RMGA Membership Meeting Review
Colorado Railroad Museum
Donald Tallman, the first non-railroad person to run the museum, met us at the door and welcomed all to the museum. Donald has an extensive non-profit and for-profit leadership background.
The museum is one of the Top 10 paid tourist attractions in the Denver area. Their role is to bring Colorado’s rail history to life. The museum was started in 1959 by Bob Richardson, a preservationist who liked narrow gauge railroads. It was funded by Cornelius Hauck. The grounds cover 15 acres currently and the Board is looking to expand by purchasing another 15 acres. The main building is not ADA approved – it’s 60 years old.
There have been several changes since our last visit – the paths are now paved and there is a pavilion (built in 2014) just outside the door suitable for picnics. The museum is family oriented and there are lots of exhibits for every age group. Work is always ongoing in restoring the old railroad equipment so that it can be added to the museum’s exhibits.
We all took a ride on the Galloping Goose - #7 – and we rattled around the track a couple of times. The Museum owns #2, #5, #6, and #7 of the seven Galloping Goose engines still in existence. The Galloping Geese are powered by 1930s Pierce Arrow car motors. Each of the Galloping Geese has a different type of engine. The newest engine is a 1956 truck motor. The seats in the Galloping Goose are repurposed from old trolley cars.
One hundred years ago, the railroads owned the rails, the land, and water rights as well as the right-of-way for their tracks. The 1880 locomotive, #191, is the oldest locomotive in Colorado. The roundhouse has five bays – the turntable is so well balanced that two men can move it from bay to bay.
The Uinta 50 (1900) is being refurbished and the museum hopes to have it running by spring 2018. The interior is being redone, the seats redone in mahogany and walnut.
Car V8 (1870s) was David Moffat’s (he was president of the Denver & Rio Grande railroad) business car. The Colorado State Historical Society had provided a grant to re-silver the chandelier.
The #346 (1881) engine, the Union Pacific dining car from the 1940s is here as well. There is a passenger coach that had been sitting empty since 1968 that has been redone and the reupholstery should be completed in the next four weeks. The Navajo (Santa Fe Railroad) is from the 1930’s and 1940’s when it was used by many movie stars. Within the next year, the museum expects to have the dining car able to serve food – using Union Pacific’s 1950s menus and recipes. Currently the museum can provide box lunches and your guests can use the pavilion for seating.
We also toured several exhibits: “T is for Train” is very fun – it goes through the entire alphabet with items that would be around trains – “S is for Ski Train”, “V is for Velocipede” a narrowgauge sort of bicycle made of wood that was used by railroad personnel as a repair vehicle, carrying the tools in a basket on the back. These vehicles served a 15-mile area of track. The museum has a monthly newsletter called “The Telegrapher”, and a web link.
They also publish “Iron Horse News” and have an “Iron Horse News” video. The museum also has annual publications – such as a cook book. There are many events happening at the museum: Bunny Express, SteamPunk theme, Day with Thomas (#491), the Polar Express which is an adventure based on the movie. Scenes from the movie are re-enacted and passengers ride to the “North Pole” and each child receives a gift and they all have hot chocolate and to the hot chocolate dance. This show is a 70-minute show and there are three shows each evening for 32 nights. The passengers go on a loop so they get to see all three scenes.
The museum also had a “G” scale garden railway, “HO” gauge trains in the basement, both maintained by more than 300 volunteers (the value of the volunteer time each year is about$400,000).
There is a library and archives of primarily railroad materials. These items are stored on compact shelving units – an increase of 40% more space has just been completed. Some of the maps in their collection have been digitized by the Denver Public Library.
Train operators at the museum do receive special training but they are not required to have a special license. In the summer, there are daily train rides, once in a while the steam engine will pull the train.
There is not a bus line that goes directly to the museum – either drive or take the “W” light rail line to Golden and then have Uber or Lyft take you to the museum. If you will be bringing a group to the museum, please call ahead and arrange for a docent to conduct a tour for your group – there is no extra charge for a docent. There is ample parking for group tours and coaches. The museum has had great success with groups from Germany and England.
After our ride on the Galloping Goose and Donald’s presentation, the RMGA membership had a short business meeting. Larry Foos named the new “Certified” Colorado Tour Guides and presented certificates and badges.
We had new members attend this program: Kristin and Rich Grover, the new owners of Colorado Sightseer and Wendy Pickering, recent ITMI graduate.
Questions asked by members: How do you become certified? Answer: Buy the study guide for $10 and take the test ($40) after you have been a member for one year.
Also, can RMGA members be certified in other states, do we have any reciprocal agreement with other states so that guides from other states can become a member of RMGA. Barbara Foos mentioned that she and other state NFTGA representatives discussed this question, however, no definitive action had been taken. The Board and the Certification committee will research these possibilities and report back to the membership.
Larry Foos, as Chair of the Nominating Committee (other members of this year’s committee were Tom Jensen and Nancy Brueggeman) presented the slate for 2018 and asked for nominations from the floor – none presented. New members asked how the process to nominate and elect works. Larry explained that the President appoints a committee chair, the committee chair chooses the committee and the committee arranges the slate.
The slate is the same Board as 2017’s: Mike Pearl, President; Sherry Moos, Vice President; Barbara Johnson, Treasurer; Nancy Brueggeman, Secretary, and Larry Foos, Director at Large. Ginny Gelbach moved that we accept the slate as presented, Lily Ewing seconded, motion carried.
Larry Foos reminded all of the October 21st party for retiring Newsletter editor, Kay Willson, from 2-4pm. Kay also held many other offices and was very involved over the past 20+ years in RMGA activities.
Written by Nancy Brueggeman CEO
WHAT: RMGA MEMBERSHIP MEETING – Colorado Railroad Museum
WHEN: October 9, 2017, 5:00 – 5:30pm – networking, 5:30 – 5:45pm –. Short Business Meeting. We will recognize the new RMGA Certified Colorado Tour Guides, Program 6:00. Introduce Donald Tallman.
WHERE: Colorado Railroad Museum 17155 W. 44th Avenue, Golden, CO 80403.
PROGRAM: Donald Tallman, Executive Director, will present the History of the Museum, followed with a tour.
Colorado Railroad Museum