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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Up-coming RBBB CIRCUS TRAIN Run ["Jump"] Dates

Date: 02/04/05 14:01
Up-coming RBBB CIRCUS TRAIN Run ["Jump"] Dates
Author: rbx551985

BLUE and RED UNIT Railroad Tours

Below are up-coming train run ("jump") dates for the two RBBB Circus Trains during the next portion of 2005. Railroad routes are given only where a single company's rail line goes to destination cities, or where certain routes are "expected." Remember that EVERY travel date and route is subject to change without notice. The two RBBB "Railroad Shows" and their "Hometown Edition" (truck-tour) UP-COMING TOWNS that are so far confirmed for 2005 can be found on the show's official website at <ringling.com/schedule/index.aspx>.

Both [UNIT] performances last over 2 hours; tear-down can take 3-5 hours depending on arena configurations, and loading of the flatcars + reassembly of the cuts of cars into a Unit Train can last several hours longer. Time estimates may also be affected by varying Winter weather conditions, as well as distance from the building to the flatcars, Departure times are thus subject to all of these factors. Actual departure times occur after the train has been reassembled and properly brake-tested, and the Railroad's dispatcher lets them go. Found in FCC public records, the radio frequency currently used by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's two Railroad Tours is 151.625, and the load-out process + flatcar re-loading can be heard on the air over any standard radio scanner.

2005 BLUE UNIT Train: 58 cars; 4,205 Tons; 5,138 feet.
The "BLUE UNIT" can be denoted from trackside by the BLUE Globe Logos on the coaches, with the title "The Greatest Show On Earth" over a western hemisphere background. This train currently carries the second half of RBBB's 2-year tour of the 134th Edition, on what is often called "The Rodeo Route"*.

2005 RED UNIT Train: 56 cars; 4,065 Tons; 4,968 feet.
The "RED UNIT" can be denoted from trackside by the RED Globe Logos on the coaches, with the title "The Greatest Show On Earth" over a western hemisphere background. This train currently carries the first half of RBBB's 2-year tour of the 135th Edition, on what is often called "The Concert Route"*.

BOTH TRAINS are allowed a top speed limit of 60 mph, track conditions permitting. The show's EDITION NUMBERS are measured from Year 1871, the year the older "Barnum & Bailey" show first performed. I encourage EVERYONE to attend a performance of either show. It will give a proper and prefect perspective of the two positively longest passenger trains in the world today. If you go, remember that ticket-holders also have access to a 1-hour Pre-Show before each main performance on the arena floor, to meet many of the cast and perhaps some animals, up close and personal. (See the official website for details on this unique opportunity.)

*******A RARE OCCURANCE*******
Both trains are "expected" to travel over Norfolk Southern's mainline between Charlotte and Greensboro, NC on Mon., Feb. 7 (see entry below), however it's anyone's guess as to how closely the two trains will be to each other during their respective jumps. Remember, however, that planned routes can change without notice for a variety of reasons.

MONDAY, February 7:
BLUE UNIT -- Charlotte to Raleigh, NC., expected on NS.
Last performance at CHARLOTTE COLISEUM begins at 5 pm, Sun. Feb. 6.
RED UNIT -- Greenville, SC to Greensboro, NC., expected on NS.
Last performance at the BI-LO CENTER begins at 5:30 pm., Sun. Feb. 6.

MONDAY, February 14:
RED UNIT -- Greensboro, NC to Richmond, VA. This jump usually occurs on NS via Lynchburg and Burkeville, VA., with railroad crew-changes at both of those locations. Last performance at GREENSBORO COLISEUM begins at 5 pm, Sun. Feb. 13. Special notice: Richmond's flatcar unloading site is usually on the West Point branch line UNDER THE TRIPLE-LEVEL CROSSING, which may offer some unique photo opportunities if two CSX trains happen to pass overhead simultaneously while the Circus Train is underneath on NS. Freight moves to & from West Point, VA are always affected by the presence of the Circus Train here.

TUESDAY, February 15:
BLUE UNIT: -- Raleigh, NC to Atlanta, GA. Expected on NS, but could just as easily use CSX, or portions of each RR enroute. Last performance at the RBC CENTER begins at 7:30 pm, Mon. Feb. 14.

TUESDAY, February 22:
RED UNIT -- Richmond to Norfolk, VA. Expected on NS via Burkeville and Crewe, VA. This jump usual incurs a delay in Crewe, VA to allow the flats to be switched to the opposite end of the train, and for NS personnel to re-crew for the mainline to Norfolk. Track speed Crewe to Norfolk is 60 mph, and anyone pacing the train should be aware of numerous speed limits on parallel highway 460. Special notice: Last performance at RICHMOND COLISEUM begins at 1 pm, Mon. Feb. 21, which may allow a earlier-than-usual departure. It may also depend on NS scheduling of the nightly freight enroute to Richmond from Burkville. Radio scanners would play an important role in knowing when NS relases the Circus Train to move out on this date.

