Crews began clearing tracks of Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

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Narrow gauge steam powered train crosses the Animas River on its way to Silverton from Durango, Colorado.

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DURANGO, Colo. — Crews have started clearing the tracks of a famous tourist railroad in southwest Colorado after the winter’s onslaught of snow and avalanches.

The Durango Herald reported Monday that the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is scheduled to begin operation May 4, taking passengers through the rugged terrain along the Animas River.

Railroad general manager Jeff Johnson says digging out the tracks is a laborious task each spring, but it’s more daunting this year because of the amount of snowfall.

The railroad uses a helicopter each year to survey if avalanches should be triggered with dynamite to avoid potential risk.

Crews recently triggered one avalanche that covered the river below.

Johnson says crews began work about three weeks ago on the task that’s expected to take up six weeks.

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