The end of the Pre-Show was announced
and we were asked to find our seats and prepare for the
Performance. The beginning was, appropriately, the singing of the
National Anthem, by the Ring Master as the flag was presented from atop
of an elephant.
Cossack rider on an elephant
Ringmaster Chuck Wagner
Jenny Vidbel's barnyard animals
Jenny Vidbel and porcupine Percy.
Alex Petrov directs the Elephants.
Walk back to the Train
Following the final performance in Anaheim, CA, Aug. 3, 2008
Photos and Report by Carl@TrainWeb.com
(Click any photo in this report to
see a double-sized copy; Click BACK in your browser to return to this
I returned to the original unloading
area for the animals about 3 hrs. after the beginning of the last
show. Sure enough, as predicted, there was Keith Anderson, Blue
Unit Train Master, starting the generators for internal and external
lighting at the animal cars. He then cleared the area of debris
that might trip up the animals or handlers as they loaded in the
A few folks were there, to my surprise, awaiting the animal walk back
to the train. The Anaheim Police arrived at 8:35 with baracades.
I spotted Keith awaiting the arrival of the animals, and had a chance
to thank him for the interview (first page of this report) and
verify that all that I had printed was for public consumption. He
assured me the report was fine. He added that the Red
Unit's loading had been filmed and was one segment of "Extreme Trains"
which will air in August. Check your local listings.
I asked him about the size of the rooms for the circus personnel who
live on the train. The train cars are 10 feet wide. He said
there are 5 x 8 ft. Roomettes, State Rooms, Double State Rooms (8 x 14
with bath and water closet), and 1/2 Cars for management. Rooms
are assigned by seniority and moving to a larger accommodation can take
place with seniority.
The train will be loaded tonight and will take off, as one unit, for
San Diego tomorrow, after the commuter traffic on the local railroad
subsides. They will arrive late in the evening in S.D. and set up
the following day. That leaves the daylight hours of the 3rd day
for final setup, then the first performance that evening.
"Cherry Pie" is the term for extra pay for extra work at the
circus. I recognized, Jamarr Woodruff, a clown, working the crowd
control lines in the animal walk and asked if he lived on the
train. He does. I complimented him on his good work in the
performance. Other helpers at the animal walk are female dancers
in the circus. You might see an interview with him about living
on the train on this website some day.
When I saw the empty tiger cages, I asked how they were
transported. They are taken overland on a lowboy.
Soon thereafter, the elephants and other animals began arriving.
It was a bit eery seeing a herd of elephants walking silently down the
middle of a street in the night, lighted only by street lights. I
think the fact that they were so quiet made it seem surreal.
"Baby Elephant Walk," by Henry Mancini, wasn't even playing in the
tractors pull the wagons up on the flatcars.
They use a
street crossing to end-load the wagons onto the flats. Ramps are
lowered between cars to allow the tractors to run the whole length of
The Town Without A Zip
Code will make its way around the USA, amazing all who watch
what a well organized operation the RBBB Circus is. The Greatest Show on Earth has an equally
Great Train that takes it to a city near you. I look
forward to talking with Mike Hickey, Red Unit Train Master, when he
arrives in town next summer. RBBB has the two largest private
trains in the world, the Blue Unit and the Red Unit.
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