Gold Rush Bandits Expected to Rob Train

The Gold Rush Bandits make a habit of robbing trains in northeast Oregon.

The Gold Rush Bandits make a habit of robbing trains in northeast Oregon.

Summer is almost over and families are looking for one last fun activity with which to build lasting memories. The Eagle Cap Excursion Train has a bonus planned for fans of Western history and trains during their August 31st train ride. The Gold Rush Bandits will rob the excursion train in a remote area near Elgin. The robbery takes place while the train is passing through a section along the Grande Ronde River. Passengers can expect lots of excitement and laughs as horseback-riding robbers stop the train and climb on board. The Bandits are a seasoned group of outlaws who are known to hassle the Sumpter Valley Railroad in neighboring Baker County.

“With summer winding down and the holiday weekend, we thought it would be a good time to bring back the excitement of a train robbery,” said Peggy Weishaar of Alegre Travel, the booking agency for the train. Weishaar said young passengers will receive a free bandanna and sheriff’s badge souvenir to take home. There is a gift shop in the Elgin depot for additional souvenirs.

To reserve your seat and ensure you will have a lunch on the train, make your reservations by 4 p.m., Friday afternoon. However, the train can handle last-minute walk-on passengers, subject to seat availability. Those waiting to purchase tickets at the depot Saturday morning should arrive at the depot by 9 a.m. and bring their own lunch or snack.

The Eagle Cap Excursion Train departs at 10 a.m. from the Elgin Depot and returns around 2 p.m. After the robbery, passengers still have time to relax, visit and enjoy the scenery as they travel down the Grande Ronde River and a few miles up the Wallowa River. A brief stop along the river allows passengers stretch their legs, visit the engine and take photos while the crew prepares for the return trip to Elgin. Lunch is served on the train during the return trip.

Ticket prices are: youth, 3 to 16 = $40 / adults = $75 / seniors 60+ = $70. Lunch is prepared by Ten Depot Street of La Grande and included in the ticket price. For train tickets, details on the excursions and lodging options, contact Alegre Travel, 1.800.323.7330 or travel@alegretravel.com. When purchasing your tickets, you will be asked to choose a sandwich, salad or vegetarian lunch, which includes a dessert and beverage.

The scenic train season continues through mid-October, with colorful fall excursions especially popular with photographers. Excursions travel 38 miles, round trip. Friendly volunteer car hosts answer questions and point out landmarks or wildlife along the way.

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