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Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus Train Coaches

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Train  

Part II, The Residential Cars.

2473   2478a

Red Unit, 133rd Edition, July 21, 2003, Anaheim, California

Story and Photographs by Carl Morrison

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After searching for a second year for the Residential Coaches on the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus Train, I finally found them today.  I guess it is all in who you talk to.  I've never had the opportunity to meet the Red Unit or Blue Unit train personnel until this assignment for  This morning I met the 'Animal Train' for the 'Walk' from the stock cars, on Pier F,  to the arena where they were to perform.  While photographing and writing about that section of the train, I got to talk to the General Manager of the Red Unit, Mark Gaipo, who gave me the location of the Residential Coaches for the performances of both Long Beach and Anaheim.  He had made the decision to put the residential coaches in Anaheim, one mile from the arena there, since they were to perform only two days in Long Beach and the busses could take the performers and crew from the train to these performances.  This would allow the residential portion of the train to stay in one place for 12 days, 2 days of the Long Beach performances and 10 days of the Anaheim performance.

This was the closest I have ever been to the residential coaches of either the Red or Blue Unit trains.  I had seen the full Blue Unit train in August, 2002, as it descended Cajon Pass, but I was driving downhill at approximately 80 mph, and couldn't stop nor shoot any pictures.  I have seen aerial photographs, also, but this was a first to be able to walk around the cars.



The cars were parked near the corner of Lewis and Katella Avenue in Anaheim, California.  The southern approach to the cars is from Katella Avenue, just west of Lewis (right).  The northern approach is from Cerritos Avenue.  There is a shortcut from Lewis Street to the cars by following the railroad spur west of Lewis, between Cerritos and Katella.  I observed a taxi taking this route to get to the cars and this must be the route taken by the busses used for transporting the cast and crew to the arena as well as private cars.


Looking south of the residential cars, one can see the Katella crossing, and beyond, what appears to be other circus cars, but not residential cars.
2465 I stepped across the track so I could walk the train on the shady side.  The Southern California weather was in the lower 80s, but the occupants of the train as well as I preferred the shade.

I noticed the red door on the first car, with the small number 51 on it (right).  Later I realized that anyone walking through the train would only know this was car 51 from the number on the door...duh!

The red truck was from RBBB and had a fifth-wheel type of hitch.

I'll take what's behind door 51, Johnny.
Note the satellite TV dish.

Immediately on the right side of car 51, I noticed a second, parallel track full of residential circus cars (below).  I crossed to be on the shade (east) side of those cars and started recording car numbers with their circular 'Private Car'  number designation.


Outside Red Unit Logo and Private Car number designation.

The consist on the right track was: (RB car number/Private Coach number):  42019/32, 42017/33, 42018/334, 41306/35, 40001, 40007, 41311/37, 42022, 41313/40, 41406/41, 41315/42, 41308/39, 43004/43, 43011/44, 43002/45.


Looking northward.  Each car had a step and plastic trash bag attached to the handle, keeping the area clean and neat.

Looking back south where I had walked along the set.

The last car on the north end, 45.  The white bus to the left is one of two circus busses that carry performers and crew back and forth between the train and the arena. Only a few private cars were parked beside the train, and a circus vehicle or two.

I stepped around car 45 and on to the west (sun) side of the two sets of cars.  To this point, I has passed residents sitting on the steps of cars, most every one talking on a cell phone.  Many television dishes were mounted on the door frames of the cars.  No sign of security (the best kind of security) nor any 'No Trespassing' signs.  Many residents nodded or spoke as I passed by.  I wondered if I'd recognize any of them when I attended the circus in Anaheim later in the week.


This was not a residential car, but perhaps a shop car.  
I had seen an earlier car with the doors open
and shop type equipment and materials inside.
[Joseph DeMike, Transportation Manager
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey
confirmed that these were generator or
 generator/porter shop cars]

Good local transportation could be carried on the train.

The consist for this section of the circus train was:  RBBX 63008,  40010/60, 40017/59, 63002/58, 40003/57, 43005/56, 42020/55, 40012/54, 43006/50, 43010/49, 40015/48, 43008/47, 40002/46, 63007, 60012/53, 42007/52, and back to the first car I saw 42001/51.

I had asked the Red Tour General Manager, Mark, earlier in Long Beach about the diner, which he called, The Pie Car.  I had not found it yet, so I continued walking to the end of this section.  Most windows were covered since this was the sun side of the cars.  Air conditioners in each car were running.


The cars were parked precisely so you could see through both sets of cars at the vestibules.  Perhaps for better ventilation?

[Again, Joseph DeMike related that this alignment was, " residents of the inside cut can walk directly through the other cut to get out to the road."]

This was a different type of car and had a passageway through the car for people that was just behind those two sets of double doors.  Perhaps it was one of the generator cars alluded to by Mark earlier.


Finally, the 'Pie Car!'  

As I passed the far end of the Pie Car, a gentleman stepped out to take a smoke.  Dave, a cook who had worked on the train about a month, was very pleasant and told me a little about the Pie Car and the train in general.  He said the only time the Pie Car was open 24 hours a day was when the train was on a 'run,' moving from one venue to the next.  He said there was a Pie Car "Junior," which was a trailer that was kept at the arena for food service there.  He said his background was in food service for resorts prior to joining the circus staff.  He said he just wanted to try something different and he was enjoying his job.  He told me that the staff went to the arena following a bus schedule involving the two red/white busses they bring (one shown above.)  Dave excused himself and said he had to get back to work.  A very pleasant backstage employee of the circus.

Comments about this story and the photographs are welcomed via e-mail to: .

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