Train Day 2017

As I mentioned in an earlier post, AMTRAK officially killed off National Train Day due to budget concerns (as if I needed another reason to be disappointed with Congress). However, they can’t stop me from celebrating Train Day. I’m using their logo – my taxes paid for it – and I’m keeping their holiday alive in case they ever want to come back and support it.

I could say that my choice of trains today is to let AMTRAK know that they aren’t the only railroad I care about, but that’s not the reason. I’m choosing to share photos and a little information about the Connecticut Trolley Museum because it’s such a good organization and the volunteers have done a wonderful job making the experience a little better each year. My wife thinks wonders worries that I might end up there after I retire. I can say that it wouldn’t be the worst option. I’d much rather spend my retirement fixing a train than someone’s computer.

I’m going to borrow some text off the museum’s webpage, but just to tease you and encourage you to visit their webpage (and the museum if you’re ever in this area). The museum is actually older than I thought:

“The Connecticut Electric Railway Association, Inc. is the owner and operator of the Connecticut Trolley Museum. Founded in October 1940, it is the nation’s oldest incorporated organization dedicated to the preservation of the trolley era.”

Today, the museum has 1 ½ miles of overhead-electrified track and offers the 3-mile round trip excursion every half hour. It’s so cool to ride on a vintage trolley. It’s mildly disturbing that some of the rolling stock that is “museum quality” is reminiscent of trolleys I actually rode on when I was a kid.

I used to ride the trolley into Pittsburgh with my mother. This is at the Heinz History Museum

My mother worked in a department store in downtown Pittsburgh, and each year at Christmas, she would take me to the store on her day off so I could visit Santa (until not necessary), wander around the toy department and visit the rather large switchboard room where she worked. I’m not sure she was thrilled to learn that the highlight of that trip was the trolley ride to and from Pittsburgh. Trolleys had their own tunnel through Mt. Washington and their own bridge across the Monongahela River!

One new addition to the Connecticut museum is the “Aisle of Safety” which used to stand outside the Old State House in Hartford at the point where commuter buses converge from the various suburbs. When I say “used to stand,” I should add that it was standing when I first moved to Hartford in 1981.

Please click on any one of my photos to start a slide show. I added captions so I could keep this part short. Yes there are more than the usual number of photos. But, they’re train photos! Also, the lower gallery, which needs no captions, is some of the vintage signs in the cars.

Thanks for reading and Happy Train Day!

And, here’s those signs


    1. Thanks GP! I think the root of your confusion lies in: “Congress thinking” – I’m not sure they know how to do that. I’m glad I got to tour AMTRAK’s Museum Train while it was still on the rails.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. I like the vintage railway signals and memorabilia like tickets and signs. I love steam engine trains but have to say, the trolley cars are really cool in your photos, Dan.
      Although no pictures, I have firm memories of riding the bus to Cleveland International Airport to catch a ride on the Rapid Transit (it was electric!) which took us into the station under the Cleveland Terminal Tower. I was allowed to go with two good friends at age 12. Sometimes it boggles my mind but it was daytime and summer so frequent travelers were there. They probably would have lent a hand should trouble had arisen.
      I like the Christmas memories you had seeing the huge switchboard your mother was expert at handling as well as going to see “downtown” big city department store windows and Santa. These are my special memories and my oldest two children remember Lazarus, May Company and Elder Berrman stores in Columbus Ohio. (With all the “tinsely” decorations and jewels displayed. One such window always had a “Christmas train” which wove around little snow topped hills and racing by snowy houses. :)
      My brother painted a train mural on the side of a brick building which led him into the lucrative business of painting walls in “train rooms.” Some aficionados liked to have period scenery or distant Alps painted into their backdrops for the trains.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You have a lot of special train memories, Robin. I like that. I like the idea of your brother painting train walls, that is a serious hobby, for someone to bring in an artist. I’m glad you enjoyed this post.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I loved the sense of wonderment in the group of railroad miniatures Randy showed me.
          I forgot to tell you the extent of railroad club impact on my son went to his childhood days at the Ohio State Fair. There used to be an entire building where tables upon tables were set up with miniature railroads with houses, stores, fields of grass with cows in them. . . We liked walking around, my girls pointing out details to admire. My son nearly speechless due to so much bottled up “fizzy” excitement.
          We were ones we set off in a definite circle of favorite areas, the railroad building was usually last. Happy Mother’s Day to the Editor who sounds like she has a lot of caring in her hoping the railroad group isn’t your final life choice. :)


