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Summerville Turntable

Tennessee Valley Railroad steamer No. 610 on Summerville's turntable at its dedication ceremony in 2003. (Photo by Leamon Scott).

Constructed in 1916 by the American Bridge and Iron Company, this 100-foot turntable was moved from Birmingham to Summerville in November 1999. A new turntable pit for the 90-ton structure was built in the city's downtown Dowdy Park, and a short track connection was made to the adjacent Chattooga & Chickamauga Railway.

Made operative in 2002-03, the facility began turning steam locomotives for Tennessee Valley Railroad excursions on the C&C (former Central of Georgia) between Chattanooga and Summerville. Besides providing an unusual and entertaining sight for visitors, the turntable handles the locomotive's reversal from southbound to northbound without a land-consuming wye.

No. 610 on the 100-ft turntable in 2004.

The historic machine served the Louisville & Nashville's 36-stall roundhouse at Birmingham's Boyles Yard for decades, but having outlived its usefulness there, it was slated to be scrapped. With the assistance of federal Transportation Enhancement funds, Georgia DOT and the community were able to keep it for its intended use, while providing visitors with an unusual educational experience.

The turntable operator keeps a close eye on the rails.

A grassy hillside provides a fine viewpoint.

TVRR excursion cars wait on the tracks next to Summerville's Dowdy Park. The turntable is in the background on the right side of the photo. Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. © Steve Storey

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