Bluehounds and Redhounds

the History of Greyhound and Trailways






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by Jon Hobein

Wheels, Water, Words, Wings, and Engines:
the Autobiography of Duncan Bryant Rushing

Chapter 2

Growing Up at Greyhound

Dr. D.B. "Doc" Rushing

©  Copyright, 2009-10, Duncan Bryant Rushing.


 

Contents

Dedication
Introduction
Greyhound in Nashville
Dixie Greyhound Lines
Southeastern Greyhound Lines
Pop's Early Times at Southeastern
My Early Times at Southeastern
The Equipment in 1943
My First Trips with Pop
New Buses!
The Silversides
Diesel Power for Southeastern
Prefix Letters for Greyhound Companies
Downshifting and Double-clutching
A Designer of Buses
Change of Ownership
The Henry J
The Highway Traveler
The Scenicruiser
Mergers, Old Coaches, and More New Ones
Seeing-eye (or Sightseeing) Dogs
Even More New – and Renewed – Buses
Motor Coach Industries
Tennessee Coach Company
Pool (Interline) Operations
A Pool with Trailways
Trailways in Nashville
Southern Coach Lines and Nashville Transit Company
Other Bus Companies in Nashville
School Buses Too
Riding with Other Drivers
Pop's Unsurpassed Smoothness
A Fork in the Road for Greyhound
A Tribute to Pop
A Lifelong Bus Nut
Acknowledgments
Related Articles


 

 

Dedication

This chapter I cheerfully dedicate to the memory of Rosalie "Rosie" Calloway Batson, one of the indispensable and invaluable ladies who made the Southeastern Greyhound Lines run smoothly.

Introduction

Greyhound (that is, the Greyhound bus business) has been an important part of my life longer than I can remember.

Pop, my father, Ernest Bryant (E.B.) Rushing, began working as a driver (coach operator) for Greyhound in 1940, when I was about six months old, and he continued until his retirement in 1977 at the mandatory age of 65.

As I said in the foreword at the start of this book, this chapter goes far beyond my own personal experiences and observations – because I wish to record here in one place, as I've never seen recorded anywhere else in a single place, a number of interesting facts – interesting to me and other bus nuts and truck nuts at least – and to some extent to car nuts as well – facts which I've accumulated throughout my life, facts about the bus business in general (along with the larger automotive industry as a whole) and the Greyhound business in particular – some of the companies, some of the people, and the coaches – especially the coaches – and the development of the coaches and their builders – against the background of the growth of the general automotive industry and culture, especially as presented in the addendum (on the historical perspective) to chapter 30.

If a reader loses interest at any point in this chapter, as some undoubtedtly will, please feel free to skip onward or downward to a more interesting, more tolerable, or less tedious part.

Some may wonder why I've bothered to write any of this at all.

Two reasons are that, as I said above, Greyhound has been a large part of my life, and I enjoy sharing some of what I've learned about an important and fascinating industry.

Greyhound in Nashville

For me in the 1940s the concept of "Greyhound" was the Southeastern Greyhound Lines (called also Southeastern, SEG, SEG Lines, or SEGL), the larger of the two Greyhound regional operating companies in Nashville, Tennessee, my hometown.

The Southeastern Greyhound Lines (GL) connected Nashville with Evansville, Louisville, Knoxville, Chattanooga (and onward to Atlanta, Macon, Savannah, and Jacksonville), Birmingham (and on to Montgomery, Mobile, Dothan, Tallahassee, and Jacksonville), and Florence, Alabama.

Throughout the 1940s and into the -50s, Southeastern in Nashville also provided extensive local commuter service to Clarksville, Camp Campbell (later renamed as Fort Campbell), Hopkinsville in Kentucky, Springfield, Smyrna Air Base (later renamed as the Sewart Air Force Base), Murfreesboro, McMinnville, and Columbia, just as the SEGL provided local commuter service based also in Atlanta, Birmingham, and Louisville.

Starting on page 204 I comment at length about the SEG Lines.

But first here's a quick look at another carrier:

Dixie Greyhound Lines

The Dixie Greyhound Lines (Dixie or DGL), the other Greyhound company in Nashville, connected our town with Memphis, on the Mississippi River and in the southwest corner of the state.

Dixie, based in Memphis, also provided local commuter service from Nashville to Dickson and Waverly, both on the way to Memphis.

The DGL had begun in Memphis in 1925 as the Smith Motor Coach Company, when James Frederick Smith, formerly a successful truck salesman, received a used truck as a gift from his previous employer (John Fisher, a truck dealer, who owned the Memphis Motor Company).

Smith removed the truck body, built a 12-seat bus body on the chassis, and started driving the vehicle himself, first between Memphis and Rosemark, northeast of Millington, in the north end of Shelby County (of which Memphis is the seat), about 25 miles from downtown Memphis to the north-northeast on state road 14 (an alternate route to Brownsville), and soon also between Memphis and Bolivar, about 66 miles to the east on US highway 64 (US-64), on the way to Chattanooga.

James Frederick Smith was the son of Captain James Buchanan "Jim Buck" Smith, who commanded steamboats on the rivers Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland – for several owners, including the Ryman Line, the property of Captain Thomas "Tom" Ryman.

[Tom Ryman in 1892 gave the funds for the construction of the Union Gospel Tabernacle in Nashville (which became renamed as the Ryman Auditorium after the donor died, in 1904, and which served as the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 until -74).]

Early in his life, before age 20, young Smith discarded his first name (James), strongly preferring to be known as Fred or Frederick.

Late in 1909, after a devastating downturn in the waterborne trade, both the father and the son worked temporarily for Clarence Saunders, the famous wholesale grocer in Memphis, the inventor of the concept of self-service retail grocery stores, the builder and the owner of the Pink Palace mansion (later and now a museum), and the man who made and lost a fortune as the founder of the Piggly Wiggly grocery-store chain.

By the end of his second year in business, Smith owned and ran 25 coaches; by the end of his third year, he had 60 of them.  [In the early years Fred operated in Memphis his own plant in which he built his bus bodies and mounted them on the truck chassis.]

During its first four years the Smith Motor Coach Company started two more routes – to Covington and on to Dyersburg, about 75 miles to the north on US-51, and to Jackson, about 82 miles to the east-northeast on US-70 – then extended three routes – the Jackson line to Nashville (the capital of the Volunteer State and in the center of it), the Dyersburg line to Union City, and the Bolivar line to Selmer and soon onward to the east, along the southern margin of the state, to Chattanooga.

Even more growth came quickly:  In 1930 the Smith company reached Paducah in Kentucky, Evansville in Indiana, and Saint Louis in Missouri, and in the next year, -31, it reached Birmingham in Alabama and Jackson in Mississippi (on the way to New Orleans in Louisiana).

