Circus Train DVD
Steamboy (Revere MA US) on 2020-08-12 20:51:22.
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In this 1986 videotape, the program starts with the history of the circus as well as traveling by rail which includes some photographs & beautiful art work. The early railroad circuses include The stone of 1851, the railroad circus & Crystal amphitheater of 1853, and the Madigan Myers & Barton railroad circus and amphitheater of the republic of 1854. A history of PT Barnum as well as their own circus train is shown. Here's a fun fact. Did you know that circus elephants on trains are called rubber mules? Until 1955, the coaches on the circus train have messages on the sides called advance advertising cars. In 1963, the traditional circus wagons were sent from Baraboo to Milwaukee by truck for the circus parade. 2 years later in 1965, the vintage circus wagons were on the rails once again. From 1965 to 1974, a trio of steam locomotives took turns hauling the circus train: Burlington 2-8-2 number 4960 which is at the grand canyon railway in Williams Arizona, Grand trunk western 4-6-2 number 5629 that was sadly gone for scrap in 1977, and southern 2-8-2 number 4501 which is owned and operated by the Tennessee valley railroad museum in Chattanooga. 10 years later in 1984, the Baraboo to Milwaukee circus train came back that's operated by the main star of this program: Chicago & northwestern Class R1 4-6-0 number 1385 from the mid-continent railway museum. 1385 would haul the special on Tuesday July 9 & Wednesday July 10, 1985. Due to the really long amount of rolling stock to carry performers, animals, wagons, etc, 1385 would need some extra power by F7 units 403 & 402. A map of the route is shown, followed by some still images as well as the opening titles after the late railfan magazine editor Jim Boyd does the introductive narration.
The action begins on Tuesday July 9, 1985 as 1385 crosses over the Wisconsin river bridge at Merrimac. Some people are inspecting the pieces of history from boats. Another look at the map is shown as 1385 is on home rails once again, this time on the Harvard to Mankato line beginning at milepost 95.2. Followed by some pacing near milepost 90.4 (note the radio scanner communications offscreen) which does include a runby through waunakee, and into Madison at milepost 80.6 while creating a reflection shot over the bridge as a local news helicopter flies in the sky. Every person both young and old wanted to see the locomotive in action as it hauls a heavy train. The observation car that was numbered after one of the 2 F units brings up the rear of the train. Afterwards, 1385 swings the bell and stops for service while orchestra music is played. Again people of all ages have come from Far and near to witness the 10 wheeler on home rails. With service complete, 1385 & The F units are rolling by the lake Mendota causeway as it swings the bell and whistles for the onlookers while leaving Madison. Moments later, the engine is approaching Janesville as more children are talking offscreen while 1385 makes a head on shot for the crossing. A grain elevator is shown in the background as 1385 approaches more onlookers while more kids wave to the circus train and the camera crew. Afterwards, a motorcycle makes some noises while 1385 swings the bell and passes by some liquid storage tanks. Next, the 1907 alco built 10 wheeler whistles for the people while taking some slow orders. A wig wag signal is activated as 1385 whistles through the crossing while more people wave at the train. In downtown Janesville at milepost 42, the circus music is played as 1385 & the diesels idle for display. More people arrived to see the special, until the 1385 gets uncoupled from the diesels & The circus train as the sun begins to set. The water tender carries 12,000 gallons of water. This scene concludes the July 9 trip.
On Wednesday July 10, 1985, 1385 is underway once again beginning at the curved arched bridge in tiffany, followed by Shannon crossing. Moving on to the northwest suburban division, we're back in Harvard as 1385 passes by milepost 63.1 with some more radio scanner communications offscreen while the special takes some slow orders, followed by Woodstock at milepost 51.6 as more people are witnessing 1385 as it picks up some speed. These next 5 scenes are between Cary & Des Plaines at milepost locations, 38.6, 32, 26.6, 22.8, & 17.1. But first, More circus music is played as 1385 billows some black smoke while some birds are chirping offscreen, followed by more pacing between Barrington & Arlington heights as more scanner communications are heard offscreen while synthesized music is played for a bit. Afterwards, the special is rolling by some people while flag twirlers roll their poles in the sky, then the engine comes to a slow order. At Des Plaines, 1385 is negotiating a sharp turn near Duval tower in milepost 17.1 as well as crossing the diamond. Another look at the map is shown as the special is at the Chicago & northwestern lake shore division, then we are back on the mainline as 1385 passes by some flowers and a highway at highland park near milepost 23.1. Moments later, more people are talking as 1385 goes under the overpasses at Waukegan station in milepost 35.9. The double decker commuter cars from Metra are seen on the left side of the screen. Note the catwalk on top of the water tender. Afterwards, 1385 whistles through Kenosha at milepost 51.6 while passing by some more people, then it highballs through Racine at milepost 61.9 while one man shot some stills with his camera. A helicopter is flying offscreen as 1385 is at Cudahy near milepost 80.1 while approaching Milwaukee. Again more children are talking offscreen, as well as almost over a 1000 people from Far and wide. The program comes to a close as we see an encore shot of 1385 & F units 403 & 402 going over the bridge at milepost 80.6 while the credits roll to wrap up this 53 minute video.
While the 1385 is still in pieces at the North freedom Wisconsin shops, the legends of the big top on iron rails would live on forever.
Additional remarks by Steamboy:
Narration: Could have used more.
Would kids enjoy this? Definitely!
Image quality: Excellent!
DVD Value: Good Value
Recommend to others? Definitely.