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Nostalgia & History > RBBB train: Seattle, 1977...

Date: 11/05/12 22:09
RBBB train: Seattle, 1977...
Author: Notch16

Ringling Brothers comes to town. Date stamp on the slides says October 1977. (Two from 1982 snuck into the stack; see notes on Photos 3 & 4.)

A couple of random notes on these photos. I'd just moved to Seattle from Fresno, and the BN didn't hold much interest for me at the time. But passenger trains of any stripe would get my attention.

I knew nothing about the train then, and virtually nothing about this 1977 edition now. But I can pretty well guess the heritage of some of the cars from visual cues. Anyone who can fill in the details is welcome.

The photos were shot on Kodachrome, ASA 64. Unbelievably gorgeous in sunny conditions, but not a film that loves shadow. And I was just learning that shadow was a fairly chronic local condition! The lensing probably varied from my trusty 24mm, which railfans seem to abhor, but I found to be very liberating, and would allow good coverage in tight confines, plus add a little drama.

Don't look for photos of the locomotives in my files. They were green EMD four-axle turbocharged somethings. No offense to my pals, but at that point they all looked green to me. :-)

Let's see what we have here...

1.) The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd. Don't wear your nice Adidas.

2.) Sleepy Seattle. The Smith Tower still prominent. Black Seafirst building called "The Box the Space Needle Came In" by locals. Can still count the hi-rises downtown. Animal cars, I presume. Look to be former Union Pacific AC&F Baggage-Postal, 6300-series.

3.) Welcome to "Wild Kingdome." Since the original posting, it was pointed out that this is a different year. And so it is. September of 1982 on the date stamp.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/07/12 19:37 by Notch16.

Date: 11/05/12 22:10
Re: RBBB train: Seattle, 1977...
Author: Notch16

4.) This is also a sneaky entrance from September of 1982. We now resume our 1977 program...
Will take a brave stab and say this car appears to be former C&O.

5.) Back to 1977. This is a touch easier. AC&F in the Union Pacific style. Former coach. Converted to living quarters here?

6.) Detail study, same car.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/07/12 19:38 by Notch16.

Date: 11/05/12 22:11
Re: RBBB train: Seattle, 1977...
Author: Notch16

7.) The business end. The circus is known for Big Yellow Cats. Okay...

8.) Maybe it's where they keep the acrobats?

9.) Seriously, are these living quarters? I would try and look things up, but by the time I'm finished typing here, I stop caring. :-)

Date: 11/05/12 22:12
Re: RBBB train: Seattle, 1977...
Author: Notch16

10.) Not too hard to guess Baggage-Postal with a 60-foot U.S. Mail apartment. But the former operator?

11.) A little easier. Looks to be a prewar Pullman-Standard 13-bedroom car. From the "Lark" to the "Twentieth Century", and everything in between.

That's it. The circus came, the circus went. I didn't go. In fact, I never ever set foot on one occasion in that big concrete wart. I was dating a stagehand at the time, and she told me that she had Union brothers who wouldn't go near the place after things fell from the ceiling into their followspot buckets during rock shows.

I knew a guy who'd lived the circus life. One of the non-featured clowns. Rode the trains, maybe was on this one. He makes custom knives now. He's an interesting dude, maybe a little crazy, and the stereotype says you have to be a little crazy to be a circus geek. Of course, here I was, slogging through fresh Seattle mud to take pictures of his co-workers' dorm rooms.

~ BZ

Date: 11/06/12 06:00
Re: RBBB train: Seattle, 1977...
Author: thehighwayman

Notch16 Wrote:
> Ringling Brothers comes to town, 1977.
> Don't look for photos of the locomotives in my
> files. They were green EMD four-axle turbocharged
> somethings. No offense to my pals, but at that
> point they all looked green to me. :-)

Actually, I rather like seeing shots that do not include locomotives!
That is especially true when it comes to the RBBB trains.

I like loco shots, sure ... but it is also worthwhile seeing what those locos are pulling!

A good case in point is all the recent shots of the EMD/Cat new loco pulling high/wide Cat equipment. I want to see the loads, in addition to the locomotive.

