Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday Night Steam

Lets watch a roundhouse in action! This one is in Germany!

Eisenbahn-Fest StaƟfurt 1/2 -

Early steam locomotives normally traveled forwards only. Although reverse operations capabilities were soon built into locomotive mechanisms, the controls were normally optimized for forward travel, and the locomotives often could not operate as well in reverse. Some passenger cars, such as observation cars, were also designed as late as the 1960s for operations in a particular direction. Turntables allowed locomotives or other rolling stock to be turned around for the return journey, and roundhouses, designed to radiate around the turntables, were built to service and store these locomotives.
Most modern diesel and electric locomotives can run equally well in either direction, and many are push-pull trains with control cabs at each end. In addition, railroads often use multiple locomotives to pull trains, and even with locomotives that have distinct front and rear ends, the engines at opposing ends of a locomotive "consist" (a group of locomotives coupled together and controlled as a single unit) can be aligned so they face opposite directions. With such a setup, trains needing to reverse direction can use a technique known as a "run around," in which the engines are uncoupled from the train, pull around it on an adjacent track or siding, and reattach at the other end. The engineer changes operating ends from the original locomotive to the one on the opposite end of the locomotive consist.
Railroad terminals also use features such as balloon loops and wyes (Commonwealth: triangle) to reverse the orientation of railroad equipment. Because of the advent of these practices, modern roundhouses are frequently not round and are simply large buildings used for servicing locomotives. Like much other railroad terminology, however, the structure has retained its traditional name. The alternative term engine-house encompasses both semi-circular and rectangular structures and broadly describes all buildings intended for storage and servicing of locomotives. Shops or workshops are buildings containing hoists and heavy machinery capable of major repairs beyond routine servicing.] Some roundhouses include shop facilities internally or in adjoining buildings.
Since the great dieselisation era of the 1940s and 1950s, many roundhouses have been demolished or put to other uses, but a few still stand and remain in use on the railroads. Early roundhouses were too small for later locomotives. The unusual shape of the buildings can make them difficult to adapt to new uses, but can also be aesthetically appealing.

A look at different roundhouses:



  1. Interesting. The video showed a lot of the differences between European and US steam. The NC Transportation Museum in Spencer has a great roundhouse and turntable. It is at the old Southern shop.
    Visited last year.
    There is a new turntable in Bryson City, NC for the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad for turning their steam locomotive. Will put a photo on the blog when I get time. Still cleaning up from the hurricane.

    1. 'Hope you didn't have too much damage from the storm. We only had one windy day and no rain when it came up the coast.
      Thanks for the link! Looking forward to your post!

    2. No significant damage, just one tree. The work is all putting things back and taking shutters down. Almost finished.