Durango & Silverton resumes full operations

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A Durango & Silverton crew moves track toward the slide area that had closed part of the railroad since July. Full operations on the D&S are to resume today.
Jerry Day

DURANGO, Colo. — For the first time in nearly two months, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is running excursions along its entire route today after repairing a number of washouts.

Since July, the railroad has been busing passengers from Durango to Rockwood, where they boarded the train for the round-trip to Silverton. On Thursday, some of the D&SNG’s locomotives and cars returned to Durango for the first time since heavy rain caused a number of mudslides between Hermosa and Rockwood. [See "Mudslides, washouts force Durango & Silverton to modify service," Trains News Wire, July 27, 2018.]

Railroad officials are hoping for a busy fall following a frustrating and hectic summer in Durango that has seen a significant drop in ridership due to wildfires and washouts. On June 1, a massive wildfire started near Hermosa, forcing the railroad to shutdown for weeks. [See "Colorado wildfire shuts down Durango & Silverton," Trains News Wire, June 4, 2018.] Regular steam operations resumed on July 12 after the area received heavy rain that reduced the risk of fire. Unfortunately, less than a week later, another heavy rainstorm over the burned area resulted in mudslides. The railroad was temporarily able to fix the slides, but a week after that even larger slides came down, shutting down the railroad between Durango and Rockwood for nearly two months.

Since July, the D&SNG has worked with contractors to install culverts and rebuild the roadbed. Earlier this week, the railroad reinstalled track through the slide area.

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