Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Durango & Silverton Survives Floods, Mudslides

Earlier this week, floods and mudslides threatened the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Paul Schranck, VP and General Manager of the D&SNGRR, toured the damage by helicopter. He found that the floods were located at milepost 46.6, just above Needleton. The slides were 10 to 12 feet at the rails and it took three days to clear the blockage. Today, service is restored and the first train should pull into Silverton at 12:30 PM.

According to Trains magazine, the floods came down on Friday after several inches of rain fell in the Animas River watershed, causing the river to rise dramatically. No trouble was detected until the first afternoon train left Silverton.
The engineer stopped the train, although engine 482 suffered some damage from running into the rockslide. Evenso, he was able to start backing the train toward Silverton. The engine was running low on water and had to stop and drop its fire at MP 494. To rescue the train, engine 481 from the second train at Silverton was dispatched south to pull the train back into town; passengers from the second train were bused back to Durango.
Both trains were stranded at Silverton and the passengers of the first train ate dinner in Silverton and were bussed back to Durango. As far as the emergency stop by the first train, the train's typical top speed is only 18 MPH in open country and runs slower in the canyon where the mudslide occurred, meaning that the passengers likely only suffered the jolt of the brakes to stop. No injuries were reported.

With more snow and rain in the forecast, the battle may not yet be over.

No comments: