Winslow Turntable?

Discussion in 'Ft. Smith Subdivision' started by Coonskin, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    For decades I've "heard" there was a turntable at Winslow early-on for turning the helpers up from Chester. Some quick questions:

    * WAS there actually a turntable at Winslow? (Is there any type of factual evidence/proof?)

    * IF so... does anyone know WHERE it was?

    The "old" town of Winslow was crowded alongside the tracks on the west side. Not much room for a turntable it would seem? One place I've always suspected is the wide, leveled, area found immediately upon exiting the south portal. Looks like a 55' armstrong "gallows" type turntable could be fit into that location.

    Anyone know? OR... anyone heard any juicey rumors concerning a Winslow turntable?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. I agree Andre that park area would be the only spot in town for one. It would make sense to put one there as there would have already been a switch nearby for the switch-back track that ran over the mountain till the tunnel was in place.
  3. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    Hardly conclusive, but a TT does not exist on the 1908 plat.

    Attached Files:

  4. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Hi Murphy:

    No, the in-town park area isn't where I was referencing. That area was filled with structures/industries early in the history of Winslow. The area I'm talking about is right as you exit the tunnel headed south... off to the east.

    Hello Karl:

    Well, the map pretty much concludes there wasn't a turntable there in 1908! Actually, that map is valuable to me: I just learned of a spur that I didn't know existed at Winslow via that map! I thank you very much for sharing it.

    Do you have any more of any Ft. Smith Sub towns? In fact, all the way down to Talihina would be fine with me! :D

    Re: The elusive Winslow TT...

    It was supposedly removed very early (pre-1900) and from that point on the helpers backed down to Chester. If I recall correctly, the late Mr. R.G. Winn, author of the little softcover book "Railroads Of Northwest Arkansas", mentions a turntable at Winslow. I have never seen any picture of Winslow that included a turntable within it.
  5. Bigdawb

    Bigdawb Member

    My Grandfather was a fireman on the helpers and my father, Uncles and Aunt were born in Chester. They didn't turn them but rather backed the engine down. I am not sure if they even had a turntable in Chester, but they might have. I do know that my father told how he rode with "Pop" in the cab to Fayetteville for classes at the U of A, so I figure if they turned them it would had to have been in Fayetteville going North. If Chester didn't have a turntable, then they would had to go all the way South to Ft. Smith to turn.

    That's what little I know.

  6. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Hi Steve:

    Yes, Chester had a turntable back when it was a division point (and had a roundhouse at that time, too). Chester retained its turntable up to the end of steam. A turntable at Chester is still listed in the 1950 ET, but is gone in the 1952 ET, which is when the sub was pretty much dieselized.

    The supposed Winslow turntable was in place from about 1882 until ??. It is not listed in the 1898 ET that I have a copy of, which is the earliest ET for the sub that I have access to. Thus, the range of the supposed turntable at Winslow would be from about 1882 to sometime before 1898. I'm modeling 1889 (in V scale)... so I'm trying to pin down if one was indeed there, and if so, WHERE WAS THE FOOL THING??? :D
  7. Bigdawb

    Bigdawb Member

    An Update....Coonskin's post got me to thinking about one of Robert Winn books I have, so I had to go get it.
    From Robert G. Winn's "Steel Rails and Crosscut Ties" - Early Day Northwest Arkansas Railroad Stories, copyrighted 1973, I have this information....

    Preface, Near Trestle # 3 was a community known as Schaberg, which was seven miles south of Winslow. Three testles, seven miles and an incline of 113 feet per mile, thus the need for helpers.

    Now the quote...
    "Originally a turn table was located at Schaberg and another one at Winslow for turning the engines. After the table at Schaberg was partially destroyed by fire in the late 1890's, this table was moved to Chester. The table at Winslow was abandoned in the early 1900's, and the engines backed down the mountain."
  8. Bigdawb

    Bigdawb Member


    I found it!!!!

