Locomotives pull (or sometimes even push) a train along the track. Steam locomotives move as pressurized steam created by heating water with a coal, wood or oil fire is fed to cylinders with pistons in them, causing the pistons to move back and forth. The pistons are connected via cranks to the drive wheels which propels the locomotive.

Diesel locomotives work by burning liquid fuel oil in an internal-combustion engine. The engine’s crank shaft turns an electric generator, which sends electricity to traction motors on the trucks of the locomotive. A gear on the traction motor shaft engages a gear on the axle and moves the locomotive wheels. In the following descriptions, (N) indicates narrow gauge and (S) indicates standard gauge.


Rio Grande Southern Steam Locomotive No. 20 (N)

Built in 1899, RGS No. 20 ran on the Florence & Cripple Creek Railroad southwest of Pikes Peak. Named Portland after a profitable mine in the Cripple Creek District, No. 20 hauled freight and passengers. It was sold to Rio Grande Southern in 1916 after flash floods destroyed much of the F&CC, putting that line out of business. In operation until 1951, No. 20 was purchased by the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club and eventually donated to the Museum. The Locomotive recently returned to Colorado from an extended restoration trip to Pennsylvania. It is expected to resume operation in August 2020.

Click here to watch Big train Tours: RGS No. 20

Download the RGS No. 20 Brochure

Download a Steam Locomotive Illustration

Rio Grande Southern “Galloping Geese” Nos. 2 6 & 7 (N)

Three of the original seven Galloping Geese can be found at the Museum. Created from a freight box mounted on an automobile frame, the “Geese” allowed RGS to continue passenger and freight service to remote parts of southwestern Colorado. Geese were less costly to build and operate than traditional steam passenger trains. Designed to self-balance on uneven mountain track, the swaying back half of these cars look like geese waddling down the line; hence their popular name.

Download the Goose No. 2 Brochure

Get the complete “Galloping Goose” story in “Tin Feathers, Wooden Trestles & Iron Men


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15-acre railyard with over 100 locomotives is waiting for you to explore. 


17155 W. 44th Avenue
Golden, CO 80403

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