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Circus Train, The

Circus Train, The

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Item Number:
50 min.
Closed Caption:
A & E Entertainment
Before the days of film, radio and television, circus trains delivered the premier form of entertainment to an amusement hungry nation. Circuses pre-dated the locomotive but the rapid expansion of the railroads in the 1800s allowed relatively small overland wagon shows to evolve into massive events. Housed under huge tents with hundreds of animals, performers and laborers, circuses were virtual cities on the move. Only the train had the power and size to tackle the herculean task of transporting the show. Circus trains would arrive early in the day or night. The wonders they carried were re-loaded and once again they disappeared into the darkness. All in less than a day. By the 1930s and 40s, freight and labor costs grew so much that circus trains were no longer financially viable. In 1956 the last circus train ceased to run ... or so everyone thought. Surprisingly, in 1960 the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey "Greatest Show on Earth" returned to the rails. It is the only circus in America to have done so. To this day the magical combination of circus and train continues to entertain people everywhere.

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