RR round house ruins???
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  1. #1
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    Default RR round house ruins???

    Working in Dodge City Kansas I got some photos of a really neat turn table. Do you think it had a roundhouse built over it at one time?img_0713.jpg


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    It would have been in front of the roundhouse in most designs.


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    Better photo,


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    Google image of site today


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    Remains of RH upper right from turntable.

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    Pretty common setup I think. Here is an old S.P. turntable in my neck-o-the-woods..Eureka, CA

    Stuart

    sp-turntable-eureka-ca.jpg

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    Thank you for posting the pictures of the turntable. You are correct: there was once a roundhouse there. A fine point: the actual roundhouse surrounded the turntable as a concentric partial "ring". The roundhouse never actually went over the turntable. The roundhouse, depending on the number of stalls, wrapped around the turntable from a few stalls to more than 270 degrees.

    In 1998, I was helping out by firing the Chinese SY (2-8-2) class steam locomotive around the Port Jervis, NY yards. That day, ex C & O 614 was coming up from New Jersey with a special passenger excursion train. The plan was to have the 142 and the 614 leave Port Jervis as a double header. Kind of a "Mutt and Jeff" situation, since the 614 did not need any helper engine, but a crowd pleaser.

    While 614 was en route up from New Jersey with its train, we ran the 142 onto the Port Jervis turntable. It had been put back into operation and used a VFD drive and had a new turntable motor. I had never ridden a steam locomotive onto a turntable. It was a little bit of an experience. As the locomotive got on the turntable, I could feel the movement of the turntable under the locomotive. Just enough to let you know you were not running on a solid roadbed. Once on the turntable, the operator took us through a couple of turns and we ran off it again. Later on, the 614 went onto the Port Jervis turntable, for no other reason than to please the rail fans.

    I believe the older turntables used direct current motor drives to achieve variable speed and soft starting. I recall the turntable at the old Soo Line Roundhouse in Marquette, MI had electric drive, and the operator had a large drum type controller (trolley car controller as they are sometimes called). That was a working turntable in the late 70's when I lived and worked in Marquette, MI.

    The center "bow" with the ornamental steel work is not decorative on railroad turntables. The power cable for the drive motor is run to the center post of that ornamental steel bow. A set of slip rings and brushes are mounted up on the center post so that the turntable can rotate a full 360 degrees or any number of complete revolutions the operator cares to run it through. I remember one evening, I was hanging around the Marquette, MI roundhouse. A Soo Line train, up from Munising, had been broken up in the South Marquette yard and the engines run to the roundhouse. The hostler ran one diesel unit (an EMD F or FP series) onto the turntable. A guy the hostler knew was there with his small children. The fellow and the hostler kidded around and the next thing I saw was the father got up in the cab of the diesel unit on the turntable. The hostler handed up the children. The hostler than ran the turntable through a few complete turns. We kidded around about it being one helluva merry go round. Simpler times and a different era- the Marquette roundhouse is gone in its entirety, like it never existed, and the Soo Line is history, and the trackage and South Marquette yard are gone as well.

    I believe a number of railroads demolished their roundhouses once the steam era ended. It got the buildings off the tax rolls and eliminated a lot of property maintenance. The railroads often kept the turntables as they were handy for turning locomotives rather than having to have a "wye" ( combination of switches and trackage which took up a lot of real estate and required maintenance). It took a lot longer to turn a locomotive on a wye than it did on a turntable.

    The old roundhouses were literally stables for the locomotives. Each bay where a locomotive was kept was referred to as a "stall"- same as in a horse barn. The hostler was a term also carried over from stables and the era of using horses for transportation. The old roundhouses had flat roofs or roofs with a shallow pitch to them. In areas of heavy snowfall, the railroads had a steady battle on their hands- having to have men shovel off the roofs and keep roof drains cleared, and repairing the roofs come spring or summer. I remember driving through one town in maybe 1978, possibly Ashland, Wisconsin. There was a roundhouse, or a fraction of it, still in use. What had been a much larger roundhouse had been partially demolished, leaving only 2 or 3 stalls, with what looked like a temporary bulkhead wall to close the end which had once been connected to the main body of the roundhouse. Sad to see, and it was obvious the rest of that roundhouse was not long for this world.

