The 2012 Wallowa Union Scenic Railway season gets off to an exciting start Saturday, June 23. A notorious gang of bandits associated with the Elgin Stampeders plans to rob the train near Elgin. Passengers can expect lots of laughs as horseback-riding robbers stop the train and climb on board. The robbery will take place while the train is passing through a remote section of the Grande Ronde River. Expertly performed by experienced cowboys and cowgirls, the robbery includes the rescue of the outlaw Stella Rose from the clutches of the law.
The Stampeder organization is responsible for putting on the annual Elgin Stampede PRCA Rodeo in mid-July and uses the annual train robbery to bring attention to the rodeo. The train departs at 10 a.m. from Elgin for a 4.5-hour trip. Passengers also have plenty of time for relaxation, visiting and enjoying the view as they continue several miles up the Wild & Scenic designated Wallowa River, enjoy a lunch break at Minam, then return to Elgin. Ticket prices are: youth, 3 to 16 = $35 / adults = $65 / seniors 60+ = $60. A Western style lunch prepared by Ten Depot Street is optional for $10 and must be ordered with ticket purchase. For train tickets, details on the excursions and lodging options, contact Alegre Travel, 1.800.323.7330 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The scenic train season continues through mid-October with two excursion choices. The Two Rivers train departs from Elgin and travels through remote river canyons that can’t be seen from any road. Towering ridges, basalt cliffs, deep green forests and sparkling water are the scenic highlights. Wildlife and waterfowl are also plentiful. The Chief Joseph Express will run twice every Thursday, beginning July 5, with 1.5-hour trips from Joseph to Enterprise and back, using the RDC equipment. Additional runs of the Chief Joseph Express will be offered daily during Chief Joseph Days and Alpenfest. Passengers can always expect beautiful scenery and a friendly atmosphere.
Later in the season, some scenic train rides will be powered by the steam engine known as #19 Blue Goose, which will be moving to its new home in northeast Oregon from Yreka, California. Go to www.eaglecaptrain.com for details on the Blue Goose and other exciting additions to the Railway this season. The Wallowa Union Scenic Railway (formerly known as the Eagle Cap Excursion Train) operates on sections of the sixty-three mile long railroad that links the communities of Elgin, Wallowa, Lostine, Enterprise and Joseph in northeast Oregon. The track, historically known as the Joseph Branch, is owned by the governments of Wallowa and Union Counties and operated by Wallowa Union Scenic Railway. Go to www.eaglecaptrain.com for additional information about the train and surrounding attractions.