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Turntable or turn by hand?

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  • Turntable or turn by hand?

    My layout has a reverse loop and sometimes the steam engine doesn't arrive into the industrial areas aiming the right direction. I have a place for an Atlas turntable; but turntables plus an engine house take up a lot of space. So the question for those running steam engines on their layout, do you use a turntable or turn the engine around by hand? I've always heard that once an engine is on the layout it stays on the layout.
    John

  • #2
    Hi John,

    I always reckon that if you have room for a turntable, then put one in.

    It doesn't matter if it is electrically powered, or the more-common 'armstrong' method, a turntable always adds operating interest as well as another visual focal point.

    No, you don't have to fit a multi-track unit with a 24-stall roundhouse behind it. Some of the finest turntables that I have seen have only had one track in and out.

    The Atlas is a nice turntable too. I have built and 'bashed a few of their units, and with the Geneva movement, they are reliable and precise.

    Go for it!


    John


    Time is the Gauge of Existence

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    • #3
      I saw Doug's video on the forum about his turntable. I didn't realize they were so LOUD. My engine house is an old FSM 2 stall. Also have an unbuilt Campbell 1 stall brick engine house
      John

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      • #4
        I like reverse loops at each end plus a turntable. It provides the best of both worlds. With the turntable I can operate point to point like a real short line and even stage a train or two in the hidden part of the loops.

        The loops can come in handy if you just feel like running a train around a bit or possibly showing someone how the layout works.

        I keep a small sound equipped passenger train around just for that purpose.

        In regards to a roundhouse near the turntable taking up room, I agree 100%. Total waste of space for an operator (unless you have the room). That is why I will build my next turntable near the edge of the layout with dummy tracks running off the edge to imply a roundhouse is in the UN-modeled area. lately I'm starting to lay one dummy track running over the layout edge in every town I build now to suggest lots more railroading goes on in the *off* stage area.
        http://www.dougcoffey.com/html/model_railroad.html

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        • #5
          I have to agree my Atlas turntable sounds like a grain auger. Thing is, I operate alone and it doesn't really bother me anymore. They do have size limitations.

          There is a way to build a good reliable inexpensive turntable that will handle longer locomotives. I have done so here if you care to have a look.

          http://www.dougcoffey.com/html/new_projects.html
          http://www.dougcoffey.com/html/model_railroad.html

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          • #6
            Turning your engine by hand is asking for trouble. Each time you handle it you are risking dropping it or doing damage to details. There are many prototype railroads that had their turntable stuffed in a out of the way place away from the engine house. Just a single track to it.
            Kevin Miller

            Winlock, WA

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            • #7
              Turning a steam engine by hand is a real pain in the butt and it leaves rude looking prints on the lokie. As Doug stated a turntable is very nice to have and doesn't take up a whole lot of space as long as you don't venture into adding a round house. You can always include a simple two stall engine house to spruce up the scene.

              Doug when I finally make it over your way ( and I will) no worry's I carry ear plugs on the bike.

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