Over the years, there have been a handful of Galloping Goose rail-car reunion tours, and another one is planned for July in Chama, New Mexico.
The event is part of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroads’ 50th anniversary celebration. Final dates are still being determined.
“Goose reunions are rare events, and they’re really fun,” said motorman Joe Becker, of the Galloping Goose Historical Society Museum in Dolores. “Passengers have the opportunity to ride different machines as they make their way across the rugged mountain country of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.”
From the 1930s to 1952, the seven, now-restored motorized railroad cars carried passengers, mail and freight on the Rio Grande Southern Railroad, which extended 160 miles between Ridgway and Durango.
Affectionately known as “Galloping Goose” or “Geese”, because of the way they waddle down the track and honk, the flock has since spread out across the state and beyond.
Goose No. 5 is stationed in Dolores, and regularly operates excursions for tourists and railfans on host railroads in Durango and Chama. No. 4 is displayed in Telluride and operates on a track in Ridgway. No. 3 operates on a track at Knotts Berry Farm, an amusement park in Anaheim, California.
Three more are stationed at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, and can provide rides on a half-mile track there. Motor No. 1, in Ridgway, is a remake of a mail-rail unit that delivered mail in 1931, and is a likeness of the original Galloping Goose prototype.
Several of the Geese are expected to participate in the Chama reunion, Becker said. The event will also feature 19th century steam locomotives, and wood-burning steam locomotives.
In past Goose reunions, the Geese travel in a line together along the host railroad. Stops are made for photo opportunities, and passengers can switch to ride in a different Goose.
“It’s a great opportunity to experience the railroads in a completely different way and meet other railfans,” Becker said. “Seeing that wide expanse of scenery and watching the track go by over the motorman’s shoulder is a unique perspective.”
Another advantage is the small 27-capacity rail car is able to easily stop and let everybody get off at key scenic and historic points.
The C&TS railroad runs historic trains on 64 miles of narrow-gage track from Chama, New Mexico, to Antonito, Colorado, with stops at Cumbres, New Mexico; Osier, Colorado; and Sublette, New Mexico.