The Goose, music and a malted milk. They all tie together in the memory of Merle Skunberg of Fargo.

Merle attended a country school near Pelican Rapids, Minn.

When he was around 10, he and other kids from the school took the Galloping Goose branch line train to Fergus Falls, Minn., to attend a music festival.

A highlight of that trip was having lunch in a Fergus restaurant. Merle doesn't remember its name, but he sure remembers what he had there: a hamburger and a malted milk - the first malted milk he ever tasted.

"Wow!" he says. "I still remember that malt!"

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He and his pals didn't take the Goose home; his dad drove to Fergus to pick them up.

But they were happy kids, both because of having been at the festival and because of having that wonderful treat called a malted milk.

Out of 1912

Speaking of the Galloping Goose (which Neighbors does quite often, thanks to people who send in their memories of it), Paul Olson of Lake Park, Minn., sent in a 1912 issue of the "Gas Review," a publication for those working with gas engines.

This issue includes an article about the gas-electric single unit trains. Here are some of the stats:

The first were designed by the General Electric Co. Each unit weighed 31 tons. The exterior was made of steel plate while the interior was finished with Mexican mahogany. The roof was fireproof and contained 12 ventilators.

The seats were "handsomely upholstered" in green leather. Individual lights provided illumination for each seat, the vestibule, the toilet and the engine room.

The gasoline engine was coupled to an electricity-producing generator. The eight-cylinder engine produced a horsepower of 100 and up. The gasoline tank had a capacity of 90 gallons.

That's just a sampling of the information the articles provide about the this new-fangled means of transportation train that became known by some as the Dinky and by most as the Galloping Goose.

Modern progress

Vern Krile of Fargo, remembers the Goose that ran through Forest River and Voss, N.D., in the 1950s.

"It came through on the way back from Neche, N.D., on its way to Thief River Falls, Minn.," Vern says.

"You could always tell the time of day and how long you had before quitting time by hearing the Goose go by.

"Now there is no train at all (in that area), and I believe the tracks were taken out completely.

"This," Vern concludes somewhat sadly, "is modern-day progress."

Sure is, Vern. Sure is.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com