Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad sees thefts, break-in over past couple of weeks

Every year, more than 40,000 people take a ride on the historic Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, providing a unique view of our state’s coastline.
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 5:42 PM PDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TILLAMOOK Ore. (KPTV) - Every year, more than 40,000 people take a ride on the historic Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, providing a unique view of our state’s coastline.

However, a break-in and two robberies within the past couple weeks have left staff members heartbroken, and they’re asking the public for help.

See Also: Portlanders take action over explosion of car thefts

A post on the railroad’s Facebook page shared about the incidents, saying that someone had broken in to the 70-year-old diesel engine, sprayed a fire extinguisher, and tampered with the electrical cabinets.

“They could steal a bunch of the copper and wiring inside, and if someone had done that, the locomotive would’ve been out for at least a month,” said Clayton Geyman, a Conductor with the railroad.

He said similar incidents have happened before, and all they can really do to keep the locomotive safe is to lock the doors at night.

Someone also stole 41 rail ties from work sites along the trails one the night of September 3, and then more were stolen on Monday night.

Staff members believe they saw some of the ties for sale on Facebook Marketplace.

“Timber’s got a high price these days, so you can sell them for quite a bit on the market, so it’s an easy grab and you just sell them,” Geyman said.

Guests on Tuesday were still prepared to enjoy the beauty of the scenic railroad despite the thefts.

Rebecca Holland from Lake Oswego had brought three long-time friends with her to ride the rails for the first time.

“Every year we’re on an annual girl’s trip, and we did this just for something different, to see part of the coast that probably can’t be seen from the highway,” she said.

Holland said she was ‘heartbroken’ over the recent thefts.

“Oregon history is sacred, it really is, now more than ever, so it’s a shame that people are stealing them,” he said.

Leanna and Rowdy Smith came all the way from Florida to ride the train as part of their vacation. They try to ride a train in every single state they visit, and the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad was their 49th, with just Hawaii left on the list.

“You see things when you’re on the train that you don’t get to see by car,” Leanna said. “Who doesn’t love a train whistle?”

“There’s always going to be bad people no matter where we go and whatever we do,” Rowdy said. “But that also could be dangerous for a train, somebody vandalizing it like that, so I hope they catch the right person.”

See Also: Stolen truck in Washington tests positive for meth, fentanyl

The Tillamook Sheriff’s Office is investigating the theft, but so far no one has been caught, and staff is asking anyone who knows anything to reach out.

“It breaks our hearts that people will just take things and leave us to fix the damage they have caused,” the railroad’s Facebook post read. “We are not a multi-million dollar operation like some may believe, we are on a limited budget that relies on tourism, just like many others in this community.”

If you know anything about the recent thefts or break-in, you can reach out to the Tillamook Sheriff’s Office at (503) 842-2561. You can also contact the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad via email at info@oregoncoastscenic.org.