Full Steam Ahead – Riding the Steam Train in Essex


Sometimes when you’ve been taking photographs as long as I have, you look back at an image and say, did I really take that? And the details come flooding back. The scouting for a great location, studying the schedule, pouring over the maps, the dropping of your lens in a parking lot in your haste to get to the right spot in time, the weather with its perfect mix of clouds, the walking through tick infested meadows, the strange looks from workers are you skirt behind their warehouse etc.

All this in the service of a photograph that may or may not turn out to be a keeper. But when all of the planning and execution come to together for that perfect shot, all the world seems to be in-sync with your mission.

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The Essex Steam Train of the Valley Railroad chugs through the area known as the Meadow. Fine art photography by Edward M. Fielding – www.edwardfielding.com

I spent a good part of my summer in the Connecticut River Valley and often photographed the Essex Steam Train. The train leaves daily for tourist excursions from Essex Connecticut up along the Connecticut river through Deep River and ends across the swing bridge from the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam.

The Valley Railroad is a heritage railroad based in Connecticut on tracks of the Connecticut Valley Railroad which was founded in 1868. It operates the Essex Steam Train and the Essex Clipper Dinner Train. The Valley Railroad Company operates the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat. This excursion starts with a 12-mile ride aboard the historic Essex Steam Train from the Essex Station with scenic views of the Connecticut River up to Chester. The train reverses direction back to the Deep River Station/Landing. Passengers who have purchased the riverboat tickets can board the Becky Thatcher at this station. The riverboat brings people on a 1-hour, 15-minute trip up the Connecticut River to the East Haddam Swing Bridge and then back to Deep River Landing. The train then picks up passengers to bring them back to Essex Depot. The whole trip takes about 2 hours 30 minutes.

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Some of the old equipment collected by the Essex Railroad for possible future restoration.

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Beautiful old steam engines kept in top shape by the crew at the Essex railroad.

Photography Prints

Nothing beats the sights, sounds and smells of a working steam locomotive.