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August 02, 2023

Police seek teens who vandalized West Chester Railroad locomotive

Windows smashed on a heritage locomotive and other damage will cost more than $16,000 to repair, the nonprofit's president said

Investigations Vandalism
West Chester Railroad West Chester Railroad/Facebook

Authorities in West Chester are searching for a group of teenagers responsible for vandalizing a locomotive owned by the West Chester Railroad.

A group of teenagers vandalized a vintage locomotive and other property owned by the West Chester Railroad, a heritage attraction that runs trips aboard the historic trains in Chester County, police said.

The volunteer-run West Chester Railroad said the incident happened July 28 around 8 p.m., when nine teens entered the property at 230 E. Market Street.

"In the 15 minutes they roamed our grounds, they climbed up on equipment, broke windows in one locomotive, broke one window in a coach, and smashed the windshield of a hyrail truck," the organization wrote in a Facebook post, which includes photos of the teens and the damage they did.

The railroad has roots in the mid-1800's, when the state commissioned the construction of the West Chester & Philadelphia Railroad, which later become the Pennsylvania Railroad. The West Chester Railroad runs from Market Street in West Chester to Glen Mills, Delaware County. The 90-minute tours operate round-trip on 7.7 miles of track, with special events for holidays like Memorial Day, Halloween and Christmas.

"It's very disappointing to find this damage," Tyler Haney, president and conductor of the West Chester Railroad Heritage Association, said in an interview with 6ABC. "We're 100% volunteer operated. Our volunteers maintain our locomotives and track and operate all of our trains."

West Chester police say they have surveillance video of the teens entering the railroad grounds and damaging the property.

Haney said the diesel locomotive that was vandalized had four windows smashed, with estimated damages of $16,000. The locomotive was built in 1949.

The nonprofit is accepting donations to cover the cost of the repairs.

Anyone with information about the incident last Friday is asked to call West Chester Police at (610) 696-2700.