railroad trips and museums

The Essex Steam Train

(Click on the pictures below to obtain larger images, which take longer to download.) Photographs George P. Landow may be copied without written permission for any noncommercial use — for hobbies, education, and so on. If you have any additional information on the locomotives or rolling stock in thes pictures, please feel free to send it along to me at george@landow.com; pictures are welcome, too. GPL)

Undecided about what to do for my birthday, particularly because all the children were away, we didn't make any plans, but when George awoke on the 25th, a sunny Wednesday, he thought it might be fun to make yet another expedition to Edaville, the destination of many birthday jaunts. This narrow-guage railroad run by a group of hobbyists after the founder's death ran around cranberry bogs in South Carver, Massachusetts, which is at the foot of Cape Cod. Unfortunately, a number of years ago, the locomotives were sold off and the operation closed, but according to some newspaper articles, it was supposed to start up again. George typed in "www.edaville.com" on the off-chance that it had a site, and, yes, it appeared with some lovely photographs, but, alas, it did not mention current operations, and the railroad's phone number (provided by information) was out of service.

At this point, George remembered the signs along the highway for the Essex Steam Train, and searching on Excite, he immediately found its schedule along with directions. Ruth called and learned the last combined train and steamboat trip was at 3 PM, and we set off.

(Left) The first class ticket that Ruth purchased on the line whose official name is The Valley Railroad Company. (Middle left) One of the partially restored locomotives. (Middle right) An old steamroller -- this will probably end up in the Victorian Web. (Right) George in front of an old suburban, single-unit train.

George's 59th Birthday -- Our Jaunt to Connecticut (2)

(Left) Ruth, tickets in hand, waits to board the special first-class parlor car. (Middle left) The locomotive, which had pulled the train from the other end, has switched ends and is about to be reattached. (Middle right) The wonderfully shiny restored locomotive, a 2-8-2. (Right) Ruth sitting in her swivel seat before the car filled up.

(Left) George across the aisle. (Middle) The steamboat landing: we disembark while those who've completed the hour-long cruise on the Connecticut River approach the train to return to the station. (Right) Ruth relaxing on board, crocheting, while we listen to the pleasant, informed guide.

(Left) Here we pass the tiny car ferry that brings one from the riverside across to the island on whose heights perches Gillette's Castle (at top of picture), which was constructed by an wealthy stage actor who made a fortune playing Sherlock Holmes. We had taken this ferry some years ago during one of our Connecticut inn jaunts, the photos of which are in one of the as-yet-unscanned volumes of the family album. (Middle) The remains of a bridge Gillette had constructed. It lead to a gazebo, which used to sit on the white stone foundation. (Right) We pass the ferry.

If you look carefully, you can make out the train returning to take us back to the station.

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railroad trips and museums