Join Us for a Scenic Autumn Train Ride

The fall season is here, with showy vegetation and crisp air part of the lure of autumn train rides. We expect passengers from throughout the northwest and across the country during this scenic time of year.

More of the popular train robberies are offered Saturday, October 6 and Saturday, October 13.  The Autumn Train Robbery features the notorious Gold Rush Bandits, who hide out in the woods and wait for the train to roll into their territory! Mounted on horses, bandits flag down the train and climb on board. The train ride departs from Elgin Depot at 10 a.m. and returns at 2:30 p.m.

Our last train ride of 2018 takes place Saturday, October 20. The Two Rivers End of Season Bounty follows the Grande Ronde and Wallowa Rivers as they tumble their courses and join together at Rondowa. We will depart in the afternoon so passengers can catch the end of the fall colors, with the golden Tamarack trees a highlight. They will dine on wonderful locally grown food and craft beverages. This ride departs from Elgin Depot at 2 p.m. and returns at about 6 p.m. (Not recommended nor priced for riders under 21.)

Note: Our annual Wine & Cheese Train takes place Saturday, September 29, and is sold out. This scenic train ride offers exceptional fall colors and provides a wonderful time to relax and unwind. Passengers taste a variety of wines from Copper Belt Winery, poured by the wine maker, and Umapine Creamery serves a sampling of their delicious artisan cheese. Watch the website in January for the 2019 schedule and book this one early! 

Get all of the meal details and further information and book your reservations by visiting www.eaglecaptrainrides.com. Or, if you prefer to talk to a travel agent, call Alegre Travel, 800.323.7330, and ask for Kori.

 

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What are your doing for Father’s Day?

Are you still looking for the perfect way to honor the fathers in your life? The Eagle Cap Excursion Train has a great idea! Why not give “Dad” a train ride? And, just to make the day even more memorable, we’ve partnered with Pioneer Portraits from Joseph to offer a great, lasting commemoration of the day. Photographer Ashley Burton will set up a booth at the Elgin Depot, where she will offer souvenir photos of passengers at the end of the train rides this Saturday and Sunday, June 16 & 17. Dress up in a costume, pose with a bandit, or just have your photo taken with the train as a backdrop. You will have the choice of purchasing the image in print or digitally. Check out their website and you will see the quality of Ashley’s work.

Here are the descriptions of this weekend’s rides. Don’t delay – get your tickets before it is too late!

Saturday, June 16 / Spring Train Robbery
There are bandits out there in the hills, and they are looking for an excuse to flag down the train and climb on board. It’s hard to tell who is friend and who is foe, so, hide your valuables and keep your camera handy! Boxed lunch is served during the return leg of the trip. Lunch choices are, Roast Beef Sandwich made with slow-roasted Northeast Oregon beef, homemade potato salad, grapes and a cupcake; or Hummus  & Vegetables sandwich on a wheat bun with grapes, vegan potato salad and a vegan cupcake available upon request. Departs from Elgin at 10 a.m. and returns at about 2:30 p.m.  Miles traveled = 38
Adults = $70 / Seniors 60+ = $65 / Youth, 3 to 16 = $35 (kids under 3 ride for free!)

Sunday, June 17 / Two Rivers Father’s Day
Passengers can count on a great meal and making lasting memories with the honored men in their lives, as we celebrate Father’s Day. But be aware, there are bandits out there in the hills, and they are looking for an excuse to flag down the train and climb on board. Lunch is prepared by Chuckwagon Sisters and is a plated dinner, featuring smoked beef brisket, sides and strawberry shortcake for dessert. A vegetarian/vegan lasagna option is available. Departs from Elgin Depot at 10 a.m. and returns at about 2:30 p.m. Miles traveled = 38
Adults = $80 / Seniors 60+ = $75 / Youth, 3 to 16 = $40 (kids under 3 ride for free!)

