We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Roundhouse?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseTour is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseTour, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A roundhouse is a structure which is used to store and service locomotives, along with other railroad equipment. Classically, roundhouses were literally round, explaining the name, although modern variations on the structure are often built in different shapes. A roundhouse may also be referred as an engine-house, and most major railroad hubs have one tucked away somewhere on the grounds, as one never knows when a locomotive might need service.

The first roundhouses were built in the early 19th century, and they were round for a very specific reason: they were designed to fit over locomotive turntables. Early locomotives did not run backward, or ran backward very slowly, so when trains needed to turn locomotives around, they were driven onto a set of rotating track which could be used to flip the direction of the locomotive. By mounting a turntable in a roundhouse, engineers could move the locomotives inside around very efficiently, creating stalls for each locomotive to be stored in and moving the locomotives into stalls with the help of the turntable.

With the development of modern locomotives which are more easy to maneuver, the turntable is not as necessary, although some railroads certainly still use turntables. However, the need for a sheltered structure to protect locomotives while they are out of commission is still present, and by tradition, such structures are called roundhouses even if they are not round.

Many railroads use their roundhouses to store backup locomotives, or to store locomotives while they are not in use. Depending on the size of the railroad, a number of locomotives may be kept out of service at any given time, allowing the railroad to be flexible about its train scheduling. When locomotives are damaged or in need of routine service, they are also stored in the roundhouse, which typically contains equipment for working on trains.

Touring a roundhouse can be quite exciting, especially when the structure belongs to a large and busy railway company. While locomotives are not quite as picturesque now as they were during the days of steam, they are still quite impressive. The staff of the roundhouse are also often very enthusiastic about the trains they work on, and they are usually happy to talk to people about the locomotives and to give guided tours of the equipment used to work on them.

WiseTour is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseTour researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseTour, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseTour, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.