In 1931 The Greyhound Corporation, the parent Greyhound firm, bought a controlling (majority) interest in the Smith Motor Coach Company, renamed it as the Dixie Greyhound Lines (as a subsidiary), and appointed Frederick Smith as the president of the DGL.

Later that year, 1931, Dixie reached as far to the north as Springfield and Effingham, both in Illinois and on the way to Chicago, thereby completing a Greyhound direct through-route between Chicago and New Orleans via Memphis, by connecting with other Greyhound regional companies – to the south with the Teche GL, later the Southeastern GL, even later the Southern GL, and to the north with the Illinois GL, later the Central GL, even later the Great Lakes GL, eventually another Central GL. [On pages 229 and 240 I discuss those changes of names and organization.]

In 1932 Smith (along with J.C. Stedman, an entrepreneur from Houston, Texas) also founded the Toddle House restaurant chain, based in Memphis.  For several years the chain expanded through a number of states, opening as many as 50 new stores each year.  [Toddle House in 1955 served as the pattern for the creation of the Waffle House chain, partly because one of the founders of the latter had worked as a manager for the former (even while secretly taking part in founding the latter).]

In January 1930 Fred Smith drew a brother, Earl William Smith Sr., two years younger than he, into the management of the Dixie GL (and later into Toddle House also).  [Earl had previously worked, in both passenger service and dining-car operations, for the Frisco (SLSF) Railway and the Santa Fe (AT&SF) Railway and as well for the Fred Harvey organization in the hospitality industry in the Far West of the US.]

For a while during the 1930s Maurice Edwin (M.E.) Moore worked as a field passenger agent for the DGL (after first working in 1928, at age 18, as a ticket agent at a bus station in Little Rock).  Sometime late in the 1930s Moore left that job with Dixie, then he founded the Arkansas Motor Coaches (based in Little Rock, Arkansas), bought 16 Flxible (pronounced as "flexible") Clippers, and started running them between Little Rock and Texarkana via Hot Springs.  [A Flxible Clipper, a product of The Flxible Company, of Loudonville, Ohio, was a small, short, modest, relatively inexpensive coach with 21-29 seats and a Buick (straight-8) or Chevrolet (straight-6) gasoline engine.]  He soon extended from Little Rock to Memphis.  In 1943 he bought the Bowen Motor Coach Company, based in Fort Worth, Texas, already a member of the Trailways association (and therefore called also the Bowen Trailways), which had become a major carrier through a large part of the Lone-star State.

Thus began the Continental Bus System, which soon led to the formation of the Transcontinental Bus System, both based in Dallas, Texas, both using the trade name of the Continental Trailways, which latter firm later became by far the largest member company in the Trailways association (named first as the National Trailways Bus System), and which in 1969 became a subsidiary of the Holiday Inns of America, based in Memphis, and which became renamed as the Trailways, Inc., the TWI – which the (second) Greyhound Lines, Inc., the (second) GLI, bought in 1987.  [In a later section in this chapter, I comment about the National Trailways system and several of the Trailways companies; on page 273 I comment about the purchase of the TWI by the GLI.]

Fred Smith also served a short time as a commissioned officer in the US Naval Reserve during World War Two (WW2).

In 1948 Fred suddenly died, and Earl succeeded him as the president of Dixie, then in -49 The Greyhound Corporation bought the minority interest of the Smith family in the DGL.  Earl remained as the president of the new division of the parent Greyhound firm) until -54, when Greyhound merged the DGL (along with the Teche GL, based in New Orleans) into the SEGL.

Earl then served as a vice president of Southeastern, although he chose to maintain his office in Memphis rather than Lexington, Kentucky, the long-time SEG headquarters – until he died in 1955.

James Frederick Smith, the founder of the Smith Motor Coach Company, was the father of Frederick Wallace Smith, who in 1971 founded Federal Express (FedEx), based in Memphis since -74.  [A part of the cash from Greyhound (in the Smith family trust fund) served as a part of the seed money for the formation or early operation or sustenance of Federal Express.]

[During my years as a professor of business, many times I used FedEx and Fred Smith the younger – along with the Smith Motor Coach Company, the Dixie GL, and Fred Smith the elder – as illustrations while discussing corporate strategy and corporate development; now (in 2010) my wife Marda and I own and operate a single-truck business firm under contract to FedEx Custom Critical, the "expediter" subsidiary of FedEx, now based in Green, Ohio, formerly known as Roberts Express, previously based in Akron, Ohio.]

Southeastern Greyhound Lines

In 1940 the Southeastern Greyhound Lines, "my" Greyhound, was still based in Lexington, Kentucky, where it had started, in 1926, as the Consolidated Coach Corporation (called also Consolidated, CCC, or the CCC Lines) – with the active participation of Guy Alexander Huguelet, a native of Charleston, South Carolina, and a lawyer of German and French-Swiss descent, who from the beginning served variously as the legal counsel, the general manager, the vice president, and, mostly, the president.  [Huguelet had begun his career in transportation by working (for six years, starting at age 15) in several clerical jobs for two railroad companies (at different times), the Southern Railway and the Atlantic Coast Line, in and around Charleston and in Charlotte, North Carolina.]

[In 1926, the same year in which Guy Huguelet and his associates in Lexington formed the Consolidated Coach Corporation, Carl Eric Wickman, Orville Snow Caesar, and their associates in Duluth, Minnesota, formed the Motor Transit Corporation (MTC), the original parent Greyhound firm, which in -29 became renamed as The Greyhound Corporation (with an uppercase T, because the word the was an integral part of the official name of the corporate entity).]

[In the previous year, 1925, two major coach builders had come into existence:

  • First, the General Motors (GM) Corporation bought a controlling (majority) interest in John Hertz's Yellow Coach (YC) Manufacturing Company, then renamed it as the Yellow Truck and Coach (T&C) Manufacturing Company (as a subsidiary, not a division, of the GM Corporation) and merged into it the General Motors (GM) Truck Company (which was then the marketing unit, rather than a manufacturing unit, for its GMC trucks).
  • Second, the American Car and Foundry (ACF) Company, a large maker of railway cars, established the ACF Motors Company.]

Consolidated, as the name suggests, had begun as a result of the acquisition and combination (that is, consolidation) of a number of small pre-existing bus companies, which extended more-or-less radially on routes reaching outward from Lexington throughout the Bluegrass State – to Frankfort and Louisville (and later onward to Owensboro and Henderson and to Evansville in Indiana), Carrollton, Madison in Indiana, Cincinnati in Ohio, Maysville, Ashland (and onward for a while to Huntington in West Virginia), Paintsville, Pikeville, Hazard, Harlan, Corbin (and later beyond to Knoxville via Williamsburg in Kentucky and LaFollette in Tennessee), Middlesboro (and later on an alternate route to Knoxville via Tazewell and Maynardville, all three in Tennessee), Somerset (and later directly on to Chattanooga via Oneida and Dayton, while bypassing Knoxville, all four in Tennessee), Bardstown, Columbia, Glasgow, Scottsville, Burkesville, Tompkinsville, Paducah (for a while), and Bowling Green (and, in 1927, onward to Nashville in Tennessee).

