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Turntable Recommendations


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I’m wanting to put a motorised turntable in place on my layout in order to free up some point levers and reduce the footprint of part of the trackwork! Could anyone point me in the direction of a reasonably priced (preferably motorised although I can just convert a manual if necessary) turntable capable of handling locos of up to 14 inches long maximum? Thank you!

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The Heljan table is 90' in 3.5mm scale, which converts to 78' 9" in 4mm scale, so it's plenty big enough for any British outline locos except the LMS and LNER Garratts. 

 

Replacing the 3.5mm scale handrails with 4mm scale equivalents and removing the tiny cabin will make it look more in proportion.

 

John

Edited by Dunsignalling
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The biggest British turntables were 70foot for Pacific's, the Fleischman and Heljan models are approx 90 ft in HO which is approx 77ft in OO and are the closest, and don't look out of scale with a pacific on them in my opinion. The Fleischmann one looks a bit too continental for me as in has 2 circular rings to support it, which you didn't find in Britain. They are both expensive new, but as nearly new ones can be dropped on on EBay around £150., maybe less if you aren't too bothered about condition.

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If you want the Peco table to compare with a Heljan one in use, you'll need a better and much more expensive motorising kit. 

 

John

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The Peco turntable kit also has a bridge length well overscale for a UK turntable, which as already posted maxxed out at 70ft, despite clearly being based on a UK design in terms of general features. It dates from the bad old days of one size suits OO and HO...

 

 

I run at the largest a princess Elizabeth class and a merchant navy class; which are almost dead on 12” so I assumed I’d need some overhang! I stand to be corrected though

Three things.

It is the wheelbase that has to fit on the turntable bridge.

Secondly, on most UK turntables the loco has to balance on the centre bearing before it can be turned. (Crews were very skilled at this.)

It was quite normal for loco structure to overhang one or both ends of the bridge, and necessary for pacifics, 2-8-2 and 4-6-4 types which were typically circa 74 feet over buffers, against the 70 feet bridge length of the UK turntables they were routinely turned on.

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I run at the largest a princess Elizabeth class and a merchant navy class; which are almost dead on 12” so I assumed I’d need some overhang! I stand to be corrected though

The loco overhangs the table in many cases. I turn a Duchess on a shortened Dapol turntable around 10 inches long.  65 foot tables were common, 70's restricted to the largest depots.  Finding a turntable which moves smoothly is likely to be a challenge. A lot move at set speed and jerk to a halt.  Watching the prototype they start slowly pick up speed to quite a lot faster than most model,s and then slow gradually. Two or three attempts usually being necessary to line them up.  The big 75 ft tables take up an awful lot of space and if used for engine shed access make getting locos from the back of the shed more trouble than it is worth.  I have a scale 75 ft table which is awaiting shortening  and a 12" one hand turned in the hidden sidings which has to be long enough to leave a bit of fiddle room as you can't see it clearly.   If you want to save space with a turntable you can save length only at the expense of width.  I would check you have sufficient width.

If you do go RTR Dapol Girders on a Heljan Table would be worth considering.

Edited by DavidCBroad
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Hi,

I have a Peco turntable on my layout , and like you, wanted to motorize it.

I tried all sorts of different methods and finally came across a firm called Locomotech who supply motorizing kits for turntables.

I think the price was in the mid thirty pounds and I believe they do an indexing kit as well.

Very easy to fit and a quiet runner.

I`ve been using mine for a year now and i`m very happy with it.

 

Hope you find what you`re looking for,

Jim.

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I have successfully used a motorising kit from this supplier - http://locomotech.com ( usual disclaimer ) certainly a lot less noisy than the one by Expo Tools and it can be indexed using the plate supplied.

 

 

 

Here is my modified Peco turntable from a past layout and the control of the motor is also variable.

 

I didn't want anything too complicated and was satisfied with the outcome.

 

Hope this helps.

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