Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad delivers renewed hope to businesses

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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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SILVERTON, Colo. — A southwest Colorado tourist railroad has commenced service, bringing hope to businesses that have been isolated by weather events.

The Durango Herald reports the first Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad engine of 2019 arrived Saturday in Silverton, depositing dozens of tourists in the mountain town.

Business owners in the community have suffered the economic consequences of winter avalanches that closed access along U.S. Route 550 for weeks.

That followed a month-and-a-half of train cancellations caused by the 416 Fire, a wildfire that burned 54,000 acres north of Durango beginning in June. Hundreds of people were evacuated.

The fire caused tens of thousands of train reservation cancellations, with at least one Silverton business owner reporting sales were down 70%.

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