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Naugatuck, E.Windsor, Brattleboro, Shelburne Falls

Adventurers in New England

Chapter Twenty-One

Railroad Museum of New England

Thomaston, CT

Connecticut Trolley Museum

East Windsor, CT

Drive to Brattleboro

Brattleboro, VT

Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum

Shelburne Falls, MA


Robin Bowers

June 28, 2015


Text and Photos by Author
The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent.

Comments are appreciated at...

    After a good restful sleep at the Waterbury Quality Inn, Chris and I had some extra time this morning to grab a nice breakfast at the hotel breakfast bar. After eating we packed the car and headed north on Rt 8 to our first stop. By night fall I'll have been in five states today.

    Now we are in an area that was once was known as "the Switzerland of America." and the center of clock and watchmaking in America, beginning at Hartford and more or less following U.S. 6 west through Bristol, Terryville, Plymouth and Thomaston before heading south to Waterbury on Connecticut 8.

    Thomaston was the home to clock and watch-maker Seth Thomas. The Seth Thomas factory is now an office park. Thomas began making clocks in 1813. The Seth Thomas-Bradstreet House, which was built in 1838, is on Main Street. It remained in the family until 2005 when the town of Thomaston bought it. It's decorated with period furnishings, including a Seth Thomas tall clock.

    Waterbury, 10 miles south of Thomaston, is nicknamed the Brass City because its foundries once supplied the clocks and watchmaking community. The inscription on the 1915 city hall, Quid Aere Perennius, means " What is more lasting than brass?" A clock and watch exhibit the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury reveals a hint of the city's history. It inherited time pieces from Timexpo, the Timex company's museum that closed in 2015. (The Timex headquarters remains in nearby Middlebury.)

    The legacy of the Waterbury Clock Co. (later Timex) has always been making  these durable, inexpensive, timepieces that the common man could purchase," said Carl Rosa, Timexpo's former director. They were "mass-produced, assembly-line processed, affordable watches," he said.

    Local companies began producing pocket watches in the early1900s, Rosa said, a couple decades before wristwatches became popular, thanks, in part, to a cartoon character. Had it not been for Mickey Mouse, we wouldn't be sitting here having this conversation," Rosa said. Ingersoll, a Waterbury Clock brand, partnered with Disney during the Great Depression to put the famous rodent's image on pocket and wristwatches. "Of course, the hour and minute hands were Mickey's hands," Rosa said. "It was a hit.... A year later, they were making millions of them." Thousands of unemployed people were put to work manufacturing the watches. It... saved the company," Rosa said.

Railroad Museum of New England.


Thomaston, CT.  1881.


The Railroad Museum of New England.


Active tracks.


Naugatuck Railroad.

    Your scenic hour and 15 minute train ride on the Naugatuck Railroad begins at historic 1881 Thomaston Station. Board the vintage 1920s coaches and prepare to see a side of the Naugatuck Valley that you just can't get from your car. The 20-mile round trip ride along the Naugatuck River hugs the river's edge, passing through state forest lands and alongside old, industrial brass mills of Waterbury and Thomaston. End your journey with a view of the river valley below the Thomaston Dam from a vantage point high above the spillway

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The museum was closed when we arrived and would be an hour or so before they would be open. We just looked around and took photos of equipment on display.








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    Leaving Thomaston, we followed U.S. 6, east to I-91 and then north traveling through the capital city of Hartford. Another capital city traveled thru on this trip to New England.


Connecticut State Capital, Hartford.

    Continuing north on I-91 we exit at # 45 and then go east on Rt. 140 to East Windsor and the Connecticut Trolley Museum.

Connecticut Trolley Museum




North Road Station; Dispatch building - trolley boarding area.

    The sky today continued to be dark and misty. After arriving we took a look around before we headed into the visitors center for tickets and times for the trolley rides.



Car 2600.


Closed Trolley Car 2600.
Manufactured in 1929 by the Canadian Car & Foundry Co. for Montreal Tramways, these double ended cars were primarily intended for the Canadian, Bordeaux and Montreal Lines. Her last run on Canadian tracks was August 30, 1959. She was purchased later the same year for the CTM.
Length: 41'  -  Weight: 18.5 tons -  Seating: 32+2


Rear end of car 2600.


    After receiving our tickets we boarded car 2600 for our first ride.


Control stand on car 2600.


Inside car 2600.


Your three-mile round trip ride will take you through the beautiful New England countryside.


This is a carry your umbrella day.

    After finishing our ride, Chris and I headed indoor to the dry museum. They have many pieces in their historic collection of trolley and railroading history.







    After covering everything in the dry inside we went outside for another trolley ride. We'll be riding car 836.



Closed Trolley Car 836.
Built in 1922 by Perley Thomas of North Carolina, she plied the streets of New Orleans until May 29,1964 arriving here on July 22, 1964. It is an acknowledged fact that 836 was the camera-platform-car used in the 1951 filming of the original "Streetcar Named Desire" with Marlon Brando.
Length 47' - Weight 21 tons - Seating 52.

    Are there any trolley cars left in New Orleans? Well I'll find out next weekend when I will be in New Orleans and ride their cars.


Inside car 836.




    After finishing this ride we headed to behind the Visitor Center for the Kelly Car Barn, primary storage area for operational trolleys.


