Looking for a different view of the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway and The Wallowas? The Eagle Cap Excursion Train is preparing for the next train ride on Saturday, June 14. Family Fun Day was created to attract more families and young passengers by offering a shorter one-way train ride and lower fares. Tickets for this trip range from $20 to $50, depending on passenger age. Choose the morning train from Elgin to Minam, with a bus ride back to the Elgin depot. Or, select the afternoon trip, riding a bus from the Elgin depot to Minam, where they will board the train for a ride from Minam to Elgin. Either way, the combined train and bus ride takes about 2.5 hours. Young passengers will receive a souvenir gift as a memento of the trip.
“We created this ride because many young people have never experienced the fun of riding the rails,” said Ed Spaulding, President of the Friends of the Joseph Branch, the non-profit organization that manages the excursion business and the depot for the Wallowa Union Railroad. “This trip should be a hit with visiting and resident families who are looking for fun things to do during summer vacation.” The ride takes place during the Elgin Riverfest, an annual community festival.
The train operates on a roadless stretch of track that follows the Grande Ronde River downstream from Elgin, crosses the bridge at Rondowa, then goes up the Wallowa River to Minam. Passengers are free to walk through the train in transit and enjoy the view from the open vestibules or the half-screened bay doors in the baggage car.
The exciting and always popular train robbery by the Elgin Stampeders takes place June 28 and includes lunch on the train. The four-hour trip always sells out, so advance bookings are needed. The July 5 train celebrates America. Descriptions of all 2014 trips are available at the train website.
The Eagle Cap Excursion train is based out of the Elgin Depot, where a gift shop, rest rooms and ample parking are available. Reservations are recommended. Tickets are purchased through Alegre Travel, email@example.com or 800.323.7330. Ticket agents are well informed about the trips and can also book motel rooms and offer advice on other activities and attractions in the area.
The historic Joseph Branch, now known as the Wallowa Union Railroad, was rescued from salvage in 2003 when the Wallowa and Union County governments formed a partnership and purchased the highly scenic railroad and rolling stock.