Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Ringling Brothers Red and Blue units circus trains

Received via email

As most of you may have heard or read by now, after May both Ringling Brothers Red and Blue units circus trains will fade into what Willie Nelson sang about in his song "City of New Orleans". In it he said "This train got the disappearing railroad blues." and so will both Ringling Brothers circus trains have those disappearing blues. Having chased both trains since 1983 I would like to share some of my photos taken during that time frame. In 1996 I had the opportunity to photograph the circus train going west around Horseshoe Curve. The crowd of people waiting for the train on that day was huge. Passing by the Curve's viewing area people were photographing the train's passage and Ringling Brothers personnel were photographing the crowd from the vestibules. It was an amazing sight to witness that will no longer happen!
    After closing out NYC's Madison Square Garden, Ringling Brothers Red Unit would pass through Manville (NJ) on June 3, 1985 over what is now CSX's Trenton Line. As it passed by CP WESTON (MP 56), a CP that no longer exists, a member of the show waved from the vestibule to me as he passed by. Bringing up the rear markers on that day of this forty-three car train was a CR caboose! Like cabooses those friendly waves from the vestibules will soon be history. One can also speculate that come May both the Red and Blue units might be traveling over these same tracks to Florida for the very last time after closing out their final shows in Providence (RI) on May 7 and Uniondale (NY) on May 21, respectively.
    April 11, 2005 would find me once again track side in Stanton Station (NJ) along the Lehigh Line awaiting the Red Unit's passage. On this day the  fifty-six car train would be making the 339 mile trip from NYC to State College, PA. A grandfather was out taking a walk with his grandson when he inquired what I was waiting on. I told him Ringling Brothers Circus Train. When the train sounded its horn as it approached the grade crossing, both of them would watch the train's passage with much interest. It will be goodbye to spontaneous sights like that of people of all ages taking time to watch the circus train's passing. In closing I can say that it was a great ride while it lasted and certainly glad that there was enough patience along with perseverance on my part to capture these images.