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For our annual conference outing, we will be heading into the wilderness on the Thunder Mountain Line!

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After a long and productive day conferring over IT issues, concerns, projects and plans, it is time to relax and experience a little of Idaho’s history. Participants will be conveyed by bus from the hotel to historic Horseshoe Bend where they will board a historic chartered train for DISC attendees.

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The train route is on the Old Wagon Road to the settlement of Banks.

Enjoy the fresh mountain air and enjoy dinner while you converse and take in the mountains and the scenic Payette River.

At the conclusion of the train ride, participants will be transported back to their hotel.

Brief History of Thunder Mountain Line

The Thunder Mountain Line dates back to more than a century ago. The prospects for the railroad were originally to serve the Thunder Mountain Mining District, which was full of gold and ore. The current roads could not handle the incoming freight for these areas. Prospectors were filling the Long Valley area as mining districts and camps were forming. Gold fever soon spread and an entrepreneur named Colonel W. Dewey formed a railroad syndicate due to the suspected wealth in the areas.

The railroad was built to Smiths Ferry on July 10, 1913 and an inaugural run was made in August 1913 and regular service began later that month from Nampa. The railroad was completed on July 1914 with regular service beginning to McCall on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The trains were mixed with freight, mail, and passengers. Many people were excited to have access to the mountain lakes and rivers for their vacations.

Small towns and depots were established along the railroad tracks to support the local timber industry. Smaller logging railroads reached into the rich timber valleys and connected with Idaho Northern’s main line. The Union Pacific operated this branch line as part of their Oregon Short Line Division until the Idaho Northern and Pacific Railroad purchased the railroad in 1993. Until recently, the railroad had continued to be supported by the timber industry.

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