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Passenger Trains > Pondering the Ringling circus and train


Date: 02/22/21 15:06
Pondering the Ringling circus and train
Author: towazy

I was just reading an Arcticle in a back issue of TRP that mentioned the RBBB circus train and its impending demise. I remember how disappointed many in the rail fan community were disappointed when it was announced the circus was closing. It got me to thinking, if they hadn't when they did, in 2017 if memory serves me, would they have been able to survive the current business conditions? I'm thinking probably, almost definitely, not. So even as disappointing as it was, at the time, to see it go, at least there was warning, and a final tour that many were able to document; as opposed to how it most likely would have occurred if it did indeed survive until 2020.  I'm thinking it would  probably have never left Florida for the 2020 season and just closed without any warning at some point soon thereafter. Thoughts?


       Tom



Date: 02/22/21 15:31
Re: Pondering the Ringling circus and train
Author: ClubCar

Does anyone know if all the equipment has been sold?  Are there any of their passenger cars still in Florida?
Thanks.
John in White Marsh, Maryland



Date: 02/22/21 15:45
Re: Pondering the Ringling circus and train
Author: jp1822

Some sold and then re-sold again. Some also re-sold to scrappers.......



Date: 02/22/21 17:03
Re: Pondering the Ringling circus and train
Author: march_hare

Hadn't thought of it in those terms, but I think you have it nailed.  No way they could have survived the early 2020 onset of Covid, especially with their marketing appeal to families with kids.  (Mine included, BTW, I loved following the train and taking my boys to the show).

The timing could not have possibly been worse.  The season would have been just starting as several states (most notably in the northeast, where the show season often began) went into very severe lockdown mode.  Imagine being in the shoes of the guys who tried to schedule the train a few months in advance, now they had to schedule what, maybe a year in advance?

My boys and I spent a melancholy afternoon chasing one of the very last runs, up the former D&H from Binghamton to Albany.  It was the only time I got to see the circus train coming through my home town.  Sad to see it go, glad I got to see it and that my boys got to see it.



Date: 02/22/21 21:40
Re: Pondering the Ringling circus and train
Author: DevalDragon

ClubCar Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Does anyone know if all the equipment has been
> sold?  Are there any of their passenger cars
> still in Florida?
> Thanks.
> John in White Marsh, Maryland

The entire train was sold before it arrived at the final show in New York. It left Uniondale in pieces and never returned home.



Date: 02/23/21 05:55
Re: Pondering the Ringling circus and train
Author: FloridaTrainGuy

Some of the cars are here in Williston, Florida on the Kirby Family Farm, a small amusement park.  You can see the cars from their train ride but you cannot enter them.  The elephants are also in Florida in another location.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/23/21 05:56 by FloridaTrainGuy.




Date: 02/26/21 04:53
Re: Pondering the Ringling circus and train
Author: rbx551985

Those of us who were on the show(s) have been discussing this same concern about how the show would not have survived the Covid shut downs at all .... thanks to websites such as Facebook and other social media sites.  Not only would it have shut us down in a hurry, but what many don't know is that many of the cast and crew were from other countries (around the entire planet), and were here on Work Visas and the like.  It was most certainly traumatic to us when we shut down (I will never forget LITERALLY closing the final curtain on The Greatest Show On Earth (I was on the Blue Unit's backstage crew in May 2017 and worked the portal/back cuirtain), and then a few minutes later finding myself locked in a back dressing room sobbing on the floor for almost ten minuites as I realized my family for 30 years was now "no more...." then seeing the train disappear around a cruve just south of Selma, NC and feeling stunned that I wasn't on it any longer.... those kinds of days hurt us emotionally, like seeing a favorite engine or piece of rolling stock wreck-damaged or sold for scrap, but on a far deeper, personal level.

The fleet was sold off, with most of the passegner cars preserved (only a few are still "in limbo" and wanting for a home such as the 9 passenger cars stranded near Nashville, NC that NC DOT purchased but never used:  they're for sale, TWICE now by NC DOT, but no one willl touch them since NC wants a price for each so high they're being laughed at).  Also not known by most is that the fleet was reaxhing mandatory retirement age and would need TOTAL REPLACEMENT, and that's something which Feld Entertiainment wasn't  prepared to fund:  imagine having to find, purchase and rebuild 80 passenger cars (40 per train among the two tours), and about 24 piggyback flats - about 22 per train..... the ENTIRE fleet was getting that old.

