The Circus is On the Road Again!

The Ringling Bros., Barnum & Bailey (RBBB) Circus moves through the Tehachapi Pass a couple of times per year. We enjoy watching it come through and if we’re home, we photograph it.

DH noted a couple of weeks ago that RBBB was due to come through some time during the first week of July on their way to their next show destination, Fresno, CA. I posted a question to the railfan web site, (Western Railroads Board), asking what the circus’ schedule was. I was told there was a special group just for circus movements. So I joined that group and began to monitor the RBBB schedule.

When I discovered that RBBB was scheduled to come through during the night, I posted a note to the Trainorders board that this was disappointing. I told about the times when we lived in San Diego, and the boys were small. We’d hear that the Circus was coming into town and we’d all pile into the car to drive down to Old Town, where we’d wait for the train. Even in the night, we’d park alongside the roadway with the headlights of our car turned on to light up the cars as the train pulled into the station there at Old Town. The kids would be in the back seat, fast asleep by the time the train arrived, but would wake and be as excited as their parents at seeing the familiar logo on the sides of the cars. If the train arrived in the afternoon, it would stop there in Old Town to unload some of the animals, clowns and circus performers. They made a long, colorful procession of elephants with their trainers, Clowns and other circus performers making their way to the Sports Arena. The event was always written up by the local newspaper, with photos on the front page (above the fold line, usually).

I’m a bit of a night owl, so waiting until midnight for the expected train movement didn’t present a problem. I wouldn’t be able to photograph the train, but could enjoy watching the lighted windows of the cars as they rolled by. If the train moved through during the daytime, you could wave at the people on board, and they’d wave back at you. You could see people on board looking out the windows of the passenger cars, or standing in the vestibules (that area between the cars) waving at people along the way.

But the train didn’t show that night. I finally gave up the ghost and went to bed around 1:15 a.m.

Yesterday morning dawned bright and sunny. I’d forgot about the Circus train, thinking that it had passed through some time after I went to bed. About 4:00 p.m. yesterday, DH shouted out that the Circus train was here! He called out to give a call to our friends who live a couple of hills over from us. I quickly made the call and grabbed my camera. One happy camper, coming up!

Well, I had wanted to post more photos on this post, but for whatever reason, my page has changed and I no longer see the icon to add photos. I’ve put in a photo under the “Featured Image” box so hopefully THAT will at least show up. I’ll add another post and put more Circus Train photos on it.

Be safe, be well, and be happy. Life is a learning process…keep learning! Be sure to tell those you love that you love them.


Well, I’m learning… one step at a time. Here’s one photo of the Circus train. I’ll see if I can manage/learn how to post more.



The distance from the point where the tracks disappear around the bend ahead to the point where they enter our point of view is one-half of a mile. The circus train is over half-a-mile long.




About tehachap

The easiest way to define myself is as a very happily married woman with two sons and two grandsons. My hobbies include reading, writing, sewing, trains (watching, photographing and running them in G scale), and travel. My husband and I are retired and we spend our winters in Arizona. I used to own a secretarial and desktop publishing business, but closed it when my husband retired in 1999. We have truly enjoyed our retirement years, and have fulfilled one of our primary goals in life and that is to own a home overlooking train tracks so we can watch trains 24/7. We are sincerely blessed in this life.
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3 Responses to The Circus is On the Road Again!

  1. mageb says:

    Just a giant wow from here.


  2. dezertsuz says:

    I’m a train lover from way back! The train turned around in my small town in West Texas when I was little. I couldn’t have been more than 2 when I have my earliest memories of watching it, and I’ve never stopped watching. One of my favorite memories is being in South Bend, IN, to do a writing workshop. We finished and I decided to run over to Shipshewana to the quilt store. Along the way, I was “stuck” at the train tracks for almost half an hour while a circus train went by! Lots of drawings of animals all over the cars. I missed the quilt shop, but I was still happy! I’ve actually been in Tehachapi. And I’d take that nice dry heat any day. 😉


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