Consolidated had spread farther to the south and southeast, primarily by buying even more existing bus operations, including, in 1930, the Union Transfer Company (UTC), which had begun in 1924.  Union, based in Nashville, provided the CCC Lines with the routes connecting Nashville with Knoxville, Chattanooga, Hopkinsville in Kentucky, and Florence and Birmingham, both in Alabama, plus a link between Knoxville and Chattanooga.

The other acquired firms included two in the "Heart of Dixie" – the Alabama Bus Company (running from Chattanooga through Birmingham to Mobile, the entire length of the state) and the Capital Coaches (running from Birmingham through Montgomery to Dothan), both bought also in 1930.

[In the previous year, 1929, the Old South Coach Lines had come into existence to buy (from the same Alabama Bus Company) a short branch line, with a length of about 59 miles, between Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, both in Alabama, then promptly had extended about 93 more miles, by application rather than purchase, from Tuscaloosa to Meridian, Mississippi; in 1930 Old South became bought by and merged into the Teche Lines (which in -34 became renamed as the Teche Greyhound Lines), thereby completing the Teche route between New Orleans and Birmingham.]

After the CCC began running through Birmingham, it soon started a direct route between Birmingham and Atlanta via Anniston, Alabama, and Tallapoosa, Georgia, as soon as that part of US-78 became passable or operable.

From an early date Consolidated had operated in conjunction with Greyhound in a friendly and cooperative way, with through-ticketing of passengers, through-checking of their baggage, and coordinated connecting schedules, all of which provided a strong advantage to each company along with much convenience to their customers.

The CCC sought, among other carriers, the Greyhound Lines of Georgia, a new and relatively small but significant operation in the Peach State, which by that time had become a single-line company (after initial growth and subsequent paring or pruning) on a route between Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Jacksonville, Florida, through Atlanta and Macon, both in Georgia.  [In the Greyhound Lines of Georgia, the words of Georgia were an integral part of the official name of the corporate entity, not merely a descriptive phrase.]  That regional Greyhound company had started in 1928 as a subsidiary of the Motor Transit Corporation (MTC), the original "big" parent Greyhound firm, although that subsidiary in Georgia was then isolated from the rest of the Greyhound empire in that early time in the building of the company's route network – isolated except at its southern end, in Jacksonville, which in 1931 the Atlantic GL, another regional company, also reached from the north and northeast along the East Coast.

The Greyhound Lines of Georgia was a result of the work of J.C. Steinmetz, whom the officers of the MTC had sent in 1927 to the Southeast to spearhead the growth of Greyhound in that direction and to provide Greyhound with a gateway for the important (that is, potentially lucrative and therefore profitable) passenger traffic between Florida and the populous Midwest.

In 1929 the Motor Transit Corporation became renamed as The Greyhound Corporation, and in -30 the company moved its administrative headquarters from Duluth, Minnesota, to Chicago, Illinois, which had already begun to emerge as the major gateway for highway travel between the East and the West.  [The firm had already moved its operating headquarters to Chicago.]

The Greyhound Corporation renamed the Greyhound Lines of Georgia, running between Chattanooga and Jacksonville, as the Southeastern Greyhound Lines and in 1931 sold it to the Consolidated Coach Corporation.  Consolidated began operating the SEG Lines along the route between Chattanooga and Jacksonville, thereby making connections (in Jacksonville and Lake City) for various points throughout Florida via the Florida Motor Lines (FML), which in 1946 became renamed as the Florida Greyhound Lines (FGL).

Consolidated also made connections in Dothan, Alabama, with the Union Bus Company (the UBC, completely separate and different from the Union Transfer Company, the UTC, based in Nashville), which former Union firm in turn made connections in Tallahassee, Lake City, and Jacksonville with the Florida Motor Lines for points along the Gulf Coast and elsewhere in the Sunshine State.

Thus Consolidated connected the Florida market with Greyhound in the Midwest – in Birmingham (and onward to Memphis, Little Rock, Fort Smith, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and points beyond), in Evansville (and onward to Saint Louis, Kansas City, Omaha, Denver, and beyond), in Louisville (and onward to Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and beyond), and in Cincinnati (and onward to Dayton, Toledo, Detroit, Columbus, Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown, and beyond).

Through the purchase of the SEGL, Consolidated acquired the right to use the Greyhound dog trademark, the Greyhound color scheme (blue and white), and the Greyhound and Southeastern names.

Shortly afterward that same year, 1931, with the consent of The Greyhound Corporation, Consolidated began using the name of the Southeastern Greyhound Lines as a brand name, trade name, or service name for its entire operation (not just between Chattanooga and Jacksonville) and began placing the Greyhound dog, the Greyhound name, and the Greyhound color scheme on all its coaches, and the drivers and other workers began wearing Greyhound uniforms, even though the official name of the company continued, albeit temporarily, as the Consolidated Coach Corporation.  For that reason between 1931 and -36 the coaches bore the names of both Greyhound, in large lettering, and Consolidated, in small sublettering.

In 1936, however, the Consolidated Coach Corporation became renamed as the Southeastern Greyhound Lines, Inc.  The home office remained in Lexington, and the officers and other employees continued as before.

Thus Southeastern became a maverick or atypical Greyhound company, one of only two major affiliates sometimes called the non-Greyhound Greyhound companies.

[The other one was the Overland GL, based in Omaha, Nebraska, which began as two related carriers – the Union Pacific (UP) Stages, a highway-coach subsidiary of the Union Pacific (UP) Railroad, and the Interstate Transit Lines, another such subsidiary jointly owned by the UP Railroad and the Chicago and Northwestern (C&NW) Railway, which two firms also jointly (with the Southern Pacific, SP, Railroad) operated several passenger trains (including "The Overland Limited", a famous signature streamliner) between Chicago and California on "The Overland Route" (a long-time nickname of the UP Railroad, which in part followed the Overland Trail, one of the early wagon trails used during the westward expansion of the US before the railways) between Chicago and Los Angeles.]

The SEGL remained under separate ownership through the last day of 1950.  That is, SEG was an independent corporation under independent ownership, not a division or subsidiary of The Greyhound Corporation, not until later, not until the first day of 1951.

[One subtle but significant consequence of the independent status was that the coaches of those two companies bore the full names of the Overland Greyhound Lines and the Southeastern Greyhound Lines, whereas, starting about 1935, the coaches of all the captive Greyhound divisions and subsidiaries bore the collective or abbreviated name of the "Greyhound Lines".]

