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Riding the Railroad Museum of New Englandís Santa Express Train, Thomaston, CT, USA PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta   
Naugatuck Railroad - 20th Century Limited Train - photo by Luxury Experience
We were ready for fun as the conductor called out "all aboard" for the Santa Express at the Railroad Museum of New England at the Naugatuck Railroad in Thomaston, Connecticut. For 1-hour and 20 minutes, the train ride was non-stop fun with visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, Rudolph, and Santa's Helper, gorgeous scenery, and much more. What a great way to get ready for the holidays!

 

20th Century Limited - Naugatuck Railroad - Thomaston, Ct- photo by Luxury Experience
20th Century Limited
Naugatuck Railroad, Thomaston CT

Christmas, Santa, and trains! Setting up trains under Christmas trees began over 100 years ago, and this tradition continues to the delight of children of all ages, as well as adults. This year we started a new tradition that combined all three - by riding the Santa Express at the Railroad Museum of New England at the Naugatuck Railroad in Thomaston, Connecticut. The museum is in a postcard-perfect red brick station with elaborate wood gingerbread where three large, decorated Christmas trees await inside with a train running around them to heighten the experience. The museum doubles as a gift shop where visitors can pick up their tickets as well as recall days of the past with historic train memorabilia on the walls and in the display cases, as well as bring home a special remembrance of their trip.

Gift Shop - Naugatuck Railroad - Thomaston, Ct- photo by Luxury Experience
Gift Shop - Trees and Trains

The Santa Express offers four classes of service to provide passengers with various levels of amenities and experiences: Coach class, The Naugatuck Lounge, The Tavern Lounge No. 43, and the Observation-Lounge Hickory Creek. On Saturday, November 26, 2022, we boarded the Santa Express and rode in the Observation-Lounge Hickory Creek built for the famed 20th Century Limited. This grand experience began, the same as it did over 70 years ago, with passengers walking the red carpet to board the train where a white jacketed steward awaited to welcome us on board.

Steward Bryan Dablain - Naugatuck Railroad - Thomaston, Ct- photo by Luxury Experience
Steward Bryan Dablain

The most elaborate of the classes, the Observation-Lounge Hickory Creek has a limited capacity of 20 passengers and is comprised of a mix of tables and chairs, as well as comfortable chairs and sofas. With its oversize walls of windows, this car allows for unobstructed views of the stunning scenery with rock walls and a waterfall on one side of the track and birch trees and a meandering river on the other. Although the train is certified to run at a top speed of 110 mph, the Santa Express runs at speeds between 5-15 mph as it slowly navigates its way around the winding bends of the track built in 1849 to allow Santa and his "friends" enough time to travel through each of the cars and visit with the passengers.

Observation-Lounge - Naugatuck Railroad - Thomaston, Ct- photo by Luxury Experience
Observation-Lounge Hickory Creek

Comfortably seated in two of the chairs located on either side of the car, our Santa Express experience began with a complimentary cookie and hot chocolate served in a souvenir mug, followed by a visit from Rudolph, much to delight of the young children on board as well as the adults. More complimentary gifts, included in this special package, arrived throughout the duration of the trip, along with visits from Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Santa's Helper. Combined with onboard holiday music piped in and holiday cheer, along with a wonderful staff, riding the Santa Express in the Observation-Lounge Hickory Creek was a wonderful experience and the perfect way to start the holiday season.

Rudolph and Edward Nesta - Naugatuck Railroad - Thomaston, Ct- photo by Luxury Experience
Catching up with Rudolph

Movie fans will find it interesting to note is that these cars were used in the 1959 Alfred Hitchcock movie, North By Northwest, starring Cary Grant and Eve Saint Marie, and Hollywood movie star Marilyn Monroe also once rode the 20th Century train.

Santa and Debra C. Argen - Naugatuck Railroad - Thomaston, Ct- photo by Luxury Experience
Debra and Santa

Although we experienced the Santa Express, the Railroad Museum of New England has many interesting excursions throughout the year, so be sure to visit their website for more information.

Until our next adventure... Wishing you the Happiest of Holidays!

Gfit Shop Attendant Joan Woznicki and Santa - Naugatuck Railroad - Thomaston, Ct- photo by Luxury Experience
Joan Woznicki and Santa

Excursion Information and Pricing for the Santa Express

The Santa Express trains run at 12:00 pm and at 2:15 pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays with the last service on December 23, 2022.

