Sunday, 18 March 2012
Essex Steam Train, Connecticut Valley RR, U.S.A.
Essex Steam Train journey begins at the historic 1892 Essex Station for a 12-mile, narrated round-trip into the heart of the unspoiled Connecticut River Valley - designated "one of the last great places on earth" by the Nature Conservancy. The steam locomotive pulls vintage coaches at 20 mph through the quintessential New England towns of Deep River and Chester. The picturesque countryside includes pristine meadows, a quaint farm, a millpond with waterfall, and trestles and bridges over rivers and creeks. The first "regular" train was run and on August 24, 1871 the Connecticut Valley Railroad finally declared an official opening. Financial trouble plagued many early railroads and the Connecticut Valley found theirs in 1876 when it defaulted on its second mortgage bonds and was placed in receivership. The ownership changed had many times since 1876 but the many attempts by subsequent management and owners failed to revive the rail road. Concerned volunteers got together to keep the now abandoned railroad from being torn up. This group managed to obtain a temporary lease in 1969 and on August 15, 1969, turned over this branch line to the State of Connecticut. The State of Connecticut granted a formal lease to the Valley Railroad Company on June 1, 1970. This lease authorized the company to use the 22.679 miles (36.498 km) of track for freight and passenger service; and on July 29, 1971 (100 years to the day of the first ceremonial run), after thousands of hours of mostly volunteer effort, the first train of the new Valley Railroad steamed from Essex to Deep River and has been steaming ever since.