Bluehounds and Redhounds

the History of Greyhound and Trailways






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Capitol Greyhound Lines

Dr. D.B. "Doc" Rushing

©  Copyright, 2009-10, Duncan Bryant Rushing.


 

Contents

Introduction
Development
Merger into Pennsylvania GL
Beyond Capitol GL
Conclusion
Related Articles
Bibliography


 

 

Introduction

The Capitol Greyhound Lines (CpGL or CapGL), an intercity highway-coach carrier, was a Greyhound regional operating company, one of the smaller Greyhound concerns, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.  It ran from 1930 until -54, when it became merged into the Pennsylvania Greyhound Lines, a neighboring company.

Development

The Capitol Greyhound Lines (GL) came into existence in November 1930, as a joint venture (owned in two equal shares) of the Blue and Gray (B&G) Transit Company and The Greyhound Corporation (with an uppercase T, because the word the was an integral part of the official name of the corporate entity).  Its purpose was to operate a new single main line between Washington, DC, and Saint Louis, Missouri, via Winchester, Virginia, Clarksburg and Parkersburg, both in West Virginia, Chillicothe and Cincinnati, both in Ohio, Bedford and Vincennes, both in Indiana, and Olney and Salem, both in Illinois.  It ran along US highway 50 (US-50), a route shorter and six hours faster than the best alternate route then available.  [The longer route ran via Baltimore in Maryland, Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, Wheeling in West Virginia, Columbus in Ohio, Indianapolis and Terre Haute, both in Indiana, and Effingham in Illinois.]  It ran also a branch line along US-150 between Shoals, Indiana, and Louisville, Kentucky, via Paoli, Indiana.

Capitol too provided local suburban commuter service from Washington, DC, to Winchester, Virginia, and to Annapolis, Maryland, also on US-50.

[The Capitol GL had acquired two parallel routes between Washington and Annapolis in 1938 by transfer from the Richmond GL (RGL).  Those bus routes had begun in 1935, when the Peninsula Transit Company (PTC) started a replacement service after an electric interurban railway failed in business and quit running.  In 1937 the RGL bought the PTC and merged it into itself.  In 1938 Greyhound transferred the Washington-Annapolis routes from the RGL to the CapGL, because those routes were so far removed from Richmond, the center of activity of the RGL.]

Capitol ran a large number of its own through-coaches along its own route between Washington and Saint Louis.

However, it took part in only one interlined through-route (using pooled equipment in cooperation with one other carrier) – that is, the use of through-coaches on a through-route running through the territories of itself and one other company – with the Red Star Motor Coaches – connecting Washington, DC, via Annapolis with Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and Salisbury and Ocean City, both in Maryland, all three on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware, on the Delmarva Peninsula – until 1952, when the Carolina Coach Company (the Carolina Trailways) bought the Red Star concern.

The first president of the Capitol GL was Arthur Hill, the founder and president of the B&G firm and later a long-time president of the Atlantic GL.

[B&G, along with the Camel City Coach Company, in 1929 had become a part of the National Highway Transport Company, which in 1931 became renamed as the Atlantic Greyhound Lines.

Merger into Pennsylvania GL

In 1954 The Greyhound Corporation, the parent Greyhound firm, bought the 50-percent ownership interest of the Atlantic GL (which part had come from B&G) in the Capitol GL, then Greyhound merged Capitol, along with the old (second) Central GL, into the Pennsylvania GL.

Thus ended the Capitol GL.

In the next year, 1955, in another round of consolidation, Greyhound merged the New England GL into the newly enlarged Pennsylvania GL, then redesignated the resulting combined unit as the Eastern Division of The Greyhound Corporation [known also as the new (second) Eastern GL], the first of four huge new divisions [along with Southern, Western, and Central, which last name became used again (in the fifth of six instances) but with a meaning quite different from its other applications].

Late in 1960 Greyhound merged also the Richmond GL into the new (second) Eastern GL.

