Last week the museum announced the gift of dozens of boxes of archival documents related to the Rio Grande Southern Railroad, formerly headquartered in Ridgway. This week, the museum has another announcement: The Telluride Fire Department has contracted with the museum to do a comprehensive non-operating restoration of Galloping Goose Number 4, one of the signature engine cars for the Rio Grande Southern narrow gauge railroad. The 43-foot long, 15,000-pound rail bus, which was built in Ridgway in 1932, will be returned to Ridgway late this month.
“Restoration will be a lengthy process,” said museum president Karl Schaeffer. “Fortunately, similar well documented restorations have been done on [Galloping Goose] Number 5 in Dolores and Number 3 at Knott’s Berry Farm [theme park in California], so we have excellent sources to consult. Because this is the only one of the Geese that has never been restored or modified since the railroad shut down in 1951, we will begin with an extensive examination and documentation of its current condition and configuration with photos and drawings.”
Schaeffer said the project is estimated to take about three years, and volunteers are needed. Once the project is complete, the engine will return to Telluride.
“We really want to thank the Telluride Volunteer Fire Department for keeping Number 4 in condition such that it is still possible to do this restoration after 55 years,” Schaeffer said. “The RGS and its Galloping Geese have become world famous. This project will focus a lot of attention from narrow gauge enthusiasts around the world on Ouray County and southwestern Colorado.”
The museum will post regular progress reports on their website, www.ridgwayrailroadmuseum.org.