The Galloping Goose Historical Society of Dolores will celebrate its 30th anniversary at this year’s Escalante Days on Saturday, Aug. 12.
Free rides on Goose No. 5 will be offered all day, with birthday cake served at 2 p.m., according to a July 12 news release. The Society is also holding a fundraiser all summer. Donations made between now and the annual meeting on Sept. 9 will be matched by a member of the Society. Each person who gives a donation of $30 will receive a newly-designed commemorative GGHS pin depicting Goose No. 5 going over Lizard Head Pass.
The Society has also scheduled excursions this summer and fall on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. This historic narrow gauge line crosses the Colorado-New Mexico state line 11 times. At 64 miles in length, it is the highest and longest steam railroad in North America. Goose No. 5 will run full-day excursions between Chama, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado on July 27, 28 and 29.
On Sunday, July 30, the train will offer shorter runs to Cumbres Pass, including an evening run. Tickets were still available at the time of the release.
Later in the year, the Goose will be running excursions from Sept. 22 through 25 and again from Sept. 28 through Oct. 1.
Goose No. 5 operated on the Rio Grande Southern Railroad for nearly 20 years, during and after the Great Depression. The Town of Dolores grew up around the Rio Grande Southern Railroad in the early 1890s. The RGS transported ore, lumber, and livestock out of remote areas of the San Juan Mountains. In response to severe economic challenges during the Great Depression, motorized railcars were built in the RGS’s Ridgway Shop in the 1930s. The gasoline-operated ‘Galloping Geese,’ as they came to be known, transported passengers, mail and essential supplies from Durango to Mancos, Dolores and the mountain towns of Rico, Placerville, Telluride and Ridgway.
When road travel became more reliable, the railroad was abandoned and the Geese were retired.
The Rotary Club of Dolores purchased Goose No. 5 and displayed it in the town’s park. The Galloping Goose Historical Society was founded in 1987. Volunteers restored Goose No. 5 to operating condition and took it on its first excursion as an historic motorcar in May 1998.
Call 970-882-7082 to make a donation to the Society. Call 888-286-2737 to book train ride tickets.