 

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Veterans Offered Free Train Ride June 30 and July 7

2016 Veterans’ Train Photo by Marcia Clausen

The Eagle Cap Excursion Train, Friends of the Joseph Branch, and Wallowa Union Railroad will honor and thank veterans with two opportunities to ride the train for free, Saturdays, June 30 and July 7. Please help us let veterans and their families know about the opportunity. Anderson Perry, Les Schwab Tires, and Wallowa Union Railroad are sponsors of the special ride, described below:

Saturday, June 30 & Saturday, July 7 / I Love America Veterans’ Train
We are bracketing the Fourth of July with a great opportunity to honor and thank the veterans and active duty military persons who have made our freedom possible. For this trip, veterans and one guest ride for free. The train departs from Elgin Depot at 10 a.m. and returns at about 1:30 p.m. Passengers enjoy a delicious box lunch from Ten Depot Street. Veterans must call Alegre Travel for tickets for themselves and their guest, 541.963.9000. Additional passengers accompanying veterans must purchase tickets – there will be 50 standard fare seats available each day. These seats are filling quickly, so please don’t delay in making reservations. Standard fare passengers may book online.  Adults = $70 / Seniors 60+ = $65 / Youth, 3 to 16 = $35 (kids under 3 ride for free!)

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Memorial Day Weekend Offers Next Train Ride

There’s no royal wedding in our plans, but the excursion season still offers lots of wonderful photo opportunities and the fun of riding a train through a beautiful landscape. Make a ride part of your Memorial Day or Father’s Day weekend, or include the train in your summer vacation plans.

The Wine & Chocolates Train, June 2, is an evening ride featuring a tasting of wines from Echo Ridge Cellars of Echo, served by the vintners and paired with chocolates from Arrowhead Chocolates of Joseph. A light meal is served during this ride.

Ed Spaulding, volunteer engineer and President of the Friends of the Joseph Branch, the non-profit organization that manages the excursion train, says the 2018 season is a busy one for the volunteer car hosts and crew.

“We have 19 trips scheduled, including the new Seeking Bigfoot Train, happening Saturday, July 28.” An increasing amount of interest in the Bigfoot legend inspired the ride. Spaulding said sightings of Bigfoot in this region of the Blue Mountains have been reported to Scott Violette, an anthropologist and Bigfoot researcher and guide. Violette will be on the train for the ride, sharing his findings and discussing the famous creature.

Train robberies are always popular with passengers who love the added fun and excitement. Beautiful horses are a highlight when the Gold Rush Bandits flag down the train, hassle the passengers and leave with bags of glittering gold. The bandits are plotting for June 16 & 17, and later in the season.

Get your tickets online or call Alegre Travel, 800.323.7330, where agents can also help you with lodging and other vacation planning.

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Celebrate Cinco de Mayo on the Train!

ELGIN, OREGON__The Eagle Cap Excursion Train normally kicks off the new season with the popular Mother’s Day Brunch. In 2018, May 5th just happens to fall on a Saturday, so we’re beginning the season early and offering the opportunity for passengers to celebrate the Mexican Holiday on the train. We are partnering with Cinco De Mayo Restaurant, of La Grande, to provide the delicious and authentic Mexican meal, along with decorations and a festive atmosphere. The beautiful spring scenery just comes naturally! This ride will depart the Elgin Depot at 11 a.m., and return around 2:30 p.m. Choose from a beef, chicken or vegetarian meal.

On Sunday, May 13, the annual Mother’s Day Brunch Train leaves the depot at 10 a.m., with the promise of a wonderful brunch by Chuckwagon Sisters of Joseph. There will be a variety of breakfast and lunch entrées, salads, fruit and pastries. Mothers receive a corsage to take home and memories of the day to keep for a lifetime.

Ed Spaulding, volunteer engineer and President of the Friends of the Joseph Branch, the non-profit organization that manages the excursion train, says the 2018 season will be a busy one for the volunteer car hosts and crew.

“We have 19 trips scheduled, including the new Seeking Bigfoot Train, happening Saturday, July 28,” Spaulding said.  “There is an increasing amount of interest in the Bigfoot Legend. People are fascinated by stories that go back centuries, about a giant primate in the Blue Mountains.” Spaulding said the ride will be fun as well as enlightening. “We’ll be announcing our guest expert within a few weeks.”

The Wine & Chocolates Train, an evening ride on June 2, features a tasting of wines from Echo Ridge Cellars of Echo, paired with chocolates from Arrowhead Chocolates of Joseph. September 29, the focus shifts to wine and cheese, with Copper Belt Winery of Baker City and Umapine Creamery, located near Milton-Freewater, again serving samples of their specialties.

