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North Carolina puts Ringling Bros. train cars up for auction

December 27, 2020 GMT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The state of North Carolina is selling nine railroad cars that once belonged to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus which they bought in hopes of refurbishing them for passenger service.

The N.C. Department of Transportation said it is also selling seven other old rail cars it says it no longer needs, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported.

NCDOT paid $383,000 for the circus cars shortly after Ringling Bros. held its last performance in 2017. Since buying those cars, the state has received two federal grants which will allow the department to buy six new locomotives and 26 new passenger cars, meaning they won’t need the circus cars.

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The auction site lists a minimum bid of $45,000 for each of the circus train cars, except for a storage car that’s filled with various hand and shop tools. The opening bid is $55,000, and the minimums for all nine cars come to $415,000, or $32,000 more than the state paid for them.

Of the cars being offered, the priciest was built for the U.S. Army as a hospital car in 1953 and was more recently used by CSX railroad as a training car.