Rocky Mountain PBS’s Colorado Experience series is set to showcase the state’s historic rail bus, the “Galloping Goose”. Built by the Rio Grande Southern Railroad (RGS) in the 1930s to run its narrow gauge lines in southwestern Colorado, a total of seven “geese” were operated between 1931 and 1952.
The Galloping Geese, or “motors”, as they were officially called, were conceived as a way to improve the finances of the Rio Grande Southern. Cheaper to operate than a full steam trainset, they allowed the railroad to maintain its US mail contract to various Rocky Mountain towns. The company would still employ steam trains for peak passenger and cargo loads, but the “geese” took the lighter traffic. Incredibly, the cost-savings had the first Galloping Goose paid off and seeing a profit within its first three weeks! Here is a video promo for the Colorado Experience episode, “Galloping Goose”:
The Rio Grande Southern Railroad used the railcars until it abandoned their track right-of-ways in 1952. However, the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad gives railfans a chance experience an operational “goose” (#5) with seasonal runs on its narrow gauge line between Chama, New Mexico, and Antonito, Colorado. The Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden also runs a functional one (#7) on its grounds. “Galloping Goose” on Rocky Mountain PBS premieres Thursday, December 7th at 7:30pm (Mountain Time) – further info can be found at the official link ROCKY MOUNTAIN PBS – SEASON 5 .
(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)