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Earle Baldwin

"Circus Train!" (Video)

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“Circus Train!” is a sixty minute program which chronicles the July 1985 journey of the Circus World Museum’s circus train from its home in Baraboo, WI to Milwaukee for the city’s annual circus parade. The train had been part of the yearly tradition during the 1960’s and 70’s but had not operated in several years. Railroading has long played an integral role in the success of the circus concept. In fact, some of the earliest circuses had “Railroad” as part of their names. This history, coupled with the huge crowds the train always attracted en route, encouraged museum personnel to again include the train as part of the 1985 event.


The train was routed southeast from Baraboo to the Chicago suburbs at which point it then operated north along the lake shore to Milwaukee. Powered by preserved Chicago and North Western R-1 Class 4-6-0 1385 and two CNW F7’s, the train made a grand sight. Vintage circus trains were much different in appearance from today’s Ringling Brothers consists. The cars were brightly colored with the decorative wagons carried on flat cars. The trains actually served as rolling advertisements for the circus. The combination of vivid colors and polished trim of the equipment looked magnificent against the sunlit blue sky. The sound of the 1385 and F7’s working hard to haul their precious 29 car consist is a treat for the ears. Coverage is very thorough as Mark 1 crews paced the train for its entire journey.


This is a very unique program as not much material pertaining to the great tradition of the circus train is presently available. The video is priced at $29.95 for DVD and $31.95 for VHS. If you’re looking for something different which will really make you smile then this program is for you.





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