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Roundhouse circus cars: Motive power and prototypical accuracy?

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Roundhouse circus cars: Motive power and prototypical accuracy?
Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Saturday, July 07, 2018 9:00 PM

So, I have five of the really old roundhouse barnum and bailey circus car kits (assembled) from the steam era. I can provide the specifics like what mine look like and what car they are if needed. My question is, did they have anything close to what the roundhouse models depict? If so, how many and what kind of cars in a consist? What railroad did they lavish with money to haul them? What kind of steam locomotive was used? Thanks for any replies!

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Sunday, July 08, 2018 6:17 PM

Nobody at all?!?!??!?!?!

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, July 08, 2018 8:25 PM

Sorry, I know nothing about circus operations, but I wanted to let you know that someone has read your question... even if I am not knowledgable enough to actually reply with an answer.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by cowman on Sunday, July 08, 2018 8:39 PM

It is a summer,  near holiday, weekend, asking a question about some specific cars that are not common.   Also, many modelers are outside persuing their other interests.  Me I just came in from unloading hay. 

Anyhow, unfortunately I am unfamiliar with the set of cars yor are asking about, so can't be of much help there.  From the circus train I remember seeing and ones in photos, there are a variety of specialty cars, many longer than the "normal" of the day, usually painted up in the circuses color scheme. 

As for motive power, I don't believe they had their own, but were hauled by the ower of the trackage they were going over.  A large train often was double headed with whatever steam power was available from the local rr.  Don't need to add locos, use what you have.

Hope someone sees this that has or is familiar with the cars you are asking about as it sounds like a fun project.  My original Lionel set, with extras, came with several wooden circus cars, which I never finished putting together.  Still have them.

Good luck,

Richard

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Sunday, July 08, 2018 9:55 PM

Well, thanks for the replies. It means as much to me as a helpful answer.

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, July 09, 2018 9:46 AM

Circus trains ran over railroads throughout the country, essentially like a freight being hauled by whichever railroad's tracks it was on. They didn't have their own engines or lease engines, they paid a railroad to haul their train from city A to city B, then perhaps another railroad to go from there to city C. Over the course of a season, they might be on the tracks of dozens of railroads. Each railroad provided the engine(s) and crew(s) needed to move the train over their line.

Generally circus trains had passenger cars for the performers and roustabouts, and flatcars with wagons on top piggyback style carrying the various animals, although some animals rode in separate cars set up for them. The trains could be very long, so the circus would need to work out the logistics with the railroads in advance.

Stix
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Posted by j. c. on Monday, July 09, 2018 11:27 PM

are you asking in regards to the old time roundhouse truss rod kits ?

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Posted by richg1998 on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 12:00 AM

BNSF UP and others modeler

So, I have five of the really old roundhouse barnum and bailey circus car kits (assembled) from the steam era. I can provide the specifics like what mine look like and what car they are if needed. My question is, did they have anything close to what the roundhouse models depict? If so, how many and what kind of cars in a consist? What railroad did they lavish with money to haul them? What kind of steam locomotive was used? Thanks for any replies!

 

It would help help if you post photos. Roundhouse took many liberties over the year with with models.

Rich

N

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Posted by "JaBear" on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 3:15 AM

richg1998
Roundhouse took many liberties over the year with with models.

I’d strongly suggest that they’ve done this with these cars.

The very quick interweb search I’ve done, hasn’t come up with a definitive site for circus trains, but if the OP has the clerestory roof, truss rod cars, then the passenger cars are far too short.

https://thumbs.worthpoint.com/zoom/images1/1/1013/24/ho-roundhouse-barnum-bailey-circus_1_67549c41b3d01c95f823d5e62c5fdda1.jpg

This might be a more acceptable length.

https://dqzrr9k4bjpzk.cloudfront.net/images/2074067/469437883.jpg

 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/13/76/45/1376450536e89da602ffd5dfb4923587.jpg

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/1e/d7/4e/1ed74e2c1edaa490a47384709520614f.jpg

Just hope I haven’t rained on the OPs parade.Whistling

Cheers, the Bear.

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 12:32 PM

Yes, they are truss rod, but they are the longer one, and they are yellow. Will try to post pics. I built them myself and they have nice detail, so I hope it was not in vain.

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 4:21 PM

It depends on your time period of course. The 50' MDC cars are based on cars (or at least are very similar to cars) built by Pullman in the 1880's. From what I have seen, circuses tended to hang on to their railcars for a long time, so those cars might have lasted say into the 1920's.

Stix
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Posted by j. c. on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 5:33 PM

from what i've read the frst cars that P T used were leased from the PRR , so that would  probely in PRR paint , making the round house colors wrong , site read that there first owned  cars were used WW1 hospital cars.as op have said the trains were pulled by motive power of what ever road they were on , correct for the era modeled.

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, July 12, 2018 3:53 PM

The fact that the cars were leased doesn't mean they couldn't have been redecorated. Plus the first Barnum circus train (using leased PRR sleepers) was in 1872, apparently by the 1890's or earlier the circuses had their own cars. The large pic at the top of this webpage seems reasonably close to the longer MDC cars....keeping mind the wood cars were probably repainted often, maybe even every year (during the off-season).

http://showmensmuseum.org/circus-history-2/ringling-bros-circus-train-facts/

Stix
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Posted by j. c. on Thursday, July 12, 2018 11:28 PM

i'll stand corrected on the WW1 cars they wern't used till after the shows were combined in 1919 , the car shown was probely the advanced  car . http://www.circusesandsideshows.com/images/barnumandbailey1889large.jpg . can't post photis here but  pics of a 1889 wreck show the cars looking plain. 

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, July 13, 2018 8:01 AM

Walthers did some circus flat cars back in the 1970's or 80's, which are probably more modern than the truss style MDC cars.  Any comments about those?

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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