The On-Line Magazine of Rideable Model Railroading


March 12, 2008  

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Galloping Goose Number 5


Written by Don Cain

In the 1930s the Rio Grande Southern (RGS) was in serious financial trouble.  The trouble at hand involved aging steam locomotives in a sad state of disrepair.  The railroad needed a way to make money and keep their line open and "in the black."  Railroad management went to work and created a most unique solution.  The Galloping Goose was created as a low cost solution to haul mail and passengers on short intercity runs.  They were such a successful solution that the railroad was able to stay in business for another 20 years.

The chassis of the Goose was developed utilizing parts from an old Pierce Arrow Truck.  The frame was articulated between the passenger compartment and the homemade freight box on the rear of the goose.  The cab and passenger compartment was made from a Pierce Arrow Four Door Touring Body.  Since these units were light, it was possible to power them with a stock Pierce in-line six cylinder motor.

Starting in about 1948, several of the geese were rebuilt and received a Wayne School Bus 20 passenger body.  The body was shortened to fit the frame that was developed nearly 20 years earlier.  The freight box was converted to haul people, by simply bolting seats to the floor.  The railroad kept the articulated design to help the geese negotiate the sharp 20 degree curves on the Colorado narrow gauge lines.

In all, the RGS built a total of eight galloping geese.  There are four that still remain and two of them are operational.  Yes, it is still possible to ride on one of these historic vehicles.  One of the operable units is located at the Galloping Goose Historical Society in Dolores, Colorado.  One can find the other operable unit at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, Colorado.


Written by Don Cain


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