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Eastern Railroad Discussion > RBBB Circus Train, where is it off-season?


Date: 11/20/11 09:53
RBBB Circus Train, where is it off-season?
Author: donstrack

It all started with an incomplete list of UP passenger cars that had been sold to Ringling Brothers for service on their circus trains. A month later, it has become its own web page, with a dash of history about the trains where 104 ex Union Pacific passenger cars are now, or have been used. Some have been retired and scrapped (which ones?), but others are very much still in service. Most have been completely rebuilt and reconfigured, and show little resemblance to their days on UP.

http://www.utahrails.net/pass/ringling-ex-up.php

A couple questions. The season for both the Red train and the Blue train appears to end in late November/mid December each year, and restarts in early to mid January the following year. I think the trains return to Florida. Where? A search of both Google and Bing shows the Ringling Brothers shop at Palmetto, Florida. But there does not appear to be enough room in the area to store two 50+ car trains. Where are they stored? The vehicles and equipment on the flat cars needs to have maintenance performed. Where is it all unloaded?

There are at least 15 cars in various states of repair in the upper (Google) image, and at least 27 cars in the lower (Bing) image.

Don Strack
http://www.utahrails.net/



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 11/20/11 10:06 by donstrack.






Date: 11/20/11 11:20
Re: RBBB Circus Train, where is it off-season?
Author: FBU32804

Tampa handles one unit for their winter break, Orlando handles the other. The unit in Tampa is carved up & stored in the tracks between Yeoman & Uceta Yards these days & it pretty much stays there from mid-November until after the shows for Tampa in early January. They no longer run across the Bay into St Pete with the train. The unit that comes to Orlando shows up early December & they take residence over at Central FL fairgrounds with the passenger cars staying yarded on CSX & stock cars/flats going to Pinsly. They will leave just after the new year starts to head to Miami & begin their new season.



Date: 11/21/11 09:35
Re: RBBB Circus Train, where is it off-season?
Author: rbx551985

FBU32804 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Tampa handles one unit for their winter break,
> Orlando handles the other. The unit in Tampa is
> carved up & stored in the tracks between Yeoman &
> Uceta Yards these days & it pretty much stays
> there from mid-November until after the shows for
> Tampa in early January. They no longer run across
> the Bay into St Pete with the train. The unit
> that comes to Orlando shows up early December &
> they take residence over at Central FL fairgrounds
> with the passenger cars staying yarded on CSX &
> stock cars/flats going to Pinsly. They will leave
> just after the new year starts to head to Miami &
> begin their new season.

CORRECT, exactly. The show which ENDS its 2-year tour goes to Tampa to begin "building" a new show; the other unit (still in the middle of its own 2-year tour) goes to Orlando. Red Unit (which will go to Orlando after they play Indianapolis) is in the middle of it's 2-year tour of the 141st Edition (since 1871, the show's first year). Blue Unit (which just ended its 2-year tour of the 140th Edition) is now in Tampa and about to start rehearsing the all-new 142nd Edition. Blue show takes all even-numbered Editions on the 2-year tour beginning each even-numbered year. Red show takes all odd-numbered Editions ON THE SAME 2-YEAR TOUR, but they begin their new Editions ever odd-numbered year. This allows the RBBB rail tour(s) to play twice the number of towns each year: twice the chances to see either train, and twice the amount of fun for Children Of All Ages!

EDIT: THREE PHOTOS FROM THE PALMETTO, FLORIDA SHOPS complex -- taken on the TRAINS Magazine tour of Jan. 19, 2010....

(1) A close-up, ground view of some of the car-bodies, UP ON STEEL JACK-STANDS, which you can see in the aerial photos above.
(2) and (3) A former Union Pacific 6-axle baggage car is another car stored at the Palmetto, Florida Shops complex -- currently used to store parts for other cars.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/11 09:53 by rbx551985.








Date: 11/21/11 09:39
Re: RBBB Circus Train, where is it off-season?
Author: rbx551985

ANOTHER SET of photos from the Palmetto, Florida Shops complex of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey (FELD ENTERTAINMENT).... BTW, another set of buildings is to the right of the railcar area (just out of frame in the 2 aerial photos above), and those are for building props, wardrobe, floats and more for RBBB, Walt Disney On Ice (another Feld show), and other shows which are produced by Feld Entertainment.

RAIL CARS on site (more photos):
(1) Ice show flooring is in the foreground to the right, just in front of an extra, stored human canon device. The CSXT rail line is in the right of the photo, which looks due east.
(2) A plethora of railcar parts are stored in carefully arranged lots all over the site -- and these are inventoried with extreme detail for future use.
(3) This is one of the mobile, overhead canopies which are used to shelter workers recyling railcars outside.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/11 09:43 by rbx551985.








Date: 11/21/11 09:46
Re: RBBB Circus Train, where is it off-season?
Author: rbx551985

(1) RBBX 63012, another former U.P. baggage car, is loaded with spare parts for future use.
(2) A Disney On Ice truck is stored next to a former Blue Unit Circus coach.
(3) A former Seaboard Air Line coach (former RBX 44) is seen stored, awaiting future disposition.








