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 Post subject: Update on Circus Train cars?
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 9:33 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8397
Location: Baltimore, MD
As I type this, the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Blue Unit Circus Train is struggling to get out of Roanoke and Norfolk Southern is replacing seemingly-uncooperative locos, getting started on the second day of its last-ever "loaded" run to the final RBBB shows ever in the NYC area.

Meanwhile, the Red Unit's remains are reportedly southbound en route from Rhode Island to Florida, and one report had it at only four coaches and 19 flat cars.

If
this report is correct, it means that a substantial number of RBBB passenger cars have already found other destinations--be it private buyers, a broker/brokers, or even scrappers. This conflicts with earlier ruminations that "no one" would want the "tubed" cars, the price was too high, and/or that there were few takers in earlier bidding action with Feld Entertainment.

Is anyone able or willing to report further on the apparent/supposed/confirmed disposition of this fleet?

Earlier thread, with rosters:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=40427


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 Post subject: Re: Update on Circus Train cars?
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 10:49 am 

Joined: Thu May 21, 2015 9:33 am
Posts: 97
I have heard of several cars/small groups of cars that were sold to individuals and organizations.

I know for a fact that they are calling museums out of the blue and offering cars for donation- one I know of is getting 4 cars, with no job or plan or space for them.

Having bid on some and getting told "go to heck", this makes me a little upset. However as a business, I understand their logic. We can't get what we want for the cars, so we will donate a bunch and write them off for $100,000 or some such.

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 Post subject: Re: Update on Circus Train cars?
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 10:59 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8397
Location: Baltimore, MD
So if some museum should have a legitimate desire or interest in the cars, either as relics or carbodies for rebuild, whom should they contact instead of just waiting for that "out of the blue" call?

Okay, maybe don't post it publicly here, but can someone offer the right contacts in PM, confirm the "call out of the blue, " etc.?


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 Post subject: Re: Update on Circus Train cars?
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 1:04 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:40 pm
Posts: 723
The value of most of these cars is mostly in the components such as trucks, couplers, draft gear, HEP wiring transformers, water systems, etc. Private car owners, operating museums, tourist lines, etc can get a few of these cars and use the parts to upgrade their existing cars using the Amtrak approved equipment.


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 Post subject: Re: Update on Circus Train cars?
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 2:35 pm 
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Lincoln Penn wrote:
The value of most of these cars is mostly in the components such as trucks, couplers, draft gear, HEP wiring transformers, water systems, etc. Private car owners, operating museums, tourist lines, etc can get a few of these cars and use the parts to upgrade their existing cars using the Amtrak approved equipment.

I still think a private operation would love to have them, as they can pretty much standard hotel-style rooms in them and a big lounge on either end for charters...

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 Post subject: Re: Update on Circus Train cars?
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 7:28 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2004 4:49 pm
Posts: 347
I understand roughly 50 cars have been purchased so far. There has been far more interest in these cars than I had imagined, and there is a pretty wide variety of buyers.

Both trains head to Oak Island, NJ after the last shows and all cars heading to new homes will be switched out and sent on their way by the appropriate freight RR. The unsold cars are heading to FL for probably another round of bidding.


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 Post subject: Re: Update on Circus Train cars?
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 9:52 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:10 am
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Topfuel wrote:
I understand roughly 50 cars have been purchased so far. There has been far more interest in these cars than I had imagined, and there is a pretty wide variety of buyers.

Both trains head to Oak Island, NJ after the last shows and all cars heading to new homes will be switched out and sent on their way by the appropriate freight RR. The unsold cars are heading to FL for probably another round of bidding.



I have heard similar from a circus buddy. Many cars have new homes, and RBBB crews have been busy removing circus lettering.

Rob

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 Post subject: Re: Update on Circus Train cars?
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 11:02 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2015 5:29 pm
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Anyone know what some of the cars selling prices were? Rumor had it that the passenger cars were selling between $10-18K and not much higher. Since the insides have no resemblance to a traditional passenger car interior (drywall) then it seems like the pricing is right for wheel sets and other components.


