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Essex Steam Train on track for huge summer

"We’re capturing a spot in time when you can travel back," said Kevin Dodd, the president of the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat.

ESSEX, Conn. — No longer constrained by COVID-19 precautions, the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat trips have taken off once again, and thousands have returned to ride the rails and the riverboat again.

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There are a variety of different trips offered by the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat – among the most popular is a 12-mile, narrated round-trip into the heart of the unspoiled Connecticut River Valley where passengers pass through Pratt’s Cove and the Deep River Marina, then climb aboard the decorative riverboat called the “Becky Thatcher” for a 75-minute ride on the Connecticut River.

For the past four years, Joseph Cassineri has been working as a parlor car attendant on the Essex Steam Train. 

“The locomotive itself is powered by two things; Coal and water – coal makes the fire and boils water to make steam. Steam powers the pistons and off they go -- just exactly like how it was done in the early 1900s," said Cassineri.

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Kevin Dodd, the president of the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat, is as hands-on as anyone in the operation; often times he’s the engineer of the 95-ton steam engine. 

"We’re capturing a spot in time when you can travel back, this goes back before cellphones, even pre-telephones," said Dodd.

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With scenery going by on both sides of the train, conductor David Peters said, “we’re here to make memories, so a child and a family can ride on an old steam train but also learn about history at the same time. It really is a special place.”

From steam train and riverboat excursions to dinner train trips to rail bike rides, the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat is offering a full slate of summer experiences. To learn more, click here.

Jimmy Altman is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at jaltman@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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