Seasonal Events

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

Birthday Party Express – July 26
Assorted, complimentary cupcakes and entertainment available all day at River Valley Junction. Sunny Train will be performing half-hour shows at noon, 1:30, 3:00 and 4:00.

Music on the Riverboat – July 28 and August 25
What could be more enjoyable than live music while sailing down the Connecticut River and watching a gorgeous sunset? NOTHING! And that’s why we’re offering three nights of music on The Becky Thatcher Riverboat.

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

Rhythm by the Rails – July 18 and August 23
New to the schedule at Essex Station this year is Rhythm by the Rails, a FREE live lawn concert series throughout the summer.

Thar’ Be Pirates! – August 2 and 3
“The Saybrook Swashbucklers,” that nefarious band of pirates known to troll the CT River sail alongside and come on board The Becky Thatcher Riverboat. After they threaten the passengers and sing a few sea shanties – will Captain Paul be able to save the day?

Back to School Ride – August 23
Last ride before school starts! All students under the age of 10 receive a goodie bag of school supplies.

Wine & Chocolate Cruise – September 14 – Save the Date!
Information coming soon. Follow us on Facebook to be notified when tickets go on sale.

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.

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

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.

Day Out with Mom – May
A special outing for the special women in our lives. Treat Mom to a memorable Steam Train and Riverboat ride, complete with a complimentary potted Marigold plant for Mom to enjoy all summer long!

Neighbor Appreciation Weekend – May
Neighbor Appreciation weekend includes free Steam Train and Riverboat rides (coach seating) for residents in 6 towns along the Valley Railroad’s operating line – – Essex, Deep River, Chester, Haddam, East Haddam and Old Saybrook.

Memorial Day PicnicMay
Essex Steam Train is hosting a day of family fun honoring Connecticut’s military this Memorial Day at our All-American Picnic! 

Sunset, Cigars & Whiskey Cruise
A nostalgic ride while enjoying premium whiskeys, cigars, cuisine with your fellow cigar and whiskey enthusiasts.

Father’s Day, Family Weekend – June
Enjoy a pancake breakfast with Dad, mingle with Babe Ruth, meet Chew Chew — one of the Hartford Yard Goat’s mascots and take home a complimentary professional photograph of your family.

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.