• Railroad Buses

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This forum is for discussion of "Fallen Flag" roads not otherwise provided with a specific forum. Fallen Flags are roads that no longer operate, went bankrupt, or were acquired or merged out of existence.

Moderator: Nicolai3985

  by Pensyfan19
I was going through ye ol internet today and I stumbled upon a Pennsylvania Greyhound bus, which intrigues me of the subject of class I railroads running bus services. I'm aware of the B&O running shuttle busses from Manhattan o Communipaw, Union Pacific having bus service to Ski Resorts and Disneyland, and various kinds of buses for the Santa Fe throughout its system. I've also seen a photo or two of busses for Rock Island, Maine Central, Northern Pacific, and Great Northern, and I would like to know further information regarding these busses and where they went to. In the case of the Pennsy Greyhound bus, where did the PRR run their busses to on a daily basis?

Here's one of the images I was referring to.
  by R&DB
Central Railroad of NJ also had buses. They generally used them to replace rail service in marginal traffic areas to lower costs.
  by urr304
I have a B&O public timetable from the 1930s that shows a considerable bus service under West Virginia Transportation label.

IIRc Pennsylvania Greyhound was being used for local transport along many of the PRR's main routes while many branches still had an accomodation train. I believe that they were forced to divest their bus operations, too bad they may have had a chance to build up an integrated multi-modal passenger service.
  by Rockingham Racer
The B&M also ran buses between Lawrence, MA and Manchester, NH. These supplemented a M-F one-a-day rush hour schedule that connected with main line trains in Lawrence.
  by ExCon90
The Reading had a number of routes largely supplementing their rail routes at times of lower demand. I think that all railroads having such operations were required to eliminate them at around the same time because of the ICC's fear of monopoly, a very naughty word in the 1930's.

The New York, Susquehanna & Western established a bus connection between Susquehanna Transfer (in North Bergen, right under the NJ Route 3 overpass just where the on- and off-ramps were) and an existing off-street bus terminal in Manhattan on 41st St. between 7th and 8th Avenues. They used busses chartered from Public Service Coordinated Transport, some of them lettered Susquehanna, and moved to the Port Authority Bus Terminal when it opened. The service was advertised as the Susquehanna Short Cut because the time from Paterson to 41st St. was about the same as to Jersey City, and getting from there to 42nd St. would eat up at least another half hour. It was OK with the ICC, I suppose because the NYS&W didn't run the busses and didn't have operating authority of its own. The Erie also participated since its Northern Branch trains used the same trackage as the NYS&W through North Bergen.
  by ExCon90
The Union Pacific had a fleet of busses (Armour yellow with a red stripe) connecting with its Chicago trains at East Los Angeles for Pasadena and Long Beach (and maybe Glendale?). This also passed muster with the ICC, presumably because it was clearly an adjunct to its train service -- you couldn't buy a ticket from East LA to Pasadena.

The Santa Fe ran a through bus-rail-bus service between Los Angeles and San Francisco via Bakersfield and Richmond, using its own busses, which handled only passenger using the train as part of the trip.
  by edbear
Maine Central Transportation Co., Boston & Maine Transportation Company, New England Transportation Co. (New Haven RR), Burlington Trailways (CB&Q), Gulf Transport (GM&O), Missouri Pacific Transportation Co., SMT - Scotia Motor Transport (Canadian National in the Maritimes) and probably others. When the intercity bus industry was headed for regulation, the railroads incorporated bus subsidiaries and most of them closely followed existing rail lines. The purpose was to demonstrate that besides rail service, there was also bus service by a responsible (highly capitalized, unionized operator) so there was no need for another bus line to provide service. Boston & Maine Transportation had 80 buses and about 1600 route miles operating in 1955, Maine Central Transportation about 40 buses and 1,000 route miles. New England Transportation and Boston & Maine Transportation mimicked the railroad because they also ran trucking operations. Bangor and Aroostook also operated buses but did so as a part of the railroad, not a separate company.
  by Engineer Spike
Many of the railroad trucking companies handled local delivery of LCL traffic. They and the bus lines helped funnel traffic onto the trains. My question is whether the railroads were forced to divest their motor carrier and bus interests.

Some railroads like Boston and Maine owned airlines. Eventually the ICC forced divestiture. That’s why I asked above about bus and truck subsidiaries.
  by CarterB
B&O had a large bus operation between points in Manhattan and the JC terminal. Even had bus turntables.
  by edbear
The railroads were not required to divest themselves of their bus and truck operations. They were operated as a part of the railroad, rather than a separate operation like the airline. Usually railroad tickets were accepted for passage on the buses. The bus lines were salable. B & M Transportation's Boston-Portland route was sold to Trailways of New England. On this route, the other highway carrier was Eastern Greyhound, The Concord, NH city service and Boston-Concord route were sold to Capital Transit. Manchester-Lawrence was sold to Trombly. Maine Central sold some of their routes to Trailways which for a time operated as Maine Central Trailways. These sales were conducted in the 1955-58 era. Both the Boston & Maine Transportation Co. and New England Transportation (NYNH&H) remained in the trucking business much longer than the passenger business. NET was still operating when the Penn Central took on the New Haven and even issued an NET newsletter for employees and the public (at least one issue). B & MT was still functioning when I went to work at B & M RR in 1968. In the Boston Terminal it was moving around piggyback trailers. On one occasion B & MT hauled trailers over the roadfrom Fitchburg (I think) due to a major derailment east of there.
  by Pensyfan19
This may be a dumb question, but if a railroad states "motor" in a timetable, does that refer to a diesel railcar (or doodlebug) or a motorcoach bus? I'm looking over this 1938 Rock Island Timetable and it states "motor" for some of its local runs for remote Iowa towns.
  by ExCon90
Many midwestern roads (and the Canadian National) used the term "motor" to denote a doodlebug. From my recollection most railroads used the term "bus" or "motor coach" to denote a bus. The PRR used "Bus on Public Highway) -- just to remove all doubt.
  by D Alex
CarterB wrote: Mon Apr 26, 2021 4:27 pm B&O had a large bus operation between points in Manhattan and the JC terminal. Even had bus turntables.
Those busses became even more luxurious in the decades after your picture was made, becoming air-conditioned at a time when that was rare. There used to be 5 different terminals in NYC, most close to wealthy residential enclaves, each with a ticket office and waiting rooms. The busses took you over to the trains in Jersey City, making a long trip more seamless than any other railroad could offer.
  by ExCon90
I think the 42nd St. route was unique in that those busses used a turntable at both ends -- there was a turntable at the end of the busway between tracks 1 and 4 (replacing 2 and 3).