Thursday, March 31, 2011

Half-Turntable for Hidden Space

Since the day we decided to use steam power for the layout, we had to face a major historic problem... turning our engines. It is impossible to add a turntable to the existing shelf layout because of technical and operational issues.

Until yesterday, it was done manually, by the Hand of God, at the risk and peril of breaking small details. In fact, we almost never turned them.

On last Wednesday club meeting, I told my fellow members it was time to install a new turntable and that the best location for it would be in the furnace closet actually used as a tunnel to join the under construction Murray Bay Subdivision. The idea was welcomed coldly at first, but the spectacular and creative solution that appeared by the end of the night surpassed all our expectations.

The shop district located in the furnace closet.

One have to know Louis-Marie once scratchbuilt a large turntable for our President’s Choice 4-6-4. Operation was unreliable and the roundhouse proved to be a waste of time and energy since it almost never served as much as intended.
The main layout is located on the other side of the tunnel (right corner).

This time, the track plan is the simpliest you could dream of: a single spur with half-a-turntable located on a triangular 2’ x 3’ benchwork. The operation is straight forward: turning locomotives between duties.

Original turntable and roundhouse from the previous layout.

The old scratchbuild 16” (116 scale feet) turnatable from the previous layout was scavenged from the garage and reinstalled (it works with a magnetoscope motor). Since we lacked place and don’t plan to store engine there, the index system has only one position. Also, we further slimmed the turntable by creating an open pit, something I’ve never seen on any layout. We think it gives a really interesting sight for locomotive.

Mock up scenery made with Vollmer roundhouse parts.

A bunch of discarded Vollmer roundhouse facades were added to mock up a “railway shop” looks and the kitbashed Limoilou coal tower found its way back on the layout. To make room for a better scenery, the turntable will be move a few inches more from the wall to install backdrop buildings.

Limoilou coal tower nested in the back corner.

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