Durango & Silverton to reopen with shorter trips, steam-diesel combinations

News Wire Digest for June 17: Mt. Washington Cog Railway to reopen; Hinton, W.Va., cancels Railroad Days, but excursions still on
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A Durango & Silverton train crosses the Animas River on its return from Silverton in October 2018. Because of fire danger, the railroad will operate with its oil-fired steam locomotive and a diesel when it reopens on June 23.
TRAINS: David Lassen

Wednesday morning tourist rail and excursion news:

Durango & Silverton to reopen with shorter trips, steam-diesel combinations

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad has received the OK to begin operations June 23, although those operations are significantly altered from normal practices. The Durango Herald reports that two trains will operate daily, making a two-hour round trip between Rockwood and Cascade, rather than the usual trip between the railroad’s two namesake cities. Also, because of high fire danger, each train will operate with an oil-burning steam locomotive and a diesel. No concessions will be available aboard the train, and face coverings will be required for employees and encouraged for passengers. The railroad could add a third daily round trip if demand warrants. For more information, visit the railroad website.

Mt. Washington Cog Railway near sellout for opening weekend
New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Cog Railway will open Saturday, and is nearly sold out for its opening weekend of operations. WMUR-TV quotes railroad marketing manager Rob Arey as saying fewer than 30 tickets remained, and advance purchase is highly recommended. Trains will operate at 50% capacity to aid social distancing. For more information, visit the Cog Railway website.

Hinton Railroad Days off, but Autumn Colors Express still plans to run
Hinton, W.Va., has cancelled its annual Railroad Days, but the Autumn Colors Express excursions scheduled for Oct. 22-25 to coincide with the festival are still on. The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the Hinton Railroad Museum board voted to cancel the festival because “we just can’t meet” the state COVID-19 guidelines for such events, according to museum director Dorthy Jean Boley. “… You can’t have a festival and force people to stand 6 feet apart.” A spokesman for Rail Excursion Management Co. said his company was not informed of the cancellation — “When you have a provider bringing this much tourism to the town, you would think they would at least give us a heads up” — but the trips from Charleston and Huntington to Hinton would still take place. “Ticket sales have been relatively strong, everything considered,” said spokesman Lou Capwell. Visit the Autumn Colors Express website for more information.

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