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  • Writer's pictureJim Bessman

Bachmann Trains' Toy Fair display shows continuing collector interest in circus trains

Bachmann display at Toy Fair

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus shut down last year after 146 years, but that hasn’t stopped Bachmann Trains.

The model train maker showed a new HO scale Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey set, The Greatest Show on Earth Special, at last month’s Toy Fair at the Javits Center.

The set includes Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey F7-A diesel locomotive with operating headlight and two Red Unit smooth-side passenger cars, and joins numerous other Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey locomotive, coach, animal and freight cars in the extensive Bachmann circus train collection.

“The new HO is a passenger set,” said Bachmann marketing VP Doug Blaine, noting that circus performers would travel in long trains—up to 100 cars at a time—in their own dedicated passenger cars, often ones that were customized.

“There were two units—‘Red’ and ‘Blue’—that were crisscrossing the country simultaneously with different itineraries. Ours is a Red Unit, as indicated by the logo on the cars.”

Blaine had observed a big boost in Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus train sales after the company announced its cessation.

“There’s a nostalgia reason,” he said. “People want to have a piece of the circus to remember it by—and a lot of railroading deals with history and nostalgia.”

Blaine also revealed a neat little tidbit: The coach car in the middle of the set is numbered #40003 in honor of the number of the actual car donated by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey to the Showpeople’s Winter Quarters circus and traveling showpeople’s retirement facility in Seffner, Florida, for use as a community center.

Other new ready-to-run electric train sets on display at the Bachmann booth, also in HO scale, were Strike Force, honoring the military and featuring a camouflage paint scheme, and, North Pole Express, including locomotive and two passenger cars with operating lights and smoke. Also shown were the Chessie Special Chesapeake & Ohio 0-6-0 scale steam locomotive set hauling four freight cars, and the N scale Merry Christmas Express holiday set.



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