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 Walthers 130 ft turntable....first impressions
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Posted - 2005 March 24 :  2:17:15 PM  Show Profile

Regarding your three questions,

1) I cannot answer this one because I don't own a Big Boy. I have run all of my steam engines on the turntable though including a 2-6-6-2 and and 4-6-2. From observing it, I see no reason why it could not handle the weight of a Big Boy.

2) Most of the turntable is powered, but a section about the width of two tracks running down the center of the turntable is unpowered. I followed Walthers advice and set up the turntable so that the unpowered section sat at a 90 degree angle to my approach tracks. I have a 9-stall roundhouse opposite the approach tracks, so that too avoids the unpowered area.

3) The bridge is flush with the edge of the pit. The prior post may have been referring to the profile of the bridge rails, supposedly slightly lower than the approach track rails. Having said that, I do not detect any difference on my turntable.


I will add a few comments if this helps.

Although the unpowered area of the turntable is limited to the one section that I mentioned, there are some limitations as to where you can program tracks. Tracks on the opposite side of the turntable cannot be programmed if the bridge overlaps a previously programmed position. On my layout, I have two main approach tracks, plus three tracks leading off the turntable to a Back Shop and three tracks leading off the turntable to a Car Shop. These six shop tracks are parallel to the approach tracks, three shop tracks on either side of the approach tracks. As a result, I can only program the middle five roundhouse tracks on the opposite side of the roundhouse because the outer two tracks at each end of the roundhouse cause the bridge to overlap the shop tracks. To get around this, I have to rotate the bridge 360 degrees to program the four outer stalls in the roundhouse. Hope that makes sense. In other words, once the engine enters the turntable, I have to completely rotate the turntable and back the engine into any of the four outer stalls.

Another comment relates to the unpowered area. This doesn't bother me because I don't need storage tracks at these two points on the turntable but it would raise an issue if you wish to have a 360 degree roundhouse. Walthers does suggest that you can place unpowered tracks in these two areas for display purposes but why bother if the tracks in these two areas are not operational.

Last point. In an earlier post, I complained about the fact that the bridge comes only in Code 83 track, not Code 100. Although a portion of my layout is Code 83, my entire "yard" area is Code 100. Since the 9-stall roundhouse already has Code 100 rail glued down, I was not about to try ripping it out and replacing it with Code 83 rail. At first, I tried to replace the tracks leading from the turntable to the roundhouse with Code 83 track joined to the roundhouse Code 100 rail with transitional rail joiners. Forget it! What I finally did was to file down the Code 100 rails with a Dremel where the rails meet the bridge rail. That works great and I recommend this approach.

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Posted - 2005 March 24 :  3:36:55 PM  Show Profile
richhotrain, thanks for all the input. I'm definately leaning towards the Walthers 130' Turntable after your putting some of my concerns to rest. I also have one of the Modern Roundhouse kits along with two extra stall kits. I have painted most of it but never went on to the assembly since I couldn't get an answer back then on the bridge rail size. My one regret with the roundhouse kit was that it locked me into positioning the roundhouse very close to the turntable pit. I would like to see a narrower stall angle to allow a little additional room between the pit and front doors. It looks a little too close to me but I don't see any way around that except scrapping everything except the long walls and building the rest from scratch. Did you have any trouble in the roundhouse construction other than not knowing about the code 83 rail in advance?

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Posted - 2005 March 24 :  5:47:13 PM  Show Profile

I built the roundhouse several months ago, and the construction went quite smoothly. No problems. I built the main 3-stall roundhouse plus two 3-stall add-ons to complete a 9-stall roundhouse. I placed it on my layout and installed the Walthers 90' turntable while waiting for the 130' turntable to arrive in stock. I simply operated the 90' turntable manually. At that time, the roundhouse was a pretty good distance away from the turntable - -too far in my estimate. I am not home to measure the distance of the feeder tracks from the 130' turntable to the roundhouse, but it is in the vicinity of 3 inches, and it looks fine. No operational problems at this short distance. Hope that helps.


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Posted - 2005 March 25 :  07:54:40 AM  Show Profile
I don't know about a Big Boy but there were no broblems turninga BLI cab forward

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Posted - 2005 March 25 :  08:23:53 AM  Show Profile
Great picture - makes the turntable even more enticing. Any idea how much the BLI Cab Forward weighs? The Trix BB weighs 3 lb. 3 oz. and the Lionel Challenger 3 lb. 1 oz. Also, how smoothly does it turn with the Cab Forward? Any noticeable jerkiness or hesitation?

Edited by - Charles on 2005 March 25 08:51:06 AM

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Posted - 2005 March 25 :  10:24:20 AM  Show Profile
Are you still in N scale? I built a Diamond Scale HO 134' girder turntable about 20 years ago but I was very disappointed with its performance. I didn't have indexing but I did motorize it. I found that the white metal castings for the bridge trucks tended to bend after a while under the weight of heavy locos (it also might have been partially due to a slightly uneven ring rail but I never verified that). In any event, the track height inconsistency and lack of rotational smoothness were major annoyances to me. The finished turntable was really good looking but I was dissatisfied operationally. I have heard that the Diamond Scale TT's have been improved so if anyone has had more recent experience with them I'd like to know. Otherwise, I think I'm still going with the Walthers 130'.

Hi Charles,

I'm no longer in N scale (decided that one scale is enough). I never had problems with the N scale turntable, probably because of the fact that N scale locomotives, even Big Boys, we considerably less than their HO counterparts.

As for the problems you had with the white metal bridge trucks, perhaps reinforcing them with some brass would help. Good luck.


"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
Inside a dog it is too dark to read."


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Posted - 2005 March 25 :  7:45:03 PM  Show Profile
No problems noticed with the cab forward or the Santa fe northern both fairly heavy engines no change in TT operation or speed. So far it was worth the wait.

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Posted - 2005 March 30 :  5:47:37 PM  Show Profile
Well I got mine today from train world. I've copied your remarks and hope that I am ready to install it tomorrow night. I'm glad to hear about your luck with the new TT cause as I've stated before I'm not to impressed with Walthers products so far. [ie; the transfer table, passenger cars that don't turn, and ect.] I really hope they got it right this time. Any last minute suggestions boys.

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Posted - 2005 March 30 :  7:56:28 PM  Show Profile
I got mine too! It turns a Trix Big Boy just fine. I'm glad it has indexing as there's not much extra room with a BB on the TT.

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