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?

Ken Jamin posted
Circus folk were at home wherever they went. Note the TV satellite dishes clamped to the coaches where they lived.
Marvin Curry The cars with the elephants would rock.
Tadeus Seremeth When I worked at the Providence and Worcester had the red and blue train come in back to back
One went to Providence the other stayed in Worcester.

Eddy Worsham RBB&B employ their own circus Trainmaster..?he supervises the spotting on first day and the loading on the last day ?
Vernon Clark Eddy Worsham 
And he was better than a Cs&x trainmaster.

Richard Woodruff the one I met knew the cars and the airbrake system on them (relay system), train carried its own parts, cold early morning changing valves on the car that carried the elephants, ......if I understood the train had its own zip code.
Ken Jamin And while we're on the subject of circus trains, an opr at CN (former EJ&E) West Chicago tower once told me about an incident that happened there many years earlier, shortly after a circus train had passed. It seems that elephant droppings fell into the switch points, causing it to jam and delaying a commuter train. When the operator reported the cause of the delay to the dispatcher, the DS initially refused to accept the explanation, saying, “I can’t show ‘elephant s**t’ as the cause of delay to a passenger train!”
Ken Jamin There was a story which appeared in the Milwaukee Road employees magazine about an elephant that grabbed the condrs copy of the orders out of the order crane at Davis Jct. IL while the circus train was slowly going around one leg of the wye. The quick-thinking opr ran back into the depot, got the ofc. copy and hung it in the crane in time for the condr to grab it.
Arnold R Thompson When they came to OKC the women performers had little wading pools they brought out and filled with water and laid in for the summer heat and for a tan too I guess.
Steve Maday They used to park the circus train at Galewood in Chicago when it was at the United Center.
Ken Jamin I think this was at Schiller Park.
Steve Maday Saw the people walking up and down the right of way going to the store or going to do laundry. I worked out of a trailer at Galewood.
Mike Heiligstedt Saw them at Galewood a few times.
Gregor Hartung Sr In Chicago when parked in Galewood yard you could see bikes and chairs about the side of the train. 
I had been called to put it together then move it across the Chicago area to hand off to another crew that was moving it south for the winter 2005/6 era.

Phillip Peterson Saw it in the early 1970’s in Raleigh, NC. Evidently, the elephants had rolled a car at some point. [As in turned it over onto its side?]

Brian Myers yes we all were looking . Ray and they were there Once while working the train coming for Glidden we stopped and while walking the Circus train and Elephant slapped me in the back of the head with his trunk, was not expecting this wow and now these train are gone. 
Joe Meyer I was walking the train at night checking handbrakes + a Loins stuck him paw out !! Scared the stuff out of Me !!
Ken Jamin Joe Meyer my boss said he had a panther almost claw him in the dark while he was yarding a circus train.
Rudy A Garcia i ran one from Austin to Hearne. elephant set off wide load detector with it’s trunk.
Ken Jamin Somebody (engr, condr) once told me that the elephants would "tease" the signal masts with their trunks, as though they were going to grab it, only to pull away at the last second.
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