Train robberies always fill the train with passengers who love the added fun and excitement provided by bandits on horseback, who board the train and leave with glittering gold.  The Gold Rush Bandits have nefarious plans for June 16 & 17, October 6 and October 13. Also returning in the fall is a train ride designed with photographers in mind. With a brief workshop in one car, led by respected photographer Eric Valentine, this trip makes special stops to let photographers off the train for run-bys, giving them excellent views of the train as it passes. This is a fun trip for all passengers, not just photographers.

Other highlights of the season are Father’s Day, the I Love America! Train, and many opportunities to simply relax, enjoy the scenery and visit with fellow passengers who come from around the world. Read the trip descriptions and get your tickets online at www.eaglecaptrainrides.com, or call Alegre Travel, 800.323.7330, where agents can also help you with lodging and other vacation planning.

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Some Train Rides Offer Excitement With the Scenery

The Eagle Cap Excursion Train is pleased to offer a lively mix of old-fashioned excitement and beautiful canyon scenery during several train rides this season. The Friends of the Joseph Branch has received word that a band of rascal bandits is once again planning a heist somewhere along the line Saturdays, June 16 and 17, and October 6 and 13.

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

The Gold Rush Bandits, also known for their disruptive activity along the Sumpter Valley Railroad, have robbed this train many times in the past, always getting away with lots of laughs and some priceless fake jewelry and coins.

Organizers say there will be rowdy cowboys and cowgirls, beautiful horses and plentiful photo opportunities when the bandits ride out of the woods and flag down the train. The conductor warns passengers to hide your valuables before the bandits climb on board. The volunteer car hosts will provide decoy plunder and the bandits never seem to notice or care that they have been duped!

“We suspect they just like the excuse to ride fast and threaten innocents,” says one of the car hosts. “It’s all in good fun and makes for a memorable train ride for all of the passengers.”

Lunch on these trips has a Western flare, as well, with roast beef sandwiches on the menu, served with a side dish and dessert. (As always, a vegetarian option is available when you make your reservations.)

If a peaceful and relaxing ride is more to your liking, there are plenty of other choices on the schedule, including an opportunity to taste wine and chocolates in June or the Wine & Cheese train in September. Click Book Online and make your reservations today.

We thank our passengers and volunteers for making every train ride a unique experience.

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Excursion Train Gears Up for Fall

ELGIN, OREGON__After taking August off, the Eagle Cap Excursion Train is gearing up for a busy autumn. Kicking off the fall season Saturday, September 2, guest speaker Ginny Mammen will talk with passengers about the history of the Joseph Branch Railroad, including some little known facts and photos of communities that once lined the track and left little trace when they closed down in the mid-20th century. Tickets range from $35 to $70 and include lunch on the train.

The Blue Mountain Land Trust fills two cars for the September 16 ride, a trip that has sold out. We welcome them on board.

Copper Belt Winery is featured for the Wine & Cheese Train, scheduled for September 30. Located 25 miles east of Baker City, Oregon, the winery is a family operation, producing wine from grapes grown in their own vineyard and at vineyards in the Snake River Valley, Willamette Valley and Columbia Valley AVAs. Started in 2010, Copper Belt opened a tasting room in Baker City’s historical downtown in 2016.

Travis Cook, winemaker at Copper Belt, looks forward to introducing their wines to people who may not have heard of the small winery and vineyard, which is surrounded by cattle ranches in the Keating Valley.

Brent and Yvonne Carroll of Umapine Creamery will be on the train, as well. Umapine is a small dairy and artisan cheese maker, located west of Milton-Freewater, Oregon. The Creamery has found lots of fans by selling their products at farmers markets and events in the region, as well as at the dairy.

This scenic train ride offers exceptional fall colors and provides a wonderful time to relax and unwind. Passengers will taste three Copper Belt Winery wines and a variety of cheeses from Umapine Creamery Passengers have the opportunity to meet the makers and learn about their creations. In addition, fresh fruit and bread will be served at each table.

This train departs from Elgin at 3 p.m. for the early evening ride, a time when the scenery is captivating and wildlife comes out of the shadows. It returns to the depot by 7 p.m. Tickets are $70 for Seniors and $75 for Adults.

Book online at www.eaglecaptrainrides.com or call 800.323.7330 to speak to a ticket agent.