Date: 11/21/11 09:50
Re: RBBB Circus Train, where is it off-season?
Author: rbx551985

(1) An ALASKA RR coach is also stored, awaiting future use.
(2) Inside one of the shops buildings, a truck-table is seen: coach truck-frames are placed on this apparatus -- UPSIDE DOWN -- for re-working, before returning to use on America's railroads.
(3) INTERIOR of the Blue Unit's current PIE CAR shows the extraordinary handiwork of the Palmetto Shops Complex workforce: simply astonishing! They're who I call, "DREAM WEAVERS" -- i.e., to paraphrase the famous song, "they'll get them (both trains) there (to the next town) through the night."








Date: 11/21/11 10:35
Re: RBBB Circus Train, where is it off-season?
Author: donstrack

Thanks for posting the photos. Two of them, RBBX 60016 and 63012, are a roster geek's idea of near perfection. They show that RBBX 60016 was definitely ex UP 24431 (meaning it did not receive its assigned 904824 number), and the photo of RBBX 63012 shows its two previous UP numbers, 904298 on the side, and 5773 on the ceiling inside the door.

http://www.utahrails.net/pass/ringling-ex-up.php

Don Strack



Date: 11/21/11 14:06
Re: RBBB Circus Train, where is it off-season?
Author: The_Chief_Way

Great tour ! Thanks for posting



Date: 11/21/11 15:12
Re: RBBB Circus Train, where is it off-season?
Author: rbx551985

A FEW MORE....
(1) This DOLLY aparatus, in front of the railcar, is used to move the car-bodies around the lot. They are lifted by [outside-hired] cranes.

(2) This model train is displayed on the wall just inside the entrance to the Hagenbeck-Wallace construction building, which is one of those OUT OF FRAME to the right of the parking lot in the top 2 photos, above. Hagenbeck-Wallace, another former Circus merged into RBBB in the Depression era, now builds the props and floats for RBBB Circus.

(3) EMERGENCY SYSTEM installed in the Blue Unit's current PIE CAR. This system is located throughout the entire train (this is on BOTH rail tours), and alerts all managers instantly if there are any problems of ANY kind during train-runs or when the trains are spotted in the towns they play. There is a communications panel all personnel are trained to use in the event of an emergency, including medical issues -- and they work wonders!








Date: 11/21/11 15:18
Re: RBBB Circus Train, where is it off-season?
Author: rbx551985

SEE THE BLUE UNIT'S CURRENT PIE CAR UNDER CONSTRUCTION HERE:
(1) Interior Seating Area is just about half done in this shot, which was taken by Palmetto Shops personnel during the "recycling" of this former U.P. baggage car during 2009.

(2) Insulation Installment is going on here....

NOTE: I posted the first 2 images here in this response BACKWARDS; my apologies! (Image #1 here was taken AFTER Image #2 here.)

(3) And here is the FINISHED interior of the car, looking toward the same location within the car AFTER COMPLETION of the interior. 'Quite a difference, eh? (I've posted this same image before on TO.COM; I took this photo on Jan. 20, 2010 while the Blue Unit was playing Jacksonville, Florida.) At left in his Dress Whites is Blue Unit's master Chef and Pie Car Manager MICHAEL K. VAUGHN, and behind him -- smiling as big as Texas -- is Assistant Trainmaster JOE COLOSSA. At right in the blue shirt is Blue Unit's Trainmaster, KEITH ANDERSON -- these three are 3 of the greatest guys you'll ever meet at THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH!



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/11 15:22 by rbx551985.








Date: 11/21/11 15:26
Re: RBBB Circus Train, where is it off-season?
Author: rbx551985

LAST 3 SHOTS for this TO.COM tour:
(1) Blue Unit's PIE CAR interior -- KITCHEN.
(2) Blue Unit's PIE CAR interior -- Kitchen GRILL.
(3) Blue Unit's PIE CAR interior -- Kitchen SINK.

As you can see, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey doesn't scrimp on budget when it comes to their two Circus Trains!








Date: 11/21/11 15:30
Re: RBBB Circus Train, where is it off-season?
Author: rbx551985

LAST THREE SHOTS for this TO.COM tour.... we see how far Ringling Bros. takes the pure craftsmanship of railcar "recycling" -- to the highest of heights, as it were (all 3 shots were taken by Palmetto Shops personnel during late 2009):

(1) Blue Unit's current PIE CAR exterior -- this shot was taken by Palmetto Shops personnel just after completion of the car, and just prior to its late 2009 delivery to the show in Tampa, Florida. NOTE that the former pair of side-of-car Baggage DOORS are nearly imperceptable now, having been "blended" into the sides of the car's newly "recycled" construction. 'And to think: RPO materials and other related items were once hauled in this car! (Yes, this was originally a RPO for Union Pacific Railroad: now seen as "RBBX 63010 - BLUE UNIT 'PIE CAR' [with RBX House Number 181]," it was built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1962 as U.P. 5770, a Postal/Storage car.)

(2) This car's KIT-BASHED vestibule (constructed to exacting safety standards by Palmetto Shops personnel). Note it's just barely more narrow than standard coach vestibules -- but it's as safe as they're made in the U. S. of A.!

(3) Here's a CLOSE-UP of this newly-built vestibule STEPS.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/11 15:35 by rbx551985.








Date: 11/21/11 15:37
Re: RBBB Circus Train, where is it off-season?
Author: rbx551985

Okay, ONE MORE: a publicity still made by Feld Entertainment, Inc.:
The Blue Unit's Pie Car Manager, MICHAEL K. VAUGHN, proudly displays some of the fare prepared for RBBB's Blue Unit personnel. (NOW, who wants to run away and join the Circus!?)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/11 15:38 by rbx551985.




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