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Ringling Circus Train and "Built To Amaze!" coming to So. Cal.

The Circus Train is Coming to Town - Los Angeles, Ontario, and Anaheim!

This year it is the Red Unit and a new show as it is every year in our area.  This year's show is

"Built To Amaze!"

The Anaheim Animal Walk has always been from the train at Cerritos and Sunkist to the Honda Center in Anaheim.  Others have said they contacted the local paper or the Honda Center for the time of the walk.

By Carl Morrison,

Table of Contents
        1. Press Releases from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey about the Red Unit
        2. Some thoughts from the Red Unit Trainmaster
        3. Performance Photos at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California
        4. Chasing the Circus Train along the California Coast
        5. Links to other important web sites


Experience The All-New Design Of Circus Excitement

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents BUILT TO AMAZE!

Coming to the Southland, July 10 – August 4


(Los Angeles, CA) - Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Built To Amaze!, an extraordinarily engineered circus experience custom-built for family fun where Children Of All Ages®  find out what it takes to construct The Greatest Show On Earth®. The visionary blueprints have been assembled with a contemporary toolbox of unparalleled imagination that will be unleashed from shipping crates right before the audience’s eyes for the all-new circus spectacular Built To Amaze! coming to the STAPLES Center Los Angeles (7/10-7/16); Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario (7/19-7/23); and Honda Center, Anaheim (7/26-8/4). 

Ringmaster Andre McClain takes the Ringling Bros.® reins accompanied by his horse Comanche, to lead his funny and mischievous circus supervisors to construct a fantastic design of heart-pounding and wondrous performances sure to amaze and thrill audiences.  With more than 110 of the world’s best artists & athletes representing 17 countries along with 95 exotic and domestic animals assembled together, Built to Amaze! is highlighted by several unique acts this year including:

In addition, the show features the electrifying high-wire acrobats, daredevil stunts on The Steel Vortex, the youngest female Human Cannonball, remarkable hand-balancing duos, the always hilarious Clown Alley…and of course no Ringling Bros. circus experience would be complete without our four-legged star performers including the majestic Bengal tigers presented by the charismatic “Taba” and a fun-filled Asian elephant dance party.

 Be sure to arrive early to join us for several exciting interactive elements before the show starts!  Opening 90 minutes prior to each performance, all ticket holders are invited to tour the Animal Open House to get up-close with our amazing animals.  Then one hour before show time, families can step onto the arena floor to meet our circus performers and animals at the interactive All Access Pre-Show, FREE admission to all ticket holders.

L O S  A N G E L E S

 WHEN:Wednesday, July 10 – Tuesday, July 16

Wednesday, July 107:30 PM
Thursday, July 1112:00 PM & 7:30 PM
Friday, July 12 12:00 PM & 7:30 PM
Saturday, July 13  11:30 AM, 3:30 PM & 7:30 PM
Sunday, July 14  11:30 AM, 3:30 PM & 7:30 PM
Monday, July 157:30 PM
Tuesday, July 1612:00 PM & 7:30 PM
**All shows include All Access Pre-Show experience

 WHERE:STAPLES Center  (1111 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles 90015)

TICKETS: Ticket prices range from $26, $30, $45-$50 (VIP), $70-$80 (Front Row) and $100-$120 (Circus Celebrity); Opening Night tickets are only $12 each (not valid for VIP or premium seating)
Tickets available for purchase online at, charge by phone at 888-9AXS-TIX or in-person at the venue Box Office.     *tickets may be subject to service charges, facility and handling fees.  


WHEN:Friday, July 19 – Tuesday, July 23

Friday, July 19 7:30 PM
Saturday, July 2011:30 AM, 3:30 PM & 7:30 PM
Sunday, July 2111:30 AM, 3:30 PM & 7:30 PM
Monday, July 227:30 PM
Tuesday, July 2312:00 PM & 7:30 PM
**All shows include Animal Open House and All Access Pre-Show experience

 WHERE:Citizens Business Bank Arena  (4000 Ontario Center Parkway, Ontario, CA 91764)

TICKETS: Ticket prices range from $20, $26, $42 (VIP), $70 (Front Row) and $100 (Circus Celebrity) Opening Night tickets are only $12 each (not valid for VIP or premium seating)
Tickets available for purchase online at or, charge by phone at 888-9AXS-TIX or in-person at the venue Box Office.    *tickets may be subject to service charges, facility and handling fees.  


