How do you park a locomotive in a Roundhouse? Use a Turntable!
A hostler drove a locomotive onto the Turntable. An operator rotated the Turntable from a control box at one end of it, until the table aligned with a desired track running into the Roundhouse. The Hostler then drove the locomotive into the proper bay for maintenance. The Turntable here was made in 1907 and was moved from the Central of Georgia Railroad Shops in Columbus, Georgia. The Central's first table was not originally motorized.
A turntable "?is supported on the center pier and pivots on conical rollers or steel balls encased in a box with bearing plates under, fox bolted to the masonry." — Railroad Structures and Estimates, 1909
(upper left) The Central of Georgia maintained similar equipment and buildings in many of its shops. This turntable photographed at the Columbus, Georgia shops, for example, looked very similar to the one here in Savannah. Norfolk Southern Archives
(lower right) New roller bearings in the Turntable box, circa 2003. The current Turntable operates on three bearing points rather than a center pivot.
Turntable Technology Changes
(to support larger locomotives)
* ca 1851-1855 - Manual 50 ft long
* 1886 - Probably steam powered
* 1903 - Gasoline powered
* 1906 - 65 ft long
* 1923 - Electric, 75 ft long
* 1945 - 5 ft extensions added to both ends, making it 85 ft long