The Willoughby Line  
line decor
line decor


  • Based off of the Sierra Turntable at Jamestown
  • Scratch built using bridge truck castings from the Sierra Miniatures kit
  • Manual crank driven using Diamond Scale parts
  • Indexing by eyeball

NOTES: I generally agree with other modelers who hold the view that scratch building turntables is to be avoided. While I am proud of my efforts. there were lots of embarrassing do - overs and mistakes during the process. Need a turntable? I would suggest checking out the Walther's built-up 90' or Diamond scale kits before going the scratch built route. Also, read this article by Craig Biesgler on his experiences scratch building a turntable here on his site. Special thanks to the Sierra list and many others for prototype pics and lots of advice.

After I decided how long the bridge was going to be, I test fit the TT into the space with a piece of flex track cut to the correct length of the bridge. I built a cardboard rough of the roundhouse to get an idea of how it would all look and fit in the space before I started on the TT.



Cutting out the hole for the TT was a little difficult because I had already built significant infrastructure under the layout in the area. Most of the wiring came through this spot in one way or another. I also had to locate screws in the homasote and remove them to free the plywood from the L girder structure.

I built the pit of the TT by sandwiching a couple of plywood rings on top of a piece of tempered masonite. Here is the ,masonite floor in place.



Here is the first plywood ring test fitted in place.



Here is the second ring in place..





The pit was made by filling in the space between the bottom ring and the masonite with hydrocal and sanding it into a sloping pit floor. The second ring provided a frame to glue a styrene ring to form the pit wall. Assembly was done off layout and the whole unit was then installed.

The pit floor has been shaped and the bridge is mocked up to check the fit. Roundhouse is a modified Yosemite Valley structure that once stood in Merced CA.



This underside view of the bridge shows the truck assembly. Truing the trucks on the rail proved very tricky. I ended up building a crude truing jig, and it some how worked out.

This shot shows the completed pit. Notice the styrene wall and the ring rail..



The bridge is powered using a stereo phone jack assembly under the layout to provide a reliable electrical connection. The tube assembly on the bridge is fitted in the hole in the pit drive plate after plugging in the electrical.

Final layout of the roundhouse tracks and other tracks is shown here. I hand laid some of these tracks to get a wider tie spacing than is available with flex track.. The plywood pit ring is visible around the TT. I filled the gaps with putty and painted the ground area. Dirt will hide all of the evidence of separate parts.




This shot shows the control end of the bridge. I used some castings from the Sierra MIniatures kit and some fabricated parts to model the controls on the TT at Jamestown. The deck was finished with alcohol and shoe-dye weathered wood.

View of the bridge with a loco on it. I hand soldered some hand rails from .009" wire to get the proper scale look that I was after.



This off - angle view shows the weathering on the bridge. I used chalks on the girders and paints on the pit and pit wall.

View of WSM Sierra #24 lettered for the SP. This model was weathered and detailed by John LaBarba. I will eventually get around to re-lettering in for the Sierra RR..


© 2012 by Guy Cantwell
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