He Took To Wheels To Save His Hide (Circus Trainmaster), Published 30 August 1958You courd say that Al Moody, trainmaster for the World of Mirth Show, is the product of another elephant that did not forget.
Now the broad-shouldered genius who gets a midway on wheels in a few hours, and then gets it back on the ground again in the next town with equal speed, Trainmaster Moody might not be in show business today if he had not been "worked over" twice by the same elephant.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this trainmaster is that there are only a few of his kind left. Like two-wheel brakes, moustache cups, and whooping cranes, circus trainmasters are dying out fast.
In fact, there are only three others.
One day, away back when Al was an elephant roustabout. He handled elephants, and handled them well. Until -
A big bull elephant got a brain storm one day, and when Al came to, he was in the hospital. Eventually, he recovered, returned to his pet pachyderms, and then -
The same elephant did not need any memory course. He saw Moody, and went for him. It was almost immediately after that that Moody decided there must be some other easier way to make a living!
Moody finally drifted into being circus trainmaster. He has to load 50 or more cars on track, start them going in the small hours and only a few hours later, get the whole show off the rails and back onto some new grounds.
He knows trains, he knows the routes, he knows railroads, and knows who is the guy on the railroad who can get the train running. An admirer of his said he was not sure but that Mr. Moody's chief virtue was his ability to cuss out a railway superintendent.
Walking Railway Guide
Al Moody can name all the dozen or more railways on which his gaudily painted caravan travels. He starts out from Richmond, Virginia, on the little known but immensely wealthy Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac RR, he reaches his railroad apex on the CNR in Canada, and he winds up the season rolling home on the green and gold Southern Railway out of Georgia.
Once when in Vermont at Essex Junction, he figured it would he cheaper and faster to double back into Canada, clear to Montreal, and go east on the Canadian National-Grand Trunk down to Lewiston, Maine.
He said that the Canadian trains give their long show trains a better ride, greater speed.
"We do fine in Canada," he asserted. "Last year they double-headed us out of Ottawa behind two high-wheeled 6200 type steam engines."
In the U.S.A. their trains are tied down to a maximum of 35 miles an hour. In Canada they go 45, although the high stepping CNR Northern Tyro last year took them in style at 50 or more.
Biggest job is when the show has to take to barges, and the whole show is floated across the Hudson River.
"Its tricky work," says AI. "The tides, the traffic, and everything."
Just to stay "with it," Moody also runs a couple of concessions.
One way and another. Moody manages to make out.