Sunday, May 18, 2008

New Display at Gillette Castle

In the 2nd Edition of Cruising Connecticut with a Picnic Basket, I let my readers know about the newly restored electric engine that once pulled William Gillette's miniature train around a 3-mile course on his estate. Now displayed in a prominent place in the Welcome Center, it is a magnificent memorial that will be enjoyed by all future visitors to Gillette Castle State Park.

Gillette's train has taken a fortuitous route through the years, first giving ultimate joy to Gillette and his guests, then spending many years delighting visitors to Lake Compounce. It reminds me of "The Little Engine That Could" when I think about how many visitors had the thrill of riding in Gillette's railroad as it circled the lake ~ approximately 168,000 times! I was one of those visitors. But, eventually, the train would be placed in storage to sit idle for over ten years, so it is exciting indeed, to finally see this engine back home where it belongs. And, looking so grand!

For this, we can thank the Friends of Gillette Castle State Park
( for their vision, dedication and tireless years of fundraising and research, and Ted Tine of Ted Tine Motorsports, and the many craftsmen who restored the engine to its full authenticity. It is the Friends' hope that one day they will have enough funds and support to restore Gillette's steam engine.

You can see a photo of the engine, along with photos from other destinations in my book, on my website (

Plan to visit this landmark soon ~ and don't forget to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy at Grand Central Station.

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