Monday, September 26, 2011

Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars)

From Mick Melvin:

Step right up

I arrived at work in Hartford early one morning to find a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus train parked on the tracks across the street from my job. I'm used to seeing freight trains, commuter trains and even Amtrak service pick-up trucks occupying the tracks. It was a delight to see the circus train stretched along the tracks. My eye was drawn to the American flag flying and the satellite disk attached to one of the cars. It made me wonder about the train and its passengers.

Ringling Bros.

Ringling Bros. has two circus trains, the Blue Tour and the Red Tour. They alternate touring major U.S. cities on a two-year rotation. Each unit performs a different edition of the show. Both trains are one-mile long, with 55 cars for the Red Tour and 56 for the Blue Tour. There are four animal stock cars, two container flats for concession storage and 17 piggyback flats for equipment, props and vehicles.

Thirty-three cars are used by the staff, maintenance crew, performers and their families. Approximately 325 people ride the train on the tour.

These passengers must see some beautiful sights while traveling the railways of America. The only view they had while parked in Hartford was the front of my office building, a few auto repair shops and the back of a factory. I am glad it was parked there because I got to see one of the trains that brings joy to so many people in our country.

Circus Train

(I stole the title for this post from an R.E.M. song. In light of the band's announcement last week that it has broken up, I figured I'd bend the format here a little bit and toss in a tribute to a band that I loved completely during the '80s -- ed.)

1 comment:

  1. I really like these pics, Mick. The circus life is fascinating to me. I saw a documentary on the Big Apple Circus last year and it opened my eyes to that life, which is filled with lots of highs and lows but also plenty of really boring times. Thanks for sharing this!