Beyond Capitol GL

Later, about 1969, The Greyhound Corporation reorganized again, into just two humongous divisions, named as the Greyhound Lines East (GLE) and the Greyhound Lines West (GLW); even later, about 1975, it eliminated those two divisions, thereby leaving a single gargantuan undivided nationwide fleet throughout the US.

In 1987 The Greyhound Corporation, the original umbrella Greyhound firm, which had become widely diversified far beyond transportation, sold its entire highway-coach operating subsidiary [its core bus business, known as the (second) Greyhound Lines, Inc., the (second) GLI] to a new company, named as the GLI Holding Company, based in Dallas, Texas.  The buyer was a separate, independent, unrelated firm which was the property of a group of private investors under the promotion of Fred Currey, a former executive of the Continental Trailways (later renamed as the Trailways, Inc., the TWI, also based in Dallas), which was by far the largest member company in the Trailways association (then named as the National Trailways Bus System, now named as the Trailways Transportation System).

Later in 1987 the GLI Holding Company, the new firm based in Dallas, further bought the Trailways, Inc., the TWI, its largest competitor, and merged it into the GLI.

The lenders and the other investors of the GLI Holding Company ousted Fred Currey as the chief executive officer (CEO) of the GLI after the latter firm in 1990 went into bankruptcy.

The GLI has since continued to experience difficulties and lackluster performance under a succession of new owners and new executives while continuing to reduce its level of service.  The reductions consist of hauling fewer passengers aboard fewer coaches on fewer trips along fewer routes with fewer stops in fewer communities in fewer states, doing so on fewer days (that is, increasingly operating some trips fewer than seven days per week), and using fewer through-coaches, thus requiring passengers to make more transfers (from one coach to another).

After the sale of the GLI, The Greyhound Corporation, the original parent Greyhound firm, changed its name to the Greyhound-Dial Corporation, then the Dial Corporation, then the Viad Corporation.  [The contrived name Viad appears to be a curious respelling of the former name Dial – if one scrambles the letters D, I, and A, then turns the V upside down and regards it as the Greek letter lambda – Λ – that is, the Greek equivalent of the Roman or Latin letter L.]

The website of the Viad Corporation in January 2010 makes no mention of its corporate history or its past relationship to Greyhound – that is, its origin as The Greyhound Corporation – as though to ignore or dismiss Greyhound or to escape from it.  [The GES Exposition Services, Inc., a subsidiary of the Viad Corporation, began in the 1960s as the Greyhound Exposition Services (GES).]

Conclusion

The routes of the Capitol GL no longer exist as parts of the present Greyhound route network.

Please see also any one or more of the articles (by clicking on any one or more of the links) listed in the navigational bar in the upper left part of this page.

Bibliography

Jackson, Carlton, Hounds of the Road.  Dubuque: Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, 1984.  ISBN 0-87972-207-3.

Meier, Albert, and John Hoschek, Over the Road.  Upper Montclair: Motor Bus Society, 1975.  No ISBN (due to age of book).

Schisgall, Oscar, The Greyhound Story.  Chicago: J.G. Ferguson Publishing Company, 1985.  ISBN 0-385-19690-3.

Motor Coach Age (a publication of the Motor Bus Society), various issues, especially these:

  • September 1979;
  • October 1979;
  • July 1984;
  • April-June 1995;
  • October-December 1998;
  • October-December 1999.

Backfire, the corporate newspaper for the Southeastern Greyhound Lines, all issues, from January 1938 through February 1956.

Jon's Trailways History Corner, a web-based history of Trailways by Jan Hobijn (known also as Jon Hobein).

Schedules and historical data at the website of the present Greyhound Lines.



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Posted first at 21:53 EST, Sunday, 13 December 2009.
Revised most recently at 15:16 EST, Tuesday, 09 November 2010.

 




©  Copyright, 2009-10, Duncan Bryant Rushing.