Illinois Railway Museum buys Burnham Shops turntable

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UNION, Ill. — After years of wishing and hoping, Illinois Railway Museum has finally gotten a turntable as the centerpiece of its long-term plan for a roundhouse to protect and display its not-inconsequential collection of steam locomotives.

During the auction on March 24 of Union Pacific's former Denver & Rio Grande Western Burnham Shops complex in Denver, museum officials were able to buy the 130-foot turntable for $10,000. According to a post museum's website, the turntable is capable of turning any locomotive in the collection.

The turntable, the hub of the now-closed shops complex, dates from 1941 and was installed to accommodate the D&RGW's 4-6-6-4 Challenger locomotives. In 2012, it was totally refurbished by UP at a reported cost of $500,000. It was designed with a low profile, an important consideration at the museum due to a high water table.

The museum has a former Chicago & North Western turntable in storage on site, which was never installed because it was too short to handle several of the museum's larger locomotives.

More information is available at the museum's website.

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