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Altoona Railway Museum Club: The Turntable and Roundhouse Project

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Museum Yard, Roundhouse, and Turntable Project

This page was last updated on: March 06, 2017!


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February 2003 - December 2005


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February 14, 2003

K-4_roundhouse_funds_secured-feb03.jpg (111150 bytes) Altoona Mirror article dated 2-2003 


June 2003 Update

During late June 2003, Scott Cessna, (Director of Operations, Railroaders Heritage Corporation/Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum ) visited Pen Argyl in an attempt to purchase a LN&E 100 ft table.  Unfortunately, the Museum lost out on the purchase.  Since then, the Museum purchased a Richmond, Frederick and Potomic RR turntable.  The turntable had served the RF&P for more than 6 decades in the famed Potomac Yard near Alexandria, Virginia.  The turntable was last used on the Virginia Central Steam Railway, Staunton, VA.  It was purchased from Mr. Jack Showalter and the Virginia Central Railroad  in 2004.  The 105í turntable has been installed as the centerpiece of the Museumís yard and roundhouse complex, The Harry Bennett Center.  The table was cleaned, repaired, and installed by a combination of Museum staff, contractors, and volunteers.  The following pages provide insight into those efforts. 


May 26, 2005 

Some assembly required, batteries not included!

Photographs by David Seidel


August 6, 2005

Andy Mulhollen

David Seidel Needle gunning turntable bridge to remove paint and rust scale.
David Seidel Needle gunning turntable bridge to remove paint and rust scale. Dick Charlesworth, above, needle-gunning turntable bridge
Neil Myers burning out rivets in an area to be repaired. Neil Myers burning out rivets in an area to be repaired.
Rest break. Andy Mulhollen, Scott Cessna, Neil Myers, Dick Charlesworth, and David Seidel.  
Dick Charlesworth needle-gunning turntable bridge    

Photographs by David Seidel


October 1, 2005

Oct 1, 2005. Dick Charlesworth working with needle-gun to removed old paint and rust from turntable bridge. Others working on this task during the past 9 months have been Andy Mulhollen, Bill Temple and Dave Seidel. This job requires hearing protection, breathing protection, goggles and protective clothing. Neil Myers, Frank Givler, Jar Nale, and Ed Wilt
Removing anchor nuts (similar to one on left). This requires significant heating with propane, and much persuasion with an air wrench.  This project involved removal of bearings, allowing for subsequent removal of wheels and axles of turntable apparatus for rehabilitation. The age of the bridge resulted in much wear and deterioration of moving elements.  

Photographs by David Seidel


December 1, 2005

Photographs by David Seidel


December 2, 2005

In the foreground is the salvage work on the RPO

Photographs by David Seidel


December 6, 2005

Initial excavation was 3 to 4 ft in depth to a concrete pad. This was subsequently jack-hammered and removed.  However, under this layer of concrete (possibly a later-era shop floor or paving for outdoor space), further excavation unearthed the original foundations of a locomotive erecting shop, circa 1860. This linear building had several parallel linear foundations which supported rail for locomotives of that vintage with servicing pits underneath. Remarkably, these foundations still had intact wood sills.  Many of these buildings were probably casualties of the disastrous Altoona Works (Twelfth St) Fire of December 27, 1931. Subsequent razing became fill in these basement areas.

Photographs by David Seidel


December 8, 2005

On December 8th, work began to break down these foundation walls to further prepare the pit for the 105 ft turntable bridge to be installed in early 2006.  These foundations were remarkable to see and document, and provided a significant link to prior Pennsylvania Railroad activity on this site. An amazing indicator, were the layers of fill and change to grade involved over the last 150 years.  Industrial archaeology and industrial "ruins" on this site have provided an invaluable insight to Altoona's industrial history.

This photo illustrates the shop building for the foundations being unearthed in the turntable project.

Scott Mighells of Mighells Excavating, operating the air hammer on left. Scott is step-son of Les Shaffer.  Mighells Excavating is sub-contractor to J. C. Orr, General Contractor for the site.


Photographs by David Seidel


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The Roundhouse/Turntable project is a project of the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum. 
PRR K-4s #1361 is owned by the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum.  The Museum is a business partner with the Horseshoe Curve Chapter, NRHS.
Reporting on the restoration of PRR k-4 #1361 is done under agreement with Museum Officials.

Railfest is a trademark of Railroaders Memorial Museum, Inc. 
The logos for the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum are trademarks of the Railroaders Memorial Museum, Inc. 
NRHS and its logo are trademarks of the National Railway Historical Society.  Photographs are by Chris Behe unless otherwise noted.