Bandits Will Hit Scenic Train Near Elgin

Singing saloon girls are part of the fun.

ELGIN, OREGON__It’s rumored train robbers will strike the Eagle Cap Excursion Train Saturday, June 28. Passengers are warned to leave their valuables at home but bring their camera and a sense of adventure on the ride.

It happens every year, about this time. Bandits stop the train and reinforcements ride out of the woods to board somewhere in the canyon of the Grande Ronde River near Elgin. It’s all for fun and excitement and the costumed characters of the old west follow a loose story line when entertaining the passengers.

The robbery is performed by the Elgin Stampeders, the organization responsible for putting on the annual Elgin Stampede PRCA Rodeo in mid-July. They use the annual train robbery to promote the rodeo, and to show off their horsemanship skills.

The Eagle Cap Excursion Train departs the Elgin Depot at 10 a.m. and returns around 2 p.m. Passengers have plenty of time for relaxation, visiting and enjoying the view as they travel down the Grande Ronde River and a few miles up the Wallowa River. Onm ost trips, lunch is served on the train after a brief stop along the river to let passengers stretch their legs while the crew prepares for the return trip to Elgin. Ticket prices for the train robbery are: youth, 3 to 16 = $35 / adults = $70 / seniors 60+ = $65. Lunch is prepared by Ten Depot Street and included in the ticket price.

For train tickets, details on the excursions and lodging options, contact Alegre Travel, 1.800.323.7330 or train@alegretravel.com. When you purchase your tickets you will be asked to choose a sandwich, salad or vegetarian lunch, all of which include a dessert and beverage.

The scenic train season continues through mid-October. The train departs from Elgin on selected Thursdays and Saturdays, and travels through remote river canyons that can’t be seen from any road. Towering ridges, basalt cliffs, deep green forests and sparkling water are the scenic highlights. Most excursions travel 38 miles, round trip, but there are a few shorter trips available, as well. Go to www.eaglecaptrainrides.com for the full schedule, trip descriptions and additional information about the train and surrounding attractions. Or look for the Eagle Cap Excursion Train on Facebook.

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 the Wallowa Union Rail Authority and purchased the highly scenic 63 miles of railroad between Elgin and Joseph. Passenger excursions have been offered on sections of the line since 2004. Volunteers with the Friends of the Joseph Branch, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, operate the train, host passengers, restore the passenger cars and preserve the history of the railroad.

Robbers flag down the train.

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