Theft hits Western Maryland Scenic office car 204 and locomotive 1309 projects

Trains Industry Newsletter
Get a weekly roundup of the industry news you need.
By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine. View our privacy policy.
CUMBERLAND, Md. — Western Maryland Scenic Railroad Executive Director John Garner says the railroad is working with local law enforcement agencies on the theft of historic and valuable railroad parts, including pieces from Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309, which is under restoration.
The railroad learned about the theft after local salvage yards reported receiving locomotive and passenger car parts. Area law enforcement agencies are seeking an individual in the case, who is believed to be a former shop employee.
A Cumberland man, 39-year-old Scottie A. Nixon was charged with felony theft scheme of $10,000 to under $100,000 and three misdemeanor charges of theft scheme from $100 to $1,500, according to court records. Nixon was released on his personal recognizance. A trial will take place in district court.
“These irreplaceable artifacts are property that was entrusted to our care for preservation and for the education and enjoyment of the public,” Garner says in a statement. “Employees with access to the Western Maryland Scenic’s collection of railroad equipment and parts are trusted guardians who must not abuse their positions for personal gain.”
Stolen items include rare light fixtures and brass hardware from Western Maryland Office Car No. 204, bronze bearings and wear plates from No. 1309, currently undergoing restoration, and miscellaneous locomotive and passenger car parts.
The suspected individual "had access to a wide array of WMSR’s collection of parts and artifacts,” Garner said, adding that Western Maryland Scenic Railroad has cooperated in the investigation and the employee had been terminated from the railroad.
Garner thanked Allegany County Sheriff Craig Robertson for his department’s alertness and fast action, and thanked the West Virginia State Police for their assistance with the case in West Virginia.
“Any theft of artifacts or equipment parts from the WMSR is an unconscionable act,” said Garner. “We are now assembling respected experts in artifact preservation and security to examine current security and storage procedures and make recommendations to strengthen them. The board of directors and I will review their report and carry out their recommendations.”
The investigation is ongoing and criminal charges are expected to be filed in West Virginia in the coming days, Garner says.
Despite the setbacks from a funding shortfall and the alleged theft of parts, the restoration of No. 1309 is proceeding as funding becomes available, he says. A direct mail campaign yielded more than $30,000 in donations. Despite the setbacks from a funding shortfall and the parts theft, the restoration of No.1309 is proceeding as funding becomes available. The drivers are in Chattanooga, Tenn., for machining and quartering crank pins. The work will be performed under the direction of Gary Bensman’s Diversified Rail Services utilizing specialized steam locomotive wheel machines located at Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s Soule Shop.
More information is available online.

UPDATED Feb. 15, 2018 with suspect named and charges.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

  • Previous Day
  • February 13, 2018
  • Next Day
Leave a Comment
Want to leave a comment?
Only registered members of are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.
Please keep your feedback on-topic and respectful. Trains staffers reserve the right to edit or delete any comments.


The Genesee & Wyoming 

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy
Subscribe Up To 58% off the newsstand price!
Subscribe To Trains Mag Today