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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Folsom in Sacramento County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Turning the Trains

 
 
Turning the Trains Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, October 20, 2010
1. Turning the Trains Marker
Inscription.
From 1856 to 1971, Folsom was a railroad town. For most of those years, the Folsom depot was the last stop from Sacramento.

Before the trains could return to Sacramento, the locomotives had to be turned around. Until 1913, they rotated on railroad turntables. Several turntables operated on this site. The first one, built in 1856 by the Sacramento Valley Railroad, was the first turntable in the West.

The turntable in front of you was erected in 1999 from the original plans for a turntable built here in 1891.

Only the locomotive and their tenders were turned. Operating the first turntable required the strength of several men, but the later A-frame turntables – which this one is – were perfectly balanced that one person could turn the engine and tender in less than a minute. That was no small feat: Locomotives with tenders could weigh 70,000 pounds.

It was rare that a single person turned an engine. The daily arrival of the train drew crowds to downtown Folsom, and townsfolk and passengers eagerly volunteered to help.

In 1913, the railroad built a Y-shaped track at Bidwell Street to reverse the trains, and the turntable was dismantled. Its foundation lay buried until the site was excavated in the 1990s.

[Captions of the Artwork on marker:]

Steam
Turning the Trains Marker and Turntable image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, October 20, 2010
2. Turning the Trains Marker and Turntable
trains stopped often to replenish their water from towers like the one above. Water towers once stood every few miles along the nationís rail lines. Folsomís rail yard had two of them.

Until the mid-20th century, most locomotives were powered by steam. Their tenders carried water and fuel to heat it. Early western trains burned wood rather than coal.

One of the finds when the turntable site was excavated was the granite pivot stone from 1856. The rebuilt turntable rests on that original stone.
 
Location. 38° 40.597′ N, 121° 10.755′ W. Marker is in Folsom, California, in Sacramento County. Marker is on Sutter Street near Decatur Street, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Folsom CA 95630, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Wells Fargo and Company (within shouting distance of this marker); Folsom History Museum (within shouting distance of this marker); Folsom Pony Express Terminus (within shouting distance of this marker); J. Clifton Toney (within shouting distance of this marker); Ashland Station (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Folsom Terminal
The Turntable image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, October 20, 2010
3. The Turntable
(about 400 feet away); Leidesdorff Plaza (about 400 feet away); Folsom City (about 400 feet away but has been reported missing). Click for a list of all markers in Folsom.
 
More about this marker. Historic Sutter Street is undergoing a complete renovation and photos on this marker page will be updated upon the completion of construction.
 
Categories. Railroads & Streetcars
 
The Turntable and Folsom Train Depot image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, October 20, 2010
4. The Turntable and Folsom Train Depot
The Folsom Train depot, now the home of the Folsom Chamber of Commerce, is seen in the background.
West Side of the Turntable image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, October 20, 2010
5. West Side of the Turntable
East Side of Turntable image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, October 20, 2010
6. East Side of Turntable
The Turntable with Historic Sutter Street in the Background image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, October 20, 2010
7. The Turntable with Historic Sutter Street in the Background
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page has been viewed 841 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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