Summerville Turntable : LUSENET : Central of Georgia Railway Historical Soc : One Thread

For those of you who have been keeping up with the saga of the Summerville Turntable there has been a new and unfortunate development. The chosen site has been deemed unsuitable due to a high water table and poor soil conditions. Core samples were taken by an engineering firm which delivered the bad news to the Summerville city government last week. For those of you who do not know the whole story, it goes something like this. Last Summer it was discovered by members of our Society that the former L&N/CSX turntable from Birmingham, Alabama was about to be scraped and that if someone wanted it they better act fast. A call was placed to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum who operates regular Excursions down this former CofGa line. They were in need of a turntable to turn steam engines so they could operate in the lead Southbound as well as on the return to Chattanooga. The TVRM was successful in acquiring the table and it was brought to Summerville last November. The preservation was made possible by a grant from the State of Georgia to the City of Summerville which will also use some of these funds for a restoration of the Summerville depot. The alternatives are ether find a new site somewhere else hopefully in the same general area or somehow come up with a drainage solution at the present site. It is estimated that with a TVRM engine the table site would be required to support 350 tons. I think that everyone involved is still optimistic that it will still happen as planed but this certainly will delay it to the point that it will not be installed by this years steam season. As a foot note to all this the turntable was recently appraised at one and a quarter million dollars.

Lets keep our fingers crossed, Warren

-- Warren D. Stephens (, April 30, 2000


It turns out that the turntable will be installed in the area originally planned. The report from the geologists indicates that the bedrock is close enough to the surface that it is practical to use pilings driven from the bottom of the excavation for the pit to the bedrock to support the turntable. There will be pilings driven to support the center bearing and the support/driving rail the runs along the curcumference of the pit, as this is not a balanced turntable. Ground should already have been broken and construction of the pit will hopefully be commenced soon. As mentioned above, this will greatly improve our operations by allowing steam locomotives to be turned, allowing them to pull the trains westbound as well as eastbound. Of more importance, it will eliminate the 15 mile an hour speed restriction on the westbound trip, allowing the train to make better time. As of right now, none of our operable steam locomotives is trailing truck equipped and special instructions limit reverse movements of these locomotives to 15 miles an hour where not otherwise restricted. That makes for a long trip, especially in poor weather as these locomotives do not have foul weather curtains!

-- Alan Walker (, April 01, 2002.

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