A turntable is the heart of the trainyard
Our three historic locomotives were originally sheltered in the old roundhouse at Union Pacific’s Brooklyn railyard. They were moved to our current location in 2012 to make way for railyard upgrades and expansions. Along with the locomotives, the Foundation also rescued the heart of that yard – the historic turntable.
Built in 1924 by the American Bridge Company, the Brooklyn Turntable is a mechanized bridge unit designed to spin massive locomotives 360 degrees. Unable to back up easily, these historic engines rely on the turntable to orient them toward the next task.
100 Years of Rail History Reborn
ORHF engine donated by city
ORHF moves engines to Brooklyn Yard
Trains disassembled & turntable moved to ORHC
Over $2M Raised
Connecting track, connecting community
Today, the nearly 100-year-old Brooklyn Turntable is being restored and awaits installation at our Center. The 100-foot-long bridge, sunken track, and pivot base will become the focal point of the Center’s entrance and the crown jewel of our intersection between the past and the vibrant present of our current location. The slowly revolving platform will showcase our locomotives for everyone passing by on MAX trains, streetcars, autos, and bikes. Our 35,000 annual visitors may have the opportunity to ride in a vintage railcar atop the bridge as it turns.
Past technologies, future benefits
From a practical perspective, the restored Brooklyn Turntable will make it easier for our volunteer railroaders to move locomotives and rail cars into and out of the Enginehouse and around the property. It will also substantially reduce costs. With the turntable, our locomotives can be electronically turned on site. This eliminates the need, and considerable cost, of steaming up the engines and running them to North Portland.
Piece by piece, Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation has set out to collect and restore the best of Oregon's rich and diverse rail history. Visitors from destinations near and far experience the power, magnitude, and significance of these mighty machines. With the Brooklyn Turntable in our front yard, Oregonians will benefit from having a truly world-class rail history museum.
Living history brought to life by you
This vision is a near reality. Generous donors have contributed $2 million to return the Brooklyn Turntable to its railroading glory days. We are only about $1 million away from realizing our dream. With the end in sight, we are asking former donors and new rail fans to bring our Brooklyn Turntable full circle.
Your donation will help engineer the table’s installation in our yard and reconfigure our property to allow visitors maximum interaction with the turntable and our locomotives.
Only a rare few existing historic turntables worldwide are associated with public museums like ORHC. By including the Brooklyn Turntable with our other unique trains and artifacts, Oregon will benefit from a truly world-class rail history museum.