Celebrate Mother’s Day on the Eagle Cap Excursion Train

Mo Day 2011 GRiverSunday, 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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Friends of the Joseph Branch Plan Annual Meeting

The annual meeting of the Friends of the Joseph Branch, the non-profit organization that operates the excursion train business, upgrades the cars and manages the depot, will take place Saturday, November 19, at the Elgin Depot. The meeting begins at 11 a.m. and lunch is served at noon.

The agenda for the meeting includes the election of members of the board of directors, a review of the year, recognition of volunteers, and the chance for members to exchange ideas and discuss plans for 2017.

2016 has been a very successful year for the excursion train, with an average ridership of over 100. We thank the volunteers for all of their hard work and send our gratitude to the people who chose to ride the train. We invite anyone with a passion for trains, as well as those with special interest in the Joseph Branch Railroad, to become a member of the organization and to attend the meeting.

Please notify Sundae, eaglecaptraindepot@gmail.com, if you plan to attend. Lunch is free to members of the organization who have paid their 2016 dues and just $15 to non-members. Annual membership for individuals is just $30. You can join at any time for 2017.

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photo by Ed Spaulding

photo by Ed Spaulding

We were very pleased to see this wonderful article by Annie Charnley Eveland, published by the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin September 25. It is always nice to hear from passengers about the train rides. We take pride in this operation and are grateful to the passengers and volunteers who make it successful.

October 29 is the last scheduled ride this season and there are seats available. Contact Alegre Travel, 800.323.7330 or train@alegretravel.com to talk to an agent, or go to Book Online to make your reservations.

 

 

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Local Food & Beverages are Highlighted on Rides This Fall

ELGIN, OREGON__ It has been a busy summer for the Eagle Cap Excursion Train and the fall season is upon us. We have some fun trips planned that are certain to get people’s attention.

The guest photographer on the Fall Foliage Photo Run is Eric Valentine, whose photos have graced many magazine covers, calendars and travel brochures. Eric will offer free photography tips in the dining car for people wanting to take professional quality photos. Passengers taking part in the casual photo workshop will have the first run-by at the Rondowa Bridge to themselves, giving them opportunity to use what they have learned. All passengers will be allowed off the train to photograph the second run-by. Lunch is served during the return leg of the trip.

We are very pleased to be working with Copper Belt Winery of Baker City and Umapine Creamery of Milton-Freewater for the Wine & Cheese Train, October 1. Copper Belt will offer samples of four of their most popular wines. Passengers may also choose a glass of their favorite. Umapine Creamery will serve a variety of their delicious farmstead cheeses, made at the dairy. Rounding out the food is fruit and baguette bread and a delectable chocolate from Peterson’s Gallery & Chocolatier of Baker City. This ride leaves the depot at 3 p.m., for a lovely evening beside the Grande Ronde and Wallowa Rivers.

Tickets for the fall train robbery are selling fast, so don’t wait and miss out on this fun ride, October 8. The Gold Rush Bandits always deliver an exciting show, featuring beautiful horses and cranky robbers. This train departs the Elgin Depot at 10 a.m. for the 3.5 hour ride. Lunch is served during the return leg of the trip.

The Brews & Brats Train is another showcase for locally produced food and beverages. Terminal Gravity Brewing, the award-winning microbrewery in Enterprise, is our featured brewer. They will offer samples of their amazing beers. Joseph Trading Post makes the exceptional bratwurst and sauerkraut for the trip. The specialties will be accompanied by red potato salad and dessert made by Chuckwagon Sisters of Joseph. This trip is Saturday, October 15, departing the depot at 2 p.m. As with all of our rides, we recommend you arrive at least 30 minutes before scheduled departure.

The last trip of the season is October 29. We are keeping our options open for this ride and will announce the theme and menu in mid-October. So stay tuned. We have had a good season and will be in a celebratory mood!

