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CSX Railroaders, Kirby Family Farm and the Circus Train Continue to Deliver Cheer
CSX was for years the preferred transportation provider for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus, delivering cheer and crowd-pleasing spectacles across the Eastern United States. The iconic show may have folded its tents for the final time in 2017, but many of the historic railcars that once carried the circus are continuing to delight a new and appreciative audience.
Thanks to services donated by CSX and support from railroad employees, the largest single collection of cars from the circus train arrived at its new home, Kirby Family Farm, on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018. The equipment will serve as an interactive exhibit and dormitory rooms for overnight camps and programs at the Kirby center for at-risk and special-needs children.
The CSX team, assisted by volunteers, transported the cars to the location and then used two large cranes to lift the 16 circus cars from the active rail line onto the Kirby center’s tracks. The not-for-profit organization has created a fully functioning railroad to help fulfill its mission to “keep kids on track.” Daryl Kirby, the founder of the facility, said, “There is no way we could have done this by ourselves. If it hadn’t been for CSX involvement, we would not have this train.”
Kirby Family Farm is located in Williston, Florida, in Levy County, one of the state’s most disadvantaged communities. Founded in 2011, the 174-acre facility hosts over 3,000 kids annually. Kirby grew up fascinated by the railroad, spending time with his grandfather who was a lifetime railroader, even serving in a World War II railroad unit.
“Transporting the historic rail cars to Kirby Family Farm will make a lasting impact in the lives of at-risk and special needs children for years to come,” said Dan Labyak, CSX Clearance Bureau manager. “We’re proud to have been a part of the move and in helping Kirby Family Farm continue its mission.”
Kirby expressed his gratitude and support of the team at CSX, saying, “It takes a village to raise a child and what we are doing is trying to help raise children and CSX is part of our village.”