TOM'S RAILFAN PAGES
IN SEARCH OF CIRCUS WAGONS
A story of my encounters with the high speed cars 1-4
I had seen the Circus Wagons before, up on the L, their Maroon and Grey colors stood out from the familiar Green and Cream
of the standard fleet. It was 1961 or 1962 when I first saw one and pointed it out to my Dad. He explained to me those were
experimental high speed cars and there were only four of them. I wanted to ride on them in a bad way. I got my chance on a
cold Sunday afternoon in January. My Dad and I were waiting for a train on the Ravenswood line when in the distance we made
out the Maroon colors coming towards us. I was very excited. It was a two car train of Circus Wagons and it stopped at our
station so we could get on. The inside of the cars were different by their light grey coloring and Black seats with a Red
triangle outlined in white. The acceleration was overwhelming for a boy of 7 and I had to hold onto the standee pole real
tight every time the motorman took a point of power. He had to hold the cars back in speed due to the curves on the Ravenswood
line, thus the jerky on and off of the accelerator. The motorman had his young son along with him and we all made friends.
This was the fastest trip to Belmont I ever had on the Ravenswood Line and I knew we had to get off to transfer trains. As
the train pulled away, I felt this would not be the last time I would be riding the Circus Wagons.
Above is Car 2 at the St Louis Car Factory. The car and its brethren were High Speed - High Performance equipment with larger
wheels, 400 horsepower and a snappy paint job. Below is Car 1, the last of its kind at rest in Erie PA. The photo dates to
Summer 2000. Note it still has its Pan Trolley poles on the roof.