A Brief History of the Danbury Railway Museum

Page Two


Today, the interior of the station is filling up with exhibits . . .

. . . our gift shop . . .

. . . and what is soon to become the finest railroad library in the Northeast. On a busy day over 100 people come to the museum.

Meanwhile, back in April 1995, the city and the museum had signed a lease making the museum the tenant of the former New Haven freight yard adjacent to the station. On April 8th, the museum's first equipment arrived in the form of five coaches that had recently been used by the Housatonic Railroad for tourist trains around Canaan, Connecticut. The Housatonic was no longer in the tourist train business and wanted them off their property.

To our surprise, they also threw in this ex-New Haven 40 foot drop bottom gondola. Since Danbury was a New Haven town, we are especially interested in New Haven Railroad artifacts.

Sitting derelict in the Metro-North yard at Croton, New York, were two ex-New Haven RDCs that had served Danbury. Metro-North was willing to donate them, and they arrived in June 1995.

RDCs, or Rail Diesel Cars, were created to cut costs on declining passenger service. Self-propelled cars were cheaper to run than cars pulled by diesel or steam locomotives. Our RDCs were built in 1953.

While all this was going on, the museum was running excursions as a way of raising money to buy and restore railroad rolling stock. In December 1994 we ran our first Holiday Express non-stop to Grand Central for a day of shopping and sightseeing in Manhattan. Over 600 passengers were carried. In 1995, two trains carried over 1100 passengers. In 1996, we added a weekend of Santa trains to the schedule in an effort to appeal to younger children.

One of the reasons our trips are successful is that we give people a destination, with something to do once they get there, rather than just a train ride. Here we see our Hudson River Express train laying over in Poughkeepsie, New York, in May of 1995.

This trip met cruise boats in Peekskill and Garrison, New York, for sightseeing cruises on the Hudson River. Here we see one of our boats, the M. V. Rip Van Winkle.

We participate in area events as a way of promoting ourselves. Here we see our float in the 1995 Newtown Labor Day parade.
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