Passengers from the Past

Time Travel on our Train!

Join us at Essex Steam Train & Riverboat as we host living history this summer! The platform at Essex Station will serve as both departure point and historical stage every weekend throughout June, when the country’s most renowned character actors will personify some of history’s most iconic & legendary figures.  Special guests like Abraham Lincoln, Babe Ruth, William Gillette & Mark Twain will mingle with passengers and family, titillating them with tales from their lives and answering any questions you dare to ask!

Passengers on the 11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m., & 2:00 p.m. Steam Train rides will have the opportunity to chat with – and learn from – these historical figures that are woven into the cloth of Connecticut & American history. Parents and children alike will love being escorted to their train or boat by living history and asking questions you’ve always wanted to ask! Just purchase tickets for any of the three train departures and experience these special guests at no additional charge!

Bump into history at any turn and take learning to a whole new level during our Passengers From the Past Weekends in June!

The special passengers are personified by some of the most renowned historic figure actors in the country. Visitors will get to spend quality time on the Steam Train and at the platform at Essex Station with some of the most interesting people in history.

2019 Schedule

JUNE 8 & 9

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, was an avid supporter of railroads and their importance to the U.S. economy and unification of the country. His actions led to the passing of the Pacific Railroad Bill in Congress, paving the way for the Transcontinental Railroad. He is remembered as a Civil War President, frontiersman and storyteller. His values – honesty, love of family, thirst for education, sense of justice and perseverance – shine through in a dynamic portrayal. “Honest Abe” will tell his stories from railsplitter to President, using authentic historical quotations throughout the day.

JUNE 15 & 16

Babe Ruth, American baseball player, played in the Major Leagues from 1914 – 1935. Nicknamed “The Bambino” and “The Sultan of Swat”, he began his career as a left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox but achieved his greatest fame as a slugging outfielder for the New York Yankees. The Babe is regarded as one of America’s greatest sports heroes and is considered by many to be the greatest baseball player of all time. Ruth’s legendary power and charismatic personality make him a larger-than-life figure, tempered by his philanthropic work visiting children at hospitals and orphanages. He’ll bring many tales of the Roaring Twenties and his baseball exploits.

JUNE 22 & 23

William Gillette, an American actor-manger, playwright and stage manger in the late 19th and early 20th centuries will be visiting Essex Steam Train & Riverboat. He is perhaps most well known for assuming the role of Sherlock Holmes on stage more than 1,300 times over 30 years. His portrayal helped create the modern image of the detective. His use of the deerstalker cap and the curved pipe became enduring symbols of the character. While most of Gillette’s work has long been forgotten, his last great masterpiece is still well known today: Gillette Castle in Hadlyme, CT. The castle sits atop a hill, part of the Seven Sisters chain, over the Chester-Hadlyme ferry’s pier. The design of the castle and its grounds features numerous innovative features, and the entire castle was designed, to the smallest detail, by Gillette.

JUNE 29 & 30

Mark Twain, one of Connecticut’s most famous residents, will visit the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat to do what he does best – entertain crowds with storytelling and humor. Often called “the father of American literature,” Mark Twain is best known for his novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He is also a celebrity humorist and will be sure to share many stories with fellow passengers. Always with a smile, always with wit, Mr. Twain makes the “Passengers from the Past” experience fun and exciting. A tip for your ride aboard the Becky Thatcher riverboat: be sure to ask Mr. Twain about the Tom Sawyer character the riverboat is named after.