Atlas O Turntable?

Forgive me if this question has been previously asked. I am considering purchasing an Atlas O turntable. Do any of you have experience with this turntable? I have heard that the motor is weak and cannot turn heavy engines like the MTH M1a. Is this accurate?


Thank you.

Randy Harrison,

President of the:

Great Northeastern Railway

 The Standard Railroad of the Basement




Original Post

The Atlas O turntable is more like a cake spindle than a true turntable.

No Pit, the top is a platter that spins on a bearing in the center.

I have seen a nicely detailed one with painted in rough on the platter to simulate the pit.

As noted, it is not particularly strong, being all plastic.


Still, for the comparable amount of money it's not a bad TT, just remember it's not made to turn a 15 pound engine.

I suspect a larger diameter thrust bearing under the outer portion of the platter would fix it nicely, except you still wouldn't have a real pit.

And I would gear the motor down a bit more for the power needed to turn heavy engines.

I have the turntable, it works fine, my only suggestion is to stock up on replacement belts or the drive system, or look into converting it to a direct drive. THe reason it slips is from my experience the belt is bad.  If mine slip I put on a new belt and its fine


MTH Authorized Service Center Technician

General Train Repair Technician

It is a good turn table for the price.  I have one on my layout and it works fine.  It is not for the detail orientated people as it has no pit. But it will not break the bank either. 

I do find that mine runs much better in one direction than the other.  I use a seperate DC transformer with speed control.  I am still using the origional belt.  Thanks,  Jon

We had one at the club, it did not work well at all, we bought a Ross. Two people wanted it when we replaced it. I was curious why one of them wanted it and so I asked why?  He said Target practice! I think he wanted it for his little mine layout buy would not admit it.

I know where I have been, I know where I am at, I am hopeful I know where I am going.(The devil and God are talking it over).

Mine is one of the first run, and it came with a disc with a spike sticking up perpendicular to the disc's edge: a manual crank option. I don't know if that part is still enclosed with the latest ones, but as far as I'm concerned, it made all the difference for me. No rubber bands, no separate power supply. It can hold and move a RK Challenger, a scale Hudson, F-3 AA's, all with no problem. It ain't scale, and it ain't super detailed, but for a postwar-style layout, it ain't bad. I've said before that it's the best postwar accessory that Lionel never made, and yeah, I like it.

"You have to grow old. You don't have to grow up". Ray Bradbury

It is not a pit but does not pretend to be. It is based on a "pitless" prototype. But it can be "weathered" nicely. I posted a photo awhile ago. Supplied belt is a little too wide. But can be dressed with a sanding block to work well. Nice indexing. Not heavy duty but ok for smaller steam engines. Goes well with the Atlas roundhouse. Do not personally like the Atlas customer service, so I would only buy discounted or used. But you could pay a lot more. Depends on your needs and wants. Fred

Fred is correct....the Atlas turntable is not based on a pit type turntable.  If you do a search online you will find plenty of prototype turntables that resemble the Atlas model.  If you weather the area around the girders, you can make this turntable look really nice.  Most of the time the turntable is going to be a visual element and so the "platter" that the bridge is mounted on will of course be stationary.  If the proper finish is applied, it can look like the surrounding ground.


I still have my Atlas turntable and only replaced it with a pit type because of its length limitations. 



Randy its not bad for the money, I have weathered mine so it looks quite good, you need to cover up the plastic base plate, I have used gravel and coal dust ,  it will turn heavy MTH/Lionel locos with the direct drive modification which I posted on the forum a while back. The motor is hidden in the signal box (second photo)


You can still find the article on J&C Studios Archive





Atlas turntable 002

Atlas turntable 001

Cheers Eric "Ted" Mason - Life's a Dance


Photos (2)
Likes (0)

OGR Publishing, Inc.
33 Sheridan Road, Poland, OH 44514