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Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad Target of Thieves, Vandals; Asks Help Finding Items

Published 09/16/23 at 5:27 a.m. - Updated 09/16/23 at 4:07 p.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad Target of Thieves, Vandals; Asks Help Finding Items

(Garibaldi, Oregon) UPDATED – Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad (OSCR) is one of the more beloved attractions in the state. With major Tillamook Bay eye candy explored from aboard antique railcars and steam engines that are a knockout all their own, OSCR is a unique addition to more than just the coastline. (Photo OSCR: railroad ties stolen from the track)

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Unfortunately, it's also been the target of some truly nasty crimes. Recently, thieves have made off with railroad ties along the Tillamook County rail line, endangering train traffic to a degree. Then, someone broke into one of the antique engines and did some unnerving damage.

OSCR recently talked about the crimes on social, and pleaded for a little help in finding the ties. Some of this was caught in video and authorities may already have images of at least one of the culprits.

“Unfortunately, we have some bad news that has been happening in just the last two weeks and we would like to reach out to our community for help,” Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad said.

Some random vandalism to the diesel engine is among the frustrating crimes – and possibly very dangerous.

“First, someone broke into our beloved historic diesel engine and fired off an extinguisher inside while also opening and tampering with the electrical cabinets,” OSCR said. “This caused major delays in our day and could have been catastrophic if any damage had been done to the engine. That engine is over 70 years old, and is delicate despite its appearance.”

Over Labor Day and just after, railroad ties began being stolen from work sites along the rails. The first theft was a whopping 41 ties, which then damaged the tie plates and the rail as they were yanked out.

“We suspect these were then sold on Facebook Marketplace very shortly after they were taken,” OSCR said. “If you see ties for sale in this area, always question where they came from as they were probably taken from us without permission.”

According to Union Pacific Railroad, stealing railroad ties can destabilize the tracks and cause a derailment.

OSCR's Rylee Miemi echoed that.

“Taking railroad ties from an active line is extremely dangerous and destructive,” she told Oregon Coast Beach Connection. “If the line is not inspected prior to running, then the locomotive could come upon the damaged rail unexpectedly. It can also warp the rail, making it dangerous to reuse. As well, improper removal can damage the ground around the track, creating instability.”

Then, this week more ties were stolen from outside the Old Mill Event Center at Garibaldi. Luckily, video surveillance was there so OSCR believes they will soon have images to share.

“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,” OSCR said. “We love this community, and we have faith that people will do the right thing, but when this much damage has happened to us in such a short amount of time, we need to bring attention to it and reach out to our community for help and awareness. If you have any information regarding this damage or the thefts, please contact the sheriff's department or us at If you have any of our ties, please return them.”

In the meantime, they are stuck with the bill and the workload to fix these various issues.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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