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Home / News & Reviews / News Wire / Circus train cars arrive at Baraboo museum NEWSWIRE

Circus train cars arrive at Baraboo museum NEWSWIRE

By | July 21, 2017

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The Wisconsin & Southern drops off a circus stock car, passenger car, and flat car with wagons near the Circus World museum in Baraboo, Wis., this week.
John Gruber
BARABOO, Wis. — The Circus World Museum in Baraboo is preserving a little piece of circus train history. Watco’s Wisconsin & Southern Railroad recently delivered a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey “Blue unit” passenger car, a stock car, and a flat car loaded with four circus wagons to the Baraboo museum for display, the Baraboo News Republic reports.

After learning the circus would be discontinued, the museum partnered with several donors to secure a passenger car through an online auction held earlier this spring. Managers at Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling, then decided to donate the animal stock car and the flat car with circus wagons. The cars just recently arrived after being moved in freight service from Oak Island, N.J., and Florida.

Former circus train workers, including trainmaster Joe Colossa, and the public gathered near Circus World this week to welcome the railcars to Baraboo. 

The passenger cars will join a museum filled with other circus memorabilia. They are currently on display on a spur track across the street from the museum’s archives building.

Baraboo is where the original Ringling brothers started the “Greatest Show on Earth” in the late 1880s. The town would serve as the headquarters of their circus and carnival operations through the early 1900s. The town is often referred to as Circus City for its role in hosting Ringling. 

4 thoughts on “Circus train cars arrive at Baraboo museum NEWSWIRE

  1. Very fitting home. I hope Circus World has plans to shelter this historic equipment from the elements. A number of museums thought their collections would weather well, only to find out that wasn’t the case.

  2. As one who has visited the Circus World Museum since its inception, the recomendation to visit could not be higher. There is a type of “trifecta” in that part of Wisconsin…here is an interesting itinerary: Take the westbound Builder to Wisconsin Dells (aka the waterpark capital of the world), with your rental car hit the museum and the Mid-Continent layout over 2-3 days (half hour drive from the Dells), in the Dells ride the “Ducks” and the Riverside and Great Northern RR, the latter being an exquisite 2 foot steam operation over original Milw. Rd. ROW dating to the 1850’s. Get back on the Builder.

  3. If you look deeper into this situation, you’ll notice the Field Entertainment offered all of the Circus train passenger cars at auction…they could have just as easily offered them up at scrap value, donated as many flat cars, stock cars and any other cars as well as wagons to Circus World(they’d still get a right off on taxes for them at scrap value), instead they showed a little bit of greediness by auctioning the equipment off instead. Though I will say that does beat them scrapping all of the cars outright.

  4. Gerald, in order to take a write off on the taxes, they first had to have income to write it off against. feld entertainment sold the cars so that they could use the money to pay off their debts and provide the circus performers a decent separation stipend.

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