OXFORD – Two Oxford brothers were arrested Thursday evening for trespassing on the New York Susquehanna and Western Railroad tracks through the village. The two men, Dan and Coleman Burke, were testing a design for a low-horsepower railcar which they claim could be adapted for use on a scenic railroad.
The Burke brothers were arrested at approximately 6:30 p.m. Thursday on the tracks by the Oxford Historical Museum at 1 Depot St. in Oxford. The rail car, designed and built by the Burkes, was impounded. Their 96-year-old mother, Mary, was present during the incident and could have also faced prosecution.
“Trespassing on railroad property has been illegal in the United States since the 1800s,” said Investigator Jim Willis of the New York Susquehanna and Western Railroad. The Burkes’offense could have been considered criminal trespassing, Willis said, but the railroad chose to recommend a charge of simple trespassing. The railroad also declined to prosecute the pair’s mother.