The Danbury Railway Museum
Turntable
DRM logo
HISTORY
DRM Station
About the DRM
What to See
Feature Events
Other Things


Union Station, 1919
Danbury Union Station and adjacent railyard, April 1919

Built in 1903 for the thriving New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, Danbury Station boasted adjacent railyard facilities including an engine house, a freight house, a round house and a turntable. Through the 1950's and into the 1960's, Danbury was an important station for the New Haven Railroad. Film buffs will find it interesting to learn that Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train was filmed in and near the station. But, the 1960's began a period of decline for the railroad and the station, and by the 1980's, the engine house had burned and it and the freight house were torn down.

 

Metro-North closed the station in 1993; the once-lucrative hat business was gone, a new mall had been built 3 miles west of the city, the inner city was in decline and the station was crumbling . Not wanting to govern a city in decline, then Mayor Gene Eriquez proposed that interested citizens form an organization to develop and implement a plan which would utilize the available facilities and bring people into the city. With track in place, connecting rail lines in all four directions, a large turntable, and a 6 acre railyard, Danbury was the ideal place for a railroad museum.


Danbury Union Station, about 1993
 
Danbury Union Station, Oct 1995
Newly restored Union Station, Oct. 29, 1995
Several National Railway Historical Society members and a number of interested local railfans rose to the challenge, and Danbury Railway Museum was incorporated in 1994. There was immediate interest, and soon there were nearly 100 members intent on creating a Museum which would make use of an empty railyard and an abandoned station. A $1.5 million grant was secured and restoration of the Station began. For a number of years the Museum was located in a store front on Ives Street; finally, on October 29, 1995, the station was "dedicated". Mayor Eriquez and other officials spoke, and over 1000 people attended the celebration. In mid 1996 the station was ready for occupancy, and the Museum was established in its present location.
 

Early acquisitions included a Reading coach,
an Alco RS-1, and an ex-New Haven Caboose

In 1994, the first excursion train was run, and by 1995, a small Gift Shop was established. Among the first rolling stock were 5 coaches acquired from the Housatonic Railroad, an Alco RS-1, and an ex-New Haven Caboose. By the end of 1995, 10 pieces of equipment had been acquired.

 

Restoration of the turntable was completed about 1998, and about 2005 began to be used on weekends and during special events as a stopping point on the Railyard Local. Both the Station and the Turntable are listed on the National Register of Historic places.

 


The turntable as it looked in 1996.
 

Railyard, 2007
By 2006, the Museum railyard contained over 60 pieces of equipment and there were about 550 members. Train rides were offered every weekend from April - December, and each year, thousands of visitors from all over the world came to see what the Museum had to offer.
 

The purpose of the Corpration shall be to operate a railway museum in Danbury, CT, to educate the public as to the history of railroading and to the role of the railroads as part of our local and national heritage, and to engage in any and all activities convenient to said purposes.

Our Mission is today as it was in 1994.
More information on our Historic Station
More information on our Historic Turntable

 

 

Return to home page

 

pmo 725-8