The Ridgway Railroad Museum commemorates the town’s role as a railroad hub for the San Juan Mountains and birthplace of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad, which ran over Dallas Divide, into the mining towns of Telluride, Ophir and Rico and on to Durango.
Ridgway served the railroad’s engines in its roundhouse and housed the company’s offices from 1891 to 1953.
Visitors can walk through a carefully restored caboose and cattle car. The museum also has a boxcar, a drop-bottom gondola, a work car and a camp car, all from the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad and in various states of restoration by the museum’s volunteers.
There also is a replica of Motor No. 1, the prototype for the Galloping Goose trains that carried mail, freight and passengers through the San Juans year-round.
These strange-looking trains were specially built with a Buick or Pierce Arrow combined with a truck body and set atop railroad gear. They featured a metal snout to plow heavy snow from the rails.
The museum also has extensive archives of Western Slope railroad history.