Following the theory of “accessible history” the Essex River Stream train and steam boat are a reincarnation of the 18th century traffic, when steam train whooshed at the rate of 20 mph while royals dinned in luxurious cabins and enjoyed the scenery. Located at Connecticut River Valley, Essex Steam train and Steam boat is the kind of journey that people tell their grandchildren about.
The story of the parent company of steam boat and train, called the Valley Rail Company, is every bit as ancient and goes with the theme of this journey perfectly. Valley Rail Company started in 1868 and has been operational ever since in one form or the other. The current company Essex River train and steam boat have also been running for the last 40 years.
The rail takes its passenger for a two and a half hours ride that begins at the historic 1892 Essex Station and takes them right into the Connecticut River Valley, designated as one of the “last great places on Earth” by the Nature Conservancy. All aboard on restored vintage coaches pulled by a diesel locomotive the Essex steam train trip is a dream come true for vintage lovers.
The diesel locomotive also pulls craftily restored 1920s dinners where tourists can relax and rediscover themselves; and eat a four course meal with impeccable service. Chugga-chugga-whoo-whoo noise in the quiet of the river valley echoes interminably in minds and surprisingly takes all the stress away. The clickety clack of the wheels, the wails of the whistle and the hissing of the brakes is sure to make one nostalgic and rekindle the romance of rail again. Let yourself loose by enjoying the ‘dinner at the diners’ which used to be reserved for a few privileged or only for memorable occasions. Tasteful ambiance, friendly staff, breathtaking views, and fabulous food are what one should expect out of their travel through rail with Essex River Steam train.
Also recommended for nature lovers and bird watchers as the train route canvasses near the tidal wetlands of Pratt Cove and Chester Creek, a natural habitat of birds, typically Cormorants, Ducks, Swans, Greenland Geese, Blue Heron, Egrets, and Red-winged Blackbirds. In February and March, the majestic Bald Eagle is the star of the show, when it migrates south to the Connecticut River Valley from Canada and Maine. To make the journey out of this world, passengers arrive at Essex Station for a 15 minute ride to Deep River Landing where Becky Thatcher awaits them for a cruise along the beautiful Connecticut River filled with wildlife, marshes and rocky shoreline all at once. Not to mention the historic sites, Gillette Castle, Goodspeed Opera House and Haddam Swing Bridge that serve as the icing on the cake. At the end of the journey passengers are escorted to the steam train for the return trip back to Essex Station.
The train trip can also be used to celebrate birthdays and momentous occasions with reservation for a festive cake, beautiful roses, seasonal floral arrangements and box of chocolates. The Essex Clipper also caters to private parties, charted events and corporate affairs. Overall the steam train and steam boat is an experience of a lifetime and worth every dime and nickel that tourist spends on it.