As the Essex Steam Train/Valley Railroad continues to rehabilitate their track further northward, there may be some questions about where railfans can legally and safely photograph from. With the assistance of the management of the Valley Railroad/Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, I’ve come up with a Railfan’s Guide to locations along the Valley RR that are OK to photograph from (i.e. public rights of way around the railroad, or publicly accessible railroad owned property). It has been created using Google Maps, and you will be able to view the guide on your phone either in the Google Maps or Google Earth app, or directly in a web browser on your PC.
Publicly accessible locations are marked a blue areas on the map. Each location, regardless of color, has some notes on it that should prove helpful with your railfanning – just click on the shaded area. Locations that would require advanced permission from the property owner/management to photograph from are indicated in yellow areas on the map. Red areas are explicitly private property with NO access to the tracks. The railroad requests that all fans please respect the property owners’ privacy by keeping off of their property. If it is not explicitly marked on the map, presume it is marked as a red area and is considered private property. The Valley Railroad/Essex Steam Train & Riverboat have worked diligently with their neighbors over the years to establish a friendly relationship – this guide is intended to help railfans do their part and support that relationship.
A general safety note – When parking around grade crossings, please park off of the roadway, and be sure you are a safe distance from the crossing as to not impede the sight-lines of other motorists approaching. Also, remember that driveways along the roads are private property, and should not be used as parking spots.
Drone Operators: Remember that the right of way the Valley Railroad operates over is technically a state park, and use of drones is not allowed without a permit from DEEP. Details can be found here on the DEEP site.
One last thing, remember that walking down the Valley Railroad’s tracks without permission not only is dangerous, but it IS trespassing.
Care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of this information, but this is provided for informational purposes only. I or the Valley Railroad/Essex Steam Train & Riverboat do not take any responsibility for your actions based on this information. Any information about actual property ownership, permission and/or potential trespassing is up to the photographer to research, finalize, and/or secure permission from the property owner. Basically it’s really up to you and you’re responsible for your own actions.
Two ways to get the map:
- Mobile: Download the KMZ file here (Valley RR Public Location Railfan Guide). This will enable you to import the locations to your Google Maps or Google Earth mobile apps. Unzip the ZIP file and follow directions from Google on how to import into either app on your mobile OS.
- PC: Click this link to get the map in your PC browser
This may be revised from time to time as needed, but updates should be automatically made to your mobile devices.