DRGW History and Information  


The Galloping Geese are definitely one of those oddities of Colorado railroading. They're small, gasoline-powered railcars built from highway vehicles by the struggling Rio Grande Southern in the 1930s as a way of continuing service without all the costs associated with full-sized trains (coal, a crew of at least four, maintenance, wear on the track, etc.) By the end, seven were built for the RGS, and an eighth was built under contract for the San Cristobal Railway. Of these, all but RGS Goose #1 and the San Cristobal unit survive today. Goose 1 continues to exist in a way, as a very good replica was built by the Ridgway Railroad Museum.

Probably the best known of the fleet is Goose #5. RGS 5 was originally built at the RGS's Ridgway shops in the spring and early summer of 1933 using a 1928 Pierce-Arrow touring car body and Pierce-Arrow 36 engine up front and a large express freight area in the back. In 1946, its appearance underwent the first radical change in appearance, when the Pierce-Arrow car body was replaced with the Wayne bus body is has today. In 1950, its appearance changed yet again, as the express freight box on the rear was converted to passenger use, as a way of retooling the Goose to serve in the new tourist services that the RGS was promoting. Less obvious changes were made along the way as well, with airbrakes added at the FRA's insistance in 1939 and the original Pierce-Arrow engine being replaced with a GMC inline 6 from a surplus WWII truck in 1947. While marginally successful, the tourist traffic wasn't enough to save the RGS from rapidly tanking freight revenues. By 1952, the railroad called it quits, and some of the Geese were used in the scrapping operations. 5, however, had a different fate in store.

RGS 5 was purchased by the Dolores Rotary Club and donated to the city, to be statically displayed in Flanders Park. It sat there, suffering the worst Mother Nature could throw at it, for some 44 years. By the early 90s, the freight box was on the verge of collapse - a result of years and years of water leaking in through the roof onto the wooden carbody. In 1987, the Galloping Goose Historical Society was created, largely under the guidance of Wayne Brown, to preserve the motor and restore it to operating condition. To dispel local doubt that the newly-founded group was up to the task, they first set about building a replica of the Dolores depot. By late 1996, they began work on the Goose itself, finishing up the restoration to a fully operable state in only fourteen months.

On 30-May-1998, some 47 years after it last moved under its own power, the Goose made a successful return on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic. Well, mostly successful, aside from a few bugs to be worked out... Since then, it's been a staple of Railfest in Durango and a regular visitor to both the Cumbres & Toltec and the Durango & Silverton.

When it was announced that Goose 5 would again be making a few runs over the C&TS in 2006, I immediately jumped on it. I'd tried to ride on its 2005 visit, but work sent me to Memphis that week instead. By the time I found that I could go to Railfest 2005, the Goose tickets were already sold out. However, a quick phone call revealed that I was early enough to get on any run I wanted this year. My choice? Saturday, 10-Jun-2006, when the Goose would run westbound from Antonito to Chama. That way, I could ride the San Luis & Rio Grande's standard gauge tourist train on Friday, then ride the Goose on Saturday, and chase the Goose on Sunday as it made a run from Chama to Osier and back. What follows are my photos from the Goose portions of that trip - the SL&RG bits will come in a future trip report.

