Snow Tractors

I’ve made it my mission to start a certain percentage of my posts with variations on the theme of “been busy, been a while etc…”

This one, I’m not going to bother because you can probably guess that I’ve had a bit to do.

Apart from working to keep things warm, light and movable I’ve tried to get a bit of normality back. So trips to the gym on an evening are back – something which helps a lot in keeping a rhythm to your life and helps you sleep – which then helps getting your confused self out of bed in a morning. Your circadian rhythm can quickly get messed up if you let it.  This should get a bit easier now that the sun is back with us though (next post about that!). It’s not shining through the window when you open you eyes but we do at least have a difference between night and day now.

Few people asked me about the vehicles down here, so here are some photos of the various stuff we get around and about in. They are all female apparently. Not sure whether it’s a trade thing but I’ve never seen a transformer or a distribution board and wondered about its gender but the mechs down here consider everything with a moving part a She or Her, mostly quite affectionately.

These are a few of the vehicles we have at Halley, most are winterised because when the temps get really low not a lot will continue to work down here. The dozers, of which there are two, are the workhorses of the station and run pretty much all year re-fueling teh base, pushing snow into the melt tanks amongst other things. A lot of the vehicles are mostly for summer use only though a lot do come out early and late in winter when the temps are less hostile.

First up, the Nodwells or Noddys. Big, heavy tracked vehicles with a crane on the back. Great for drum raises

Nodwell crane

Antarctic nodwell crane

Antarctic nodwell crane

Next the John Deere Tractors. These do most of the donkey work during relief dragging sledges up and down from the ship to the base in summer.

Antarctic John Deere

Antarctic John Deere

Then the 360 excavator and the cherry picker used for digging and getting up to high stuff



Now we have the Pisten Bullys. The pride of the Halley mech crew – they love a bit of sexy German engineering.

Antarctic pisten bully

Antarctic pisten bully

My personal favourite, bit of a pain to drive but looks pretty cool. the Snow Cat. All purpose vehicle when the temps are above -30. Drive down to the ship or windy bay and also good for moving stuff around base.

antarctica snow cat

antarctica snow cat

antarctica snow cat

And one with one of the dozers.

CAT Dozer

Some of the machines winterised on the vehicle line.

halley Antarctic vehicles

And some shots of the vehicles with their winter coats on



I’ll post some more pictures with the smaller polar hero favourites – the Skidoos along with some sledge pics. I’ll write something fairly sharpish about Sun up too, it’s quiet a big date in the Antarctic calender after all.





4 thoughts on “Snow Tractors

  1. Love it. It’s like Gerry Anderson’s imagination in 1/1 scale.
    You may be interested to know the Lego Arctic sets are hitting the shelves. After a few seconds with a white paint pen and a moment to hide the polar bear, they become Lego Antarctic sets. Some near matches for the vehicles on display in your post.

  2. Oooh, ooh! Just discovered this: please support it if you care about representing Antarctic vehicles in Lego form. The real Snow Cruiser was a failure, but damn it looked cool, and Beech Staggerwings are teh awesomes.

  3. paul carlozzi


    • I was working for the British Antarctic Survey. The vehicles are all goo to about -30 degC then some of them struggle, even then though all vehicles are warmed up for an hour or so before every use.The majority of vehicles are summer only really. Once winter sets in the bulldozers are the workhorse as temps get down to -50c. The tracks on the snowcats and John deres become inflexible at these temps but the dozers steel tracks are still good. They still take a lot of warming up though! Yup, I was there for the full winter and into the following summer- 14 months!

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