More Rio Grande Southern Railroad equipment on the move
On July 24th, RGS passenger coach 256 was moved from the location it has occupied for over 50 years on Central Avenue in Dolores.
This project has been in the works for about 2 years. The move was made possible with the help of many hours of volunteer work from several GGHS members and through the very generous donations of funds and equipment needed to accomplish it. Nielsons Skanska Construction Company of Cortez was the biggest contributor to the effort by supplying the heavy equipment and manpower to operate it. The coach was moved to Val Truelsen’s mill property about 3 miles east of Dolores on Highway 145.
The coach was built by the Jackson & Sharp Company in Wilmington, Delaware in 1880 for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad and named the Col. Pfeiffer. (In the early days of the D&RG most locomotives and coaches were named, not numbered.) Later it was numbered as D&RG Coach 266. In April, 1891 it was purchased by the Rio Grande Southern Railroad for $2,135.00 and became RGS Coach 256.
When built it had a seating capacity of 44 people. It was heated by a coal stove at each end of the car, was illuminated by coal oil lamps, and had one toilet. (The “toilets” in those days were no more than a wide-mouth funnel with a toilet seat that was open-air directly onto the tracks! The little toilet rooms usually had a sign on the wall that said something like, “DO NOT USE TOILET WHILE IN THE STATION”.)
Coach 256 served in passenger service along with other RGS passenger coaches until 1933 when regular passenger service was turned over to the “Galloping Goose” fleet. Soon thereafter it, along with other old passenger equipment, was converted to work car service for section men to live in while on various repair jobs along the railroad line. It was then renumbered 0256 to designate its use in that service. It apparently stayed in that configuration until the RGS was abandoned in 1952.
In 1999 the coach was purchased by the Galloping Goose Historical Society. Almost all of the money for the purchase came from the generous donations of 3 of its members. At that time, the plan was to move the coach to a location near the Dolores Town Hall for static display within a year or so. For the last 9 years the plan remained the same but nothing happened. About a year ago it was decided that the coach had to be moved from the private property it sat on to another location where it could be restored and Mr. Truelsen generously offered his property. After it is restored to a condition suitable for display, the intention of the Society is still to have it placed at the Dolores Town Hall.
The restoration is expected to take more than 2 years. That time frame is dependent on the availability of volunteers and funds, (expected to be in excess of $50,000). Donations to this project may be sent to the Galloping Goose Historical Society at P.O. Box 297, Dolores, CO 81323. All donations are tax deductible.
For more information on the RGS and the Galloping Geese, please visit the Galloping Goose Historical Society’s original web site at www.gallopinggoose5.com, while we are transitioning to this new site. Our plan is to have this new site more reactive to smart phones and tablet devices. the original site still contains many photos, archive newsletters and data which has not been transferred to this site yet. (rev. 4/27/16)