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Excursion Train Back on Track?

HONESDALE — It’s been three years since the Stourbridge Line was derailed and now it looks like it’s coming back to Wayne County. A new operat...

HONESDALE -- It's been three years since the Stourbridge Line was derailed and now it looks like it's coming back to Wayne County.

A new operator has taken over the train and is in the process of getting it back on track.

Aside from being a major part of the area's history, the train used to bring thousands of tourists every year to Honesdale, Hawley, and other parts of Wayne County.

And many people are looking forward to seeing the train rolling again on the rails by next year.

Arriving on a flat-bed truck, a train car is the latest piece to be delivered to the railroad here in Honesdale.

People came to watch crews unload the hefty caboose, thrilled to see the train making a comeback after three years without it.

"I think it's going to be good for Honesdale, big boost, hope it all works," said Ruth Bairstow of Bethany.

K. C. Smith hopes bringing back the train works too after it was stopped in its tracks, needing big money to make repairs to the locomotive and the cars.

Smith is with the new operator on the 25-mile stretch of railroad, used mostly for train excursions over the years.

"We`ll do regular excursion trains. We'll do the cowboy train, train robbery," said Smith with Delaware, Lackawaxen Stourbridge Railroad.

It's near three years to the day since the last train ran on the railroad. Now that it's set to come back next year, businesses in downtown Honesdale hope to capitalize on all the tourists it`s supposed to bring back with it.

"Having a focal point like a train that can bring the volume of people who it can bring in is very important to us," said Dan Corrigan of Sawmill Cycles.

The Stourbridge Line has its work cut out for it. The last year it ran had the fewest riders in decades.

Still, business owners are banking on the train to help get the economy moving again and keep moving.

"We have missed it, we`ve missed the people who`ve come for the train rides. We`ve missed the excitement and flavor and feeling of town being part of something," said Jane Theobald of Babies and Beyond.

The folks at the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce used to run the train rides before stopped.

They are cautiously optimistic it will be back running again.

Not only will the train have to run excursions but operators said they are looking into freight service to help pay the bills.

The first ride on the rails here is set for early May 2015.