Durango and Silverton railroad clears path for first ride May 4

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Durango and Silverton railroad clears path for first ride May 4

Crews started clearing snow mid-March from train tracks
Crews with Durango-based Bonds Construction were able to clear the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad tracks two weeks early ahead of the first ride to Silverton on May 4.
The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad encounters avalanche danger north of Cascade Canyon, where 10 avalanche paths hold the potential of reaching the tracks.
Crews ride up Cascade Canyon to reach an area where avalanche danger is particularly high. Some avalanches this winter dumped 60 feet of snow on the tracks.
Crews clearing Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad tracks are regularly trained to work in areas of avalanche danger. This year the danger was especially high with heavy snowfall.
The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad ran up to Silverton year-round from 1882 until 1951, when highways became an easier way to reach the high mountain town. Back in those days, it was a constant battle with the elements. Crews would even dig out tunnels so the train could pass through.
Somewhere beneath all that snow are the tracks to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Bonds Construction announced this week the entire stretch is clear to Silverton, two weeks early.
“We’re finding slips in places that don’t usually run,” D&SNG General Manager Jeff Johnson said in a previous interview. “It’s been a lot more effort and cost just to keep the tracks open, and not even just because of avalanches; there’s the amount of snow that’s fallen.”
Bonds Construction posted to its Facebook page this week that crews plowed through 42 avalanche/slide areas over the course of 14 miles in the past few weeks. As a result, the tracks were cleared two weeks ahead of schedule.
Crews started around mid-March clearing the tracks of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The job was completed this week, two weeks before the first ride up to Silverton scheduled for May 4.
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