Yes they swapped the wheels off 502. I was there Friday talking to folks.
That's sad to hear. It seems like both GP30's are starting to become parts donors for each other. What do I mean by that? Let me explain.
I'm not sure how many of you have read the recent performance audit of the Western Maryland, but in it there was a statement about certain items being stripped off of the 501 to keep 502 in service. Here is the quote from the audit:
"Locomotive leasing from known regional dealers was explored, and subsequent to our initial visit, two events happened in rapid succession – the then-operating GP30 (501) was condemned out of service with excessively-worn wheels – forcing the cannibalization of its electrical transition relay system to the other GP30 to keep even one locomotive operational."
To make a long story short, the 501 was a parts donor for the 502 to keep her operational. With the news that the 502's wheels are now being used on the 501, it seems like they are attempting to exchange parts between two worn-out GP30s to keep at least one of them operational.
That is what this railroad has been reduced to since 734 has been taken out of service; a mere shell of its former self.
Hearing that the WMSR is doing a Polar Express event this year (which I don't believe has been done before), and knowing how popular these events can be, I wish them the best of luck in this endeavor, and want nothing but the best for this unique line. I hope that things turn around for this line, and that steam will return in the near future. But these hopes can only be achieved with donations to the railroad, which are clearly scarce at the moment.
The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad has done a fabulous job over the past 28 years preserving the history of the Wild Mary. It would be a shame to see this line close.