Don’t delay getting tickets – seats are limited to 120 for the Wine & Cheese and Brews & Brats trains and we expect them to sell out! Get tickets by clicking “Book Online” and follow the links, or contact Alegre Travel to talk with an agent, train@alegretravel.com or 800.323.7330.

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A Train Ride For a Packed Family Schedule!

447We know you are trying to pack a lot of family fun into a short vacation, and the kids want to do it all! That’s why we designed two shorter trips we hope will fit your busy schedule. Our mid-summer Two Rivers Shorts let you fit a ride on the Eagle Cap Excursion Train into a day that may also include pedaling the track out of Joseph on a Railrider, taking the tramway to the top of Mt. Howard, a dip in the lake, a fiddle concert or a drive to watch the sunset from the top of Mount Emily. Here are the descriptions:

Wednesday, July 13 / Two Rivers One-Way, Elgin to Minam
This trip is designed with families in mind and passengers wanting a shorter ride. The train winds along the shores of the Grande Ronde River downstream from Elgin, crossing the bridge at Rondowa, traveling up the Wallowa River to Minam. At Minam, passengers board a bus for the short (about fifteen minutes) ride back to Elgin and their vehicles. Departing from Elgin Depot at 10 a.m. and arriving at Minam at about 12:30. A snack is served in route. Miles traveled by rail = 26.5 miles
Adults = $45 / Seniors 60+ = $35 / Youth, 3 to 16 = $20 (kids under 3 ride for free!)

Saturday, July 16 / Two Rivers One-Way, Minam to Elgin
Also designed with families in mind and passengers wanting a shorter ride. Departing from Minam the train winds downstream, along the shores of the Wild & Scenic Wallowa River, crossing the bridge at Rondowa, then travels up the Grande Ronde River to Elgin. Park and check in at the Elgin Depot by 9:30 a.m. Passengers board a bus for the short (about fifteen minutes) ride to Minam. Board the train and depart from Minam at 10 a.m. and arriving back at Elgin at 12:30. A snack is served in route. Rail miles traveled = 26.5 miles Adults = $45 / Seniors 60+ = $35 / Youth, 3 to 16 = $20 (kids under 3 ride for free!)

Time to book your seats! Arrive before 9 a.m. for a chance to sit in the engine!

 

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2016 Season Starts with Mother’s Day Brunch

Engineer's-view-ES-2014-for-webIf you are looking for a fun way to celebrate Mother’s Day, you may find the answer in our scenic northeast corner of Oregon. Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 8, is opening day for the Eagle Cap Excursion Train’s 2016 season. It is an excellent opportunity to enjoy a delicious brunch while viewing the beautiful spring scenery along the Grande Ronde and Wallowa Rivers. The many shades of green and colorful wild flowers in May make it an especially scenic time of year in the canyons.

The Mother’s Day trip features brunch, prepared by Chuckwagon Sisters Catering and served on the train during the trip. The menu includes a wonderful selection of egg and meat entrée items, fresh pastries, fruit and beverages. The train departs at 10 a.m., Mother’s Day, from the depot in Elgin, just twenty miles north of La Grande, Oregon.

“We have small gifts for the oldest mother and the mother who has traveled the furthest to ride,” said Ed Spaulding, President of the Friends. “This is always a fun trip and we are anxious to get the new season under way, having worked all winter to prepare.”

The route is almost entirely roadless, offering views of a landscape that can’t be seen from an automobile. High, timbered and open ridges tower above while rugged basalt cliffs hug the track and light dances off the ripples. Birds and wildlife are common along the way. Highlights also include the Rondowa Bridge, where the two rivers converge and continue their journey to join the Snake River.

This is a popular trip, so reservations are required. Tickets are available through the online booking service on the website, www.eaglecaptrainrides.com or through Alegre Travel, the excursion train’s booking agency, 800.323.7330 or train@alegretravel.com. Alegre Travel agents can also, upon request, book motel rooms and offer advice on other activities and attractions in the area.

