Pet Sitting Services for Passenger’s Pets

Many of us enjoy having our dog along when traveling, but their presence can sometimes add a challenge to participating in activities that don’t permit pets. If you are traveling with a dog or cat and need a place to leave it in good hands while riding the train, here are two dog sitters who might fit your needs. Please contact them in advance to learn their policies. You will need the dog’s proof of vaccination.

Blue Mountain K9s – A Pawsitive Approach to Training
Michele Sandgren
Her fee is just $20. Her facility is 3 miles out of Elgin.

Countryside Kennels
62616 Fruitdale Lane, La Grande
Located on the north end of La Grande.

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ODOT announces – Culvert replacement project will close OR 204 Sept. 11 through 18

If you travel on the Weston-Elgin Highway (OR 204) in northern Umatilla and Union counties, be aware of culvert replacement work that will result in traffic impacts for a couple of weeks in September. (This may impact people traveling to ride the Eagle Cap Excursion Train, so please allow extra time for the September 16 train ride.)

A full closure is scheduled from Monday, Sept. 11, through Sept. 18, from the Andies Prairie Sno-Park, approximately 26 miles east of Weston, to milepost 30.2, approximately 10 miles west of Elgin. 

Crews will replace a failed culvert at milepost 28.7. Over the last couple of years, heavy rains and spring snow melt have flooded the road, causing damage to the highway and shoulders because water could not flow through the culvert. A new culvert will allow water to pass under the highway.

Travelers will need to detour around closure via OR 82, I-84 and OR 11. Local routes near the closure are not suitable for highway traffic.

For one week following the closure, the road will be under 24-hour flagging with single lane restrictions of 14 feet. All work is expected to be complete by the end of the day Sept. 26.


For a map of the closure, click here.

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July Newsletter

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Train newspaper updated

We have updated and printed the tabloid newspaper we hand out on the train and in the depot. It highlights the history of the Joseph Branch (now known as Wallowa Union Railroad), describes the equipment we use for the passenger train, provides a mile-by-mile guide to landmarks along the railroad and includes advertising for some of our important business partners. Take a look, learn more about the railroad and be sure to stop by and thank our partners for their support. When you do, you’ll find lots of fun activities, great food, and items to take home as a reminder of your time in Northeast Oregon.

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Ride the train this summer!

Wow! Summer is flying by and we are having a great season. We only have three rides left until our late summer break. There are seats available for the rides on July 22, July 26, and August 2. Then we take a break through the rest of August and get going again September 2. So, if a ride on the Eagle Cap Excursion Train is on your bucket list for this summer, click on “Ride the Train” on the main menu, then “Trip Descriptions” on the drop-down, to see what is coming up. Then go to “Book Online” and follow the prompts to make your reservations.

If autumn is a better fit to your schedule, see what we are offering this fall and make reservations now. We hope to see you on the train soon!

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Great Father’s Day Gift idea

Are you still searching for a memorable way to spend Father’s Day? How about a ride on the Eagle Cap Excursion Train? There are a few seats available for Saturday, June 17, and several available for Sunday, June 18. The ride includes a robbery by the High Country Outlaws, who stop the train from horseback and “rob” the passengers, providing lots of fun and great photo opportunities.

Our season is humming along and there are many good trips available through October. Go to the trip descriptions to see what is on the schedule, then click Book Online and follow the prompts to make your reservations. See you on the train!

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2023 Excursion Season is Under Way

We got the 2023 season rolling with the traditional Mother’s Day Brunch, May 14, with a delicious meal catered by Ten Depot Street of La Grande. Then we followed up with a wonderful scenic ride on May 27.

“May and June are such a beautiful time of year,” said Ed Spaulding, President of the Friends of the Joseph Branch, “we are pleased to provide chances for people to enjoy the spring scenery along the rivers.”

The 2023 schedule offers 23 train rides, spread out through October 22. The scenery always receives top rating, but entertainment and themes add to the fun. The schedule includes two Bigfoot outings, the first on June 10! There are three robberies, enacted by the High Country Outlaws; an evening dinner train; a picnic lunch at Minam; and a ride with a Bavarian theme. The Alpen Train is on the schedule for June 28, to get people in the mood for Oregon’s Alpenfest in Joseph. Passengers can expect German fare on the menu, accordion music, and costumed representatives from Alpenfest. (This ride is almost sold out, so don’t delay if this theme suits your fancy! Bavarian attire is welcome!)

Two short rides on August 2 and September 9 are designed for vacationing families who want to pack a lot into their day. Two “Bonus” rides travel from Elgin to Minam and back, providing longer trips for genuine railfans.

Trip descriptions and the schedule are posted on Trip Descriptions page and reservations can be made through the online booking service or by calling the Elgin Depot, 541.437.3652. For assistance for groups and charters, contact the reservations manager by sending an email to    

The all-volunteer crew of certified engineers, conductors and car hosts are members of the Friends of the Joseph Branch, the non-profit organization that manages the excursions business. Learn about membership and volunteer opportunities, by sending a message through the comments on this page.

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Thank you, Passengers!

We had a wonderful 2022 season, taking over 2,000 passengers for a scenic ride over the season. We averaged 105 passengers per ride! Thank you! to all who rode – especially those who had to change plans because of wildfires or other challenges we encountered beyond our control.

As we look forward to next season and plan our schedule for 2023, we also thank the track maintenance crew for all of their hard work and dedication, and give a special shout-out to Jim Seifer, Jr., of the Wallowa Union Railroad, as well as our amazing volunteers, Ed Spaulding (FJB Board President), and Ray Meyer (FJB Board member). You all are so appreciated!

We will announce the new schedule in January 2023. Watch this website and our Facebook page and be ready to plan your next ride on the Eagle Cap Excursion Train!

NOTE: Consider giving a gift certificate for a ride on the train. Just contact us through a ‘Comment” and we’ll help make a very special gift happen.

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Fall Season adjustments

We had to make some changes to the September schedule, due to challenges outside of our control. However, we have added two Sunday rides later in October to handle the demand during the highly scenic season. We are sad about the two rides we had to cancel, but very grateful to our loyal passengers and dedicated volunteers and track crew. For those who were unable to reschedule, we’re sorry for the disappointment and inconvenience and hope you have the opportunity to ride next year.

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Fall Season Ready to Roll

We have some fun themes this fall, ranging from Shakespeare to Bavarian to Bigfoot and local farm bounty! All trips feature beautiful autumn scenery and tasty lunches. Check out the descriptions and book your tickets right away. The Train Robbery is already sold out, so don’t let your favorite theme train leave without you on board!

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