Suncoast man restores Ringling Railroad Car

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SARASOTA - Nik Wallenda's June 23rd walk across the Grand Canyon is not far away now, and it's creating more and more interest in the Suncoast's circus heritage.

ABC 7's Linda Carson introduces us to a man who saw that heritage rotting away and stepped in to stop it.

Long ago, Bob Horne married into a circus family and fell in love the history of the big top. He used to run bob's restaurant on Central Ave., but for many years his real passion has been the personal railroad car that John and Mable Ringling rode in as the circus train crisscrossed the country. Now, he is on a mission to restore it to its former glory.

John and Mable's railroad car was the ultimate in luxury and glamour when it was built in 1916, but when Horne bought it in 2004 it was crumbling away.

Bob and a group of volunteers work on the train every Saturday. The rest of the week, Bob runs a restaurant aboard. There is also another private dining room for special parties.

The walls of the cars are lined with hundreds of old circus pictures and he intends to make the train a moving circus museum.

He hopes this train will keep Sarasota's unique circus heritage alive for generations to come.

To get to the railroad car, turn north off Fruitville Road on to School Avenue. It sits back off 3rd Street.