2005 WINTER SEASON

Litchfield, CT --
Contact: Janet L. Serra
Ph: 800-663-1273
Email: lhcvbnwct@aol.com
For Immediate Release

Climb aboard with Santa for a joyful ride on a vintage train, or take a miniature trip to the past with a hands-on display of model trains, two traditional family pleasures of the holiday season in the Litchfield Hills of Northwest Connecticut. TWO WAYS TO GET ON TRACK Both the Danbury Railway Museum and the Railroad Museum of New England in Thomaston will offer special holiday outings with Santa the first three weekends in December. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be aboard to greet passengers on the Railroad Museum of New England 's scenic 18-mile round trip run between the historic Thomaston station and the Waterville section of Waterbury. The route travels along the Naugatuck River, and through the beauty of the Mattatuck Forest, crossing the Thomaston Dam en route. Founded in 1968, the museum also has an extensive collection of New England rolling stock, including locomotives, passenger and freight cars and cabooses, and railroad artifacts from the 1840s to the present, from tickets to signal towers to the photo archive of the New Haven Railroad and Thomaston station. Trips will leave at 12 noon and 2 p.m. on December 3 and 4, 10 and 11 and 17 and 18 from the Thomaston station, 242 East Main Street, off Route 8, exit 38. Phone (860) 283-RAIL or see (www.rmne.org) for more information. At the Danbury Railway Museum, which includes the classic1903 station and railroad yard, visitors can board a vintage train for a ride through the train yard to Santa 's own train, where the jolly man in red and his friends await. Every young guest will receive a small gift from Santa. Santa rides will begin at noon and depart frequently until 4 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday for the first three weekends in December. Historic trains are also on display in the rail yard, part of a collection of over 50 pieces of prize railroad equipment, from a 1905 caboose to a 1954 Pullman car. Included are such rarities as the Boston and Maine Railroad 's number1455 steam locomotive, circa 1907. Some of the trains are open for boarding. Extensive layouts of model trains, rare railroad artifacts and photographs, and special holiday displays await inside the museum. The gift shop is loaded with great ideas for railroading fans. The museum is located at 120 White Street, off exit 5 of I-84, phone 203-778-8337 or see (www.danbury.org/drm) MINI FUN in NEW MILFORD From December 17 to 31, another vintage railroad station draws fans for the annual Hands-On Train Display of model trains. Each year the waiting from of the New Milford station, 11 Railroad Street, is transformed into a Lilliputian landscape of hills, valleys and villages. The towns, populated by tiny figures dressed in winter finery, are crisscrossed by whizzing layouts of scale model Lionel trains. The setup includes almost 100 feet of track. Visitors can do more than admire the trains. They are invited to take the controls, starting and stopping the action and operating signals and lights. The trains operate daily from noon to 4 p.m. The train station built at the turn of the last century has been restored to its vintage look. The former freight office now houses the New Milford Chamber of Commerce, sponsors of the train display. For information, phone the Chamber at 860-354-6080. For more information on Litchfield Hills holiday happenings and a free copy of UNWIND, a 120-page color guide to lodging, dining and all the attractions in the area contact the Northwest Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau, P.O. Box 968, Litchfield CT 06759-0968, 800-663-1273, or check the Internet at www.litchfieldhills.com.