    Attached are two Winslow maps. If you can't see them when you blow them up, let me know and I can try to snail mail copies to you. The turn table is not on the maps, but in Robert Winn's book "The Resort In The Hills, Winslow Arkansas he places it exactly for you.

    Here is the passage to go with the maps.....

    "Between Frazier's and the Park Addition (North end of the map) is one of the hollows with its small stream that flows under the railroad. Just east of the Frazier house is shown the Cole property and the end of the third track of the railroad. This track end was the location of the early day turntable where the hill engines that helped boost the trains over the mountain from the south, turned before making the trip back to Porter (Schaberg) and later to Chester."

    Can't get a more exact placement than that.

    Happy Modeling!


    My good deed for the day!

    Attached Files:

  9. john

    john Supporter

    Thanks Steve,

    I've been wondering about that turntable also. Now if we can just find the location of the turntable at Hackett, Arkansas... It's amazing how different the Frisco was in the 1800's and how little information remains.

  10. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Supporter

    That would be a wonderful scene to model and operate. You could hold downhill trains on the siding until the uphill train cleared.

    Ken McElreath
  11. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member


    Ah yes, Mr. Winn! A delight gentleman. I had several pleasant conversations with him over the years. He was always so interesting to talk to. In his own words, he considered himself more of a "chronicaler" than an drop-dead accurate historian. That is, he knew there were some dates that weren't quite on target, but overall, the content of his recollections were generally on target.

    This particular piece of vocal history seems to gin with other accounts, with the added bonus of pinpointing the location.



    I know exactly where it is on my V scale rendition of the Mansfield Branch! :D


    The FS Sub had a ton of great places to model. Indeed, the climb from Chester to Winslow is one of them.


    Now, to go back to "my" Winslow and see if I can add-in the needed track at the turntable location.

    Thanks for the assist one and all!
  12. Bigdawb

    Bigdawb Member

    That he was! He spent years talking to the folks all around the Chester, Woolsey, West Fork and Winslow area. Our families intertwine a bit. He had stories to tell and Aunt Mandy Winn had "stories" to tell also.
    Anyway, he had the forethought as a young man to take an active interest in the stories the generations ahead of him had to tell and took great pride in putting them to paper as the "chronicaler". He was a very interesting man and left his mark. I do wish more of his "Recollections" booklets that were published by the Washington County Observer back in the early 70's could be republished.
    He also had accumulated a vast photo collection of the areas, which I believe he donated to the U of A, but I do not remember that exactly.

    Hope you had no trouble in adding the track & turntable..

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2013
  13. slsf580

    slsf580 Member

  14. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member


    Yup, I was able to fit the turntable spur into my Winslow trackage. Thanks much for assisting in the quest to determine if/where it existed. Isn't this internet thing powerful?


    Need to correct an assumption on my part over the years: My incomplete resources indicated there were service facilities at Chester, however the hand-drawn map I have stops at the turntable and doesn't show all the yard or service facility that existed at Chester.

    According to sources here, there isn't any solid indication of a roundhouse (however small) at Chester. Turntable, yes. Small service facilities, yes. However, as yet no hard data exists that indicate a roundhouse/enginehouse was at Chester.

    My assumption was based on the fact that Chester was a division point until 1897/98 (when the division point was relocated to Ft. Smith), and I ASSUMED that as a division point, there would be a small roundhouse/engine house of some sort to effect light running repairs. Perhaps that assumption is not correct... but I have a hard time accepting that there was no service/light repair facility at a division point location. Chester was the division point from about the early 1880's all the way up to 1897/98. That's about 15 years. Like I said, hard to imagine there wasn't at least a single stall enginehouse there. (Same argument can be raised concerning Talihina, I.T. when it, too, was a division point over the same span of time.) As we all can see, scant "hard facts" information is available as to the very early years of the Frisco's Central Division. (Darn.) Such is the life and times of an late 1800's fanatic like me!

    However, the thrill of the chase and the hope of discovery is part of the fun of pursuing such an obscure era.

    Have fun!

  15. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

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