ELGIN, OREGON Area residents and visitors looking for a fun way to celebrate Mother’s Day might want to consider taking a ride on the Eagle Cap Excursion Train. The popular Mother’s Day Brunch Train, kicks off the 2014 excursion season with a combination of delicious food from Ten Depot Street, exceptional spring canyon scenery and a special gift for the mothers on board. The Mother’s Day Brunch Train departs at 10 a.m., Sunday, May 11, from the Elgin Depot. Brunch is served during the 3.5 hour ride beside the Grande Ronde and Wallowa Rivers. The meal includes a selection of breakfast and lunch entrees, pastries, fruit and beverages. Passengers can relax in their seats or move about the train. Car hosts answer questions and encourage conversation among passengers.
Tickets are available through Alegre Travel, the excursion train booking agency, 541.963.9000 or 800.323.7330. Agents can also, upon request, book motel rooms and offer advice on other activities and attractions in the area.
“This is one of our most popular trips of the season” said Peggy Weishaar of Alegre Travel. “We always sell out, so don’t wait to reserve your seats.” Weishaar noted the train robberies are also very well received, as are the Fall Foliage trips in October. “We are offering more variety this season, so that is getting lots of attention from a wide range of ages and interests.”
Volunteers from the Friends of the Joseph Branch are busy getting the train ready for the season. Their plans for 2014 include painting the exterior of the cars and doing some restoration on the UP caboose so it can be parked at Minam to promote the excursions. The River Bend facility of the Oregon Youth Authority has agreed to help with projects in preparation for the season.
“We are pleased with the increase in volunteers who want to help prepare for the season and host on the train,” said Ed Spaulding, Friends of the Joseph Branch President. “There is a long list of tasks to accomplish, so the more hands to help, the better.” Volunteer wannabes can contact Peggy at Alegre Travel.
The historic Joseph Branch, now known as the Wallowa Union Railroad, was rescued from salvage in 2003 when the Wallowa and Union county governments formed the Wallowa Union Rail Authority and purchased railroad from Elgin to Joseph in Oregon’s northeast corner. Volunteers with the Friends of the Joseph Branch, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, assists the rail authority with managing the excursion business and the depot, operating the train, hosting passengers, restoring the rail cars and preserving the history of the railroad. See the web site, www.eaglecaptrainrides.com for information about the 2014 schedule and how to volunteer.
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