  1. Seriously? Those R@t B@$t@rd$ killed Train Day? Thanks for keeping it alive, Dan. It’s a terrific post. I enjoyed hearing about the museum. And I agree in that working there would be worlds better than where I work. Happy weekend. Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Teagan, please, let us know how you really feel ;-)

      The amazing stupidity of that decision, was that Train Day was actually working. It was doing what they hoped it would do. It will live on without them. Lots of people are supporting it, and it will always have a home on this blog. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love trolleys! One of my highlights was to ride the trolley in San Francisco even thouh I have been on several rides on NOLA. Something about flying down those hills in SF. I was just disappointed I wasn’t able to do it the “romantic way, hanging on by a rail while standing outside the trolly. Lol
    As for your project, methinks you need to retire soon. Not sure how much longer that rust will keep it together. 😉Nice post, Dan. You are such a dedicated writer. And Happy Mother’s Day to ‘the editor’.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It only takes one intrepid volunteer like you to keep Train Day alive … and you would make an excellent train volunteer, lovingly restoring pieces of rolling stock.

    If you like trolleys, then I think you should plan a trip to Toronto. We still operate electric streetcars through the downtown and we have a train museum too :)
    Unfortunately I have yet to take a decent photo of a Toronto streetcar.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joanne. The Trolley Museum tweeted to me saying they would be interested in starting National Train Day again at their place. I think that might be fun, and it might be a good way to get to know the folks over there.

      I hope to get back up to Toronto at some point. I’ve been twice, over a long span. Most recently in 2003.


      1. That’s pretty cool, Dan. I think National Train Day has been kept alive in small pockets in many places. It may just be a coincidence but the Discovery Channel this week had a show on called “Mighty Trains”. We’ve PVR’d it but haven’t watched it yet.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. A museum I’d love to visit, Dan, and what fun to ride on the trolley. I also love the old signs. I can think of worse things to do when retired than volunteer at the museum, especially for someone like you. Happy Train Day!


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for sharing Train Day in your photos, Dan. I can see that this would definitely be a retirement consideration, but I would pass on fixing up the rusty guy. Maybe concentrate on the cars that need a little paint…

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Rust? Pfffft. that’s why they have sandblasters, and wire wheels, and all kinds of air-tools. Although, I’m pretty sure the editor would not want to see those clothes coming home.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Trains are definitely cool — we (that is, my father) had a giant setup in our basement when I was a kid, and I still have a lot of the track and rolling stock in my house somewhere. Loved it!

    Another visit worth making: to the narrow-gauge in Portland, Maine. I definitely recommend it!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I remember last year we collaborated on this one and I had great time creating my own content and reading yours. You did a fine job with the photos as well. 👍

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Do you remember those heart wrenching scenes in the movies of loved ones of lovers saying good-bye when the train starts moving – that is what your post reminds me of. Have no connection with the modern trains (since they upgraded the ones in Holland while I was living here) and till 3 years ago I lived in the Los Angeles basin – no train there (still not, lol)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do. So many movies and scenes around trains. I think the best part was that the train could be moving away slowly. People could watch, run alongside, stare into the distance – it was perfect.


    1. Thanks Joey! This was a good day. Several others participated and the CT Trolley Museum contacted me on Twitter to say they would like to have a Train Day event again. Plus, I’m now looking forward to getting cooler in the future ;-)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The Trolley Museum says they might be interested in having a Train Day event. It will be hard for them, I think, because they also have a Mother’s Day event. But I am planning to keep Train Day alive here.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. And Happy Train Day to you Dan. The only thing I did to celebrate was to read your words and gander at your photographs, but a good time was had by all. Whenever we travel, we go out of our way to visit museums like the one you describe. They usually enlarge my understanding of the workings of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. With all the money we waste on other nonsense you’d think a few sheckles for National Train Day would be available. We live in close proximity to stations and lines alike and see a train whoosh by almost every day. I had a few rides on the Pitt trolley system during my year in that city years ago. That Heinz pic brought a smile to my face.

    Liked by 1 person

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