A letter to the editor complained of our local railroad “not giving back but taking all they can” (“When will train give instead of taking?,” Aug. 5).
I do not agree. The writer complained of the train using its horn through town. Actually, that’s a steam whistle, a rare 19th century sound, and blowing the whistle at railroad crossings is one of many safety procedures the engineer follows. I love that evocative sound which can be heard from miles away. It is as distinctive as the train symbol on Durango’s city logo.
As for the Harper family not “giving back,” Al Harper and his children, owners of the railroad, are deeply involved in community activities including the Fort Lewis College Foundation and charitable giving in Silverton. At a reception, I have personally watched Al write a large check for the Mesa Verde Foundation to stimulate donations from other guests.
I also know that Mr. Harper serves on local committees to diversify our regional economy.
The train is and has been a vital part of Durango history and heritage for well over a century. I, for one, look forward to many decades of Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad management under the stewardship of the Harper family.