‘Disheartening’ break-in and theft at the Stourbridge Line

Artifacts taken were used to create a ‘sense of time’

Posted 7/9/24

HONESDALE, PA — Two passenger cars pulled by the storied Stourbridge Lion have been broken into and robbed in what’s being called a “demoralizing” setback.

The thief …

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‘Disheartening’ break-in and theft at the Stourbridge Line

Artifacts taken were used to create a ‘sense of time’


HONESDALE, PA — Two passenger cars on the storied Stourbridge Line have been broken into and robbed in what’s being called a “demoralizing” setback.

The thief damaged the locks as they broke into the cars, which are at least 100 years old.

“I’m tired of people taking from people who are trying to do nice things,” said Jeff Hiller, the group sales consultant for the Stourbridge Line.

He said it’s not known exactly what was taken, since an inventory was not kept of the items in the train cars. He said he felt special sorrow for Tom Myles, president and CEO of the Delaware Lackawaxen & Stourbridge (DL&S) Railroad, who bought the locomotive 10 years ago to preserve Honesdale’s railroad heritage for the enrichment and enjoyment of the community.

The thief made off with two vintage suitcases into which they put various items that had been on display in the cars.

Myles told the River Reporter that it’s not that the items, from the early years of the 20th century, are themselves so valuable. They were used to show how the cars looked in their heyday, as people of the time used them. For example, Myles said, visitors might be interested to know that travelers in the 19th and early-to-mid 20th centuries didn’t tote their stuff in backpacks or duffels, but in trunks and hard-shelled cases—like the ones that were stolen.

“The artifacts are not so valuable but as a way to impart a sense of time,” he told the River Reporter. “I’m disappointed people would do this.”

Myles, a native of Exton, PA, near Philadelphia, has a country home in Honesdale. He is a lifelong railroad enthusiast who wanted “to build an attraction in Honesdale.” He said he invested heavily in bringing the railroad back to life—so heavily that he declined to say how much. “It was very costly over 10 years,” he said.

He called the vandalism “demoralizing” and “ disheartening.” An 1890 map given to the railroad was among the items missing, he said. Other stuff, like a supply of bandanas given to children who visit the Stourbridge Line, was just thrown on the ground, he said. 

The thief might try to sell the items to antique stores, he said.

Security cameras caught an image of a man walking away with the suitcases.

“I don’t know what he was doing in there,” Myles said.

Myles and Heller want to see the thief brought to justice. 

Anyone with information about the vandalism should call the Honesdale Borough Police or PA State Police.

Editor's note: The original article incorrectly referred to the Stourbridge Line as the Stourbridge Lion, a 19th-century locomotive, of which there is a reproduction in the  Wayne County Historical Society's museum. The Stourbridge Line, the subject of the article, is a scenic railroad that does short runs on the former Erie Lackawanna Railroad.  In addition, the original article misspelled Jeff Hiller's last name. The River Reporter regrets the errors.

Stourbridge Lion, Honesdale, Jeff Heller, Tom Myles, Delaware Lackawaxen & Stourbridge (DL&S) Railroad, Exton, Honesdale Borough Police , PA State Police.


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