In 1934 the Consolidated Coach Corporation and the Union Bus Company, acting jointly, bought three routes from the Hood Coach Lines – one from Macon to Savannah, one from Atlanta to Macon, and one from Macon to Jacksonville via Waycross, Georgia.  The first one went to the UBC and the latter two went to the CCC, thereby gaining for Union and Consolidated (and therefore later for Greyhound) not only a new route between Macon and Savannah and a parallel alternate one between Atlanta and Macon but also a quicker alternate route between Macon and Jacksonville (about 50 miles shorter than the older one via Valdosta, Georgia, and Lake City, Florida).

In 1938 the Southeastern Greyhound Lines, Inc., became listed for trade on the New York Stock Exchange (the "big board"), as not only the first corporation based in Lexington thus listed but also the first bus-operating company anywhere.  [Although The Greyhound Corporation had in -35 become listed on the big board, that parent firm did not in -35 operate buses at all, for it then was still merely a holding company rather than an operating company, while the subsidiary companies conducted the operations.]

Southeastern about 1944 introduced one clever twist along with its use of the Greyhound dog (especially as applied to the sides of the coaches), possibly in part a response to the "Battle of Britain" target-like symbol used during WW2 with the dogs on the sides of the coaches belonging to the divisions and the subsidiaries of the parent Greyhound firm.  The SEGL superimposed the dog onto a compass rose in a way which emphasized the letters SE (for southeast on the rose).  That use continued until the GM Silversides PD-3751 coaches began to arrive (late in 1947) with the standard dogs without compass roses, and until the last of the 1948 ACF-Brill IC-41 parlor coaches and the last of the 1949 ACF-Brill C-44 suburban coaches arrived with their dogs with the compass roses, and until the last of the ACF and ACF-Brill coaches with the roses later became in due course repainted without the roses.

As one might expect, through the years the CCC and the SEGL bought a number of other smaller companies and merged them into themselves.

In 1941 Southeastern acquired important and strategic routes by buying two more firms in the Deep South – the Dixie Coaches (separate and different from the Dixie Greyhound Lines), running from Florence, Alabama, to Birmingham and from Florence to Mobile via Tuscaloosa, and the Union Bus Company (separate and different from the Union Transfer Company), running from Macon to Savannah and from Jacksonville to Dothan via Lake City, Tallahassee, and Marianna.

SEG and Union had become closely affiliated with each other shortly after the routes of the two firms intersected with one another in Jacksonville, Lake City, and Dothan – to the extent that the UBC coaches began to appear in the SEG livery, including the dogs, with the names of both the Southeastern Greyhound Lines, in large lettering, and the Union Bus Company, in small sublettering – and to the extent that the UBC began to operate coaches which SEG provided to Union (even new ACF coaches which SEG had bought specifically for the UBC).

[Laddie Hamilton, the former owner of the Dixie Coaches, became the regional manager of SEG in Tuscaloosa; Clifford (C.G.) Schulz, the former owner of the Union Bus Company, became a vice president and a director of Southeastern and long continued as such (and eventually became the single largest shareholder in SEG), then in 1950 he became a member of the board of directors of The Greyhound Corporation, in anticipation of the sale and purchase of the SEGL.]

Another acquisition took place late in the life of the SEG Lines:  In 1949 SEG bought the Alaga Coach Lines, which ran between Columbus, Georgia, and Panama City, Florida, via Dothan, Alabama.  SEG allowed Alaga to continue operating separately as a wholly owned subsidiary of the SEGL until the first day of -51, when Alaga became merged into SEG, and when SEG became a division of the parent Greyhound firm.  [Alaga is an acronym for the abbreviations of the names of Alabama and Georgia.]

But I've gone far ahead, so let's return to 1940.

Pop's Early Times at Southeastern

While I was a newborn, Pop realized that he could not well support his family on his meager income from the Western Auto Supply Company – first as a salesman (at the downtown store at 500 Deaderick Street, on the northwest corner of the intersection at Fifth Avenue North, next door to the old main station of the Nashville Fire Department, all of which is now a part of the site of the Andrew Jackson State Office Building) – and later as an "installer" who supervised the establishment of new Western Auto stores across Tennessee and in nearby areas.

His inquiries eventually led him to an opportunity for new drivers, then called coach operators, at the Southeastern GL.

One of his leads to that opening was Herbert Vincent (H.V.) "Bert" Brown, quite handsome and uncommonly pleasant and congenial, one of Mother's maternal first cousins (one of the sons of Edith Woodall Brown, my Aunt "Kitty", one of the two sisters of Mother's mother, Pearl Anita Woodall Duncan), who had grown up in Louisville but had moved to Nashville.  Even as a teenager Bert had driven tractor-trailer rigs in and around Nashville for a small trucking firm belonging to Leonard Vincent (L.V.) Thorpe, one of our uncles (the husband of the other sister of Mother's mother).  Bert started driving for SEG in 1939.

After our Uncle Leonard's company failed during the Great Depression, the Thorpe family – Leonard, his wife, Eunice (my Aunt "Noon"), and their son Jack – moved back to Louisville, where they still had several relatives.

Later, during WW2, Uncle Leonard worked as a dispatcher for the SEG Lines at the Greyhound station on the post at Camp Knox (later renamed as Fort Knox), near Elizabethtown ("E-town"), Kentucky, on US-31W between Louisville and Nashville.  [There he was known as "the old man".]

The manager of the Union Bus Station in Nashville was Rellie Sadler, a native of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County, as was Pop.  He had a known history of helping boys from his home county in getting jobs at Southeastern.  [The site of that station, on the southeast corner of Commerce Street at Sixth Avenue North, is now a part of the Nashville Convention Center.]

[A "union" bus station is a bus station which serves more than one carrier.  The union station in Nashville first served not only Greyhound but also Trailways and a few other small companies.  It later became redesignated simply as a Greyhound station – sometime in the late 1940s, when the local Trailways firm built its own station farther to the south and across the street in the same block on Sixth Avenue North – so afterward the former union station served only the Dixie GL and the Southeastern GL plus the Tennessee Coach Company (TCC), which was closely allied with Greyhound (until 1956, when the TCC broke its ties with Greyhound and defected to Trailways instead).

So Pop applied for a job as a coach operator and soon became hired, thus starting a career which continued nearly 37 years.  He took several weeks of training at the Southeastern headquarters in Lexington, then he started working from the Nashville terminal.

After he completed his training in Lexington, he then made several trips as a "cub" with seasoned trainer drivers on revenue runs before the company turned him loose on his own.  His first trip (while he was a cub) took place to Knoxville and back with Gordon Haralson, who had started with the Consolidated Coach Corporation in 1935, not long after Consolidated, in -30, had bought the Union Transfer Company, and who later became a good friend of both Pop and me.