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 Post subject: Re: Update on Circus Train cars?
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 5:57 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2004 4:49 pm
Posts: 347
So far, most of the buyers will be re-configuring their acquisitions for continued service, not stripping them for parts. However, most circus interiors will likely be stripped and new interiors built. The fact that these cars have virtually no original fabric remaining, including in many cases a minimum of windows, has had no effect whatsoever on their appeal to buyers. Not what most of us predicted, that's for sure.


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 Post subject: Re: Update on Circus Train cars?
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 8:21 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Baltimore, MD
I've received a report from one of our regulars that one of the few ex-Norfolk & Western cars in the train is headed to the Roanoke Chapter NRHS roster: RBBB 41311, former N&W Pike County.


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 Post subject: Re: Update on Circus Train cars?
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 2:01 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2435
d500 wrote:
Anyone know what some of the cars selling prices were?


I'm sure the info will get out there at some point, but for now it seems most folks are complying with the confidentiality requirement.

Quote:
...these cars have virtually no original fabric remaining


I understand what you mean, and yes, you are correct there is no original fabric from the cars as they were built. However, it is my understanding that at least a few owners intend to preserve them as circus train cars, in which case they are virtually intact, though as many have pointed out, they're far more like construction camps and RV's than railroad passenger cars at this point. However, if you want to preserve the circus train rather than some random former UP coach for example, then it's perfect.


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 Post subject: Re: Update on Circus Train cars?
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 2:49 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
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Location: southeastern USA
Generic coaches work very well for some of us - and this isn't a lot to pay for a tubed-out basis for building one. I've been working on the idea of a generic walkover seat replica that can be adapted with different end caps, seat backs, etc to suit different eras and styles - if anybody wants to help out and get in on it you'd be welcome.

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 Post subject: Re: Update on Circus Train cars?
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 5:47 pm 
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Topfuel wrote:
Not what most of us predicted, that's for sure.
I wasn’t one who said nobody would want them. Seriously, a passenger car that can roll on Class I railroads RIGHT NOW and you can do whatever you want with the interiors?
How is it that anyone doubted a market for something like that?

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 Post subject: Re: Update on Circus Train cars?
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 7:44 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:07 am
Posts: 664
Location: Philadelphia Pa
p51 wrote:
Topfuel wrote:
Not what most of us predicted, that's for sure.
I wasn’t one who said nobody would want them. Seriously, a passenger car that can roll on Class I railroads RIGHT NOW and you can do whatever you want with the interiors?
How is it that anyone doubted a market for something like that?


I think the problem is that there is a preconception that "tubed out" means a useless shell that was a project begun and never completed, as so many have seen on rail equipment sale sites.

These cars are the complete opposite....you have a roadworthy car that you can spend minimal money on and have a project that is basically 75% complete. Want a chair car?....want a table car?......you basically can dream up the interior concept and go.

If you want to see what can be done with basic interiors just lend an eye to the Colebrookdale Railroad and their conversion of bland, boring CN commuter cars, probably rehabbed last in the 1960's, with a 1920's exterior. They now look fantastic....and while they probably won't be running on Amtrak anytime soon, the same ideas can be applied to the circus car interiors. Sky is the limit.

JMO


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 Post subject: Re: Update on Circus Train cars?
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 8:07 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2004 4:49 pm
Posts: 347
"I wasn’t one who said nobody would want them. Seriously, a passenger car that can roll on Class I railroads RIGHT NOW and you can do whatever you want with the interiors? How is it that anyone doubted a market for something like that?"

Because the whole point for many of us who read this forum, of going to all the trouble and expense of being involved with old historic RR equipment, is you want it to actually BE a piece of old historic RR equipment inside and out. I couldn't care less about riding in a "bulldozer job" passenger car with a fake interior, such as the NS "cattle car" coaches that ride up front behind the 611 in recent years. Yes, they're usually fine for the public who doesn't know the difference, and yes many PV's have been done up in a similar manner. But I never understood the point of a bulldozer job PV either. I want to be transported back in time to another era when I step on board a historic passenger car, and the more original, the better. I suspect these buyers are going to realize that there's a lot more work involved with converting these circus cars to something usable and presentable on an excursion train than they think. But we will see what happens with them down the road. At any rate, the availability of these cars has given the passenger car market a much needed shot in the arm for the time being, and that's a good thing. I just won't be in line to ride on one when they start hitting the high iron. Give me an original, nicely restored Heritage-type coach, lounge, diner, or sleeper any day.


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