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Walthers roundhouse - ideas for improvements?

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Walthers roundhouse - ideas for improvements?
Posted by snjroy on Thursday, January 11, 2018 9:26 PM

Hi there. I will soon start assembling the 3 stall roundhouse kit from Walthers. I was looking at the pictures and see two potential issues: one, a lot of my steamers look alike and I think it will be hard to recognize them when they will sit inside. The angle of the building will make it ackward for me to see through the doors and the windows are tiny.Two, some of my steamers are finicky (e.g., some have brass wheels) and may stall at start-up. So, I was thinking of having removal roof sections. But maybe better: I was thinking that maybe I can add small hinges to the roof, adding reinforcements to the walls if necessary. What do think?  And have any of you thought of other improvements to the model? 

Thanks

Simon

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Posted by gmpullman on Thursday, January 11, 2018 9:54 PM

I have a nine-stall Heljan roundhouse that will eventually be replaced by a Walthers Modern Roundhouse.

One of my issues is what you describe, that of forgetting which engine is in the stall and not being able to read the tiny number on the rear of the tender. Sometimes an engine might be in my roundhouse for a long time — a year or more.

I have a white-board with a diagram of the radial tracks nearby. Each time I spot an engine in a stall, I write the engine number on the dry-erase board in the appropriate stall space.

Another "tool" I made up is a length of 3/16 or 1/4" dowel with a round wood knob glued to one end and a cheap McHenry coupler on the other. It's about 20" long for my situation. If an engine is balky, rare but sometimes happens, I can reach the tender and "couple" on to it with my stick to give a little tug of persuasion. I flattened the coupler end of the dowel and uused a 1-72 screw and nut to hold the coupler in place. One thing I would add to it though might be a thin brace to hold it at the proper height above the rail. Picture a "Bridge Stick" used in billiards.

I have recently begun to use tiny neodymium magnets to hold some roofs in place. They come in all shapes and sizes. I don't think roofs lend themselves well to hinges, personally. I have seen others use small screws hidden inside smoke jacks, vents or chimneys.

 Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by RR_Mel on Thursday, January 11, 2018 10:04 PM

I don’t have a Walthers roundhouse but I put two pins that slide into the rear wall to hold the rear portion of the roof on my Korber roundhouse.  I drilled a hole on each side of the front wall to hold the floor in place, none of the pins (actually round head track nails) are noticeable even looking close.
 
The roof is .030” bulletin board and fairly sturdy.  As for the locomotive numbers the SP put large engine numbers on the rear of the tenders so that isn’t a problem with my steam.
 
I do a once a year vacuuming so the removable roof is a must.
 
 
I don’t have a picture of the roundhouse after the install with the roof off.
 
Ed:
 
I like the magnet idea!
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
  
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, January 12, 2018 5:21 AM

I have a 9-stall Walthers roundhouse. I have not glued down the roofs so that I can have easy access for maintenance.

I pull all of my steam engines forward into the roundhouse so that the cab numbers are visible on the rear of the tenders.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by railandsail on Friday, January 12, 2018 8:16 AM

I think the idea of just using small magnets to hold the roof in place makes sense.

Or leaving the roof off like this,...oops can't access that photo right now

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Posted by Attuvian on Friday, January 12, 2018 9:06 AM

snjroy

I think it will be hard to recognize them when they will sit inside. The angle of the building will make it ackward for me to see through the doors and the windows are tiny. 

Simon,

Unless intend by design to park them completely out of sight in your roundhouse or close the doors on them, you should see something of their front ends.  That's presuming that the house's doors are visible themselves, of course.

Though even very similar, how many engines are exactly the same?  Even just the ends.  If there are not number boards visible through the roundhouse doors, there are probably little distinctions that you can create in inobtrusive locations.  If they are at all detailed, a smudge on a coupler knuckle, a rusty edge to a pilot or step, an oily-looking hose or whatever.  Perhaps an analogy works here: mom and dad generally don't confuse the identities of their otherwise identical twins.  I'd be willing to bet that there's some application of that principle here.  After all, our locos are like our kids, aren't they?  Think of all the dollars we throw at them!

As for locos that may need a nudge, unless they are without front couplers, you can use Ed's great idea and give give a stubborn one a little tug with a coupler mounted on the end of a dowel.

John 

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Posted by Deane Johnson on Friday, January 12, 2018 10:52 AM

I just finished building a 24 stall version of the Wallthers Modern Roundhouse and I can report that the roof panels sit in place very nicely without being fastened.

The roof panels aren't needed for strength, IMO.  The building is amazingly solid when all the glue has dried.

I don't know if a 3 stall version would have any other charateristics or not, but my larger version is very stable.

 

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Posted by zstripe on Friday, January 12, 2018 12:43 PM

Deane Johnson

I just finished building a 24 stall version of the Wallthers Modern Roundhouse and I can report that the roof panels sit in place very nicely without being fastened.

The roof panels aren't needed for strength, IMO.  The building is amazingly solid when all the glue has dried.

I don't know if a 3 stall version would have any other charateristics or not, but my larger version is very stable.

 

 

Yes...like I said in My other post...those double wall roundhouse kits are a lot more sturdy than their counterparts.

