Large gathering of circus train cars headed to educational farm in Florida

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Kanawha River Railroad crews switch out the entire consist of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Blue Unit circus train near Charleston, W.Va., in May 2017. A large number of the cars are slated to arrive at a new permanent home in north Florida on Feb. 24.
Chase Gunnoe
WILLISTON, Fla. — A Florida educational farm will soon be the long-term home for a larger number of former circus train cars.

Owners of the Kirby Family Farm in north-central Florida say they're taking on an unspecified number of former Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Train cars and are inviting the public to watch the passenger cars delivered beginning at 9 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 24.

Kirby Family Farm owners say that anyone is welcome to watch the show as cranes lift cars from a nearby siding to Kirby Family Farm tracks.
The railcars, including coaches and flat cars, will have a permanent home at Kirby Family Farm, a 501c3 not-for-profit educational facility that focuses on at-risk and special needs children, according to a farm news release.

“This is a national treasure and a signature exhibit for our historic railroad collection, we can’t wait to share the history and lessons with all the children that come through our organization, and our guests as well,” says Daryl Kirby, co-founder of Kirby Family Farm. “We have to thank Feld Entertainment, CSX, U.S. Sugar, and so many others for making this happen.”

The new Kirby Family Farm permanent exhibit will be recognized as the largest collection of Ringling Bros. circus trains in the world. Before it was retired from service in May 2017, it was the longest and most-recognized, privately owned train in the world.

Current plans are to use the exhibit along with the rest of the Kirby collection to educate children and guests about railroad history, as well as what it was like to be a part of "The Greatest Show On Earth." Long-term plans are to use the coaches as dorms for overnight experiences and camps for children.

The circus trains will join the Kirby’s eight locomotives and other railroad pieces.

More information is available online.

— A Kirby Family Farm news release. Feb. 12, 2018.

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