Tuesday, February 28, 2017

UP Steam and Circus Train

Screenshot at -1:20, skip to about -1:33
Looks like our final UP hauled contract days for the once worldwide loved Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. The famed circus is closing the curtains for good this May 2017. Here is video from train in Colorado.
The Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus removed elephants from their act a year or so ago. Now the circus itself is closing its curtains for good in May 2017. The UP got out their Challenger to make its last ride a memorable one. Note in the video that the train had two auxiliary water tankers because not every town has a water tower like they did in the age of steam. The diesel is probably for "protection." (It can move the train in case the steam locomotive breaks down. UP does not like its tracks tied up.) It might also provide the Head End Power (HEP) for the UP passenger cars. It looks like the steam team itself has four cars including a dome car. So some UP executives and/or PR people were probably along for this ride. It looks like this was the "Red" circus train. The circus ran two trains each year --- red and blue. They both are long, even without the elephants. The railcars are not compatible with Amtrak cars. The circus converted and maintained the cars themselves to their own standards. The size of a persons living quarters depended on his or her status. The manager had a suite for his family. It was essentially a house on wheels. The stars had more "real estate" than crew members. What will become of all of these specialized railroad cars is an open question among railfans.

I wonder if the PETA people, or whoever was responsible for effectively destroying the big circus, ever spent some time with the elephants. My experience is that some animals like working with people and like doing what they understand to be useful work. One of my daughter's horses liked going to horse shows so much that he could tell when he had been taken to a show and would get excited about it. (He could also tell when he had been taken to the university's vet clinic, and he would have a very different reaction.) Her horse would also escape from stalls, not because he wanted his freedom, but because he wanted to show how clever he was. He never took off very far. And, after spending a few minutes demonstrating that you couldn't catch him if he didn't want to be caught, he would walk back into to the stall.

So which industry lost more jobs in 2017 --- circus or coal?

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