Open Observation Car 4.
The car was built in 1924 by Montreal Tramways in their Youville Shops.In the '40s this car was used on a Montreal route known as; "Pare Lafontaine - Cote-des-Neiges." Arriving here in 1964, she is one of the most popular rides, winter or summer, and is known to her fans as the "Electric Sleigh."
Length: 47'  -  Weight: 22 tons - Seating; 50



In 1923 the Laconia Car Co. built this car for the B.E.R. (Boston Elevated Railway). This type 5A semi-convertible vehicle served Clarendon Hill, MA beginning Mrch1924 eventually being assigned to the Watertown Car House. Her last public run was April 1959 and was purchased later that same year by the CTM.
Length: 45'  -  Weight: 15.5 tons  -  Seating: 48


    Next door to the Kelly Car Barn is the Fire Museum.



Engine 8.


Ladder 1.





    Leaving the Fire Museum we now wanted to see the rest of the grounds and equipment.


















  Definitely constructed of wood.

Springfield, MA

    Leaving the museum we rejoined I-91 north bound for Springfield, MA. Our plan for Springfield was for Chris to board Amtrak's Vermonter train #54. He needed this Springfield to Brattleboro leg to help complete his goal of riding all of Amtrak trackage. #54 scheduled departure is 3:15pm and arrival in Brattleboro at 4:56pm. I was to drive from Springfield north on I-91 to Brattleboro, VT and meet the Vermonter upon its arrival.

   While in the Springfield station, I purchased my tickets for tomorrow's train trips: Albany to Penn Station and Penn Station to Norfolk, VA. Later, while checking my tickets I noticed that the Guest Rewards number was missing. I showed this to Chris and he called an agent at the Sana Ana station and they were able to fix this so I would get credit for this travel. Lesson:  always check your ticket before leaving the window. I knew that I gave the agent my rewards card but for some reason the number was not entered.

     Leaving Springfield the skies were still dark and wet but the drive easy with light traffic.


Some where near the Connecticut-Massachusetts border.

Brattleboro, VT


Amtrak's chic and alfresco waiting area at their Brattleboro station.

    After completing my main task - finding the Amtrak station - next was to find a parking space. There was a good parking area on the other side of the tracks so you could wait and watch for arriving trains. I still had about 45 minutes until Chris' train arrived and next to the parking lot was an old friend, the Connecticut River. So I decided to walk over and explore with the free time.


Connecticut River with Vermont on left and New Hampshire on right.


On the bridge looking toward New Hampshire.


After crossing the river and looking toward Brattleboro.


Standing on Rt 119 looking toward the bridge.


Looking down river. There is a RR bridge hiding in the background.



Welcome - Bienvenue to New Hampshire  "Live Free or Die"


Walking back to Brattleboro.


It was here that the state's first permanent English settlement, Fort Dummer, was established in 1724.

Rudyard Kipling, in collaboration with New York architect Henry Rutgers Marshall, built a house for his American bride north of Brattleboro in Dummerston and named it Naulakha, which means "precious jewel." Kipling wrote "Captains Courageous" and the two "Jungle Book" stories during his residence there.

    Walking up a few yards from the river bank and the bridge on the inclining sidewalk,  I arrived at a busy crossroad where I stopped to look around at the exciting scenery.


Just a few more yards till you reach the Connecticut River.



Looking toward the river.


A downtown theater.




Stream runs in town next to highway


Bridge over the stream.


Looking to the hills of New Hampshire.


The flowers are a nice touch for sure.


Brattleboro Museum & Art Center is the former Union Station.


Amtrak's Vermonter # 54 at the Brattleboro station with a VIP passenger.

    Chris' train arrived on time. He said he had a good trip and was excited to add a check on the list. From the station we drove back to I-91 and then south back to MA. At exit 26 we leave I-91 and take Rt 2 to the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum.

Shelburne Falls, MA


New Carbarn  going up at the museum. Car 10's new home.


The star of the show #10.



We were able to ride in this car.


What #10 looked like when it was a chicken coop in the farmers field.
The story was when the farmer was young he and his girl friend would ride this when they were courting and he saved it for sentimental reasons.


    The Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum is dedicated to preserving and operating Shelburne Falls & Colrain Street Railway trolley car No. 10. This car was built by Wason Manufacturing Co. in Springfield, MA in 1896. It was delivered new to Shelburne Falls and has never left the valley. For thirty years it served its namesake towns. For twenty years it crossed the Deerfield River on what is now the famous Bridge of Flowers. Saved by a local farmer, it spent sixty-five years as a chicken coop, tool shed and play house.


Waiting to ride the pump car - with storage shed at end of track.


1900'sCentral Vermont Railway Pump Car.


Museum visitors and docent moving pump car to its storage shed.

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    As we had arrived after closing hour, the staff were very accommodating and hospitable. We kept out visit short and as it was getting dark, we left and went to see the Bridge of Flowers and the potholes and falls on the Deerfield River.


The Bridge of Flowers, built in 1908 to carry trolley cars over the Deerfield River.

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Glacial potholes on the Deerfield River.



The Shelburne Falls.

    Leaving Shelburne Falls, we continued west bound on Rt 2 and after a while we crossed into New York state on our way to Albany.


Buildings in a college town along Rt 2.


    Arriving in Albany we found and checked into our motel. After unloading our luggage in our room, we return to the airport to drop off the rental car. In the seventeen days we traveled 2.5K miles in our car. We took a taxi back to the motel with the driver giving us an extra long tour of the countryside. It was to be a short night as we needed to be at the Amtrak station in a few hours. 

Next Chapter - Twenty-two  Albany, Penn Station, Newport & Norfolk, VA

Return to last chapter - Twenty- Essex, East Haven, Waterbury, Stamford, CT

Robin's trips

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Text and Photos by Author

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent.

Comments are appreciated at...