All Aboard Connecticut's Trains & Trolleys Last Updated: December 2022

One of the great ways of taking in the Connecticut countryside is aboard one of the many trains that put real pleasure in riding the rails. All of them harken back to an earlier day when the pace of life was slower and “getting there” really was half the fun. And if anyone in the family happens to be a train buff, the pleasure will be more than doubled.

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Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, Essex

The thrill of travel under steam power is part of the thrill at the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat in Essex. Here, the excursions run through the Connecticut River Valley, where the broad river and surrounding hills are gorgeous in any season. The Steam Train offers many special events, but perhaps most special of all is the opportunity to take a ride on a riverboat as part of your journey! You’ll board the train at the 1892 Essex Station, meander through the countryside to Deep River Landing, board the Becky Thatcher, take an hour-long cruise on the river, then return to the train for the ride home. Nothing like it.

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Railroad Museum of New England/Naugatuck Railroad Company, Thomaston

Views of the Naugatuck River Valley are part of the package when you ride out from the Railroad Museum of New England/Naugatuck Railroad Company in Thomaston. The ride begins at the 1881 Thomaston depot, rolls past industrial sites, goes through the forest and then runs across the face of Thomaston Dam, the only train in America that crosses a dam in such a fashion. Many locomotives, railroad cars and work equipment are on display as well.

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The Shore Line Trolley Museum, East Haven

Trolleys are the rail vehicles that take center stage at The Shore Line Trolley Museum in East Haven. You’ll not only get a great look at the history of travel on city and suburban streets before cars took over, but you’ll also be able to take a three-mile trip through woods and wetlands aboard a vintage trolley car.

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Connecticut Trolley Museum, East Windsor

There’s also a focus on trolleys at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor, and there’s a three-mile journey you can take here – as many times as you’d like for one price. The visitor center includes not just examples of rolling stock, but also a theater where you can watch a short film on trains and trolleys. As an added bonus, this site is also home to the Connecticut Fire Museum, with many examples of vintage firefighting equipment on view.

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Danbury Railway Museum, Danbury

The Danbury Railway Museum operates out of a fully restored 1903 station. You’ll be able to inspect the rolling stock on display, including locomotives, passenger equipment, freight equipment, self-propelled cars and even maintenance equipment. The train rides through the rail yard include a spin on a real operating turntable!