Seasonal Events

Our Steam Train & Riverboat Excursion operates May through October. In addition, we’ve got unique events and programs planned year round!

Hand on the Throttle – Click for active dates
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn about and actually operate a full size steam locomotive.

Day Out with Thomas – End-April / Beginning-May
A real live train ride with Thomas the Tank Engine, plus tons of kid-friendly activities.

Essex Clipper Dinner Train  – Weekend Operation, May – October
An elegant four-course meal served in beautifully restored 1920’s Pullman diners, pulled by a vintage diesel locomotive.

Steam Train & Riverboat Lunch Excursion  – Weekday Operation, June – October
Enjoy a 3-course lunch aboard restored 1920’s Pullman dining cars as part of a 3.75 hour lunch, train and riverboat sightseeing excursion.

Passengers from the Past – Weekends in June
The country’s most renowned character actors will personify legendary figures, including the Gillettes, Abraham Lincoln, Babe Ruth, & Mark Twain. No additional charge.

Sunset Cruise  – Friday & Saturday Evenings, end-June – September
A spectacular train and riverboat ride on the Connecticut River on Friday evenings. Swallow cruises in September and October!

Saybrook Special – First operating weekend, May – October
Board the 10:00 am Saybrook Special for a unique journey along the railroad from Essex to Old Saybrook, free for 11:00 am passengers.

Caboose Weekends – First operating weekend, May – October
Ride the Friends of the Valley Railroad caboose, extra charge donated to the Friends.

East Haddam Concert Express  – Monday Evenings in August
 Travel aboard vintage coach train cars on your way to enjoy the Music on the River series concerts on the South Lawn at Goodspeed Opera House.

Swallow Cruise  – Friday & Saturday Evenings, September
Take the Becky Thatcher to a spectacular natural phenomenon as hundreds of thousands of Tree Swallows swarm as a beautifully choreographed flock over Goose Island each evening at sunset.

Haddam Special  – Weekends in October
A delightful fall foliage excursion, combining sight-seeing, shopping, dining, and culture in the towns of Haddam and East Haddam.

North Pole Express – Weekends and Weekdays, mid-November – December
Board our locomotive-powered sleigh…for a magical nighttime journey to the North Pole.

Santa Special – Weekends from Black Friday – December
A daytime holiday train ride, with special guests Santa and Mrs. Claus, and other North Pole visitors.

Eagle Flyer – February dates
A 2½-hour eco-excursion, with local station stops in Deep River, Chester, Eagle Landing State Park and Haddam.