Valley RR 2-8-2 40 runs around at Essex.
(Photo by Doug Scott)

Steam "Tour of the Line" at the Valley Railroad

June 19, 2010

Story By Bill Crawford

Mass Bay RRE covered all the operable mileage of the Valley Railroad (Essex, CT-Old Saybrook-East Haddam-Essex) Saturday, June 19, 2010, six years to the day after our last trip there. Passengers arrived in Essex before 3 PM to photograph several regular VALE trains – the 2 PM train’s return at 3:15 PM, departure of the 3:30 PM train, and its return at 4:45 PM. Shortly after 3:30, most passengers joined an enginehouse tour led by J. David Conrad, VALE Vice President and Chief Mechanical Officer. He gave us a detailed description of the shop and its capabilities, the challenges of operating steam locomotives in 2010, and the Valley’s 3025 project – the pieces of which occupy much of the enginehouse floor. (See story on Page 21.) Following the tour, there were plenty of opportunities to photograph the equipment and structures at Essex prior to train time.

Our special train with 2-8-2 40 (Alco-Brooks, 1920), an open car, ex-New Haven parlor Great Republic, and four coaches – a matched set of heavyweight steel cars 2-8-2 40 makes a photo runby for our cameras at Chester. (J.T. Kittredge) – began boarding at 5:15 PM for a 5:33 PM departure to Old Saybrook.. Even before a wheel turned, car host William Hulme had distributed trip brochures to all passengers. We first ran south to the Amtrak junction at Old Saybrook, where ballast cars blocked the wye. We returned to Essex for the first photo stop – posing our special beside VALE’s dinner train with GE 80-ton 0900, due out at 7:05 PM. Passengers walked a few hundred yards from the train to Vic Campbell’s photo line at the parking lot west of the station. Vic, as always, did a superb job of arranging photo stops, and everyone got a good shot.

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