George Nettles, Denver CO – Well it does sound important! If you are a historical railroad aficionado that is! This post is not about Luxury Homes In Denver, Horse Properties or Historical Homes, but the Galloping Geese! Say What?? Imagine it’s 1931, the Great Depression, in Southern Colorado and the Rio Grande Southern RR (narrow gauge) is bankrupt, but they just got the U S Mail contract for mail service from Durango to Ridgeway, via Ophir Loop, Lizard Head Pass, Mancos, Rico, Dolores, Telluride and other stops along the way. The RGS couldn’t afford to run the steam locomotives, as most of the time there was not much business. Someone got the bright idea of making a car into a vehicle to run on the narrow gauge rails to deliver freight, mail and passengers. In Ridgeway, CO, the first Rail Car or ‘Motor’ was built out of a 1926 Buick Touring car. The idea was so successful that ‘Motor’ #1 was dismantled to build ‘Motors’ #2 and #3. ‘Motors’ #4, 5, 6, and 7 used Buick and Pierce-Arrow Cars in bigger and better designs.
The Galloping Geese seemed to have gotten their name from the way they looked as they ‘waddled’ on the poorly laid uneven narrow gauge track of the day, and their horns sounded like a goose. When the Rio Grande Southern RR closed in 1952, the Geese were disposed of. The town of Telluride acquired one, #4 and it has just been restored to operating condition. Goose #5 resides in Dolores and it is not only operational, it runs for two weeks every year on the Durango & Silverton and the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroads. My wife and I rode on Goose #5 all day in June, 2005 on the Cumbres & Toltec and that was a ride back in time! Goose #3 was sold to Knotts Berry Farm in CA and it is restored and runs regularly. In fact, it is used for the same purpose as it originally did. When the park has low traffic, like during the week, Goose #4 serves instead of the steam engine, #41, an original C-19 RGS locomotive! Geese #2, 6 and 7 are restored and at the Colorado Rail Museum in Golden. Remember Golden……..our story?
On June 16 and 17, all of the Galloping Geese will be together at the Colorado RR Museum for the Goose Fest! Knotts Berry Farm is sending their Goose #3, Telluride is sending Goose #4, Delores is sending Goose #5 and we have Geese #2, 6, and 7; ……um……..let me see here…..did I leave one out?………ah, number 1!
Did I forget Goose #1? Since Goose #1 (actually Motor #1 as they were officially called) was dismantled in the mid 1930’s to build another Goose, it was gone! Karl Schaeffer of the Ridgeway RR Museum had a dream to recreate Motor #1 as authentically as possible. He gathered every photo and the drawing – yes, one – and begin to gather the parts, like a 1926 Buick Touring car from a field in Montana and he built the running gear from old original parts, especially as goose #2 has some of #1’s underpinnings. After years of careful work, Motor # 1 was finished and it will be at the ‘Goose Fest’ as well. This will be the first time all seven Galloping Geese have been together at once, 60+ years after the Rio Grande Southern Railroad shut down!….See you there.
Now back to our regularly scheduled real estate related posts! 🙂
Note: I took the photos here and used large files so they can be enlarged by clicking on them.
*George Nettles is an Associate Broker with Brokers Guild Cherry Creek in Denver, CO. He is the founder of www.LuxuryHomesInDenver.com and Denver’s Luxury Home Team. He can be reached at 303-981-7282 or [email protected]