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No More James E. Strates Circus Train?!?

The James E. Strates circus is the only one that still travels by rail...but that travel may have ended, with a combination of the government's response to COVID-19 and increased transportation rates, putting an apparent final nail in the circus-by-rail coffin. Check out the article here from Trains Magazine (Link), and our playlist of the Ringling Brothers circus train passing through the Washington, DC-area on its last runs in 2017. "“We have found ways to change our business model to an over-the-road show, just like we were back in the late 1920s and early 1930s,” Strates spokesman Marty Biniasz says. “But the train does mean so much to our heritage and our branding and also to our fair partners. Last year we celebrated our 100th anniversary in operation. This year an even bigger milestone in the industry is that we’re celebrating 100 years under the same contract banner with the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, N.Y.”


A former Conrail GP38-2 leads the Ringling Brothers train northbound through Alexandria, VA at AF Interlocking. The train originated the night before in Hamlet, NC, with the EMD added at Richmond, VA's Acca Yard due to the cab signal requirement on the former RF&P. The trailing C40-8Ws, were original CSX units (not those acquired from Conrail), and were not cab signal-equipped. Photo and Video: Phil Bell


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