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silver-colored hybrid truck-railcar on the track at the Colorado Railroad Museum.  Plow attached to front.
Colorado Railroad Museum Collection

Catch a ride on-board Rio Grande Southern’s unique “Galloping Goose” Motorcar today at the Colorado Railroad Museum. More information

What is a Galloping Goose? Paul Haseman responds.

Item of Interest: Galloping Goose
by Paul Haseman

The Galloping Goose #7 in the photo above is one of seven “geese” built by the Rio Grande Southern in their rail shops in Ridgeway, CO in the 1930’s. With mining on a downward trend, the only way to provide mail service to Telluride was to adopt a new cheaper mode of transport for the narrow-gauge line.

1933 Pierce-Arrow – photo courtesy Wikipedia

So, adapting a gasoline powered vehicle versus the existing steam engines was proposed using a 1931 Buick “Master Six” four door sedan. It worked and six more followed “in train” using one more Buick and then five Pierce-Arrow bodies and engines. In 1945, #3, #4, and #5 were rebuilt with Wayne bus bodies (at least the front half) replacing the old Pierce-Arrow bodies. This provided more passenger seating and comfort. A year later they also received new war surplus GMC engines. The Galloping Geese remained in service until 1950, when the RGS lost its mail contract. The “Goose” name derives from the honking horn as opposed to the railroad steam whistle.

3 "Galloping Geese" on a high railroad trestle, forested mountainside in the background
Rio Grande Southern3-Goose excursion atop trestle near Ophir, Colorado - Colorado Railroad Museum Collection

Today, one “Goose” remains on display in Telluride. In recognition of the uniqueness of this transportation mode, the city’s circular shuttle route vans are emblazoned as the Galloping Goose. Otherwise, three of the remaining “geese” (numbers 2, 6 and 7) reside at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden and provide occasional fun service for visitors.

Thanks to the Golden History Museum for providing the online cache of historic Transcripts, and to the Golden Transcript for documenting our history since 1866!