Barstow Santa Fe Roundhouse

September 1st, 1912

~ This is the best available information regarding the Barstow AT&SF Roundhouse built (in part) by Guy Dennis Martin:

On June 23, 1911, a wooden roundhouse at Barstow burned down (this may not have been the first roundhouse at Barstow, though).

The replacement roundhouse had 25 stalls, originally an 85-foot turntable and was constructed of brick and concrete. The June 16, 1912 Morning Echo(Bakersfield) in a report originally from the Barstow Printer stated that the new roundhouse was to be ready by September 1, 1912.

This roundhouse was not “a full circle roundhouse.” An aerial photo of the roundhouse on pg. 32 of Germaine Moon’s “Barstow Depots & Harvey Houses” shows it covering a bit over 180 degrees of arch.

The Barstow roundhouse was similar in design to the Calwa (Fresno) roundhouse, both being constructed at around the same time (the machine shop at Barstow and the machine shop at Calwa were also of similar design).

In 1923, Bartow got a standard 120-foot truss-type turntable (11 other locations on the Santa Fe had turntables of this type. An article about modeling Santa Fe 120-foot truss turntables can be found on pgs. 96-103 of the Oct. 1989 Model Railroader).

The Barstow roundhouse did not “burn to the ground about 1939.” It would be difficult for this to happen to a brick and concrete building. Sometime in the 1940s, the roundhouse was reduced to about half of its former size, probably to make room for tracks leading to the new diesel shop, which was completed in 1945, not 1947. Of course, the purported “absence of a roundhouse at Barstow” had nothing to do with why the diesel shop was built.

In the book, “Wheels Rolling – West,” by Benson and Styffe, there is a photo taken in 1952 of SP No. 4449 on the Barstow turntable in front of the roundhouse (4449 was being used on storm-related detours of SP passenger trains via the Santa Fe).

The Barstow roundhouse can be seen in the background in a 1963 photo on pg. 29 of “Santa Fe 1940-1971 In Color, Volume 3: Albuquerque-Los Angeles” by Stagner and in the background in a 1960 photo on pg. 30 of the same book. A photo of the Barstow yard taken in the late ’50s or early ’60s in “Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California, Volume 2” also shows the roundhouse. It was torn down sometime between 1963 and 1966.

John Sweetser