The North Carolina Department of Transportation is auctioning off some unusual pieces of memorabilia -- retired train cars from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

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Jason Orthner, director of the NCDOT rail division, said the department purchased the circus' fleet of train cats for just over $380,000 when the circus went defunct in 2017.

The department had initially planned to refurbish the cars and add them to its fleet, but the plans were put on hold when officials calculated the cost.

Orthner said the department recently obtained $157 million in federal funding to replace its fleet, so plans to restore the circus cars were canceled and officials decided to sell them instead.

The cars, some still painted with animals and other circus imagery, are now being auctioned on the state's surplus site.

"Tourist railroad operations, car collectors, and other enthusiasts would certainly be interested in these cars," Orthner told WNCN-TV. "There are operations around the country that run train service for excursion purpose, or other purposes, that would be interested in equipment like this."