Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad opens 2019 season

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The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad began its full season on May 4, 2019, with the first train from Durango, Colo., to Silverton, Colo. The first train was met with fanfare, including the Silverton Brass Band and folks dressed in 19th-century apparel.  The Silverton Gunfighters performed a reenactment of a gunfight between the good guys and the bad guys. Because of snow, this full 45-mile trip to Silverton, Colo., is impossible during the winter. 

During the winter months, the D&SNG pulls trains to Cascade Canyon, Colo., several times a week. This 26-mile journey takes passengers through some of the most beautiful areas along the Animas River, including the famous High Line.

This year, snow has been particularly heavy, making snow removal difficult. Christian Robbins of the D&SNGRR says, “We had both our crews from the Durango ‘side’ and Bond Construction from the Silverton ‘side,’ one of our contractors, clear the line. We had to set off more avalanches intentionally this year than in years past. The line clearing effort was extensive.  It is going to be great to see all that snow for the next month!”

 Summer 2018 was especially difficult due to the 416 fire that closed the line to Silverton from June 1 to July 12, 2018. Although snowpack has exceeded normal this year, Robbins says, “Every year, regardless of how much snow we receive, we maintain our various efforts for fire prevention. The helicopter will be in place by mid-May, the motorcars will follow every single train to Silverton, and we continually clean any debris around the entire line every year for fire mitigation.”

Durango & Silverton first run 2019
The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge No. 482 pulls the first train of the 2019 season into Silverton, Colo., May 4.
Thomas Scalf
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