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Essex Steam Train & Riverboat

Since 1971, the Valley Railroad Company has operated in the Connecticut River Valley with one very clear purpose: Keeping steam alive. Connecticut has a rich railroading history, and the Essex region, in particular, has been served by numerous rail lines since the 1800s.   

The original Valley Railway Company built the first railway here in 1868. Since the valley offered a relatively easy canvas for the tracks, the initial 45-mile route opened for business in July of 1871. The line changed hands several times in the next 25 years, until 1968, when the popularity of vehicular and air travel overshadowed the railway industry, and it was sold to  Penn Central. The line was abandoned that same year and nearly destroyed; however, a group of volunteers stepped in and worked to save this significant piece of Connecticut history. Eventually, the line's owners turned the railway over to the State of Connecticut, and the new Valley Railroad Company was formed by those concerned volunteers that first stepped in.    

Since that fateful day, the  Essex Steam Train has continued to serve visitors and railroad enthusiasts in New England, offering several distinct route offerings to entice travelers, as well as a variety of seasonal railway experiences. 

The Train & Riverboat Excursion, and the solo Steam Train journey, take place between May and October each year. Because Connecticut is cool in the late spring and early fall, the steam train's carriages are heated. The Dinner Train typically operates during the summer months, between May and August. Steady breezes of fresh forest air negate the need for air conditioning.   

Aboard beautifully maintained rolling stock and along routes that recall the heyday of railroading in New England, the  Essex Steam Train offers a timeless experience aboard the rails. 

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