    The Marquette roundhouse was still fairly close to what it had been in steam days. There was a stationary high pressure boiler which could have made steam for working the draft blowers on locomotives being "brought up from cold", and could have also been used to keep water in the tender tanks from freezing by bubbling live steam into the tanks. There were still steam hose connections on the columns between each stall. At the end of the roundhouse where the stationary boiler was located, there was a small machine shop. It consisted of a radial drill and about an 18" Reed and Prentice geared head engine lathe. The local tourist railroad used to run their steam locomotive into the Soo Line's roundhouse for winter layup and any repairs. In the course of that, I ran the radial drill and the engine lathe a couple of times. There were piles of assorted stuff left from the steam days all over the roundhouse. It was not hard to find what we needed for the steam locomotive off the tourist railroad. I remember finding a cardboard canister with old original labelling - in it was a set of new packings for a Westinghouse duplex air pump (steam driven compressor for the brakes). It was what we needed at that moment. We knew we could find copper ferrules if we had to roll in new boiler tubes and had a hole in the tube sheet that had been previously reamed for a ferrule, or simply had been deformed oversized from many previous rolling-ins of tubes. There were heavy machinist vises on benches built along the outer wall, very nearly a vise for each stall as I recall. There were random parts of all sorts laying around, and no one showed any interest in any of it. There were odd tools just gathering dust and laying in heaps. In one such heap, I found a 3 lb cross pein sledge or blacksmith's hammer head. I put it in my overall pocket. It was made by "Fairmount" and is stamped "Soo Ry.". I put a handle in that hammer head and use it to this day, a souveneir of another era, I guess. I am sure that the bulk of the stuff in that old roundhouse went for junk and imagine that was the case when so many other roundhouses were demolished.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Michaels View Post
    Simpler times and a different era- the Marquette roundhouse is gone in its entirety, like it never existed, and the Soo Line is history, and the trackage and South Marquette yard are gone as well.
    Not simpler, Joe - life was just as complicated then as it is now. But more sensible for sure, and people didn't have their head up their butt about day-to-day stuff.

    If they had WW II today, there is no doubt in my mind who would win.

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    There is a new operating roundhouse in southeast Ohio. I believe it is the largest timber frame building in the country with a brick exterior. Bays for 18 locomotives with facilities for restoration activities.
    age of steam roundhouse

    Bob
    WB8NQW

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    Here’s a over shot of blcksmith’s age of steam roundhouse. It gives me a better idea how they worked.


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    Quote Originally Posted by blcksmth View Post
    There is a new operating roundhouse in southeast Ohio. I believe it is the largest timber frame building in the country with a brick exterior. Bays for 18 locomotives with facilities for restoration activities.
    age of steam roundhouse

    Bob
    WB8NQW
    Link seems to not work.
    Works now, nice
    Last edited by Rob F.; 04-14-2019 at 12:19 AM.

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    The Lehigh Valley had another roundhouse at Sayre Pa.
    Railway master mechanic [microform]
    Google Maps
    They also had shops there Railway and locomotive engineering : a practical journal of railway motive power and rolling stock ,where they built some locomotives .
    Railway and locomotive engineering : a practical journal of railway motive power and rolling stock.

    There are several round houses that are still in use mostly as museums or for tourist operations
    Here is another one
    Roundhouse Park - Wikipedia
    The one at Steam town forms a nearly complete circle.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steamt..._Historic_Site
    Much more else where on on line about these two.
    Regards,
    Jim

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    Joe Michaels,
    We found that the box with the slip rings on top of the arch was the ancestral home of a clan of yellow jackets when we rebuilt the table in Savannah. They did NOT like the ancestral home moving when we pulled the arch off for re-work, and were quick to make their displeasure known.

    rh.jpg

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    Just today, I walked through the roundhouse at Greenfield Village (Dearborn, MI). It was added to the village in 1992 or so and I think it incorporates remnants salvaged from a ruined roundhouse in Marshall, MI. It is a real roundhouse and they have all the features and machinery to maintain their locomotives and rolling stock. The turntable is entirely manual and several times a day they let visitors turn a locomotive around, pushing on a big steel lever attached to the turntable.

    greenfield village roundhouse - Yahoo Image Search Results

    Larry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob F. View Post
    Link seems to not work.
    Works fine for me. I toured the AoS Roundhouse facility late last year. What an amazing place. It was designed to look like its been there 100 years and the late Jerry Jacobson spend a lot of money to make that happen. The facility includes a complete back shop to do as much as possible on site.

    age of steam roundhouse

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    Tiburon had a roundhouse, fer heck's sake. They even had a functional steam locomotive. If they'd kept that, they'd have another tourist attraction now. All the Marin County third grades went there for a field trip and rode the turntable. In sixth grade you went to SF and toured the banana boats. The Savannah was a good trip, too. It was like a floating Enterprise long before Gene Roddenberry.

    The US used to have good stuff. Eric Hoffer, longshoremen in SF, North Beach dive bars, hey sailor, wanta good time ? mickey finns with a subsequent working trip to shanghai, what's not to like ?

    The big SP roundhouse down in Burlingame was there for decades. Maybe they finally demolished it ...

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    I had posted a few months ago, a couple of roundhouses in central Chile, they were reinforced concrete, with a complete circle:
    A nice looking railroad museum, with a complete roundhouse

    The loco coming in one slot, like a bull entering the arena....

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    North Carolina has a nice roundhouse at the Transportation Museum at Spencer: NC Transportation Museum - Bob Julian Roundhouse

    Worth a half or whole day visit.

    Paul

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    We have one as well in my neck of the woods.
    It has been declared a protected building, which means the decay has to be stopped. Thank God for that.
    I have been inside, it was the most wonderful construction. Great to have this piece of art, right in the City center.

    capture.jpg

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