Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Goose Fest 2012!

Yes, it seems like an odd kind of festival but, of course, its not what you think it is either. Hobby #2, as stated in the Blog title, is railroads but I can get much more specific about it than that. I'm currently modeling a small area of Los Angeles known as the warehouse district by the locals but as the Patch by the crews that worked it. That's my modern day (relatively anyway) model railroading. My first love though are the Colorado narrow gauge railroads even though I don't model narrow gauge (at least currently) I love the images of the railroads working their way deep into the mountains. 

The Goose Fest though involves perhaps some of the oddest "locomotives" to come out of the mountains; The Galloping Geese of the Rio Grande Southern.

The Galloping Geese are a series of seven railcars that ran on the Rio Grande Southern (RGS) Railroad from 1931–1952. They helped accommodate travel by rail in the remote and isolated regions of far southwestern Colorado. They traveled a stretch of rail over 160 miles long that ran from the town of Ridgway, Colorado on the north to Durango, Colorado on the south.
The RGS called these unusual vehicles Motors, using them as less expensive alternatives to operating steam engines. The Geese retained the automobile engines and bodies from the original cars, mounted over a frame that included attached cargo boxes.
They get the unique name “Galloping Goose” because the uneven railroad track made them “waddle” when they traveled. Also, the air horn sounded more like a “quack” compared to the regular steam locomotive whistle. Lastly, the Goose was run with its hoods flared open to facilitate greater engine cooling and looked like a goose straining for airspeed. This was necessary because the altitude made the water boil off quickly. The geese would frequently stop at water towers along the way to “take a drink” and fill up their water tanks.

The Colorado Railroad Museum owns Geese No. 2, 6, and 7;
The Galloping Goose Historical Society in Dolores, Colorado owns No. 5; 
The City of Telluride, Colorado owns No. 4 (which has just been restored back to service) Karl Schaffer, from Ridgway, Colorado has built a replica of No. 1.

Although it was not present for the festival, Goose No. 3 still exists and can be found at Knot's Berry Farm in California. Originally it was also going to be present but dropped out at the last minute.

The Colorado Railroad Museum itself is the home of many other narrow (and standard) gauge freight cars, locomotives, and a wonderful library. If you are visiting the area I highly recommend a visit to the museum to get a real sense of Colorado history.
And now on to the pictures!

First up are the Geese
Goose #1, A reproduction. The original provided parts to build Goose #2.
Goose #2
Goose #4. This is the later configuration with a bus front replacing the original  Pierce-Arrow front.
Goose #5 in the same configuration as Goose #4
Goose #6 is the work Goose and was used by railroad workers to perform maintenance.
Goose #7 with the original Pierce-Arrow front end. This is the front end that Geese 4 and 5 were built with.
Goose #7 on the turntable at the museum

And what's a day at a museum with a some pictures of some of the other inhabitants?
This is a cog engine, that was used on the tourist line that goes up Pikes Peak. The engine is at an angle so that the boiler will stay level while the train ascends the step grades. This line still operates today but uses some much more modern locomotives to get to the top.
Here's a steam locomotive of the Rio Grande Southern (RGS). No. 318 is a 2-8-0 Consolidation, built in 1896. She first worked for the Florence & Cripple Creek RR, then was purchased by the RGS and ended her days on the Denver & Rio Grande Western (D&RGW) in 1953.

And last but certainly not least is No. 30 of the Colorado and Northwestern RR. Built in 1886, she and her two sisters (31 and 32) were the largest purpose built narrow gauge locomotives at the time. They would go on to work on the Colorado & Southern as Nos. 74, 75 and 76. No. 30 (74) would go on to work on the Rio Grande Southern as No. 74 as well and was returned to Boulder Colorado in the 50s where she stood in the city park till the 90s. She was moved from the park with the intent of restoring her to operating condition to work on the Georgetown Loop Railroad, but when that became prohibitive (they calculated that they would have to replace 90% of the components) she was sent to the Colorado Railroad Museum to at least serve as a non-operating display. The Colorado and Northwestern is the narrow gauge line that I would like to model, in fact it is model railroad #2 but I'm going to re-create her in standard gauge instead.


  1. Nice pictures...and beautiful 2-8-0. I remember my first caboose was a D&RG, an old Athearn kit.


    1. Thanks! I love the C&N 2-8-0s, the biggest purpose built narrow gauge Consolidations in the world!