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The Galloping Goose Historical Society Museum in Dolores, Colorado

Galloping Goose #5 on display in front of the Galloping Goose Historical Society Museum, which is a replical of the original Rio Grande Southern Railroad depot in Dolores, Colorado. – Larry Spencer

The Galloping Goose Historical Society Museum in Dolores, Colorado documents and displays the history of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad (RGS), a 163 mile long narrow gauge railroad that operated through five counties in southwest Colorado from 1890 to 1952. The major feature at the museum is Galloping Goose, #5, (n offical RGS parlance, "Motor #5") the fifth of seven gasoline powered railbuses the RGS built between 1931 and 1936. Motor #5 went into service in June 1933, and like two of its predisessors, Motors #3 and #4, was built from a 1926 Pierce Arrow touring car. It was designed to haul up to seven or eight passengers, the U. S. mail, and small amounts of freight.

While many railroads throughout the United States built gasoline powered railcars, few of these were used in regular revenue service. When Motor #5 entered service, the RGS replaced two daily steam powered mixed trains (passengers and freight) with these railbuses. As this was during the Great Depression, the railbuses, being operated by one person rather than a crew of four as on the daily mixed trains, greatly reduced labor costs. With the addition of Motor #7 in 1936, the fleet of railbuses were the only daily scheduled trains on the RGS until 1949, when the railroad lost the mail contract and ceased all scheduled operations. In the spring of 1950, the railroad converted the freight box on numbers 3, 4, 5, and 7 to haul passengers using seats salvaged from Denver trolley cars. For two short summers in 1950 and 51 they hauled tourists through the spectacular scenery along the RGS.

The nick-name "Galloping Goose" was applied by local patrons due to the way the railbuses "waddled" along the track, similar to how a goose walks. However, this "waddling" was due more to the poor condition of the track and roadbed, than the design and construction of the railbuses. Considering that the entire fleet (or perhaps flock is more appropriate) was the product of "yankee inginuity," they were remarkably well designed and reliable machines that carried the commerce of several small communities of southwest Colorado and provided the major means of contact and travel to the greater world beyond for nearly two decades.


Summer: 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P. M., Monday through Saturday; Winter: Tues. and Thur. 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 PM

Seasons Open

Summer: May 15th to October 15th; Winter, Oct 16th to May 14th


No charge; donations accepted

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