[Many years later, in 1977, during my first summer as a professor of business at David Lipscomb College, when Pop had just retired, and after Gordon had already retired, Pop, Gordon, and I – along with several other retired bus drivers, including Bill Terry, from the SEGL, and Mike Burkett, from the Nashville Transit Company, who for several years had ridden with Pop on his midnight run to Chattanooga, returning to his home on the Murfreesboro Pike near LaVergne after Mike had gotten off from his night job at the city-bus company – all of us drove part-time for the Gray Line sightseeing franchisee in Nashville, driving several worn-out former-Greyhound GM PD-4106 buses and several worn-out GM Fishbowl TDH-5301 city-transit buses from the Memphis Transit Authority.]

After Pop finished his time as a cub in 1940, he pulled his own first assignment (his first trip alone as a new Greyhound coach operator at the bottom of the totem pole on the extra board) on a glorious one-time second section on an afternoon suburban commuter trip all the way to Goodlettsville (on the road to Springfield or Bowling Green) and back.

Fortunately and naturally, other longer and more serious (and better-paying) assignments soon came his way while he continued on the extra board, driving wherever the next bus needed to go when he rotated each time to the top of the call list.

Early during WW2 Southeastern increased the number of regular runs to meet the increased demand for its services, thus allowing Pop to bid onto his first regular run despite his relative shortage of seniority.  [His first regular assignment was to Evansville, Indiana, as was true for most other new drivers, because the runs to Evansville were the least desirable ones, because they paid the least, because they had the fewest miles.]

My Early Times at Southeastern

Several of my oldest memories pertain to trips to the Greyhound shop or the Greyhound station or both in Nashville – and especially to rides with Pop on his buses between the shop and the station (at the start or the end of one of his trips) – starting about 1943, when I was 3 years old.

Incredibly, perhaps, I still have detailed recollection of even those earliest events.  I vividly recall the buses, the people, the surroundings, the odors, the sounds, and the conversations, especially the buses – the buses – because I had already become irrevocably hooked on the buses and everything about them.

On one of my first visits to the shop, one of the managers gave me two small plastic pins in the shape of the Greyhound dog, about an inch and a half long, a blue one and a white one.

One of the ladies in the office that day – and every day after day for many years (1934-71) – was Rosalie "Rosie" Calloway, who later became Rosalie Calloway Batson, when she marrried Bud Batson, a mechanic in the shop.

Another of the ladies in the office was Dorothy "Dot" Brown Voss, who also faithfully and effectively worked there many years (1930-70).

The other long-time ladies in the office included Fay Cole and Rose Autry (who was an aunt of Ralph Autry Jr., one of my classmates at David Lipscomb High School and a sometime fellow parishioner at the Chapel Avenue Church of Christ in Nashville).

Rosie Batson retired from Greyhound many years ago, but she was still one of my special friends until her death in 2010.  She was the sweet person to whom I’ve happily dedicated this chapter.

She was not only a writer but also the leader and spark plug of a group of lady writers who met monthly for lunch in Green Hills in Nashville.

She was the long-time correspondent or field editor in Nashville for the Backfire, the company newspaper for the Southeastern GL.

Rosie compiled a complete collection, now professionally bound, of the Backfire, from the first issue in January 1938 through the last one in February -56, along with a variety of memorabilia as well as several scrapbooks filled with newspaper clippings and other materials dealing with the Southeastern company and the Southeastern people in and around Nashville.  [One of her scrapbooks contains a clipping of the engagement announement of Kay White, my first bride, in 1966.]

In the spring of 2006 I spent three delightful Friday afternoons with Rosie, looking through all her scrapbooks and her entire Backfire collection.

One of the managers in Nashville in the early days was Russell Gordon (R.G.) McIlvain, who had started in 1925 as a driver for the Red Star Transportation Company, a predecessor of Consolidated and Southeastern, running from Lexington to Maysville and to Cincinnati.

Another pioneer, who had died shortly before my time, was Samuel "Sam" Ford Crowley, who during 1924-29 had owned and operated the Crowley Bus Line, running between Henderson and Providence, both in Kentucky, along US-41A on an alternate route between Evansville and Madisonville.  In -29 he sold his business to the developing Consolidated Coach Corporation, thus providing one segment of one route between Nashville and Evansville.  Sam then worked as a driver for the CCC and the SEGL.  He retired in -39 due to his bad health, and he died in -40.

While I was a kid, at every opportunity I eagerly went to the shop, the station, or both.  I especially enjoyed going to the shop.  While Pop looked after his business in the office, or while he played cards with other drivers upstairs in the drivers' room, I hung out at a raised island near the foot of the stairway to and from the drivers' room.  [Sometimes some of the other drivers treated me to Cokes and candy bars from the vending machines nearby, as did Pop.]  First I just stood there and watched the activity all around.  Later I started riding with one of the hostlers while he shuffled the buses around the shop.  Then I started sniffing around and checking out the various shops – the body shop, the upholstery shop, the paint shop, the engine shop, and the tire shop.

Many of the other drivers often referred to me as "E.B. Jr.", "Little E.B.", "Little Rushing", or Pop's "shadow".

Those experiences at the shop gave me some invaluable insights into the buses, their construction, and their machinery.

One night, at the age of about 3, I made my first trip (chaperoned, of course) into one of the service pits below an ACF coach.  How many other kids have ever seen the underside of a Greyhound bus?  A few but not many.

One day at the age of about 10, under the close supervision of one of the mechanics, I started doing work on the GM 6-71 diesel engines; another day about the same time I learned in the paint shop how to do spray painting.

While I was a kid, two of my wheeled toys eventually became repainted in Greyhound décor – my Western Flyer wagon, with dual rear wheels, and my Western Flyer bicycle, both from Western Auto stores.  A worker in the paint shop sprayed the sideboards for my wagon with Greyhound blue, then, using a stencil, sprayed white dogs onto them.  [After that I added contrived changeable destination signs to the nose and the right side of the wagon.]  Several years later a painter at the shop converted the frame of my bike into a medium shade of Greyhound interior blue.  [I then installed chrome-plated fenders on the bike.]

In the fall of 1951, when the GM "Henry J" PD-4103 began to arrive in Nashville, the SEG shop still did not yet have a way to refuel the diesel-powered equipment, although the GM Silversides PD-3751 had operated through Nashville since late in -47.  [All the Silversides coaches, none of which had yet become based in Nashville, just kept on passing through town (on through-skeds) without becoming refueled in Nashville.]  Afterward Southeastern installed a larger fueling facility, which could dispense both gasoline and diesel fuel.  Meanwhile, though, since the Henry J had begun to operate in and out of the Nashville shop, until the new fueling facility became complete, in a temporary solution, the SEG hostlers shuttled any diesel-powered car around the block to the shop of the Dixie GL, just across an alley on a one-way street (Fifth Avenue South), for long enough to become refueled there and returned to the SEG shop.  I took my first ride on a Henry J by going around the block with a hostler to get fuel at the Dixie shop.

