At this time the state named the Boston & Maine Railroad operator to provide freight service
along the line although traffic had completely dried up by 1995. As
they say timing is everything and about this time the Railroad Museum of
New England was looking for a new home. After working out negotiations
with the state the RMNE was named operator of the line in October of
1996 forming the new Naugatuck Railroad to provide freight service, although this is only done so on as-needed basis. As such, the Naugatuck is almost exclusively a tourist train operation.
Today, the original Naugatuck system is abandoned between Winsted and Torrington. However, you can still catch the train from Thomaston (at the original Naugatuck Railroad station
located there) anytime between May and October during the operating
season. Overall, the Naugatuck operates just a very small section of
the line, about 11 miles in length (the entire line is over 50 miles in
length). Typically, the Railroad Museum of New England operates excursion trains each Sunday and Tuesday every week between May and October.
The railroad also has numerous specials operated throughout the
year including the Easter Bunny Express, a Mother’s Day special,
Haight-Brown Vineyard Express, Grandparent’s Day, a Father’s Day
special, the Halloween Train, and the Santa Express. Also, their
busiest month for excursions is October when they not only operate
Sundays and Tuesdays but also Saturdays running fall foliage specials
and the aforementioned Halloween Train. The Naugatuck Railroad usually
operates its restored Alco RS3 #529, an original New Haven unit (and
painted in its original colors and number).
|Shore Line East FL9 #2011 works in push mode as it leads a southbound commuter consist past the station at Bethel, CT along the Danbury Branch on November 8, 2003. As noted by the caternary poles, this section of the former New Haven was once electrified.|
So, if you are ever in Connecticut or looking for something a little different and more relaxing you may want to consider a visit to the Naugatuck Railroad and taking a ride aboard the Railroad Museum of New England's splendid operation between Torrington and Waterbury as you certainly shouldn't be disappointed! If you are interested in visiting the museum and Naugatuck Railroad please click here to visit their website, which includes everything from a monthly calendar of events to pricing and directions. For more information about excursion trains like the Naugatuck Railroad you might want to consider the book Tourist Trains Guidebook, which is put together by the editors of Kalmbach Publishing's Trains magazine.