 

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Last Train Ride of the Season was October 24

newly-painted-engines-10_3_15-EdSWe are busy planning our 2016 season! See the schedule and trip descriptions under Ride the Train on the main menu. You can book online or talk to an agent by contacting Alegre Travel, train@alegretravel.com or 800.323.7330.

Our engines were repainted in 2016, so the exterior of the whole train has been painted over the last year. We thank volunteer engineer and board member David Arnold for all of his hard work coordinating and accomplishing these improvements! This photo was taken by our board president and volunteer engineer Ed Spaulding.

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Railroad History Train & Fall Depot Open House

Fall-engineer-view-for-web Fall weather and shorter days are adding colorful highlights to the Grande Ronde and Wallowa River canyons, making a trip on the Eagle Cap Excursion Train even more scenic. This Saturday, learn about the history of the Joseph Branch and railroads across the region through exhibits in the depot and on the train from guest historians Harlan and Becci Scott.

Trains and railroads played a large role in the settlement of the west and its growth during the twentieth century. When the Joseph Branch opened in 1908, an important connection was made between the main rail line that passed through La Grande and the remote rural community of Wallowa. Expansions of the line eventually linked via rail Lostine, Enterprise and Joseph, as well. Trains provided reliable transportation for passengers and freight for many years. Hear about the ups and downs of rail service and how this line was saved from salvage in 2004.

The depot will be open to the public from 9 .m. to 4 p.m. The train ride is our Two Rivers run, departing from Elgin Depot at 10 a.m. and returning at 2 p.m., with lunch included and served on the train. Adults = $70 / Seniors 60+ = $65 / Youth, 3 to 16 = $35 (kids under 3 ride for free!)

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Unique Train Ride Includes Hatchery Tour

1407007833151 The Eagle Cap Excursion Train is offering an unusual train ride Saturday, August 29. The train operates on a remote stretch of track between Elgin and Wallowa, Oregon, in the state’s scenic northeast corner. As was typical when railroads were constructed early in the twentieth century, the track follows the shores of two rivers, the Grande Ronde and the Wallowa, and crosses tributaries along the way. Both of these rivers are known as outstanding fisheries, particularly for steelhead and Chinook.

Lookingglass Creek joins the Grande Ronde several miles downstream from the town of Elgin and a few upstream from the confluence of that river with the Wallowa. Lookingglass Fish Hatchery, operated by the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, is located just two miles from the railroad, making it a very handy side trip for outdoor enthusiasts and rail fans alike.

Saturday, August 29, the Eagle Cap Excursion Train will once again offer its annual combined train ride and fish hatchery tour. The tour is timed to give passengers a look into how the hatchery works to maintain and improve the population of Chinook salmon in the waterways of northeast Oregon. Participants will watch hatchery staff extract eggs from spawning salmon and see how juveniles are raised in hatchery ponds for eventual release.

“We are pleased the public has an interest in coming to visit the facility and see what we are doing,” said Diane Deal, Lookingglass Fish Hatchery Supervisor. “Participants always seem to enjoy the tour and the beautiful setting. And we value the opportunity to engage with the public.”

The train ride departs from the Elgin Depot at 10 a.m. and returns around 2:30. Passengers will ride the train 11 miles to the old Palmer Junction mill site, where they will board a bus for the short ride to the hatchery. After the tour, passengers return to the train and are served lunch during the return to Elgin.

The depot offers a gift shop, historical displays, public restrooms, indoor or covered outdoor waiting areas and ample parking for passenger cars and coaches. Completed in 2012, the depot was designed to reflect the style of the depot that earlier stood on the site.

The Friends of the Joseph Branch, a non-profit organization, manages and operates the train for the Wallowa Union Railroad, with certified members volunteering as car hosts, engineers and conductors. The volunteer organization has also been responsible for the passenger car renovations. Lookingglass-Creek-ES-for-FB

See the 2015 fall train schedule www.eaglecaptrainrides.com. For tickets, call Alegre Travel, 541.963.9000 or 800.323.7330, or reach them by email to train@alegretravel.com.

 

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