Public’s first chance to meet railroad’s operator March 28

<p>Wallowa Union railroad cars are parked at Elgin, which is planning to build a new depot.</p>

The public will soon have a chance to find out more about the future of the Wallowa Union Scenic Railroad.

A public gathering to meet Court Hammond, chief executive officer of Sierra Nevada & Pacific Railroad of Yreka, Calif., which is the new operator of the Wallowa Union Scenic Railroad, is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, at Tomas Conference room.

“We’ll definitely have runs this summer to and from Joseph,” Hammond said in a recent phone conversation. However, the season’s schedule was still being finalized.

Hammond said that a survey has already been completed on the track between Minam and Joseph – on which the train has not operated for several years – and necessary repairs will be made to upgrade it to once again allow passengers. In recent seasons, most runs have originated at Elgin, which is now building a new depot for the train.

The Wallowa Union Railroad Authority, which owns the railroad that stretches from Elgin to Joseph, approved a five-year operating agreement with Standard Railroad Corporation dba Sierra Nevada & Pacific Railroad (SNAP), of Yreka, Calif., in January.

A key component of the new management will be the operation of the historic Blue Goose steam engine in excursion runs.

Hammond said that volunteers of the Friends of the Joseph Branch will continue to play a very important part in the excursion train. He said that the involvement of the community in the operation is also important, and he invites all interested persons to the March 28 meeting.

For information, contact the Wallowa County Chamber of Commerce, which is the meeting sponsor, at 541-426-4622. ?On the Web: eaglecaptrain.com.

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