Experience a guided tour of Connecticut River Valley's historical sites on a riverboat or steam train.
The Essex Steam Train & Riverboat have been running tours since 1971. It is vital to The Valley Railroad Company to keep alive the rich mechanical, industrial, and transportation heritage of Connecticut alive by operating the vintage steam and diesel locomotives. The iconic Steam Train & Riverboat rides operate seasonally from May through October. They offer many classes of passenger service. There is Coach, First Class, a seasonal Open Air Car, and on one weekend a month, the Caboose or Cabin Cars are available. The locomotives & the Becky Thatcher Riverboat can also be chartered for private cruises, dinners, and other events.
At the Deep River Landing, passengers climb aboard the Riverboat named the Becky Thatcher for a cruise that lasts about an hour long. There are many decks for the passengers to view the river with its deep water, coves, inlets, and marshes full of wildlife. Besides the rocky shoreline, the historical sites you will see include Gillette Castle, Goodspeed Opera House, and the Haddam Swing Bridge. After that wonderful experience, the passengers take the steam train for the return trip to Essex Station.
The Valley Railroad Company also offers a romantic culinary event in their First Class dining car as the Essex Clipper Dinner Train ride. During the Christmas season, the train takes passengers to the "North Pole" as each coach becomes a stage for a live musical performance of "The Night Before Christmas." Passengers enjoy sugar cookies, sing-a-longs, and visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus during this memorable train ride. Children are welcome to wear pajamas on this trip, and all children receive a small gift from Santa.