Since the stunning news of the imminent demise of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, many readers have been asking us where they can go to see the circus train before it rolls into history. Sadly, fans in most of the country are out of luck — the farthest west either the circus Red or Blue units will reach is Cincinnati, where the Red Unit plays in March.
The Ringling Brothers circus train heads north through Brighton, Colo., on its way from Denver to Salt Lake City in September 2013. (Trains: Jim Wrinn)
But as it happens, long before Saturday's announcement, we were working — with a great deal of help from the folks at Ringling — on a Map of the Month for the April issue of Trains showing the 2017 routes of the Red and Blue unit trains. That project is now back with our mapmaker, Bill Metzger, undergoing revision, and we'll have an updated version online as soon as possible, as well as in the April issue. In the interim, here's a current list of the performance dates for both units, along with the planned routes between cities. In working with Ringling, they stressed that these routes are subject to change, and that it is very difficult to predict when the train will move over a given portion of the route. (I would also think it's possible that where schedules and arena availability permits, performances might be added in some cities if there's an increased demand to see the circus one last time.) Keep all of that in mind if you plan to go trackside.
With that said, here's our current information on Ringling Bros. performances and moves (you can click on each schedule to see a larger, sharper version, which — if you're on a computer — you can pull to your desktop and save):