Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad resumes full service after 416 Fire

DURANGO, Colo. — A scenic railroad that runs through the southwestern Colorado mountains resumed coal-fired steam engine service on Thursday after shutting down last month because of fire restrictions.

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad suspended operations on June 1 after the 416 Fire broke out in Hermosa, 13 miles north of Durango and along the train’s 45-mile route.

La Plata County considered Wednesday downgrading fire restrictions that banned coal-fired steam engines in the area.

Railroad general manager John Harper said the tourist attraction will work with local agencies to make sure it’s safe to run the coal-fired engines.

Harper said 150 employees were furloughed because of the closure, which he estimated caused an economic loss of about $33 million to the area.

The railroad, which first opened in 1881, ran a shorter version of the route with a diesel-powered engine between Rockwood and Cascade Canyon during the fire threat.

The railroad said on Facebook that passengers booked on the 9:30 a.m. train to Silverton from July 12 to Aug. 9 will be moved to the 8:45 a.m. train.

And all passengers scheduled for the 11 a.m. bus have been moved to a 10:15 a.m. departure.