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New England Passenger Trains

New England Passenger Trains
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Riding the rails is as thrilling today as it was way back when. Here are Yankee’s picks for New England’s best passenger trips (check Web sites for seasonal schedules):

1. After a 36-year absence, passenger rail service has returned to Maine. Amtrak’s Downeaster connects Boston and Portland along a 114-mile rail corridor. 800-872-7245; amtrakdowneaster.com

2. Maine Eastern Railroad chugs past a landscape of lobster boats, tidewater villages, lighthouses, and ocean and is consistently voted a top attraction in the state. 866-637-2457; maineeasternrailroad.com

3. Vermont’s Green Mountain Railroad operates three vintage trains: the Green Mountain Flyer (Bellows Falls to Chester Depot); the White River Flyer (White River Junction to Thetford), and the Champlain Valley Flyer (Burlington to Charlotte). All three take in stunning views. 800-707-3530, 802-463-3069; rails-vt.com

4. Conway Scenic Railroad’s Notch Train takes passengers on a five-hour tour of New Hampshire’s dramatic White Mountains as it chugs through Crawford Notch. Shorter trips are also offered on the Valley Train. 800-232-5251, 603-356-5251; conwayscenic.com

5. The Hobo Scenic Railroad makes 80-minute trips along New Hampshire’s Pemigewasset River. The Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad skirts the state’s largest lake in a two-hour trip. 603-745-2135; foliagetrains.com

6. For 140 years, the Mount Washington Cog Railway–the second-steepest mountain-climbing train in the world and the only one built entirely on a trestle–has taken passengers 3.1 miles to the top of New England’s tallest peak. 800-922-8825, 603-278-5404; thecog.com

7. The Railroad Museum of New England features the Naugatuck Railroad’s one-and-a-quarter-hour ride aboard a 1920s-era coach through the unspoiled Mattatuck Forest. Bonus: Tours depart from the historic 1881 train station in Thomaston. 860-283-7245; rmne.org/trainrides.htm

8. Plus one more great destination: If you love model trains, you’ll fine the motherlode at the Hartmann Model Railroad complex in Intervale, New Hampshire, a fine jaunt for train enthusiasts. 603-356-9922; hartmannrr.com

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One Response to New England Passenger Trains

  1. Peter Rukavina January 12, 2010 at 4:01 pm #

    It used to be that VIA Rail Canada ran a train from Halifax to Montreal that went through Maine. You could actually catch the train IN Maine — we drove a friend from Prince Edward Island to just outside of Lincoln once, just for the novelty of it.

    I sorely wish there was a train option that one could take from Atlantic Canada down into the Boston State — right now all we can do is take VIA through Canada to Montreal, and then take the New York train south into New York, or find our own way to St. Albans to catch the Vermonter.

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