Conductor Matthew Sniffen - Naugatuck Railroad - Thomaston, Ct- photo by Luxury Experience
Conductor Matthew Sniffen

Pricing for the Santa Express:

Coach class, 70-person capacity, where guests ride in 1920s era Canadian National coaches at $20 per person, Adults and Children ages 1-12.

Debra Argen Red Carpet Treatment - Naugatuck Railroad - Thomaston, Ct- photo by Luxury Experience
Debra getting the Red Carpet Treatment

The Naugatuck Lounge, 35-person capacity, and guests ride in 1920s era 1st Class Lounge car with lounge seating at $54.50 per person, Adults and Children ages 1-12.

The Tavern Lounge No. 43, 40-person capacity, and guests can enjoy lounge and table seating in a 1940s era car at $95.00 per person, Adults and Children ages 1-12.

The Observation-Lounge Hickory Creek is "one of two observation cars built for the famed 20th century limited" and has the most intimate class of service with a 20-person capacity, with the most extensive amenities offered at $149 per person, Adults and Children ages 1-12.

Edward Nesta and Debra C. Argen  - Naugatuck Railroad - Thomaston, Ct- photo by Luxury Experience
All Aboard

Excursion Information and Pricing for the Northern Lights Limited

The Northern Lights Limited trains run at 5:00 pm and 7:15 pm Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays until December 11, then runs every day from December 16 - 23, 2022.

Debra Argen and Santa's Helper - Naugatuck Railroad - Thomaston, Ct- photo by Luxury Experience
Debra and Santa's helper†

Pricing for the Northern Lights Limited: Coach: $29.50 per person, Adults and Children ages 1-12; Naugatuck Lounge: $64.50 per person, Adults and Children ages 1-12; Tavern Lounge: $95.00 per person, Adults and Children ages 1-12; Observation Lounge Hickory Creek: $149.00 per person, Adults and Children ages 1-12.

Debra Argen and Mrs. Claus - Naugatuck Railroad - Thomaston, Ct- photo by Luxury Experience
Debra and Ms. Claus

Each class of service has various amenities, so be sure to check out the website for more information at www.rmne.org/20th-century-limited/

Upcoming Excursions

North By Northwest Express: In addition to the Santa Express and the Northern Lights Limited, film buffs will love the North by Northwest Express for Adults, which takes place on Friday, December 30, 2022, and includes a ride from Thomaston to Downtown Torrington in the original cars (New York Central Hickory Creek and Tavern Lounge 43) from the famous 20th Century Limited Passenger used in the 1959 Alfred Hitchcock film "North By Northwest" that starred Cary Grant and Eve Saint Marie.

20th Century Limited - Naugatuck Railroad - Thomaston, Ct- photo by Luxury Experience
Naugatuck Railroad

The full itinerary includes a ride on the train from Thomaston to Torrington, dinner at Salt 2.0, followed by a viewing of the film in the Warner historic Oneglia Auditorium and culminates in a ride back to Thomaston. To make it an extra special evening, participants are encouraged to dress in 1950s era clothing. Please visit their website for more information and ticket prices for "North By Northwest": https://rmne.org/north-by-northwest-express/

20th Century Limited - Naugatuck Railroad - Thomaston, Ct- photo by Luxury Experience
See you at the Naugatuck Railroad

The Railroad Museum of New England has interesting and fun excursions throughout the year, so be sure to visit their website for additional information: https://rmne.org

Important Information: There is free on-site parking, and visitors are encouraged to arrive a minimum of 30 minutes to park, pick up their tickets, as the trains depart promptly according to their schedule.

Debra Argen's Letter to Santa - Naugatuck Railroad - Thomaston, Ct- photo by Luxury Experience
All I want for Christmas is......

About the Railroad Museum of New England

"The Railroad Museum of New England is a not-for-profit educational and historical organization whose mission is to tell the story of the region's rich railroad heritage through our educational exhibits and operation of scenic and historical train rides on the Naugatuck Railroad."

Naugatuck Railroad - Thomaston, Ct

Railroad Museum of New England42 East Main Street
Thomaston, Connecticut 06787
United States
Telephone: +1-860-283-7245
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: www.rmne.org/20th-century-limited/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/naugatuckrailroad/
Instagram: www.instagram.com/naugatuckrailroad/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rmnethomaston

Until our next adventure, wishing you the happiest of holidays!

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© December 2022. Luxury Experience www.LuxuryExperience.com. All rights reserved.

 
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