The Goose serves as a bridge between the railroad history of the Rio Grand Southern Railroad and present day car travel that carries travelers along the nations National Scenic Byways.
If the Rio Grande Southern Railroad had ever been a profitable endeavor the Galloping Goose might never have been part of southwestern Colorado history. The Rio Grand Southern, built in 1890-91, served the numerous silver and gold mines near Telluride, Ophir and Rico, which made the financial condition of the railroad strong for its firstfew years. However, the Silver Panic of 1893 led to the closing of many silver mines and the railroad slipped into receivership. Somehow the railroad survived for another 40 years until the stock market crash of 1929.
With an obligation to provide reliable transportation for freight, passengers, and the U.S. Mail, a new rail vehicle, the Galloping Goose, was born. The RGS Motor No. 5 went into service on June 8, 1933, built with a 1928 Pierce-Arrow limousine body and running gear. It was rebuilt in 1946/47, using a World War II surplus GMC gasoline truck engine and a Wayne Corporation school bus body.
In 1950, the freight/mail compartment was converted to carry 20 additional passengers for sightseeing trips. The Goose operated on gasoline, rather than steam, and needed only a one-man crew. In 1950, the federal government did not renew the U.S. Mail contract with the RGS and that was the last straw. Tourist passenger traffic during the summers of 1950 and 1951 did not generate enough revenue to keep the failing railroad alive, and it ceased operation in 1952.
The Galloping Goose Historical Society of Dolores, Inc. was founded in 1987, and their first big project was to build a replica of the original RGS Dolores depot in 1991. In 1997 and 1998, the Society completely restored Galloping Goose No. 5 to operating condition and it sits in front of the Dolores depot which house a railroad museum.