From Scotrun, we took a day trip up to Honesdale to take the Fall Foliage Train Excursion on board the scenic Stourbridge Line. The train travels 25 miles from Honesdale to the town of Lackawaxen along the Lackawaxen River and back.
The Stourbridge Line traces its beginnings to the Delaware & Hudson Canal transporting barges of coal up from Pennsylvania and destined for the Hudson River and eventually New York City. A gravity railroad was built to carry coal over the mountains from Carbondale to Honesdale in 1829. Coal would be transferred from train to canal boat at Honesdale.
According to the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, this is the site of “the first commercial locomotive on rails in the western hemisphere”, which took place on August 8, 1829. The locomotive was the Stourbridge Lion. A replica of the Stourbridge Lion steam engine is on display in Honesdale. Because of this, Honesdale bills itself as “Birthplace of American Railroading”, and attracts rail buffs from around the world.
But we were there mostly for the fall foliage. Unfortunately, the day we took the excursion it was overcast and still a bit too early for fall colors along the river’s edge, which was at an elevation of around 800 feet. Most of the color was above 1,200 feet, which we were able to see on the drive home.
We met the owner of the railroad, Tom Myles, who happened to be on board during our trip. He was walking through the coach cars introducing himself to passengers. As we talked we discovered that he was a retired railroader, and had been a trainmaster (i.e. manager) for the Pennsylvania Railroad at Stanley Yard in Walbridge OH near Toledo during the mid-1970s. Amazingly, at the same time David was working at Stanley Yard as a switchman. In other words, Tom had been his boss. Small world.