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The first train since 1995 will roll into the Wallowa Valley soon, and the Wallowa and Union County governments will begin preparations to assume management of the railroad.

For the first year of railroad operation, Idaho Northern and Pacific will run the train. After that, the counties take over.

Officials know that preparing to assume railroad operations will be a long process and they are creating the railroad authority now.

Membership on the nine-member authority is divided among the two counties, with each appointing one commissioner. Wallowa County Commission Chairman Mike Hayward said that another member will represent the cities.

"We're looking to fill specific gaps," Hayward said. "We need people with railroad or business expertise; some background to bring to the authority."

The Wallowa County commissioners will appoint members to the authority Aug. 5, and Union County will make appointments Aug. 7.

In Union County, people are asked to submit applications by Aug. 1 in the commissioners office, 1106 K Ave.

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