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Excursion Train to Feature Wineries and Other Artisan Producers

The 2017 season of the Eagle Cap Excursion Train launched Sunday, May 14, with the annual Mother’s Day Brunch. Now we settle in for an active season that includes sixteen trips. Ed Spaulding, volunteer engineer and President of the Friends of the Joseph Branch, the non-profit organization that manages the excursion train, expects a busy year for the train, as Oregon is receiving a lot of additional attention due in part to the solar eclipse in August. “People are planning trips to our area who may have never thought of visiting before,“ said Spaulding.

The 2017 season includes some new trips. A Wine & Chocolates Train, leaving the depot at 4 p.m., June 10, features a tasting of wines from Tero Estates Winery, expertly paired with chocolates from Petits Noirs Chocolates. Both businesses are located in Milton-Freewater, Oregon, at the south end of the Walla Walla Valley. September 30, the focus shifts to wine and cheese, with Copper Belt Winery of Baker City and Umapine Creamery, located near Milton-Freewater, serving samples of their specialties.

“We have created two train rides that call attention to the amazing food and beverages produced in our region,” said Janet Dodson, a board member who helps design the trips and schedule. “On the Wine & Chocolates Train, passengers will be served a light meal at the beginning of the trip and will have the opportunity to enjoy wine and chocolates during the return to the depot. During the Wine & Cheese ride, they enjoy and delicious selection of artisan cheeses, fruit and French bread, while tasting a variety of wines from the Keating Valley near Baker City.”

Also new in June is a train ride designed with train photographers in mind. The train will make special stops to let photographers off the train for run-bys, giving them excellent views of the train as it passes. This is a fun trip for all passengers, not just photographers.

August 5 and August 19, the route for the train rides will depend upon the weather which section of track is open. Watch for news on these two trips and check the trip descriptions and schedule pages for updates.

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Celebrate Mother’s Day on the Eagle Cap Excursion Train

Celebrity Inspired DressesSunday, May 14, is Mother’s Day, and the traditional opening day for the Eagle Cap Excursion Train’s 2017 season. The Mother’s Day Brunch is always a popular trip, as passengers find it a great way to celebrate the holiday while enjoying the beautiful spring scenery along the Grande Ronde and Wallowa Rivers.

The Mother’s Day trip features brunch, prepared by Ten Depot Street and served on the train during the trip. The menu includes a wonderful medley of breakfast and lunch entrée items, salads, fresh fruit, pastries and beverages. The train departs at 10 a.m., Mother’s Day, from the depot in Elgin, and returns at about 2:30 p.m.

“We have small gifts to honor the oldest mother and the mother who has traveled the furthest to ride,” said Ed Spaulding, President of the Friends of the Joseph Branch. “Our volunteers decorate the cars to add to the festive atmosphere.”

Reservations are required and are available through the online booking service; select “Book Online” from the menu and follow the prompts to select the ride you want. Passengers who prefer to talk to an agent can call or stop by Alegre Travel, the excursion train reservations agency in downtown La Grande, 800.323.7330.

Spaulding said the 2017 season includes some new trips, including a Wine & Chocolates Train, which features wines from Tero Estates Winery and chocolates from Petits Noirs Chocolates, both Milton-Freewater businesses. Meet the owners and taste their delicious creations.

Also new is a train ride designed for railroad photographers, with special stops to provide photographers, with excellent views of the train as it passes by. See the trip descriptions and the full schedule for details.

Passenger train excursions use the section of track from Elgin to Minam.  Volunteers with the Friends of the Joseph Branch, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, manage the excursion business for Wallowa Union Railroad, operating the train and hosting passengers, as well as restoring the rail cars and preserving the history of the railroad. See the web site, www.eaglecaptrainrides.com for the full 2017 excursion schedule and information about how to join the Friends and volunteer to assist with train activities.

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The 2017 Schedule

The Eagle Cap Excursion Train thanks everyone who helped make the 2016 season a great success! During the off-season, we put together the schedule and trip descriptions for 2017, maintained equipment and made improvements. We announced the 2017 schedule in January and look forward to serving our passengers.

Take a look at the fun trips we have lined up and make your reservations!

In the meantime, the depot is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and by appointment. Stop by to enjoy the exhibits and visit with staff about the train and the railroad’s history.

 

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