Please see the SPECIAL NOTICE concerning booking reservations for the 2020 season, updated May 17, 2020, and announcing the cancellation of train rides until September and October.
“The Friends of the Joseph Branch Board of Directors has agonized over whether to cancel all of the train rides previously scheduled for May through August. The concern over the COVID-19 virus has led to an aggressive social distancing policy in the State of Oregon, in order to reduce the spread of the virus. With this in mind, the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Joseph Branch has cancelled all rides until fall,” said Ed Spaulding, Board President. “A majority of our passengers and volunteers are among the most vulnerable to the virus and it would be difficult to keep the social distance protocol during the trips. We hope things improve and the social gathering and travel restrictions can be safely removed soon. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy. Thank you for your understanding and support.”
The rest of this article has been edited accordingly since it was posted earlier in the year.
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 wines and cheese, mounted bandits, a few mid-week runs and many wonderful chances to enjoy the colorful fall foliage.
Cab Rides Are New in 2020
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.
“Passengers have so much fun with the Gold Rush Bandits train robberies, we have included two in the fall 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.”
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 Grande restaurant, prepares the popular boxed lunches served on Two Rivers and Two Rivers Bonus trips, and the Wine & Cheese Train. Chuckwagon Sisters Catering, from Enterprise, caters the trips with special themes.
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.