The Railroad Museum of New England, Inc. (RMNE) is a not-for-profit educational and historical organization that dates back to January 1968. The mission of the Railroad Museum of New England is to tell the story of the region’s rich railroad heritage through our educational exhibits and operation of the Naugatuck Railroad. The museum concept is more than artifacts, it's also a story of the region and the development of society around the railroad.
The original Naugatuck Railroad was chartered in 1845, and opened in 1849 between Bridgeport and Winsted, adjacent to the Naugatuck River. Changing economic climates over the years led to a number of ownership changes until regular service north of Waterbury ended in 1995. Around the same time RMNE was looking for a new home to continue its mission of preservation. The old Naugatuck Railroad name was restored by state charter and our first passenger trains ran in 1996.
The Railroad Museum of New England has been acquiring historically significant examples of railroad equipment representative of New England. From steam and diesel locomotives, to passenger cars, freight cars, and cabooses, our collection spans a variety of eras. (Please note that not every piece is currently on public display.)
Our beautiful Victorian station was built in 1881 by the original Naugatuck Railroad to serve the growing community of Thomaston. Passengers last used the station in 1958, and after years of neglect the station later fell victim to a fire set by vandals in 1993. Since operations on the new Naugatuck Railroad commenced in 1996, our volunteers have cleaned and stabilized the structure in preparation for a full restoration. With your support, we can meet our goal of restoring Thomaston as a complete and functional railroad station of the 1950’s.
Our restoration shop is nearing completion after several years of planning and construction by RMNE volunteers. With two through tracks, an inspection pit, wide work areas, good lighting, full insulation and heating, this modern shop will enable restoration and maintenance work to take place year-round on our collection of vintage locomotives and cars.