  May-2013 Reports
   Posted 24-May-2013 by NDH
  Dec-2012 Reports
   Posted 15-Dec-2012 by NDH
  Aug-2011 Reports
   Posted 09-Aug-2011 by NDH
  Jan-2011 Reports
   Posted 30-Jan-2011 by NDH
  May-2010 Reports
   Posted 30-May-2010 by NDH
  Mar-2010 Reports
   Posted 29-Mar-2010 by NDH
  Jan-2010 Reports
   Posted 03-Jan-2010 by NDH
  Nov-2009 Reports
   Posted 08-Nov-2009 by NDH
  Jul-2009 Reports
   Posted 12-Jul-2009 by NDH
  Jun-2009 Reports
   Posted 19-Jun-2009 by NDH
  May-2009 Reports
   Posted 03-May-2009 by NDH
  Dec-2008 Reports
   Posted 27-Dec-2008 by NDH
  Nov-2008 Reports
   Posted 29-Nov-2008 by NDH
   Posted 03-Nov-2008 by NDH
   Posted 02-Nov-2008 by NDH
  Sep-2008 Reports
   Posted 14-Sep-2008 by NDH
  Jul-2008 Reports
   Posted 13-Jul-2008 by NDH
   Posted 11-Jul-2008 by NDH
  Jun-2008 Reports
   Posted 10-Jun-2008 by NDH
  Apr-2008 Reports
   Posted 26-Apr-2008 by NDH
   Posted 15-Apr-2008 by NDH
  Mar-2008 Reports
   Posted 30-Mar-2008 by NDH
   Posted 13-Mar-2008 by NDH
  Dec-2007 Reports
   Posted 27-Dec-2007 by NDH
   Posted 02-Dec-2007 by NDH
  Oct-2007 Reports
   Posted 21-Oct-2007 by NDH
   Posted 07-Oct-2007 by NDH
  Sep-2007 Reports
   Posted 02-Sep-2007 by NDH
  Jun-2007 Reports
   Posted 06-Jun-2007 by NDH
  May-2007 Reports
   Posted 01-May-2007 by NDH
  Feb-2007 Reports
   Posted 22-Feb-2007 by NDH
   Posted 07-Feb-2007 by NDH
  Jan-2007 Reports
   Posted 13-Jan-2007 by NDH
  Dec-2006 Reports
   Posted 21-Dec-2006 by NDH
  Nov-2006 Reports
   Posted 13-Nov-2006 by NDH
  Oct-2006 Reports
   Posted 22-Oct-2006 by NDH
   Posted 02-Oct-2006 by NDH
  Sep-2006 Reports
   Posted 23-Sep-2006 by NDH
  Aug-2006 Reports
   Posted 28-Aug-2006 by NDH
   Posted 04-Aug-2006 by NDH
  Jul-2006 Reports
   Posted 15-Jul-2006 by NDH
   Posted 08-Jul-2006 by NDH
   Posted 02-Jul-2006 by NDH
  Jun-2006 Reports
   Posted 06-Jun-2006 by NDH
  May-2006 Reports
   Posted 08-May-2006 by NDH
  Mar-2006 Reports
   Posted 05-Mar-2006 by NDH
  Feb-2006 Reports
   Posted 21-Feb-2006 by NDH
   Posted 10-Feb-2006 by NDH
  Jan-2006 Reports
   Posted 19-Jan-2006 by NDH
  Oct-2005 Reports
   Posted 16-Oct-2005 by NDH
  Sep-2005 Reports
   Posted 21-Sep-2005 by NDH
  Aug-2005 Reports
   Posted 31-Aug-2005 by NDH
   Posted 11-Aug-2005 by NDH
  Jul-2005 Reports
   Posted 23-Jul-2005 by NDH
  Jun-2005 Reports
   Posted 28-Jun-2005 by NDH
   Posted 15-Jun-2005 by NDH
  Apr-2005 Reports
   Posted 26-Apr-2005 by NDH
   Posted 11-Apr-2005 by NDH
  Mar-2005 Reports
   Posted 03-Mar-2005 by NDH
  Oct-2004 Reports
   Posted 08-Oct-2004 by NDH
  May-2004 Reports
   Posted 31-May-2004 by NDH
  Apr-2004 Reports
   Posted 04-Apr-2004 by NDH
  Jan-2004 Reports
   Posted 11-Jan-2004 by NDH
  Nov-2003 Reports
   Posted 19-Nov-2003 by NDH
  Sep-2003 Reports
   Posted 24-Sep-2003 by NDH
  Aug-2003 Reports
   Posted 13-Aug-2003 by NDH
  Jul-2003 Reports
   Posted 30-Jul-2003 by NDH
  Jun-2003 Reports
   Posted 21-Jun-2003 by NDH
  Apr-2003 Reports
   Posted 19-Apr-2003 by NDH
  Feb-2003 Reports
   Posted 22-Feb-2003 by NDH
  Nov-2002 Reports
   Posted 11-Nov-2002 by NDH
  Oct-2002 Reports
   Posted 27-Oct-2002 by NDH
  Sep-2002 Reports
   Posted 28-Sep-2002 by NDH
  Aug-2002 Reports
   Posted 07-Aug-2002 by NDH
  Jun-2002 Reports
   Posted 22-Jun-2002 by NDH
  Apr-2002 Reports
   Posted 21-Apr-2002 by NDH
  Feb-2002 Reports
   Posted 19-Feb-2002 by NDH
  Jan-2002 Reports
   Posted 14-Jan-2002 by NDH
  Oct-2001 Reports
   Posted 06-Oct-2001 by NDH
   Posted 04-Oct-2001 by NDH
  Sep-2001 Reports
   Posted 02-Sep-2001 by NDH
  Jul-2001 Reports
   Posted 26-Jul-2001 by NDH
   Posted 16-Jul-2001 by NDH
  Jun-2001 Reports
   Posted 23-Jun-2001 by NDH
   Posted 15-Jun-2001 by NDH
   Posted 03-Jun-2001 by NDH
  May-2001 Reports
   Posted 22-May-2001 by NDH
  Apr-2001 Reports
   Posted 02-Apr-2001 by NDH
  Mar-2001 Reports
   Posted 10-Mar-2001 by NDH
  Feb-2001 Reports
   Posted 26-Feb-2001 by NDH
   Posted 18-Feb-2001 by MDP
   Posted 13-Feb-2001 by NDH
   Posted 04-Feb-2001 by NDH
  Dec-2000 Reports
   Posted 02-Dec-2000 by NDH
  Nov-2000 Reports
   Posted 24-Nov-2000 by NDH
  Oct-2000 Reports
   Posted 27-Oct-2000 by NDH
   Posted 26-Oct-2000 by NDH
   Posted 14-Oct-2000 by NDH
  Sep-2000 Reports
   Posted 30-Sep-2000 by NDH
   Posted 03-Sep-2000 by NDH
   Posted 06-Sep-2000 by NDH

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: First, we are absolutely a not-for-profit organization. We are also in no way affiliated with the former Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad, except for being fans. If you need transportation services on former Rio Grande lines, please contact Union Pacific. Our eventual goal is to provide a site which will host a variety of railroad information, both for railfans and modellers alike. Thanks to Benn Coifman for the Rio Grande font - it's available at RailFonts. Want to know more about us? Check the ABOUT page...