The Circus Train

Circus Trains

March 2018 Circus Days at the Twin City Model Railroad Museum are Now Scheduled! 

  • Friday, March 9th – Tuesday, March 13th
  • October dates TBD

What are Circus Trains?

Circus trains began in the 1870s, by replacing the shows that moved by slow animal-drawn wagons.  Over the years these trains grew in length as the train cars switched from wood to steel construction.  Circus trains typically consisted of three types of cars: large animal cars, flat cars loaded with colorful wagons and passenger cars for the workers and performers.  They were usually found in the train in that order.  Circus cars were generally longer than normal freight cars because the railroads charged by the car & mile.  They were painted very colorful to attract attention.  The greatest number of circus trains operated between 1920 and 1950.  Over those years many merged and others went broke.

Our train was inspired by the “Circus World Museum” in Baraboo, Wisconsin. The museum has a very large collection of train cars, wagons, events, and other circus collections for you to see.  Our train features models of many of these wagons faithfully modeled in O-Scale.  O-Scale works out to 1 to 48 and ¼” equals 1 foot.

Our Circus Train reenacts this operation on our large O-scale layout with an operating Circus Train, several displays and a Parade staged in one of our towns.


Admission to this special event is included in the Museum’s regular admission price of $10 per person, Children 4 and under are admitted free of charge. Family and group rates are available!

Circus Parade

Circus Train History

To learn more about the history of circus trains, visit our Circus Trains page.