The original Valley Railroad was chartered in 1868, and completed from Hartford to Saybrook Point in 1871.  In 1880 it came under the control of the Hartford & Connecticut Valley Railroad, which in turn came under the control of the New York, New Haven & Hartford in 1882.  The New Haven ceased service over the line in 1968.  In 1970 a new Valley Railroad leased part of the line from the state of Connecticut (which had acquired it from the Penn Central), and has been running trains out of Essex, CT since 1971. 

Valley RR operates several different trains.  The regular train is known as the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, and operates several times a day throughout the summer.  It connects with a riverboat at Deep River, offering passengers an optional cruise up the Connecticut River.  On weekends it also runs the Essex Clipper Dinner Train. 

Most of the equipment is quite old.  There are currently two operating steam locomotives, both built by Alco in the 1920s.  Most of the passenger cars were built by Pullman in the 1910s and '20s for the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western.  A pair of General Electric 80-ton diesel-electrics rounds out the roster of operating equipment.  Of particular interest to me is that 4 of the coaches were previously owned by the Lamoille Valley Railroad, which operated near my family's summer cottage in Vermont.  Two are still lettered for the LVRR, but sadly do not appear to have been used for a long time.

Valley Railroad website