Getting on Track

Few travel experiences can impart a sense of history as strongly as a ride aboard a vintage train. Train rides also provide the opportunity to see a region's landscape, plus they're great family fun.

In five of New England's six states (Rhode Island is the exception), vintage and scenic train rides now operate during the summer and fall months. Many feature special themed and holiday excursions and are available for charter.

Following is a state-by-state roundup.

Connecticut

Danbury Railway Museum. In addition to train rides that last from 20 minutes to a full day, the museum features a restored 1902 station, vintage locomotives, model railroads and other displays. (203) 778-8337.

Essex Steam Train & Riverboat Ride. A steam locomotive pulls 1920s coaches north from Essex along the Connecticut River on a one-hour ride to Deep River, where passengers board a riverboat for a cruise. (800) ESSEX-TRAIN.

Naugatuck Railroad Company/Railroad Museum of New England, Thomaston. Eighteen-mile ride on a restored trail along the Naugatuck River offers views of a state forest and historic mills. (860) 283-RAIL.

Maine

Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroads, Belfast. Two tourist excursions include a 90-minute roundtrip train ride along the coast between Belfast and Waldo and a slightly longer inland ride between Unity and Burnham Junction. (800) 392-5500.

Maine Coast Railroad, Wiscasset. Restored 1930s coaches travel the 90-minute roundtrip route between Wiscasset and Bath. (800) 795-5404.

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad, Portland. Half-hour train rides provide views of the islands of Casco Bay, Portland's working harbor and lighthouses, and a museum displays an exceptional collection of narrow-gauge railroad equipment. (207) 828-0814.

Massachusetts

New Cape Cod Central Railroad Dinner Train, Hyannis. This scenic dinner-train excursion on Cape Cod is now under new ownership. (508) 771-3800.

New Hampshire

Conway Scenic Railway, North Conway. Diesel, electric and steam-powered locomotives pull trains through spectacular Crawford Notch and Mount Washington Valley. A dining

car operates on selected departures. (800) 232-5251.

Hobo Railroad, Lincoln. Mountain View Dinner Train offers five-course meals aboard a restored 1952 Pullman dome car. (603) 745-3500.

Mount Washington Cog Railway. Three-hour roundtrip train excursions, pulled by coal-fired steam engines, travel up one of the world's steepest train tracks to the 6,288-foot summit of Mount Washington. (800) 922-8825.

White Mountain Central Railroad, Lincoln. Thirty-minute excursions along the Pemigewasset River, pulled by a standard-gauge wood-burning steam locomotive. (603) 745-8913.

Vermont

Green Mountain Railroad Corp., Bellows Falls. Three excursions aboard restored coaches are now offered by this firm. The Green Mountain Flyer travels roundtrip along the Connecticut and Williams rivers from Bellows Falls to Chester Depot; the Champlain Valley Weekender links Burlington and Middlebury, and the Vermont Valley Flyer operates between Manchester, Arlington and North Bennington. (800) 707-3530. n

Comments
JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI