The Railroad Museum Of New England and the Torrington Historical Society are collaborating to offer train rides from Thomaston to Torrington and return and a brief presentation by Mark McEachern introducing the "All Hands on Deck: Torrington and World War I" exhibit. Educational, self-guided tours about the WWI exhibit and a light barbeque supper will be included. The history train tours will be offered on two Wednesday evenings, September 12 and September 19th. The Naugatuck Railroad will provide the train service for the occasions.
The program will also offer self-guided tours of two Torrington History Museum exhibits, a WWI cemetery tour adjacent to the museum and the award-winning permanent history exhibit "No Place Like Home: The History of Torrington."
During the First World War, Torrington, with its population of about 20,000, was a bustling factory town served by the Naugatuck Division of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad.
"Every city, town, and village in the country mobilized for the war effort," according to RMNE Chairman Howard Pincus. "Railroads shipped military volunteers and enlisted personnel to where our country needed them, mostly to troop ships that took them to the main theater of operations in Europe. The same was true for all supplies needed for the war effort manufactured in the many factories across the nation. This was an era when trains dominated transportation coast to coast."
Passengers will ride along the same route along the Naugatuck Railroad as they would have 100 years ago with the exception of track changes required by the construction of the Thomaston Dam in the 1960s.
All Hands on Deck: Torrington and World War I interpret the contributions of Torrington during the World War I years. Visitors to the exhibit learn about the nearly 1,400 Torrington men and women who served in the military, home front activities, and the local industries that contributed to the war effort. The exhibit sheds light on the Torrington residents who served in the military as well as the residents who aided the war effort by working at local factories, rationing food at home, or volunteering for organizations such as the Red Cross and Torrington Home Guard.
Passengers will enjoy the scenic view into the Litchfield Hills past the Thomaston Dam, along the upper Naugatuck River, and through East Litchfield.
Tickets for this event are $25 and include the round-trip train ride, self-guided tours of the two Torrington History Museum exhibits and a light BBQ supper of pork sliders, coleslaw and beans provided by Zach and Lou's Barbeque.
Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.rmne.org or phone 860-283-7245 anytime. All tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable.
Trains will leave Thomaston Station at 242 East Main Street, at 4:00pm, bound for Torrington's Church Street Platform, and leave Torrington at 6:30pm to return to Thomaston. In Torrington, passengers will walk three blocks from Church Street to the Torrington Historical Society at 192 Main Street.
Passengers may pick up tickets at the Thomaston Station's "Will Call" window 30 minutes before departure time. Trains depart promptly at the scheduled times.