Celebrating Trains in Connecticut
A switch tower museum is located in Norwalk, Connecticut, and a train show that runs until February 23rd, 2020 in Essex, Connecticut are just two of the five train experiences that were found. Those and three others are detailed below.
26th Annual Holiday Train Show
- The 26th annual Holiday Train Show runs from November 27, 2019 to February 23, 2020 at the Connecticut River Museum which is located at 67 Main Street in Essex, Connecticut.
- This is an event that the whole family can enjoy. Created by renowned train artist, Steve Cryan, it boasts trains, new scenery, as well as some surprises tucked away in the fully operational twenty-six foot model train layout. Guests can test their visual acuity with a game called I-SPY scavenger hunt and search for hidden objects within the displays, as well as throughout the exhibit gallery. Children can get tactile at an American Flyer and Lionel Train layout designed just for them.
- A true locomotive extravaganza, "the exhibit is the perfect outing for train fans, and all who are young at heart."
The Shore Line Trolley Museum
- Located in East haven, the Shore Line Trolley Museum is the oldest operating trolley museum in the country. It offers a three-mile trip through the woods and wetlands. On certain weekends, the museum allows guests to operate the vintage vehicles after receiving special instruction.
- Guests can tour their trolley display buildings as well as their indoor exhibit room to "understand how trolleys played a role in the development of America as it is known today."
- It is run by the Branford Electric Railway Association, Inc., and its mission is to inform the public about the story of the trolley, as well as related forms of mass transit in their historic context. The Museum operates the Branford Electric Railway which opened in 1900. It is recognized by the U.S. Department of the Interior as "the oldest continuously-operated suburban trolley line in the United States." The museum’s line and equipment are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Branford Electric Railway Historic District.
- The Museum owns nearly 100 vintage transit vehicles, and the archives contain nearly 51,000 photographic images, over 4,000 books and documents, and about 1,000 small artifacts such as tokens, hat badges and ticket punches.
- Ticket prices and discounts can be viewed here.
Danbury Railway Museum
- The Danbury Railway Museum was restored to its rightful glory and converted into a museum focused on railway history, after the Metro-North Railroad closed the station house at its Danbury stop to build a more modern one. It has an impressive collection of vintage trains, and the museum boasts the only intact surviving railroad turntable in Connecticut. Rides on the museum's "Rail Yard Local" include a spin on the turntable.
- Both the Station and the Turntable are listed on the National Register of Historic places.
- They are located at 120 White Street in the old Danbury Train Station at the corner of White Street and Patriot Drive.
- Hours and admission prices can be viewed here.
SoNo Switch Tower Museum
- It has been described as a quirky little museum, but it truly is entirely unique in and of itself. SoNo refers to the revitalized section of Norwalk towards the southern end, in other words “SOuth NOrwalk”. The Museum is furnished as it was during active service in the 1950s.
- "The SoNo Switch Tower Museum explores the story of "Signal Station 44." Tower 44 worked hard for the railroad from its opening on July 5th, 1896 until its retirement in 1984."
- "In 1984, the SoNo Switch Tower was decommissioned along with most of its sister towers as switching became computerized and controlled out of GCT. But the tower still remains open as a museum."
- Admission is free and hours of operation can be accessed here.
Essex Clipper Dinner Train
- The elegant Essex Clipper train provides a four-course meal that is served in beautifully restored 1920s Pullman diners, pulled by a vintage diesel locomotive. Guests are told to relax and reconnect while on the two and a half hour scenic journey.
- "Two 1920s first class passenger cars have been completely renovated into luxurious restaurant space that echoes of a vintage dining experience."
- The train goes northward from Essex Station through picturesque towns, stately forests and peaceful meadows. On the trip back, guests will be able to see the tidal wetlands of Pratt Cove and Chester Creek, perhaps even spotting geese, Blue Herons, and Bald Eagles.
- Menus can be viewed here.