Micro-trains announces 70' steel Warren circus flatcars

randgust Jan 4, 2016

  1. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

    This one certainly caught me by surprise:


    These are the 'right' circus flatcars to be using with those wagons, not 34' shorties, not 50' standards, not TTX flats. The actual right cars. Warren Car Company (which is still standing and operating today as Warren Railcar Services in Starbrick, PA) built this cars from about 1915 through about 1928. There is still ONE remaining operational Warren flat on the front of the James Strates Shows carnival train as the 'ramp car' on the front.

    The Warren 70' flat was developed as the first steel oversize flatcar as railroads charged by the car - not by weight - for circus tariff moves, so the more wagons you could get on, the better. These cars were the prototype for every intermodal flatcar that ever followed, and if you compare early PRR intermodal flats to these cars, you'll see the similarity. See "The Circus moves by Rail" if you want to model this stuff.

    There are a batch of these cars left at the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI. At least one has trust plates from "Warren Savings Bank" still on it, and I can look out my office window and see that building across the street. So I'm very excited about these cars.

    Joe, thank you. Now, what do I have to do to get a run of Cole Brothers Circus done? FWIW, Cole Brothers was the local circus; the owner J. Augustus Jones lived right here in Warren, and while I can't prove it, was likely the developer and inventor of the steel circus Warren car. He was also the president of the Warren Savings Bank. In an extreme touch of irony, he was severely injured by kicks from a circus horse inside a stock car and later died of his injuries; he's buried here in town and his house is only a block from mine.

    I'm doing a one-man campaign to have Warren, PA marked as the home of the intermodal flatcar revolution as the home (both for the inventor and the manufacturer) of this car dating all the way back to 1915.
    Joe D'Amato likes this.
  2. Joe D'Amato

    Joe D'Amato TrainBoard Member

    We haven't discussed much beyond supporting our RB and Royal American series but given that our RB license will expire sometime this year I can see us pivoting to other circus' Cool little car actually.

  3. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

    While I'm no circus expert, I've been intrigued by how "Cole Bros." seems to be one of the early uses of naming franchises. There were several incantations of "Cole Bros." as known circus names, but in many cases there's no Cole to be found; certainly that was true of the J. Augustus Jones era as he just licensed the name for his own show. And Cole Bros. is still going today, just not as a railroad circus.

    If you like a good story, here's what got me into this local interest, along with stumbling onto the fact that the same guy owned the circus, was likely a shareholder of Warren Car Company, and a director of the local bank that financed them: http://www.circushistory.org/Bandwagon/bw-1977Mar.htm
    Growing up in this area, it was pretty well 'known' that the local railcar shop designed and built circus cars, but the "who" and "why" didn't come together until this last year - started by finding trust plates of the local bank still on the cars at Baraboo. And the biggest wha???? was finding the YouTube video of the Strates Warren flatcar still in the consist. Look at the very first blue flatcar in the 2015 video with the red backhoe on it, that's the car:

    That has to be one of the oldest cars still operating in 'interchange' service in the US. Shhhh.
    Other than the collection out at Baraboo, this is it: http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/rsPicture.aspx?id=211061
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
  4. Larry E Shankles

    Larry E Shankles TrainBoard Member

    this is not new the car was announced and preorders taken (for Royal American Shows) in October
  5. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

    Time for a "spy shot" from J█e not from M██o-T███s?
    northwestgrad likes this.
  6. prbharris

    prbharris TrainBoard Supporter

    We have produced a bunch of decals to go with our version of the Warren car


    but also have the Mt Vernon car too. See the pdf fromthe main index to see the sorts of decals available.

    I support this so perhaps a tweo-person campaign already!


    Peter Harris
    N Scale Kits
    Joe D'Amato likes this.

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