Summary It has been postulated that bacterial DNA replication occurs via a factory mechanism in which unreplicated DNA is spooled into a centrally located replisome and newly synthesized DNA is discharged towards opposite cell poles. Although there is considerable support for this view, it does not fit with many key observations. I review new findings, and provide alternative interpretations for old findings, which challenge this model. As a whole, current data suggest that the replisome, at least in slowly growing Escherichia coli cells, tracks along a stationary chromosome. These replisomes are not stationary, tethered or restricted in their movement, but rather travel throughout the nucleoid. One possibility is that the replisome navigates along a chromosome made up of looped domains as has been previously envisioned.