MONDAY, February 28:
BLUE UNIT -- Atlanta, GA to Cincinnati, OH. (Route unknown.)
Last performance at the PHILIPS ARENA begins at 5 pm, Sun. Feb. 27.
RED UNIT -- Richmond to Hampton, VA. This jump usually occurs on an NS-CSX routing via Collier and Fulton Yards. Last performance at NORFOLK SCOPE begins at 5:30 pm, Sun. Feb. 27.

MONDAY, March 7:
BLUE UNIT -- Cincinnati, OH to Baltimore, MD. (Route unknown.)
Last performance at the IFMA MOTOCROSS US BANK ARENA begins at 5 pm, Sun. Mar. 6. Arrival: Baltimore expected during the morning of Tuesday, Mar. 8.
RED UNIT -- Hampton, VA to East Rutherford, NJ. This jump usually occurs over CSX via Richmond, Baltimore and Philadelphia. Last performance at HAMPTON COLISEUM begins at 7:30 pm, Sun. March 6. THIS IS A "6-PACK WEEKEND" for the Red Unit, which means there are 3 shows on Saturday and 3 shows on Sunday (Hampton Coliseum is rather small, so more shows would accomodate more patrons). Departure time from Hampton would be either before or after the morning's scheduled Amtrak departure time from the Newport News passenger station. Arrival: East Rutherford, NJ is expected during the early morning hours of Tuesday, Mar. 8.

(After showing at E. Rutherford, NJ's MEADOWLANDS ARENA, the RED UNIT continues the usual "Concert Route" tour to Nassau, Long Island, and then to Madison Square Garden in New York City.)

The BLUE UNIT, meanwhile, continues on its "Rodeo Route" tour to the following towns:

MONDAY, March 21:
Baltimore, MD to Washington, DC. - for the first of TWO 2005 engagements in Washington, DC. (This jump usually occurs over CSX, and then NS.)
Last performance at Baltimore's 1ST MARINER ARENA begins at 5:30 pm, Sun. Mar. 20.

TUESDAY, March 29:
Washington, DC to Fairfax, VA. (Coaches usually remain on NS for all three DC-area stands, so only the stockcars and flatcars would be moving this date.) Last performance at the MCI CENTER begins at 1 pm, Mon. Mar. 28.

MONDAY, April 4:
Fairfax, VA to Washington, DC. - for the second of TWO 2005 engagements in Washington, DC. (This would be a reverse move of the Mar. 29 jump, with just the stocks and flats.) Last performance at the PATRIOT CENTER (in Fairfax, at George Mason University) begins at 5:30 pm, Sun. Apr. 3.

MONDAY/TUESDAY, April 18/19:
Washington, DC to Worcester, MA. THIS WILL BE A LONG JUMP FOR THE 58-CAR BLUE UNIT TRAIN. Route unknown. Last performance of the show in Washington's DC ARMORY begins at 5:30 pm, Sun. Apr. 17. Departure northward from Washington, DC may be delayed if morning commuter train service delays the re-assembly of the stocks and flats with the coaches.


*Explanation of the terms RODEO ROUTE and CONCERT ROUTE:

Remember that each RBBB Railroad Show is now on a 2-year tour cycle. The "Red Unit," which began in 1969, takes all of the odd-numbered editions of RBBB Circus on the 2-year tour, beginning each odd-numbered year. Blue Unit, which began in 1970, takes all of the even-numbered editions of RBBB Circus on THE SAME 2-YEAR TOUR, but begins every even-numbered year.

The first year of a current 2-year RBBB tour is often referred to as the CONCERT ROUTE, and has several derivations, mainly from the various touring concert acts that use the same basic tour circuit during a given year. For instance, in 1989, Red Unit's 119th Edition was on the Concert Route and was often trailed by the band "Huey Lewis & The News."

Meanwhile, Blue Unit is currently taking the RODEO ROUTE, which is the second-half of the current 2-year RBBB tour. This term can have several meanings, one of which is said to be based on the fact that the Rodeo Route often has "split weeks" in which the show on that route would play TWO cities during a single week's time, and thus the rigging goes up and down, up and down, in each town, like a rodeo horse.

Before 1969, there was a single RBBB Circus in America. (See the historical pages on their official website, <www.ringling.com>.)

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