Most all roundhouses were designed so the Locomotive was drove in boiler first....that is how the roundhouse exhaust stacks are designed. So in winter/working on it they could keep steam up with the engines smoke stack right under the roundhouse stack to exhaust  smoke. When put back on the turntable, they then turned it for face front.

Take Care! Big Smile

Frank

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Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, January 12, 2018 2:52 PM

gmpullman

 

I have recently begun to use tiny neodymium magnets to hold some roofs in place. They come in all shapes and sizes. I don't think roofs lend themselves well to hinges, personally. I have seen others use small screws hidden inside smoke jacks, vents or chimneys.

 Good Luck, Ed

 

ED
 
I tried your magnet idea on one of my scratch builts and I’m sold!!!! Thumbs Up
 
Thanks for such an easy fix!  Sure beats using the round head track nails as pins.
 
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
  
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by gmpullman on Friday, January 12, 2018 5:00 PM

Attuvian
Though even very similar, how many engines are exactly the same?  Even just the ends.  If there are not number boards visible through the roundhouse doors, there are probably little distinctions that you can create in inobtrusive locations.

Hi, John,

All my steam goes into the roundhouse pilot-first, as was usual practice for the real ones. Some of the numbering on the rear of the tenders is very small and, for instance, PRR steam alone I have thirty or-so locomotives. From the backside they look pretty similar. Keeping track of thirty-some engine numbers (plus many more for NYC, B&O, Erie and others) is more than I can do by memory.

I assume we're talking DCC here and when I want to select the address it is nearly impossible for me to see, at about a 40-inch distance, those tiny numbers!

I need to have a "cheat sheet" of some kind in order to correctly address the locomotive.

Glad you like the coupler/dowel idea. It is a simple and cheap tool that can really be handy sometimes Smile

 

RR_Mel
ED   I tried your magnet idea on one of my scratch builts and I’m sold!!!!

Thanks, Mel! It all started when I picked up some PRR catenary supports that I wanted to use for some photo "shoots"

I didn't want the supports permanently mounted so I came up with the idea of sinking 5mm round magnets glued into the sub-roadbed and gluing thin iron strips onto the bottom of the supports.

If I bump one, no big deal, or if I want to remove them completely the magnets are practically invisible being flush with the scenery.

Some years ago I completely un-wound and disassembled an old transformer. I saved the iron plates (They make great flat car loads of rolled steel sheet) so I have these thin pieces of iron which I use to glue (or double-stick, foam tape) to the roof, or the bottom of the catenary poles, etc.

I bought a bunch of various sized magnets from Ebay sellers. Some are maybe 3mm dia x 1mm thick! Others are various rectangle sizes that are nice for building roofs.

Keep the good ideas coming!

Cheers, Ed

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Posted by snjroy on Friday, January 12, 2018 9:26 PM

Great ideas guys. The magnets are something I will consider. I might also leave some of the windows half open so I can get a better view from the front and sides. Am I right in assuming that these could be opened in a "guillotine" fashion?

Simon

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Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, January 12, 2018 9:42 PM

The SP roundhouse in El Paso TX had foldout windows so because I’m a SP nut I went with top side foldout windows on my Korber 104 roundhouse.
 
 
Gets hot in El Paso so they left almost all the windows open during the summer.  I spent my summer school vacations in the early 50s hanging out in the El Paso SP Yards, it helped living next door to the SP Yard Super.
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
  
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
  • Member since
    December, 2010
  • From: Portland, Oregon
  • 411 posts
Posted by Attuvian on Friday, January 12, 2018 10:42 PM

gmpullman
 
Attuvian
Though even very similar, how many engines are exactly the same?  Even just the ends.  If there are not number boards visible through the roundhouse doors, there are probably little distinctions that you can create in inobtrusive locations.

All my steam goes into the roundhouse pilot-first, as was usual practice for the real ones. Some of the numbering on the rear of the tenders is very small and, for instance, PRR steam alone I have thirty or-so locomotives. From the backside they look pretty similar. Keeping track of thirty-some engine numbers (plus many more for NYC, B&O, Erie and others) is more than I can do by memory.

I assume we're talking DCC here and when I want to select the address it is nearly impossible for me to see, at about a 40-inch distance, those tiny numbers!

I need to have a "cheat sheet" of some kind in order to correctly address the locomotive.

Glad you like the coupler/dowel idea. It is a simple and cheap tool that can really be handy sometimes Smile

 Cheers, Ed

 

 

Ed,

Thanks for the education on the normall orientation of locos entering roundhouses.  I guess I've seen too many model photos that are like "dress reviews" around a turntable (magazine ads, etc.) and not enough prototype photos.  Man, there is soooo much to learn about railroading, I'll never catch up!  Reminds me of one of our refrigerator magnets: "I was put here to accomplish a certain number of things.  Right now, I'm so far behind I may never die."

I also didn't consider that not a few folks out there have huge "families" of engines. I can easily count mine on two hands.  And DCC certainly does raise the issue to a different level.

John

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Posted by snjroy on Sunday, January 14, 2018 7:20 AM

I agree John. 

Mel, thanks for posting the picture. My setting is Eastern Canada (with lots of rain and snow) so the windows would likely tilt from the bottom, which in my case would not improve visibility of the locos. I'll think about this.

Thank you all for your contributions. I will post pictures when I'm done.

Simon

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