The third season of the Stourbridge Line rail line, since under new management, continues with fall trips followed by holiday excursions all the way through the third week of December.

HAWLEY - The third season of the Stourbridge Line rail line, since under new management, continues with fall trips followed by holiday excursions all the way through the third week of December.

Delaware Lackawaxen & Stourbridge (DL&S) Railroad, operator of the excursions, is also in the freight business. For several weeks, the historic BL2 locomotive has been seen going back and fourth on a busy schedule, hauling a flat bed rail car or box car, with a customer’s cargo.

Fall foliage excursions were brisk, Saturday, October 14, as the train, with passengers from Honesdale, pulled into the Hawley station for more riders. The were heading down towards Lackawaxen, to take in the gorgeous scenery of the Lackawaxen River with the landscape ablaze in autumn glory, while enjoying the ride aboard vintage train coaches.

Michael Keefe, Chief Financial Officer for the DL&S, was answering calls about excursions and greeting passengers at the small depot next to the Hawley loading platform.

Extended schedule

He reported that they decided to extend the autumn schedule this year, past the October fall foliage season. The final “Fall Foliage run” was scheduled  Friday, October 27. A special “Spooky Flyer” for the Halloween season is planned Saturday, October 28.

Taking in the beauty of late autumn, however, excursions continue through November. Passengers will be able to ride as far as Glen Eyre, the historic site of a former Erie Railroad depot. This is about half way to the village of Lackawaxen. Passengers can board at Honesdale or Hawley for the Glen Eyre trips, on Saturdays and Wednesdays through November 18.

Due to the pipeline work this fall, the rides are not going as far as Lackawaxen, Keefe noted. The trip time is also more manageable for some passengers. Round-trip from Honesdale to Glen Eyre is 2-1/2 hours, rather than about 3-1/4 hours if going to Lackawaxen. The trip from Hawley to Glen Eye takes an hour, round-trip.

Ride with ‘Ben Franklin’

A very special excursion is planned Friday, November 3rd. “The Statesman Special” includes a re-enactor portraying Benjamin Franklin, who is helping to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Wayne County Community Foundation.

The public is invited to greet Ben and local dignitaries at the Honesdale loading platform. Have you tickets ready to join them aboard this train, which includes the truly historic #97 Presidential Car that was used by three U.S. Presidents, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

This ride goes from Honesdale to Hawley and returns without no boarding at Hawley.

Starting the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Santa Express rides are planned on the weekends of November 25-26, December 2-3 and December 16-17.
During the weekend of December 9-10, the Stourbridge Line will be joining the Winterfest celebration in Hawley. Santa will be aboard as well.

Moving freight

Since this summer, the train has been moving freight for the Tennessee Gas Pipeline project, Keefe said.

Pipes and equipment have been loaded at the staging area for the pipeline contractor, Henkels & McCoy, Inc., in White Mills. A bulldozer and cement truck were among the items that have been transported by rail, to the pipeline project where it intersects with the railroad in Lackawaxen Township.

Kinder Morgan, the parent company for Tennessee Gas Pipeline, is in the process of upgrading the line to enable a greater volume of natural gas to be conveyed.

Keefe stated that they are serious about serving as the local freight rail service. Cargo can be shipped out to any point in the United States rail system, as well as brought in on the DL&S. The freight is destined for the outside world, the cargo is trans-loaded at the rail hub in Lackawaxen.
Local companies just need the market, he said; the DL&S can assist them. By utilizing the rail line for freight, Keefe mentioned, the community benefits from taking pressure off of the highway system.

Anyone interested in more information is invited to call the DL&S Railroad, he said.

DL&S has owned the local railroad since late 2014, and has been operating the excursions since May of 2015. The Stourbridge Line was begun in 1979 by the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce. The excursion’s name reflects the name of the Stourbridge Lion, the first commercial locomotive to operate in America, in Honesdale, Pa., August 8,1829.

For more information on the DL&S and the excursion schedule, visit www.thestourbridgeline.net or call 570-470-2697.