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Rio Grande Southern

Colorado shortline

The Rio Grande Southern Railroad was founded in 1889 by Otto Mears, and construction began in 1890 from Ridgway, Colorado, and Durango to bypass the most rugged part of the San Juan Mountains and also to reach the mining towns of Rico and Telluride. The line was completed only a little time before the Silver Panic of 1893, which resulted in most of the mines closing overnight and the railroad losing most of its traffic. During the Depression, the railroad developed what is surely its most enduring legacy: a small fleet of converted buses -- dubbed "Galloping Geese" -- that were used as simple railcars on lightly used branchlines. The railroad struggled to survive against all odds through the Great Depression, but was finally closed in 1951.

See also our Denver & Rio Grande Western mainline steam collection

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