chris Potts and Gavin McRae discussing the angle for shooting the rotary at the end of the day's work.
Photo by Greg Elems

The rotary at Milward switch rolling by in one of the run by filming sessions. Chris Potts standing in the door way of the Rotary enjoying the ride and view.
Photo by Greg Elems