Forest Service orders Durango & Silverton to stop fire-mitigation efforts

News Wire Digest for Sunday, July 5: Harpers Ferry footbridge reopens; man arrested for assaulting Southwest Chief conductor
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Rail news in brief for a busy holiday weekend:

Forest Service stops Durango & Silverton fire mitigation effort

The U.S. Forest Service has halted a fire mitigation program by the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad over concerns about the number of trees being cut down. The Associated Press reports the project cleared 100 feet along an 8-mile stretch of the railroad right of way in an attempt to prevent wildfires. The railroad contends it was not required to notify the Forest Service of work along its right of way, but San Juan National Forest Supervisor Kara Chadwick said in a cease-and-desist order that because the route crosses and is adjacent to National Forest land, the railroad is required to inform the Forest Service, which will determine if the work is routine and therefore exempt from permit requirements. A Forest Service spokeswoman said the situation is still under investigation.

Harpers Ferry footbridge damaged by CSX derailment reopens
The Harpers Ferry, W.Va., footbridge damaged in a CSX derailment last December has reopened. MetroNews reports the Goodlow Byron Memorial Footbridge — part of the Appalachian Trail — reopened Friday afternoon. The structure crossing the Potomac River links several area tourist attractions, including the C&O Canal. The derailment on Dec. 21, which sent some cars into the river, was subsequently blamed on engineer error [see “NS sells Norfolk office building,” News Wire Digest, June 25, 2020].

Man arrested for assault on Amtrak conductor
A 28-year-old man was arrested Thursday in La Plata, Mo., for allegedly assaulting a conductor on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief, as well as assaulting an officer and felony resisting arrest. KTVO-TV reports Sepanta Rad, a California resident, was asked to leave the train during a station stop in La Plata, then tried to force his way back onto the train, at which the conductor was struck. Rad was allegedly throwing rocks at the train when a police officer arrived. He was unable to subdue the suspect, who continued to throw rocks at the train and the office until back up officers arrived and Rad was arrested.


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