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Rain Triggers Mud, Rock Slide That Halts Trains

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(credit: AP)

(credit: AP)

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) – Train service on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad will be limited through Friday after heavy rain flooded the tracks, causing a mud and rock slide that forced more than 500 passengers to return to Durango.

Railroad spokeswoman Andrea Seid said Wednesday that mud, rocks and trees covered the tracks south of Silverton during a storm on Tuesday.

She said the mudslide prevented two of the four trains from reaching Durango on Tuesday and the trains had to back up to Silverton, where passengers boarded buses for the return trip to Durango. It used eight buses, including some borrowed from a rafting company, to bring passengers back to Durango.

Seid said the trains are running, but will cut short their trip and run from Durango to Cascade Canyon, a distance of 26 miles, instead of going all the way to Silverton, which is 45 miles away. Passengers will receive a discount on their fares.

Seid said the slide was discovered by a railway patrol car that alerted the trains before they reached the slide.

“We’re fortunate there were no injuries,” she said.

Seid said the mudslide briefly blocked the flow of the Animas River north of the La Plata-San Juan county line, but the water receded and crews were removing rocks, trees and mud on Wednesday. She said crews were trying to determine if the tracks were damaged.

Rain also triggered two mud slides that temporarily blocked traffic on two highways in Colorado. The Colorado Department of Transportation says boulders fell across both lanes of U.S. 50 Tuesday night, temporarily closing the highway west of Canon City.

Another slide blocked U.S. 550 north of Red Mountain Pass in southwest Colorado, but traffic was moving.

The National Weather Service warned that monsoon rains could bring another round of moderate to heavy rainfall to southeast and southern Colorado on Wednesday. The weather service said storms could cause street flooding and more rock or mud slides.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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