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The Railroad Museum of New England Visit 6/28/2015

by Chris Guenzler

Sleeping in and having a morning to relax was needed on this trip after which Robin and I left Waterbury taking Connecticut Highway 8 north to Thomaston and our first stop of the day.

The Thomaston New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad station built in 1881 and restored after the 1993 fire.

Railroad Museum of New England

The Railroad Museum of New England operates the Naugatuck Railroad between Waterville and Thomaston, Connecticut. The Railroad Museum of New England name and trademark was adopted in 1987, as a result of reassessing the Connecticut Valley Railroad Museum's goals and visions (CVRM was originally founded in the mid-1960s).

The CVRM (and predecessor organization - the Connecticut Valley Railroad Association [CVRA]) was responsible for organizing steam train excursions within Connecticut during the late 1960's and was instrumental in founding the Valley Railroad (Essex Steam Train) in Essex, Connecticut.

In early 1995, the RMNE was offered the opportunity to develop the ex-New Haven line from Waterbury to Torrington line, owned by Connecticut DOT. RMNE chartered a "new" Naugatuck Railroad Company in June 1995 (150 years to the month after the original Naugatuck Railroad charter in 1845) and worked with CDOT Rail Operations to get the new railroad into operation during the 1996 season.

Efforts came to fruition in September 1996 when the current Naugatuck Railroad commenced a tourist scenic train over the 19.6 miles of the original Naugatuck Railroad's right-of-way that had originally opened for service in September 1849.

Tourist excursions are run several days a week between May and December from the historic Thomaston Station built in 1881. The 75-minute trip runs between Thomaston Dam and Waterville, covering about 18 miles total. Occasional passenger shuttles operate from East Litchfield to Torrington.

Special event trains are run during fall and winter months. The railroad participated in the Day out with Thomas program during the 2003 to 2009 seasons.

RMNE has an extensive collection of locomotives and rolling stock of New England heritage, with over 80 pieces of full-sized railroad equipment. The New Haven, Boston & Maine, Maine Central, Rutland and Bangor & Aroostook railroads are represented. Numerous smaller items, from signals to railroad corporate records, are also part of RMNE's artifact holdings.

Volunteers operate the trains and maintain the locomotives and other rolling stock. The museum at one time operated a program called "Engineer for an Hour", which for a fee allows members of the public over 18 years of age to operate a locomotive under the guidance of a qualified engineer.

Our Visit

We will look around this closed railroad museum this Sunday morning.

New Haven Railroad baggage carts.

Metro North coach 2110, exx. Conrail 2110, exxx. Penn Central 2110, exxxx. New York Central 108-seat commuter coach 1710, nee New York Central coach 2570. It has been heavily modified and is now storage and workshop car W-10 with side doors, no windows and interior racks and bins for the various tools and parts used in the specialized work on the overhead catenary power system.

Track equipment vehicle.

Museum view.

Portland Terminal Railroad 25 ton crane 198 built by American Hoist in 1954.

Maine Central Railroad 40 foot low side gondola car 17080 built by Bethlehem Steel in 1939.

Boston & Maine Railroad box car 77843 built by Pullman-Standard in 1956.

Museum view.

Boston & Maine Railroad outside braced box car 72480 built by Standard Steel in 1930.

ULTX one-dome tank car 69369 built by Union Tank Car in 1923.

Boston & Maine Railroad milk refrigerator car 1920 built by General American in 1957.

This is the bathroom and storage car.

Boston & Maine Railroad caboose C72R built by International Car in 1959, originally constructed in 1921 by the Laconia Car Company as a wooden caboose.

Boston & Maine Railroad SW-1 1109, later Pioneer Valley Railroad 27 built by Electro-Motive Corporation in 1939 for use in the yards around North Station in Boston, long before the days of Amtrak and the MBTA. This locomotive worked for its original owner for twenty years before the start of its second life in service on New England shortlines owned by the Pinsly Company. Number 1109 was acquired by the museum in the fall of 1986. The paint scheme on the locomotive matches those of the steam locomotives it once worked alongside, before the days of the Minuteman and Bluebird looks for the B&M's diesel fleet. It is one of quite a few pre-World War II constructed diesels preserved throughout the Northeastern United States, representing a time when the diesel was still an outsider on the railroad scene and mainly confined to yard movements.

The display train here. A special thank you to the Railroad Museum of New England for having us here today. We left Thomaston taking US Highway 6 east to Interstate 84 which we took north to the next stop on the trip.