Will MacKenzie
Dundas, ON

Date: 11/06/12 15:14
Re: RBBB train: Seattle, 1977...
Author: BuddPullman


I suspect the ex RPO is an ex Rock Island RPO, formerly a New York Central 22 Roommette Pullman.

Great pix.



Date: 11/06/12 23:47
Re: RBBB train: Seattle, 1977...
Author: Notch16

Very cool. Thanks!

And that really puts the test to "smooth side car", doesn't it? :-)

~ BZ

Date: 11/07/12 09:45
Re: RBBB train: Seattle, 1977...
Author: rbx551985

The supposed "C&O" car you mentioned might be the C&O 2618 "City Of Alderson," which was home to workingmen (in bunks/berths). HOWEVER, as you will note from the list below, that car wasn't on the Blue Unit (or Red Unit) during 1977; it may be a B&O car instead (-- and the C&O City of Alderson WAS on the Blue Unit at a later date/year): if you had the RBX number visible on the car, we could verify that. Also, this appears to be cars from two different years, as I note there are cars from BOTH Ringling' trains, the Red Unit (with smaller, red "GLOBE LOGOS") and the Blue Unit (with smaller, blue "GLOBE LOGOS") next to the vestibules.


Ringling Reporting Marks; Original Reporting Marks (and coach name, if any)

RBX 125 FLAT; MCLX 8902
RBX 126 FLAT; MCLX 8900
RBX 127 TUNNEL CAR; RI 757; ex-NYC 10413 Raritan Bay
RBX 128 TUNNEL CAR; RI 758; ex-NYC 10414 Saginaw Bay

RBX 130 STOCK; UP 6300
RBX 131 STOCK; UP 6315
RBX 132 STOCK; UP 6312
RBX 133 STOCK; UP 6318
RBX 134 STOCK; RI 29_ _ [built in 1942]

RBX 136 COACH; RI 756; ex-NYC ?
RBX 137 COACH; RI 865
RBX 138 COACH; B&O 7104 Mockingbird
RBX 139 COACH; B&O 7044 Muscatatuck
RBX 140 COACH; B&O 7103 Kingfisher

RBX 141 COACH; RI 822; ex-NYC 8962
RBX 142 COACH; NYC 10502 Port of Albany
RBX 143 COACH; NYC 10503 Port of Boston
RBX 144 COACH; NYC 10511 Port of Detroit
RBX 145 COACH; B&O 7047 Tuscarawas

RBX 146 COACH; NYC 10537 Elkhart County
RBX 147 COACH; NYC 10534 Ashtibula County
RBX 148 COACH; NYC 10500 Port of Buffalo
RBX 149 COACH; SP 9207 (from SP “Lark” train)
RBX 150 COACH; B&O 7040 Auglaise

RBX 151 COACH; RI 821; ex-NYC 8961
RBX 152 COACH; RI 823; ex-NYC 8967
RBX 153 COACH; RI 820 (from “Golden Rocket” train)
RBX 154 COACH; SP 9100 Imperial Harbor (from C&NW?)
RBX 155 COACH; B&O 7046 Shenango

RBX 156 COACH; B&O 7042 Guyandotte
RBX 157 COACH; NYC 10633 Hickory Creek

37 CARS; List compiled by Rhett Coates, from an official RBBB roster by Robert S. MacDougall.

I do not have the 1977 Red Unit list handy as of this date; I'll see if I can find it and post it later.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/07/12 09:48 by rbx551985.

Date: 11/07/12 19:33
Re: RBBB train: Seattle, 1977...
Author: Notch16

Thanks for adding this good info!

Yes, two slides snuck into the batch of October 1977 date stamps, and I wasn't on the lookout, since I didn't recall going the second time. That was quite a bit later, September of 1982. I am making a note in those passages. (Photos 3&4.)

There are many cars with visible numbers in the October 1977 photos:

Pic 2: 30 & 31
Pic 5: 42
Pic 7: 46
Pic 8: 54 & 55
Pic 9: 46
Pic 10: 60
Pic 11: 59

What are these numbers? And where would RBX numbers appear, if they did appear?

~ BZ

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