While attending David Lipscomb High School, a Christian school on the opposite side of town from our home, and while commuting each day on the city buses, on my way back home in the afternoons I often paused downtown, in the process of transferring from the Granny White line to the Porter Road line, and I often walked down to the Greyhound shop and poked around there for a while.  Those afternoons I often sought a particular pair of cleaners, two workers whom we then called colored ladies, named Mary and Roberta.  I talked with them at length, checked out the buses which they cleaned on the inside, and sometimes moved with them from one bus to another.

One of my special joys consisted of my rolling the destination signs on the coaches through all the towns listed on them.  That's an oddball interest, but I enjoyed doing that, and I still do.

About the same time I occasionally visited Paulyne "Polly" Terrell, who managed the Greyhound travel bureau, housed at the ground level in the corner office of the station building on Commerce Street at Sixth Avenue North.  Polly began giving me her copy of the Russell's Guide from the previous month.  [The Russell's Guide was to the intercity-bus business as the Official Airline Guide (OAG) was to the airline industry; it published (in a volume which was then about two and a half inches thick) a collection of all the schedules of all the intercity-bus carriers all over the country.]  I spent many happy hours with my face in those books, devouring that tantalizing data about the bus operations all over the nation.  [After Fred Currey in 1987 bought the Greyhound bus business (along with most of Trailways) and completely ruined both companies, Greyhound eventually withdrew from the Russell's Guide and started publishing its own schedule books.]

After I reached the age of about 14, one of the workers in the tire shop began to allow me to move the buses around the ready lot beside the building.

One time Bill "Gildersleeve" Kelly, one of the other drivers, told Pop that he could always tell when I had swung by the shop, because I had found out which bus Bill would drive to Florence later that afternoon, then I had gone to his bus on the ready line, had cleaned his seat and his steering wheel, and had placed  FLORENCE  on his destination sign.

Some kids played ball in the afternoons; I played with buses.

The Equipment in 1943

In my first memories of Southeastern, from 1943, the equipment consisted almost entirely of gasoline-powered ACF coaches, the products of the ACF Motors Company, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which was a subsidiary of the American Car and Foundry (ACF) Company, a major builder of railway rolling stock (railway cars).

In 1925 the parent ACF company had formed the ACF Motors Company and had bought three pre-existing firms: the Fageol Motors Company of Ohio (but not the original western Fageol Motors Compay, which continued to operate independently in California), the Hall-Scott Company (the supplier of engines to both Fageol concerns), and the J.G. Brill Company (the premier builder of horsecars, cablecars, streetcars, railcars, and trackless trolley coaches – and the largest such builder in the US). [In the Fageol Motors Company of Ohio, the words of Ohio were an integral part of the official name of the corporation, not merely a descriptive phrase, distinguishing it from the original Fageol Motors Company, which continued until 1938 as a separate entity based in California.]

In that same year, 1925, the parent ACF company formed a holding company, named as The Brill Corporation (with an uppercase T, because the word the was an integral part of the official name of the corporate entity), then, through a series of complex legal and financial transactions, placed its four new operating subsidiaries – the ACF Motors Company, the Fageol Motors Company of Ohio, the Hall-Scott Company, and the J.G. Brill Company – under The Brill Corporation, its new holding firm.  [The Brill Corporation was the name of a distinct corporate entity, not merely a descriptive term for the J.G. Brill Company.]

[The name Fageol is pronounced as "fad-jull", rhyming with "fragile" or "satchel".]

In the addendum (on the historical perspectivtive) at the end of chapter 30, I refer again to the changes in the ownership of those companies – and much more.

The ACF models on the Southeastern roster in 1943 were the H-9-P (in three slightly different versions), H-15-P, 37-P, 37-PB, 29-PB, and 37-PBS.

The H-9-P, introduced in 1935, was the first ACF flat-front intercity coach (with a P as in "parlor type") – adapted from the H-9-S, a city bus (with an S as in "streetcar type") – with an under-floor engine (a Hall-Scott gasoline engine), as contrasted with the standard or conventional design with the engine in the front under a long hood.

[In 1925, when the ACF Motors Company began operating – that is, when it took over the Fageol Motors Company of Ohio and its plant in Kent, near Akron – including the eastern rights to the use of the design and the brand name of the Fageol Safety Coaches (east of the Rocky Mountains) – ACF started building long-nose parlor coaches and city-transit coaches, branded still as Fageol Safety Coaches – then ACF soon started building instead similar coaches, but not quite identical ones, branded as ACF, then it transferred bus production from the Kent plant (formerly the Fageol plant) to an otherwise idle ACF railway-car plant in Detroit (previously the plant of the Michigan-Peninsular Car Company, which had come into existence in 1892, and which ACF had acquired in 1899 during the founding of the parent ACF company).]

The H-9-P was also the first model in a long line of products which SEG faithfully bought from ACF and, later, ACF-Brill – through 1949, when the SEGL had just started buying diesel-powered coaches from the GM Corporation, as had already all the other Greyhound regional operating companies.  [The first five Southeastern H-9-P buses were among the early ones of that model.]

[Although the H-9-P was the first ACF flat-front intercity coach, ACF had built flat-front city-transit buses since 1928, when ACF hurrriedly developed its model H-10 to compete against the radical new Twin Coach model 40, which Frank and William Fageol had introduced in -27, shortly after their brief employment as vice presidents of the new ACF Motors Company.]

The H-9-P, 37-P, 37-PB, and 37-PBS were about 33 feet long; the H-9-P had 36 seats, and each of the others had 37.  [The H-9-P had only 36 chairs because it had a single porter's seat, whereas each of the others had a double porter's seat; later (on pages 216 and 217) I comment on the porter's seat.]

The H-15-P and the 29-PB were shorter, used on routes with lighter patronage; each of them was about 30 feet long and had 28 or 29 chairs.

The first version of the H-9-P presented a dated appearance, using an air-operated folding leaf-type door (as on a city-transit car) and imitation railway lanterns as the corner marker lamps); the second version introduced a slightly more modern and more pleasant styling, using standard automotive marker lamps; the third version began the use of an air-operated sedan-type door, which continued on all following ACF and ACF-Brill parlor cars.

Previously Southeastern (and Consolidated even earlier) had owned and run a variety of long-nose coaches of several makes, including Reo, Studebaker, White, and Yellow Coach – with many of them inherited during the acquisitions of the predecessor carriers.

When Pop started, in 1940, he drove among others a number of White 54-A conventional long-nose buses, in two slightly different versions, with attractive streamlined Art Deco styling.

Sadly, I do not recall the White long-hood buses, although I do barely recall several of them, the surviving ones in better condition, after they had become converted into a forward-control (flat-front) cab-over-engine (CoE) design, using new Wayne bodies, resembling school buses.

