Galloping Goose gearing up for winter trips

Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017 3:23 AM
The Galloping Goose crosses a trestle bridge above the Animas River on a trip up to Cascade Canyon in 2013. Winter trips to the canyon are planned for Feb. 18 and 19.

For the first time in more than 60 years, the Galloping Goose No. 5 will make a winter-time excursion.

Managers of the restored rail bus have partnered with the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad for a Durango to Cascade Canyon run Feb. 18 and Feb. 19.

The rare excursion is part of the railroad’s winter photography weekend special.

“There will be stops and photo runbys for passengers,” said motorman Joe Becker, of the Galloping Goose Historical Society in Dolores. “The trip features fantastic winter scenery of the San Juan Mountains.”

The on-board wood stove will warm passengers in the back, and a heater will be added for passengers in front.

To make the trip more authentic, the Galloping Goose Historical Society is borrowing a snow plow from Goose No. 6, which is displayed at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden.

Becker said a replica will be made with the help of local welder Ken Vance and attached to Goose No. 5 for the Durango winter excursion.

He is researching stories about the Goose running in winter to share with passengers, including one from the 1930s where passengers had to jump off into snowdrifts at Trout Lake.

“For the Durango runs we will follow a steam train,” he said. “The Goose used to run through the winter, and the track was regularly plowed.”

Tickets for Feb. 18 are $119 and include photo runbys and a tour of the Tacoma Power Plant. Tickets for Feb. 19 are $189 and include six photo runbys, breakfast pastries, lunch and beverages.

Tickets are going fast. To purchase them, click on “Events” at or call 877-872-4607. If both days sell out, a Feb. 17 excursion might be added.

Goose No. 5 is the only Rio Grande Southern motorcar that regularly runs excursions through the mountains of Colorado and New Mexico.

“Special thanks to Weeminuche Construction for donating their time and equipment to haul the Goose to the Durango and Chama trips,” Becker said.