The Valley Railroad Company
The Valley Railroad Company – operating the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat – has been serving the lower Connecticut River Valley since 1971. Our company’s mission is to keep alive the rich mechanical, industrial, and transportation heritage of our state through the continual operation of our vintage steam and diesel locomotives and passenger coaches, as well as the operation & maintenance of the facilities and infrastructure that support these. We welcome visitors from throughout the state of Connecticut, the New England region and all over the world to ride our railroad, relax aboard our riverboat and visit our unique facilities.
Steam Train & Riverboat Ride
Our best-known excursion, the iconic Steam Train & Riverboat ride, operates from May through October, with daily operation during the summer months. We’re the only Steam Train & Riverboat connection in the country, with two operating steam locomotives and multiple classes of passenger service – Coach, First Class, a seasonal Open Air Car, and, one weekend a month, aboard our Caboose or Cabin Car. The locomotives & the Becky Thatcher riverboat can be chartered for private cruises, dinners and events.
Essex Clipper Dinner Train
Another venerable institution is the Essex Clipper Dinner Train, a romantic and nostalgic culinary event aboard our First Class dining car as featured in the “Memorable Meals” sections of USA Today! Delight in top notch food and beverage service on weekends throughout the spring, summer, and fall seasons. The Essex Clipper is available for charter for mid-week lunch excursions & private dinnertime events.
We take our mission of “keeping steam alive” seriously. Each year we are thrilled to conduct several Hand on the Throttle educational sessions, teaching participants the fundamentals of steam locomotive operation and allowing them to take our steam locomotives (and diesel locomotives) out for a spin. And yes, you can sound the whistle!
We also host school field trips during the spring, a perfect opportunity to for educators to incorporate science, history, technology, and culture all while engaging kids with a real train ride! In August, we invite historical figures to ride the rails and engage our guests in historically accurate conversation through our Passengers from the Past program.
Finally, we make our beautiful facilities, equipment, and catering staff available for weddings, reunions, meetings, and other events. Contact our events coordinator to discuss your event, and arrange for a tour of River Valley Junction, the Oliver Jensen Gallery, the Becky Thatcher Riverboat or the Essex Clipper Dinner Train.