Cab Rides Are New in 2020

Please see the SPECIAL NOTICE concerning booking reservations for the 2020 season, updated March 25, 2020, and announcing the cancellation of the Mother’s Day Brunch.

“The Friends of the Joseph Branch Board of Directors has been agonizing over whether to cancel the Mother’s Day Brunch, Sunday, May 10. The concern over the COVID-19 virus has led to an aggressive social distancing policy in the State of Oregon. Only time will tell whether this strategy reduces the spread of the virus, but it has been successful in other countries so we can hope things will improve in the month of April. With this in mind, the Mother’s Day train has been cancelled,” said Ed Spaulding, Board President. “A majority of our passengers are the most vulnerable to the virus and it would be difficult to keep the social distance parameter during the trip. We hope things improve and the statewide restrictions are removed at least by late and we will be able to continue with the rest of excursion train season, as planned. Thank you for your support.” 

The rest of this article was posted previously.

The Eagle Cap Excursion Train has an expanded schedule for the upcoming season, building on the success of 2019, which saw an average of over 100 passengers per ride. The schedule was approved by the Wallowa Union Railroad Authority and reservations can be made through the online booking service at www.eaglecaptrainrides.com or by calling the Elgin Depot, 541.437.3652, during business hours.

The schedule is full of fun opportunities for a train ride beside the Grande Ronde and Wallowa Rivers on the Wallowa Union Railroad, historically known as the Joseph Branch Railroad. Season highlights include train robberies, rides that feature regional wine, chocolates and cheese, a search for Bigfoot, a few mid-week runs and many wonderful chances to enjoy the colorful fall foliage.

New in 2020 is the opportunity to reserve a ride in the cab of the engine during the return leg of the trip. This is available to only one passenger each train ride and by reservation, only. Get the unique perspective from sitting in the engine, high above the track, and visit with the engineers for the entire ride back to Elgin. Your cab ride includes a special railroad cap, along with lunch and a seat in the passenger car during the first leg of the trip, from Elgin to where the train reverses direction. Cab rides are the cost of a ticket for the specific train ride, plus $200.

The season typically begins with the popular Mother’s Day Brunch, Sunday, May 10. However, for 2020, this trip has been cancelled in light of the coronavirus pandemic. As of today, the rest of our schedule is still available for booking. The following announcement was made March 25.

“Passengers have so much fun with the Gold Rush Bandits train robberies, we have included four in the schedule,” said Ed Spaulding, president of the Friends of the Joseph Branch, the non-profit organization that manages the excursion business for the railroad. “The beautiful horses and train-stopping action provide lots of photo opportunities.”

And, it was an easy decision to bring Scot & Hannah Violette of Blue Mountain Bigfoot Research back for two trips this July. Fitting the trips into Scot and Hannah’s busy schedule was a challenge, as they travel extensively, making presentations and researching the legendary creatures. 

Spaulding noted that, regardless of the theme for the day or when they are riding, passengers always have high praise for the scenery, the food, and the fun, relaxed atmosphere. Members of the Friends of the Joseph Branch serve as the all-volunteer crew of engineers, conductors and car hosts. Ten Depot Street, a La Grade restaurant, prepares the popular boxed lunches served on Two Rivers and Two Rivers Bonus trips. 

Go to Ride the Train, Trip Descriptions and Schedule for more information. Then go to Book Online and follow the links to purchase tickets through our online booking service. Call the Elgin Depot, 541.437.3652, if you have questions.

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