Getting the Circus Train was a Bit of a Circus



The circus train climbs Westinghouse hill. Note the tail end of that stacker alongside.

The circus train climbs Westinghouse hill. Note the tail end of that stacker alongside.





I knew the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus train was going to be coming west a couple of weeks ago on the Norfolk Southern Chicago Line and knew the spot I wanted to shoot it at.

I was in earshot all morning, listening to the CSX crew build the train near the Amtrak station in downtown Cleveland.

The plan was to have the CSX crew take the train to CP Max (near Rockport) for the new NS crew and its run to Toledo.

Once the train was together and got the OK to proceed west over Bridge 1, I headed for my perch.

The one thing that could happen to block the photo was another train and that almost happened. As the circus train was starting over the bridge, an eastbound stack train was calling signals on its way to the bridge.

The stacker showed up first and not only was it going slow it was long and had the Savannah & Atlanta heritage unit leading.

I guess if you are going to get skunked by another train it might as well be a good one. I shot the S&A (including a down on roster view) and then watched it slowly move east.

As the end of it got closer, the headlight of the circus train was showing. Just as the circus train got into shooting range, the stacker cleared allowing the photos I that wanted.

A long train in itself, the circus train was 61 cars and powered by two CSX units. I grabbed a few photos of some of the cars as well as the train.

Note the excavation for the new West 73rd Street bridge in several of the photos, and the “old” main. Trains will use this shoofly track until the new bridge is built, then will move back to the original line location.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

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One Response to “Getting the Circus Train was a Bit of a Circus”

  1. Trollface Says:

    “Your pictures always tell a story!”

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