[The Southern Coach Manufacturing Company carried out some of the conversions of the White 54-A long-nose coaches – by removing the original bodies and installing the replacement Wayne bodies.  Stanley Green (or Greene) had founded that firm in 1941 in Evergreen, Alabama, on US-31 between Mobile and Montgomery.  It later started building motor coaches under the brand name of Southern.  In 1963, in the face of increasing competition from GM, its diesel engines, and its other superior products, Southern ceased building coaches – except that in -63 The Flxible Company bought Southern and until -76 in Evergreen built a modest number of Flxette minibuses.]

One day about 1941 on a detour between Franklin, Kentucky, and Springfield, Tennessee, during a rebuilding of US-31W, while Pop drove a long-nose White 54-A bus between Nashville and Louisville, an electric problem started a fire which, fueled by gasoline, quickly burned the whole thing to the ground.  [The original body of a 54-A consisted of an aluminum skin attached to a wooden – wooden! – framework – according to the norm for that era.]  Fortunately, nobody sustained an injury or lost any property.

Because new coaches were so scarce during WW2, the company bought by necessity whatever it could get, so there were also two Flxible Clippers based in Nashville (one with a Buick engine and one with a Chevrolet engine), occasional visiting Aerocoach P-37 buses from Louisville, and several Chevrolet and International truck chassis with Wayne high-roof school-bus bodies (with adult-size seats spaced on adult-size intervals), used often for commuter trips to the two nearby military posts (Camp Campbell and the Smyrna Air Base) and in a bus system which SEG operated (for the US Army) within the limits of Camp Campbell, along with several tractor-trailer rigs (derisively called cattle cars), using various makes of tractors, including Mack, Dodge, and GMC.

As soon as WW2 ended, the non-ACF equipment quickly disappeared.

My First Trips with Pop

In the spring of 1944 I made my first real trip with Pop out of town.  Mother and I rode with him on a daytime turnaround run to Florence, Alabama, and back – on a solid-white ACF 37-PBS with gray dogs and gray lettering.

Many years later I learned that the 37-PBS was a 1942 wartime product strictly allotted by the federal Office of Defense Transportation (ODT), and that the S in PBS meant that the body was built of steel rather than the customary aluminum – because steel was then less scarce than aluminum and thus less severely rationed, due to the furious use of aluminum in the manufacture of military aircraft for use in the war.

Shortly after the trip to Florence and back, Mother and I rode with Pop on a turnaround run to Chattanooga and back, southbound in the afternoon daylight, northbound in the early evening, on another ACF, a 37-PB.

On the southbound leg that day, during the rest stop at the Monteagle Hotel on top of Monteagle Mountain, Pop and Mother made a snapshot of me beside a large statue of an eagle at ground level in front of the hotel.  [That same eagle now stands on the tower atop Derryberry Hall, the admin building at the Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, where my sister, Priscilla, earned her BS degree (in secretarial science) in 1971, and where I earned my MBA degree in -80.]

While Southeastern operated ACF coaches, when a member of a driver's family rode along, the usual place for the relative was the porter's seat, right beside the driver, across the aisle from the driver, with an unobstructed view through the windscreen.

The porter's seat was a favorite spot for bus fans as well.

Some drivers also tended to invite attractive young women to ride there.

Otherwise many drivers found it convenient to load the porter's seat with the bundles of newspapers and other small parcels which they set off or tossed out at rural stations along the way, partly because uninitiated passengers often leaned forward, thus blocking the driver's view of the right-hand rear-view mirror, mounted outside the window beside the porter's seat.

Naturally, the porter's seat was the regular place for Mother and me.

The porter's seat and the placement of it resulted from a major quirk in the basic design of the ACF coaches – that is, the set-forward position of the front axle, which made it necessary for the passenger door to be behind the right-front wheel rather than at the front of the right side.

In 1928, when ACF introduced its first flat-front city-transit coach, the model H-10 – in a competitive response to the new Twin Coach model 40 from the Fageol brothers – the design of the ACF H-10 included a set-forward front axle with the door behind the axle, although the Twin Coach had a set-back front axle with the door ahead of the axle.

ACF labeled its front-axle arrangement as the "metropolitan" design.

As long as ACF and ACF-Brill continued to build parlor intercity coaches, they all used the metropolitan axle arrangement.

ACF also continued using the metropolitan axle layout for several more models of their city-transit and suburban coaches – until 1947, when ACF-Brill introduced the completely new postwar C-36 and C-44, which included a set-back front axle with a door at the front of the right side – but only on city-transit and suburban coaches, not on intercity parlor coaches.

In 1945 Mother and I made a trip with Pop, aboard two different 37-P cars, on through-skeds running between Louisville and Birmingham.  That was my first trip which included an overnight stay – to Birmingham and to the Redmont Hotel, which the company used many years for the drivers, until 1950, when the company built a new station, on the same site as the old one, a new one which included a dormitory for drivers in the basement.

During the demolition of the old station and the construction of the new one, Southeastern, along with the Dixie GL and the Teche GL, temporarily operated in and out of the passenger terminal of the Louisville and Nashville (L&N) Railroad.

Unfortunatelely, the architects for the new station missed a basic point in the layout.  They placed the drivers' dorm directly below a hallway leading to and from the ladies' washroom adjoining the main waiting room.  In those times many women travelers still often wore high-heel shoes.  Thus a constant parade of high-heel shoes marched and clicked and clacked up and down the long hallway at all hours of day and night, on a concrete slab which served as not only the floor of the hallway but also the ceiling of the dorm, while out-of-town drivers tried to sleep and get their rest before driving back to their home terminals.  Good planning!  Very perceptive and sensitive!

That "new" station in Birmingham is still in use in 2010.  The sleeping rooms in the dorm are no longer in use for layover, but the lounge and the washroom in the basement remain in use as facilities for drivers.

Let's back up to 1946.  [Three toots on the horn.]

New Buses!

The year 1946 was a thrilling time for me – because the war had ended, because my family and I had moved into a new house (a home of our own, our first), because I had gotten a bedroom of my own, because I entered the first grade, and because the brand-new postwar coaches began to arrive – the gorgeous new ACF-Brill IC-41 – with air-conditioning! – a first at Southeastern (except for 15 specially equipped ACF 37-P and -PB coaches used in the extra-fare premium limited-stop service before WW2 between Florida and several major Midwestern cities, not via Nashville but rather directly via Lexington and Chattanooga).

[This seems a good place to insert a whimsical note:  Late in 1945, shortly after my family and I moved into our new home (at 533 Skyview Drive in the Rolling Acres subdivision in the Inglewood section in Nashville), one day I went with Pop to the Greyhound shop, where one of the workers spray-painted a Greyhound dog, about 24 inches long, onto a white sheet of aluminum, and another worker cut out the painted dog on a bandsaw.  Then we went to a sign shop on the north side in the 400 block of Deaderick Street, where a man painted the number 533 onto the side of the dog.  After that I happily watched while Pop attached the numbered dog onto the gable end of the stoop above the front door of our new house.  That dog remained there some years (until sometime in the late 1950s, I think), until he became so weather-worn that he became removed and retired.]

