A National Roundhouse/turntable Inventory
(including selected foreign countries)

(Select the image below to start or make a selection on the right of the image)

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All Collections This link is to an earlier database. We have two additional databases with more recent entries that we will merge at a later date. Right now foreign entries are not loaded; they will be later.

Case Studies




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The Mission Statement

The mission of this WEB site is to document locations of roundhouses/turntables. However, related issues of interest to the contributors are also shared.

General Description

These images are an inventory of roundhouses/turntables taken from Google Earth, MicroSoft, and other similar imaging systems. These images represent what is still standing; what is partially left; and finally what is GONE as indicated by some evidence, e.g. the fan shape footprint of the roundhouse foundations or the turntable pit. Once a turntable is removed often a circular imprint is left behind, but not always. With the roundhouse, the floor is usually made of concrete with the tracks/engine bays radiating out in a fan like pattern. Often when a roundhouse is demolished or has burned down, this tell tail fan pattern is left behind. You will see this pattern in many of the images where the roundhouse is GONE. If your Windows system is setup just right, all you have to do is to double click the image to display it at full resolution. In addition, sometimes the images seem fuzzy; this is due to the original image resolution and is nothing that we control. At the bottom of a Google image is the latitude and longitude so anyone can go back and explore the location if Google is used. Also of importance are the dates of the images which range from about 1985 to the present. So what is portrayed in the image may not be present now. As an example see the images WISuperior2MSN (an MSN image which is displayed in a separate window so you can compare to the next later image for the same location) and WISuperior2--GONE (the later Google image is also be displayed in separate window). The MSN image has an earlier date than the Google image and the roundhouse that present in the MSN image is GONE in the Google image. Matter of fact, after the roundhouse/turntable was demolished, the area was cleaned up so well that we could not find any evidence that it even existed and it would not have included it in our inventory. We will provide before and after images such as this where and when we find them. We will use the convention of appending the word "GONE" to the later image name. Sometimes we will append the word "UPDATE" to indicate a change in the conditions of the roundhouse or it's surrounding area. Sometimes other infrequently used discriptive words are appended to the image names that indicate an unusal events; for example, in the Germany directory there is a roundhouse that has the burn down, i.e., Nurnberg2-BURNTLOCOS Finally, we generally captured the roundhouse/turntable site in the middle or near the center of the image unless there were other surrounding details of interest. Details such as urbanization encroachment or near by abandon tracks that could indicate a roundhouse/turntable site maybe at risk for development (urbanization) or land reuse.

For a particular location, sometimes we have multiple images from different imaging systems. A feather of interest maybe more viewable in one imaging system over another, and we may have multiple features of interest in a particular location or scene that we think maybe important. The underlying reasons for our use of multiple images from different imaging systems is due to the difference in imagery used by each of the imaging systems. As an example, MSN has a perspective capability (but not in all locations) which allows us to look at the sides of a roundhouse and see its detail. However, for the same location Google may have a nice color orthognal image which allows us to look at more of the surrounding area and see things like development encroachment and adjacent land reuse. For the same location, MSN's orthognal maybe gray scale but provide additional information like street names which maybe important if you want to visit the location in person. However, imaging system capabilities will very from location to location depending on what imagery was used or collected for a particular imaging system and what spatial algorithms were applied to the imagery.

In certain cases we felt that an image needed to be enhanced, so we may have changed the contrast/brightness. Although, this tends to be a subjective issue - sometimes things are obvious. However, often we did not have "time" to enhance the images that we felt needed it. In this case you are viewing the original raw imagery - as it comes from the imaging system. If we have not had time to enhance an image that is of interest to you, send an email to us and we will attempt to make it more viewable.

Inventory Uses

You can not use these images to determine if a specific roundhouse/turntable is "still" standing; all you can really do is use this inventory to determine a roundhouse/turntable general location - could be still standing or it could be GONE. Google images provide general lat/longs, however the other imaging systems do not and you will have to look at the other landmarks in the image to help with the geographic location of the roundhouse/turntable you are seeking. Probably the best thing to do is to use the Inventory as a guide. If you find something of interest in the Inventory, then go to the image system yourself and search that city for the roundhouse/turntable. If we had time to research the lat/long for each roundhouse/turntable we would, but we don't. Actually this Inventory was originally designed for a few knowledgeable railroad people and we were not intending to offer it to others. So use it only if it is worth something to you.


Robert T. Kelley (RK) - NRHS Baltimore Chapter - Railroad historian/modeler/mapper (rkrailroad@yahoo.com)
James J. Stapleton (JJ) - Railroad historian/modeler/mapper
Stephen P Shivers (SS) - Geographer/mapper/railroad historian/photographer (spshivers@hotmail.com)
Donald J Porter (DP) - WM Railroad historian
John Robb (JR) - CN Railroad Historian
James L Abney (JA) - Third-generation (in-family) Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway employee, retired Amtrak employee, and Railroad historian/Railroad Engineer (see MT Rainier Scenic Railroad/)
Lawrence LaBranche (LL) - Railroad historian (see TIMBER HERITAGE ASSOCIATION)
Fred Swain (FS) - Railroad historian/photographer (see Fred's discussion on RH/TT)
Alan P. Sweide (AS) - Gold Mining Geologist/photographer
Robert G. Clark (BC) - WEB Master/railroad modeler/mapper/photographer(rgcwork@yahoo.com)

Note: Kelley, Stapleton, Shivers, and Clark had worked for the former US Geological Survey's National Mapping Division (now the Geography Discipline). Clark has also been a computer scientist and physcial scientist working in research.

Final Note

As with most things on the WEB, our WEBsite is evolving. We are constantly updating and adding data and procedures to this collection in order to maintain the highest quality that we can. I suggest, if a WEB site is not dynamic then it is stagnant and going to be out of date at some point. We strive to be dynamic. (BC)

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