Layout 'design' help needed for circus section.

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Aquarius-62
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2021 1:28 pm

Layout 'design' help needed for circus section.

Post by Aquarius-62 »

Greetings All, and thank you for your wonderful page, Al. I enjoy looking at the pictures of all of the layouts, reading the hints, etc.

I have a request and thought that you (the readers) may be able to help 'shed some light of the subject'.

I don't have a layout built yet... I have played with some trains a little bit in the past but ended up giving them away. I do have a 'dream' layout in mind, and it's going to be a good-sized one in N-gauge (think 'I'm really, really! dreaming' :) ). Once I am actually able to sit down and start designing it, I'll have taken that first step (which may still be a few years on when I 'might be able to retire' :) ).

Part of my layout is going to be based on the circus, and I'm looking around the early 1900's when they used steam still. This will be one end of the layout.

My problem is finding information about the trains used back in those days, as well as information on how the 'circus home' base was laid out (track and building wise). I have a general idea of how that 'section' will be laid out, but I'm really trying to find something that shows an actual circus track and building layout in pictures (I'm not necessarily going to copy that layout but I need guidance on what buildings they have to know where to run tracks to that 'work' well). Once I have that information, I can start doing the design.

I have written to the Circus Museum (in Baraboo WI) a couple of times in the past few years but have never received any replies from them. I also have posted in a couple of circus train message boards but nothing from there either.

I was wondering if anyone may be able to help (either with information or somewhere to write to)?

Thank you again (Al for the great blog) and for any information that anyone can assist with :)

Have a great week :)

Aquarius-62 (aka Franz)
Lawrence KS USA
gcbach26@yahoo.com
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2021 6:39 am

Re: Layout 'design' help needed for circus section.

Post by gcbach26@yahoo.com »

For what its' worth when I was a kid in East Lansdowne,Pa. there was an RR siding in back of the houses across the street. The circus train would be parked there when Ringling Brothers came to town. Usually arrived about 3 am then all kinds of noise and activity as the animals were unloaded. First the elephants, they moved things around,even freight and cast cars,. They hauled stuff to a nearby field where the circus was set up. Then the cages on wagons (trailers). The first day was just getting things set up so the people from the circus would be out around the train talking to each other. Saw them as people not as their role in the circus. We would go and play in the empty animal cars during the day.could always tell which cars were elephant cars.Then one morning we got up and the train was gone in the middle of the night. It was just a long double track section of RR between two rows of houses.
Quacker
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2021 12:08 pm
Location: Carlsbad, New Mexico, USA

Re: Layout 'design' help needed for circus section.

Post by Quacker »

I saw a response in on of Al's about a Circus museum. I wan to pass it on. The Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida. I understand that they have a nice layout. Maybe they can help. Also I would check them out on Google.
Ms. Jackie
New Mexico, USA
Mick
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2021 1:04 am

Re: Layout 'design' help needed for circus section.

Post by Mick »

Here are a few suggestions.

First, try to find a book that's called, "The Circus Moves by Rail." I don't recall the authors, but it's two guys who are well-known circus historians. It starts back in the horse and wagon days and gives the history of circus travel, and how they happened to move to the railroads. It includes lots of information about how things worked over the years as things evolved. There are some great pictures, too. It's a paperback and is 200 or 300 pages. I'm doing this from memory as my copy is in the state of Washington while I spend the winter in Arizona, so I know I'm lacking some details. I'm pretty sure it's out of print, but I'm sure there are copies out there someplace. I think I saw one a few years ago in the souvenir shop at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. You also mentioned Circus World, and they may have it too. I'd give each of them a call. Circus World also has a huge library that should have some of the information you're looking for. They're on Facebook and post numerous historical items regularly. Both of these are great places to visit if you want to learn more about the circus.

There are two or three circus train groups on Facebook that are loaded with information, although most of it is more recent that what you're seeking. Another potential source would be the Circus Fans of America. They're also on Facebook and publish a magazine as well. They have a ton of historical information.

Another source of information could be the Circus Model Builders. There are numerous chapters around the country plus a national organization. The members turn out some really great circus models. They have a publication and an annual convention. They're on the web.

Good luck!
Aquarius-62
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2021 1:28 pm

Re: Layout 'design' help needed for circus section.

Post by Aquarius-62 »

Good morning and thank you all for the replies.

Unfortunately, Circus World is the one main place that I have tried to contact multiple times and have never gotten any response from them :( I might try one more time but I'm not hopeful :(

Thank you for the book reference. I'll see if I can find a copy somewhere :)

Thank you all for your replies... have a great weekend :)
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