Valley Railroad Company

Valley Railroad Company

The Valley Railroad Company is a heritage railroad located in Essex, Connecticut. It is best known for operating the Essex Steam Train and the Essex Clipper Dinner Train.


The Valley Railroad Company operates two steam engines and two diesel-electric engines. The steam engines are 2-8-2 #40 2-8-0 #97, both of which are used for the Essex Steam Train. The diesel engines are used for the Essex Clipper Dinner Train.

The Valley Railroad Company, along with the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad and the Knox and Kane Railroad, imported brand new steam locomotives from China during the late 1980s, early 1990s. Both the VRR and the K&K imported two SY 2-8-2 type locomotives. Delivered to the United States on the same ship to the eastern seaboard they each went their own ways. Engine #1647 was delivered to the Valley Railroad and operated numerous on and off line trips before being sold to the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway and renumbered #142 after an additional SY ordered by the NYS&W was lost when the ship delivering it sunk. Today, it is owned by the New York, Susquehanna, & Wester Technical Historical Society.


The Valley Railroad Company leases, from Connecticut DEP, the track running from Old Saybrook up through Essex, Deep River, Chester and Haddam. The track is on top of gravel, and made of wood crossties with steel rails fastened to the ties. The track connects withAmtrak's Northeast Corridor track near the Old Saybrook Station.

Grade Crossings

The Valley Railroad Company has several grade crossings along its tracks. They vary in their nature, ranging from small caution signs at Private Crossings to flashing lights, bells, and gates and stop signs at public crossings. The busiest public grade crossings are located at Route 153 in Essex, Route 154 in Essex, Route 148 in Chester, and Route 82 (just before the Haddam Bridge) in Haddam.


The main station, where tickets are sold and all rolling stock is kept, is located in Essex; specifically, the village of Centerbrook. The main entrance and parking access is located off Route 154; there is a rear entrance (not for public use) on Route 153. There is a station building (used as offices for the riverboat operation) near the Deep River Landing in Deep River, and a small station (used by the Railroad's track department) in Chester--it was originally the station at Quinnipiac, CT. Haddam's station, located off Route 82 in Haddam, houses an antique shop and is not affiliated with the railroad. Across the tracks from the Haddam station is the Goodspeed Yard Office, originally the North Chester station building, but restored and moved here by volunteers.


Essex Steam Train and Riverboat

The most popular and well-known attraction operated by the Valley Railroad Company is the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat ride. The ride takes passengers from Essex to Chester, then back to Deep River, at which point there an option to switch to the "Becky Thatcher" riverboat for a trip up to the East Haddam Swing Bridge and back to Deep River Landing. The train then takes passengers back to Essex.

Essex Clipper Dinner Train

The Essex Clipper Dinner Train runs from Essex into Haddam and offers superb views of the Connecticut River. Food is served on the train.

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