ELGIN, Ore. — The Eagle Cap Excursion Train has added several round trips out of Elgin after its season schedule was severely hampered in the summer by coronavirus pandemic restrictions and wildfires.
The train has only been operated three times in 2021, out of a scheduled 16 runs.
The fall schedule will include trips on Saturday, Oct. 16; Wednesday, Oct. 20; Saturday, Oct. 23; Saturday, Oct. 30, with a little Halloween fun; and Saturday, Nov. 6.
For trip descriptions, prices and details, go to eaglecaptrainrides.com and select from the drop down menu under Ride the Train. Tickets can be booked online or by calling 541-437-3652.
The Wallowa Union Railroad Authority and members of the Friends of the Joseph Branch Board of Directors discussed extensive financial investments made by both entities, the need for revenue from ticket sales, track repairs and the status of the rest of the season at a recent meeting, said Janet Dodson in a release.
The Authority owns the railroad and its rolling stock, and the Friends runs the excursion business. Additional rides will help make up for rides canceled throughout the summer and early fall.
“We appreciate the Railroad Authority, their track crew and our own volunteers for their hard work getting the necessary track maintenance done so we can get back in business,” said Ed Spaulding, president of the board of directors.
A core group of volunteers have worked tirelessly for 17 years to build the successful excursion train business, Dodson said.
“Many members of the Friends are retired railroad engineers and employees, who can’t seem to get trains out of their system. That includes Spaulding, who also serves as one of the engineers who regularly operate the train,” she said.
“Over the years, we have developed a very important tourist attraction for Northeast Oregon and work hard to keep it going, despite obstacles such as the pandemic, wildfires and expensive track or equipment maintenance — all experienced this summer,” said Spaulding.