Fire breaks out in old Ringling Bros. circus train carriages. that NCDOT stores in the woods | News

A fire broke out Thursday on a series of old circus train cars that the North Carolina Department of Transportation has stored in the woods of Nash County.

It’s unclear how the fire started, according to a Facebook post from the Nash County Sheriff’s Office. The cars were parked on a state-owned rail line east of Spring Hope, about a mile from the nearest road.

“The wagons are currently inaccessible due to their location in the woods,” the sheriff’s office wrote mid-morning Thursday. “A train engine is dispatched to move the affected carriages to ensure that any remaining fires are properly extinguished.”

The cars were still burning as they were slowly moved to the South Old Franklin Road crossing, where firefighters could have better access. Several cars were heavily damaged, according to photos released by the sheriff’s office.

The NCDOT purchased the nine railroad cars from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus four years ago, thinking he would one day refurbish them and use them on the Piedmont passenger train between Raleigh and Charlotte.

The state then received federal grants that allowed it to order new cars, and in late 2020 it auctioned the old circus train cars. The online auction failed to generate a buyer and the NCDOT said it would try again.

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