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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Train


Backstage July 23, 2002

The Circus Train between performances in L.A. and Anaheim.

Train cars parked along Cerritos Avenue, east of Ball Road, Anaheim, CA.

Photographs by


My friend, Don Drummer, phoned me July 22 and said the Circus Train was passing his house near downtown Anaheim, California and he was going to take a few pictures. He said it would probably park along Cerritos Avenue, near the 'Anaheim Pond' (arena where the circus would start performances July 24). Since I have tickets for the family to see the circus again this year, and since I have a casual interest in trains, I thought I'd try and find the parked train and photograph it. Here are the results of that shoot:


I found the train parked as Don predicted. I parked the car and walked around the vacant train.



The yellow dots above the windows identify the cars as #s 1, 2, 3, 4 and the last car (partially shown to the left above) did not have the yellow dot. I could see at this point that cars 1 - 4 were animal cars because of the straw on the door ledges.


When I reached the first car, I noticed these signs on the steps and particularly liked this one...


presuming it stood for Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey (RBBB). I crossed the track and walked down the shaded (north) side of the train.


This put me downwind of the cars and I confirmed that these were animal cars.


I found all the doors slightly ajar on this side of the train so I peeked in and shot a few shots of the stalls. The shot above is to the right from the middle door of car #2, the shot below is to the left, for smaller animals.


The white objects are not beds, they are bales of hay - shrink wrapped! A little different than the way we put up hay back in Indiana...and a little more expensive than $.35 a bale also I'll bet.  [Correction:  When I finally got to the pre-circus animal viewing I noticed the white bags said 'shavings.'


I continued down the shady side of the train to the last car. I hadn't photographed it earlier, thinking it was different and therefore probably not interesting. Plus, it had graffiti on the outside making it less photogenic. However, inside the last car were what I believe to be tiger cages on pneumatic rubber tires. Through my vast experience viewing circuses, I recall that large cats are brought to the performance enclosure in a row of such cages pulled by a tractor. After the performance, the big cats are taken through these end-to-end cages and individually packaged for their trip back to their quarters on the grounds of the arena. This rail car had a second level that could also hold wheeled vehicles, but nothing was on the top level at this time.


I found a surprise as I peeked into the 'big cat cages car' from the open end of the car...a VW with windows covered. Again, basing my decision on years of circus viewing, I predict that when we attend the circus tomorrow, we'll see a bunch of clowns piling out of this vehicle.  [At the circus, sure enough this was the clown car.  Eight clowns, dressed as horses, emerged in s skit.]

As I rounded the end of the train set, I took a picture of the 'caboose' of a modern train.



If you see the train traveling around in the west, this is probably how it looks underway. [After going to the Circus Trains link at, I discovered this is only a small part of the train.  RBBB happens to have the largest privately owned train in the world!  See the links at  click BACK in your browser to return to this page.]


I drove further down Cerritos Avenue, about a half mile, to see if there were any other cars stored on the track.  I found no more cars, but I found that the animals were already on site, under large open sided tents, and there were many mobile homes. I also found what I believe to be the abodes of the 'stars of the circus'...


The Anaheim Pond is the background.

The performance was spectacular

(I even forgot to take pictures until the 2nd half)




Could this be considered an Elephant Train?


The Finale.

If you've hung in here viewing the web page this far, you'll find the following links something actually interesting (if you like circuses): 

From their website:

(Click the link below to go to the Ringling Bros. website - click BACK to return to this site.)

Check out these links to the Ringling Bros. website and learn about the stars of the 2002. 132nd Edition show:

David Larible


T.M the Gator Guy

If you go to the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, I'd suggest you buy a is full of information about the performers, even the clowns.

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