Heading out over the railroad to inspect the track prior to it being buried in snow reminded me very quickly of why riding on the Eagle Flyer train is such a unique and relaxing way to spend a leisurely 2½ hours in the stark, wintry Ct River Valley. With trees lacking their foliage, additional clear views emerge of the surrounding forest, river, and an abundance of wildlife. From the windows of this train we have seen countless eagles, a harbor seal sitting on a log watching us watch him, followed a harbor seal along the shore north of Deep River station, heron nests in Haddam, red-tail hawks.
People have de-trained at Eagle Landing State Park with their binoculars and headed down to the dock for nature watching; others step off at Goodspeed Station Country Store in the old freight house in Haddam to do some shopping. We have people board at our outlying stations; one couple actually rode north on the 11:00 train, walked across the East Haddam Swing Bridge to have lunch at the Gelston House restaurant, and returned on the later train. Check the schedule on our website, and use the train as you wish! You are limited only by your own imagination (and the train schedule, of course....).
For 2014, it appears that ice on the river will be a given. The railroad is covered in a blanket of snow which should hold through the weekend. Our guest Master Wildlife Conservationists will be on-board to point out all the natural wonder of the valley. In addition to our traditional Eagle's Nest snack bar on the train, where snacks, soft drinks, cocoa and coffee are all $1.00 each on the honor system, our Essex Clipper Dinner Train chef John Evans will be aboard providing hot soups, and sandwiches made to order, for a nominal charge.
Passengers may wander through the train at will, which will feature five (5) warmly heated cars consisting of three coaches, one diner car, and a parlor car with individual leather lounge seating – same ticket price for all, sample all of the cars during your trip! The train will be drawn by our two vintage diesel locomotives, one on each end of the train. Engine 0901 is widely regarded as the oldest diesel locomotive in regular service in the country.
It's been a long, cold winter so far – treat yourself to a day “outdoors” within the cozy confines of our vintage train, have lunch and creamy cocoa with us, and marvel at the frozen splendor of your Ct River Valley – aboard the Eagle Flyer!
Vice President of Track and Property
The Valley Railroad Company