Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by alkcnw, Apr 12, 2002.

  1. alkcnw

    alkcnw Member

    Hey train people, Andy K. here i'm new to the forum and I have a question on turntables. In my last 40 yrs. of modeling I have never used a turntable. I am now building a engine and car repair shop extention to my layout. Its 2 by 8 foot and it seems I could have room for a turntable on it. It would have to be at least 12" dia.. Atlas makes a 9" dia. model but it looks like junk, to phony, Walthers has one thats 13 3/8" dia. and looks pretty nice. I was wondering if anyone has ever installed the Walthers turn table and how they liked it. Or would I be better off scratchbuilding my own? Thanks for your time!!!!!!:eek:
  2. PennRailRoads

    PennRailRoads Member

  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    There's a thread on the Trains/Model Railroader forum all about the Walthers turntable. At least some people are having problems with it. (I didn't know they made one!)
    I have 2 Peco turntables which I like. They are 12" long but an English prototype (that shouldn't be a problem; just modify a few details) . They come manual but fit a Meccano axle that you can use to power them. The electric contacts are built in and work neatly. It's a mostly plastic kit.

    price (last time I bought) was abour $50.00 Canadian
  4. alkcnw

    alkcnw Member

    WOW!!! That Bowser turntable is nice. But I would have to sell one kid, one dog, and my truck to buy it. I will have to check into the peco site when I leave here. The only problem I can see is I run mainly steam and my average engine and tender is about 13 1/2". I thank you for your time!!:eek:
  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    OK Andy. The peco turntable will handle every British locomotive except the Beyer-Garratts and they were classed as tank engines (!) and considered bi-directional. I keep thinking you guys are all modelling the Maine back-woods in 1910 or something.
  6. alkcnw

    alkcnw Member

    David, Thanks for your reply, I'm modeling the transition period between late 40's and early 60's in the state of wisconsin. Mainly CNW, MILW, SOO, WC so I won't be running any BIG BOYS. The turntable from peco might work. I'm not ready for it just yet so I have time to check into it further.
  7. dmb3006

    dmb3006 Member

    Turn tables

    If I can get over my fear of starting a project that involve's carpentry,I'm going to build a engine service facility.I model NYC late 50 era so I should be able to take care of the turning needs of my steam & 1st generation diesel engines.The turn table is a Wilson made in cleveland ohio years ago found it for $30 at a hobby shop 10 years ago.The box the table came in says Wilson and has a zone number not a zip code in the address,long out of business I would think.Don't have the space to spare;but I'm building a 9 stall Helgen Roundhouse,also at least a fueling facility for the diesels.The table is almost 14 inches long.Is this about 105-110 scale feet?? Is there a way to figure distance from the table center to the stall center?? Has anyone seen the new Kalmbach book on building engine terminals ?? Always looking for good buys in NYC locomotives,I really need a Empire States Express steamline 4-6-4 Riv. ok as this will just be a main line runner pulling a fairly light IHC 9 car ESE train.Has anyone tried the MRC F7's they sure look great in the adds.
  8. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    101.6 feet to be exact (14/12*87.1). The rest I can't speak to, I would've assumed the instructions for the roundhouse comment on that situation.
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah


    the distance will depend on a buch of dimensions from the roundhouse. These are the length of the roundhouse and the spacing of the stalls at the front and the back. Are there floor plans with the kit? It might be easiest to take them and draw the track center lines out until they meet.

    How does your Wilson turntable run? I know 2 people with them and both have problems.
  10. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Hi David, Good to see another NYC modeler. I model the Hudson and electric divisions circa 1952. In regard to the turntable/roundhouse, the ideal situation is where the roundhouse front walls curvature matches the turntables. That is to say for a 9 stall roundhouse the end stalls and center stall can all be placed the same distance from the center point of the turntable. This is unlikely to be the case when building roundhouses from a kit not made specifically for a given turntable. As a first step, check to see how close your combination comes to this. As David stated, a floorplan or template of the front wall would make the task easier. You will likely need to curve the tracks to the stalls nearest the ends. Or perhaps overlap the rails of adjacent stalls as they approach the pit. This would look awesome but would require handlaying a bunch of frogs. More wiring too. My guess is you won't want to do this. Another approach is to modify your roundhouse kit so its curvature is a better match. If you do this you will need to make new roof panels at least, rear walls will need adjustment to, side walls should be ok. Let us know what you find. good luck.

