Passenger train service in Wallowa County, a standard way to travel in the early 1900s, was resurrected in 2003 when Wallowa and Union counties bought the ruggedly scenic Joseph branch rail line from Joseph to Elgin in neighboring Union County.
Leisurely train trips from Elgin in neighboring Union County to a point known as Kimmel, with much of the route accessible only by the rail route, now are offered on the Eagle Cap Excursion Train (www.eaglecaptrain.com), one of the county's biggest attractions.
The 2010 schedule begins with a Mother's Day brunch trip May 9 and continues with runs July 3, 17 and 31, August 14 and 28, Sept. 11, 18 and 25 and Oct. 2 and 16.
A ride is rail history come alive as well as a view of glorious scenery. Early-1950s General Motors Electro-Motive Division locomotives purchased from previous line owner Oregon Northern & Pacific Railroad pull a variety of passenger cars, including a 1947 Great Northern dining car, a 1947 Illinois Central Pullman coach, a 1962 Southern Pacific baggage car with souvenir shop and formerly self-propelled British Columbia Railway rail diesel cars.
For information: (www.eaglecaptrain.com/schedules.html).
The excursions are assisted by an active local nonprofit, Friends of the Joseph Branch (www.eaglecaptrain.com/friends.html).