 WHEN:Friday, July 26 – Sunday, August 4

Friday, July 26 7:30 PM
Saturday, July 27 11:30 PM, 3:30 PM & 7:30 PM
Sunday, July 28 1:30 PM & 5:30 PM
Wednesday, July 31 1:00 PM & 7:30 PM
Thursday, August 1 10:30 AM & 7:30 PM
Friday, August 2 1:00 PM & 7:30 PM
Saturday, August 3 11:30 AM, 3:30 PM & 7:30 PM
Sunday, August 4 11:30 AM, 3:30 PM & 7:30 PM 
**All shows include Animal Open House and All Access Pre-Show experience

 WHERE:Honda Center  (2695 E. Katella Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92806)

TICKETS: Ticket prices range from $20, $26, $42 (VIP), $70 (Front Row) and $100 (Circus Celebrity) Opening Night tickets are only $12 each (not valid for VIP or premium seating)
Tickets available for purchase online at or, charge by phone at 
800-745-3000 or in-person at the venue Box Office.   
*tickets may be subject to service charges, facility and handling fees.  

For more information, visit or on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

# # #

About Feld Entertainment: Feld Entertainment is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment experiences that lift the human spirit and create indelible memories, with 30 million people in attendance at its shows each year. Feld Entertainment’s productions have appeared in more than 70 countries on six continents and include Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, Monster Jam®, Monster Energy Supercross, Nuclear Cowboyz®, Arenacross, IHRA Drag Racing, Disney On Ice and Disney Live!

The Trainmaster of the Red Unit of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is Lonnie Robinson.  In a telephone interview with him when the show was in Phoenix in June, Lonnie listed the consist for me:  4 animal cars; 34 coaches, which includes a generator car and shop car, 2 container cars for concessions; and 19 flatcars.  Lonnie is from Austin, Texas, and has worked his way up to being Trainmaster of the Red Unit. 

The Red and Blue units of the Circus make up two new shows every two years.  They then go on tour for 11 months and 1 week one year and 10 months and 2 weeks the second year.

I mentioned seeing the Trainmaster in recent years changing wheel sets during their Anaheim stay.  Lonnie mentioned that they carry two wheel sets under the shop car and that they have wheel sets stored around the country for use when needed.  I know that the Blue unit, with Joe Colossa as Trainmaster, went to Mexico this year, but Lonnie said the Red Unit had gone there last year.  I asked if the stereotype of a dilapidated rail system in Mexico was still true, and that they did not run with signals, but rather they run by radio as they did when I rode the rails there in 2004.  He said he was surprised also, but they have all new rails and concrete ties and the ride was great.  He said the circus is sold out for years in the future in Mexico.  The Red Unit went non-stop from Laredo, Texas, to Mexico City.  The only down side, according to him, was that they had to skip New Orleans and Corpus Cristi to get the time to go to Mexico.  He said that circus management and the trainmasters all have positive things to say about taking the longest train in the world to Mexico for shows.

Some other photos and videos of the circus that you might enjoy

See a TV-quality video of this year's Red Unit Show, "Built To Amaze" by clicking the movie start button in the lower right at:

A great slide show of the Red Unit that will be in our area this year:

A slide show of Animal Care:

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Facebook Page (Great video about the Human Cannon Ball GIRL! and how she does it):

For a YouTube Video of the Red Unit Animal Walk back in May, 2011, in Pennsylvania, go to:

The show has changed so the animals may be different this year, but the train is the same.

or, same video

I attended a performance, August 2, 2013, and have a complete report following this promo for my new eBook,

"How to Take Great Travel Photos"
available at

There is a convenient link here:

Carl Morrison,

Performance photos from the Anaheim, California, Honda Center, August 2, 2013

Photos by Carl Morrison

(Click any photo below to see it with a black background, which makes the photo look more vivid in my opinion.)


The "Animal Open House" is 90 minutes before showtime.  At that time you can see tigers through double caging (thus the blur in the tiger photos), and other animals in the show.

After a one-hour pre-show on the floor of the arena where performers interact with the kids, the show starts with the grand parade and National Anthem.

The theme, Built to Amaze, included this performer dressed in traffic cones and caution flashers.

Kiev Aerialist Enchantresses

Dmitry (Dima) Dolgikh and Nadejhda (Nadia) Tarasova

Robert Stipka presents an amazing display of synchronized horses

Tabayara Maluenda performs with 17 tigers at once.

Duo Solys (above and below) executes a never-before-seen hand-balancing routine that incorporates Cuban and French culture.