No, while the shut down devestated us all, the show was facing several critical juntcures which seemed to not have viable, affordable solutions.  The Covid crisiis would have been a death knell all by itself, and may have caused further political issues had the hundreds and hundreds of foreign employees been stranded by the bans on people being flown between nations dudring Spring 2020.  Some are suggesting that the owning company might have been warned that a warning of all this may have been sent to them iin order to allow a "safe" shut down but that might bring indications of conspiracy which this posting member won't believe.  All that stuff aside, it's just sad that the largest live performance stage show in history, moving from town to town aboard the two longest passenger/mixed trains ever assembled, is now but a memory.  At least we can still see them rolling on YouTube videos, including scenes from on board during runs......



Date: 02/26/21 05:05
Re: Pondering the Ringling circus and train
Author: ctillnc

> no one willl touch them since NC wants a price for each so high they're
> being laughed at

Not one of NCDOT's better decisions, but it's not the first time that NCDOT has made a bad decision in equipment procurement (e.g. the ex-GO Transit locomotives that were rebuilt as cab control cars and have been sitting idle for years because the FRA won't sign off on them). The NCDOT passenger rail program depends on support from a conservative-dominated NC General Assembly, and there's been quiet griping that NCDOT shouldn't have bought the Ringling cars to begin with. I think NCDOT has been hoping that selling the cars at a profit would take the heat off, but that hasn't happened. 



Date: 02/26/21 10:50
Re: Pondering the Ringling circus and train
Author: rbx551985

Here's a LINK to the NC DOT cars - they are now covered with tons of graffiti and are vandalized inside terribly....

Want to own a piece of history? NCDOT auctioning off Ringling Bros. circus train cars | CBS 17
 



Date: 02/26/21 16:41
Re: Pondering the Ringling circus and train
Author: EMD2024

rbx551985 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Those of us who were on the show(s) have been
> discussing this same concern about how the show
> would not have survived the Covid shut downs at
> all .... thanks to websites such as Facebook and
> other social media sites.  Not only would it have
> shut us down in a hurry, but what many don't know
> is that many of the cast and crew were from other
> countries (around the entire planet), and were
> here on Work Visas and the like.  It was most
> certainly traumatic to us when we shut down (I
> will never forget LITERALLY closing the final
> curtain on The Greatest Show On Earth (I was on
> the Blue Unit's backstage crew in May 2017 and
> worked the portal/back cuirtain), and then a few
> minutes later finding myself locked in a back
> dressing room sobbing on the floor for almost ten
> minuites as I realized my family for 30 years was
> now "no more...." then seeing the train disappear
> around a cruve just south of Selma, NC and feeling
> stunned that I wasn't on it any longer.... those
> kinds of days hurt us emotionally, like seeing a
> favorite engine or piece of rolling stock
> wreck-damaged or sold for scrap, but on a far
> deeper, personal level.
>
> The fleet was sold off, with most of the passegner
> cars preserved (only a few are still "in limbo"
> and wanting for a home such as the 9 passenger
> cars stranded near Nashville, NC that NC DOT
> purchased but never used:  they're for sale,
> TWICE now by NC DOT, but no one willl touch them
> since NC wants a price for each so high they're
> being laughed at).  Also not known by most is
> that the fleet was reaxhing mandatory retirement
> age and would need TOTAL REPLACEMENT, and that's
> something which Feld Entertiainment wasn't 
> prepared to fund:  imagine having to find,
> purchase and rebuild 80 passenger cars (40 per
> train among the two tours), and about 24 piggyback
> flats - about 22 per train..... the ENTIRE fleet
> was getting that old.
>
> No, while the shut down devestated us all, the
> show was facing several critical juntcures which
> seemed to not have viable, affordable solutions. 
> The Covid crisiis would have been a death knell
> all by itself, and may have caused further
> political issues had the hundreds and hundreds of
> foreign employees been stranded by the bans on
> people being flown between nations dudring Spring
> 2020.  Some are suggesting that the owning
> company might have been warned that a warning of
> all this may have been sent to them iin order to
> allow a "safe" shut down but that might bring
> indications of conspiracy which this posting
> member won't believe.  All that stuff aside, it's
> just sad that the largest live performance stage
> show in history, moving from town to town aboard
> the two longest passenger/mixed trains ever
> assembled, is now but a memory.  At least we can
> still see them rolling on YouTube videos,
> including scenes from on board during runs......



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/26/21 16:46 by EMD2024.



Date: 02/27/21 10:50
Re: Pondering the Ringling circus and train
Author: rbx551985

That little "loop" to the left of the coaches shown in the photo above of KIRBY FARMS in Williston, Fla., is a narrow-guage RAILROAD looping around the property.



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