  11. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah


    since the Wilson TT doesn't have any fixed stopping points on it, it should match with any roundhouse; you just have to move it farther away or closer. If it's done properly, at some distance the stalls point at the center of the turntable.
    Hint: do the positioning before you cut the hole for the TT or else keep the middle bit so you can find the centre.:cool:
  12. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Andy, several years ago I purchased a Diamond Scale Models turntable. I built it but have yet to install it. At the time they had several styles and lengths. I don't know if they are still around but the turntable is "top drawer" Comes with the gears for turning it. They had a motorizing and indexing kit ( extra) but I elected to go with the hand cranked version. You might want to see if they are still around and what they have available.
  13. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    David, I understand your post regarding all stalls lining up at some point by moving the roundhouse closer or further away, but remember a problem we had at a club I belonged to which refused to go along with this logic. Unfortunately, I can not recall the specifics of turntable/roundhouse manufacturers or size. I believe the tt was Diamond Scale, I think 130'. No idea on the roundhouse. Anyway, the tt was installed and we had plenty of room to move the house back and forth, there was no way we could get the stalls all lined up. The problem was the one I talked about above, the distance from the front wall of the house to the pit was shorter on the end stalls than it was for the center stall. I suppose this means that if the roundhouse were 360 degrees, it would have been smaller than the pit.
    As I understand your last post, if the assembled roundhouse were placed on a piece of plywood and accurate lines drawn from the center of each stall to a point where all intersected, that would be the center of the tt. A great and simple idea which I will use when I install the Diamond Scale tt and Walthers roundhouse I have a year or two from now. Now in the case above, if we had done that we may have found that the intersecting point would have been to close to the roundhouse for the size tt we were using. We wound up modifying the roundhouse so its radius (?) was larger and the problem was solved.

  14. billk

    billk Active Member

    A roundhouse's inner wall (the one closest to the turntable) has a diameter of some value. Even if the wall not truly curved, but is made of straight sections, is still can be thought of as being curved and so having this diameter. A TT also (duh!) has a diameter.

    Both the RH and the TT also have centerpoints, which should be at the same place if you want the tracks from the TT into the RH to be straight.

    If the TT diameter is larger than the RH diameter, you would have the problem described by Gary and Vic. You would ned to either 1) Use a smaller TT, 2) Use a larger diameter RH (or modify it as decribed earlier), or 3) Curve the tracks between the TT and the RH.

    If the RH diameter is larger, simply divided the difference by 2 to get how far from the edge of the TT the RH inner walls should be located to be the centerpoints aligned (fudged in a little bit if the walls are straight).
  15. dmb3006

    dmb3006 Member

    Installing Turntable

    Thanks for the response to my turntable problem,The room I have available for the railroad has appox.12'X10' of bench work space. In the last house we lived in I had 2 levels that covered 20X30 feet.Double track main line and a lot of yard space.It was in a rental house and had to be dismanteled when we moved.I sold all of my equipment,except for a couple of power packs,and that old turn table.My plan was to join a club if the railroad bug ever bit again.As luck would have it I took a job that was located right across the road from the east end of the CSX yard on the old NYC main line( Dewitt Yard) On lunch hour I would watch endless freight and passenger trains going by at high speed.Started buying MR and going to hobby shops again.Well I sure don't have the space for the kind of layout I would love to have;but I'm going to have that engine terminal and a yard.I think the turntable,roundhouse,and some outside stalls will take a space 4X4 With careful planning I hope I can do 3 foot shelves around the room to allow 30 inch radius on the outside track.Can see the dreaded duck under coming.With the use of a hole thru a wall I may be able to use space in my gun room as a staging yard.So its slow going arm chair model railroading,with some kit building at this time.Its hard to believe as much as I enjoy trains that I ever sold everything;but buying the house was a struggle,and at the time the money came in handy.My other passion is Rifles and reloading ammunition,so except for the laundry area,furnace and water heater I 've got the whole basement in use.The turntable motor works well;but is loud,plan to replace the old brass rail,and make a pit rail and add a operators shack on the table.If I can't make it work well Ill buy a diamond scale unit after I have the motive power i want.I love engines Wouldn't it be nice if Atlas made a lighting stripe RS1 again,or someone did a Niagara 4-8-4 that did not require a mortage.
  16. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Bachmann's Niagara isn't bad (certainly not up to recent releases) and the price is right ($60.00 mail order). If you want to install DCC, this unit will be a real challenge tho.

  17. Chessie

    Chessie Member

    Hi Andy
    I don't know if you solved you turntable issue or not but I saw someone who used an atlas turntable to drive a scrach built one.
    The atlas table has a fine mechanical action but looks bad.

    PS I purchased a Walthers turntable and it is junk.
  18. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    My Diamond Scale turntable is still for sale if anyone of you who are having trouble want a good one. It is still in the original kit form. I've pretty much decided you go a different direction and the 135' scale turntable no longer fits my plans.

  19. msh

    msh Member

    Cool Idea But....

    Just how does a turntable work on an HO layout? I don't mean its purpose or how to use it, I mean how it operates from an electrical standpoint. I'm getting the feeling it involves a lot of consideration, wiring and forethought.
  20. dmb3006

    dmb3006 Member

    turntable operation

    The electrical operation of a model turntable requires,a on & off switch for each stall track.Power to the turntable rails,and the lead tracks coming to the turntable it self.From all of the information found in the how to do it books from Atlas & Kalmbach it looks like a reversing switch is also needed as part of the turn table electrical system.I have yet to get started a interruption in my employement,& rebuilding our back porch has pushed model railroading to after hunting season.:cool:

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