Duo Fusion - Virginia and Ihosvanys

Troupe Leader Mustafa Danguir of The Danguir Troupe

The Danguir Troupe

Elliana Grace

Shot from Cannon!

Elliana Grace after experiencing 7 Gs again.

In addition to being a Ringmaster, Andre McClain is an accomplished animal trainer, cowboy, rodeo star, country singer and songwriter, and above all, an admired dad.  I have seen Andre McClain come up through the ranks the last 6 years with Ringling with an animal act, as a pre-show MC, and now the Ringmaster.

Tower Tumblers from the Ukraine

Alex and Irina Emelin (above and below).

The elephants are my favorite act, not only because they live on the circus train, but they are the biggest mammals I've ever seen yet they are so gentle and talented.

Eleven talented "Circus Girls"

Yulia Negrey is the creater of the Negrey Troupe from Russia, Kazakhstan and the Ukraine which includes former Olympic athletes.

Stars of the Steel Vortex

Another exciting circus show transported by train moves out of Anaheim to perform again in San Diego.  To see when the circus will be in your town, you can go to:, and click "Tour Schedule".

As the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey red unit train moved from Anaheim to San Diego, fellow reporter for, Chris Guenzler, watched it pass Irvine and his photos are posted at:

Learn more about the many great performers in the show by going to and clicking "Explore the Shows" then "Meet the Stars".

Chasing the Circus Train in Southern California

As the Red Unit of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus left San Diego on August 12, 2013, fellow field reporter Chris Guenzler and I went to Del Mar, California, to take a few photos of the train from the Del Mar bluffs.  Chris knew that if we parked at the west end of 7th Street in Del Mar that would get us out on the bluffs where we could see south all the way to the Hwy. 101 bridge over the tracks.  Locals might know where "Wally's Bench" is located and that is where we rested while waiting from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. for the train to be coupled and to reach us.

Our position allowed us to see much of the 59 cars of the circus train as it stretched back to the Hwy. 101 bridge of the tracks with Torrey Pines in the distance.

As usual, the animal cars are first with the residential cars for over 200 performers, staff, and crew following.

Following the residential cars are two container cars, then the flats which haul the circus wagons and equipment.

The white wagon behind the red truck is the Pie Car Jr. which provides food to the performers and staff at the venue when they are between shows.

The tiger cages are used to bring the tigers into the performing ring.  Tigers do not travel on the train, but rather are transported in semi-trucks.

The large round water trough is inside the tiger cages at the venues so they can cool off and play in the water.

Chris Guenzler watches the last flat with the bus which takes the performers from their living quarters on the train to the venue for shows.

We drove north from Del Mar to Calafia Beach in San Clemente to view the circus train making its way northward from San Diego on its way to Oakland, California.

We parked, paid our $2 for one hour of parking, and walked on the inside of the track, south, to a nice seaside vantage point for seeing the circus train coming up from San Onofre.

This spot, next to a road which comes down from the public campground, also has a bench and restrooms at the bottom of the hill.

Within the hour, a few Coaster trains passed as well as the circus train.  At Calafia Beach, half way up the bluff, you can see almost all the 59 cars of the circus train at once.

Looking north, you can watch the train while it goes to San Clemente Pier and beyond, along the coast.  This is a nice place for an ocean view from the Surfliner and Coaster commuter trains as well as the circus train residents once a year.

As the first residential coaches passed us, we could see the last flat in the distance coming around the corner along the surf.

A new generator car has joined the red unit since I last saw it two years ago.

None of the dog walkers, runners, and surfers we talked to this day, who asked us what we were photographing, had any idea that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus traveled by train much less that they have 2 trains either one being the longest private train in the world.  Chris and I gave them our and cards so they could learn about and see more photos of the circus trains.

Finally, we drove up the toll road from I-5 to Hwy. 91 near this location in Anaheim for our final sighting of the circus train for this year.

We have had better situations on this triple-tracked horseshoe curve.  Today the circus train was on the middle track in between some stored container cars and a container train.  Even at that it was better than if it was on the far track beyond a stack train.

Looking westward, we could almost see all the 59-car circus train from this location

With the three locations in two counties for shooting the 2013 red unit circus train under our belts, we headed home satisfied with the shots we had taken and the extra benefit of sitting on a bluff on Wally's Bench watching the surf in 63 degree weather.  Thanks Chris for asking me if I wanted to "Go chase the circus train."


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