In the summer of 1946 Mother and I rode with Pop on a turnaround run to Chattanooga and back on one of those lovely new ACF-Brill cars.

Those new coaches were cool and impressive.  The styling was outstanding.  I still think it is.  That design was so sharp and attractive that it was several years ahead of its time.  [It included a wraparound windscreen, although that feature did not appear on most automobiles until 1955, nine years later.]  The IC-41 became so successful and popular with so many carriers that several other builders, even GM, responded by creating competing (and imitating) designs, including the GM Henry J PD-4103, which reached the market in 1951.

The IC-41 had standard turn signals – another first at Southeastern (except on a few temporary wartime Aerocoach P-37 cars in 1944 and -45) – although a few other carriers, mostly Trailways member companies, already owned earlier ACF models with optional turn signals – and although Yellow (and the subsequent GM) parlor coaches had featured turn signals as standard items since 1937, when Yellow introduced the model 743, the second version of the Super Coach, an early flat-front intercity bus.

Incidentally, during WW2 two significant mergers took place among the coach builders:

  • First, in 1943 the General Motors (GM) Corporation merged its Yellow Coach (YC) subsidiary, named as the Yellow Truck and Coach (T&C) Manufacturing Company, with the GMC truck operation and then named the combined unit as the GMC Truck and Coach (T&C) Division.
  • Second, in -44 the parent ACF company merged the ACF Motors Company with the J.G. Brill Company, then named the resulting firm as the ACF-Brill Motors Company.

Thus, as bus brands, Yellow Coach became GM Coach, and ACF became ACF-Brill.  [In 1968 GM slightly renamed the GM Coach brand as GMC Coach.]

The IC-41 was the first model to come from the plant in Philadelphia bearing the brand name of ACF-Brill (rather than merely ACF), for it was the first model to come from the freshly renamed ACF-Brill Motors Company (previously called the ACF Motors Company).

With the IC-41 design ACF-Brill continued using under-floor Hall-Scott gasoline engines.  [Long before – in 1925, when ACF bought the Fageol Motors Company of Ohio (to enter the bus-building business), ACF bought also the maker of the Hall-Scott engines, to protect the source of those engines, which the Fageol brothers had previously used in their Fageol Safety Coaches.]

The IC-41 rolled off the assembly line with three slightly different trim treatments, for three different versions, in 1946, -47, and -48.  The -46 version included smooth painted sides, a narrow vertical air-intake grille on the nose, and relatively high headlamps.  [Even at age 6 I thought that the headlamps were too high; many other people also thought so.]  The -47 version included lower headlamps, fluted brightwork on the lower portion of the sides, and a horizontal short grille.  The -48 version continued the lower headlamps, and it introduced full-height bright siding below the belt line, a full-width horizontal grille, a small curb-side destination sign (in addition to the large one on the nose), and a lighted plastic elliptic drumhead sign on the tail (in the large single overhead baggage door).

The destination sign on the nose of the IC-41, just below the windscreen, was changeable from the outside of the coach.  [On the 29-PB, 37-PB, and 37-PBS (the previous models with the sign similarly situated), the driver changed the sign by kneeling on the inside, reaching underneath the dash panel (in an unhandy and undignified position), and twisting a handwheel.]  On the 1946 version of the IC-41, at first the driver inserted one end of a standard baggage-door wrench (used otherwise for opening and shutting the luggage compartments) into a socket on the outside – outside – of the sign box on the nose of the coach.  On the -47 and -48 versions, the driver merely twisted a knurled handwheel which, at the factory, had become installed on the outside.  After the -47 version began to arrive, SEG installed similar handwheels into the sockets on the -46 version – so that the driver no longer needed to use his baggage-door wrench to change the sign on a -46.

[Several other carriers bought the 1947 and -48 versions with smooth painted sides (as on a -46), a few bought the -47 version with abbreviated (less tall) bright siding (extending rearward in line with the headlamps), and a few bought the -48 version with half-high bright siding (as on a -47); several carriers also dressed up their -46 coaches to cause them to look like -47s or -48s or their -47s to look like -48s.]

The Florida Greyhound Lines (formerly the Florida Motor Lines, FML, until 1946) also had a sizable fleet (50) of the IC-41, partly to take part in pooled interline operations with Southeastern, just as FML had previously used a number of earlier ACF models, and partly to match the SEG equipment while exchanging passengers in Jacksonville, Lake City, and Tallahassee.

Six other Greyhound regional operating companies [New England, Ohio, Pacific, Pennsylvania, Southwestern, and the Eastern GL (EGL) of New England (completely separate and different from the New England GL)] also bought IC-41 coaches, but only in small numbers in a stopgap measure while waiting for more of the GM Silversides PD-3751.

[The IC in IC-41 means "intercity", and the PD in PD-3751 (and in many other YC and GM models) means "parlor-diesel", where "parlor" is a term (borrowed from the railway industry) which implies "intercity".]

The IC-41 worked out extremely well at Southeastern, as it did also on a number of other bus properties, including many Trailways member companies.  [It became generally regarded as the standard coach for Trailways, while the GM Silversides PD-3751 became the undisputed standard coach for all the other Greyhound operating companies.]

SEG bought a total of 251 standard IC-41 coaches – 50 of the 1946 version (numbered generally in the first half of the 2000 series with a few exceptions – 2000-2024, 2030-2051, and 2060-2062), 100 of the standard -47 version (numbered generally in the second half of the 2000 series and the first half of the 2100 series with a few exceptions – 2025-2029, 2052-2059, and 2063-2149), and 101 of the standard -48 version (numbered straight through, for a change, from 2150 through 2250).

Never have I figured out why Southeastern messed around with the numbering scheme for the 1946 and -47 versions and made it so confusing.

At the SEGL the interior paint on the 1946 and -47 versions used a typical medium-light shade of blue, and the -48 used a light shade of tan.

Southeastern further bought 29 IC-41 coaches (14 of the 1947 version and 15 of the -48 version) with special options for use in the extra-fare premium limited-stop service between Florida and several major cities in the Midwest.  The extra features included a washroom (in the right-rear corner) and a cooler and an insulated water jug (in the space normally occupied by the porter's seat).  They were numbered from 715 through 743, continuing in the 700 series, previously used for the earlier ACF (five 37-P and and 10 37-PB) coaches in similar service before WW2.

[None of those special coaches ever ran through Nashville; all those skeds ran instead between Cincinnati and Chattanooga via Lexington and Somerset (on the way to and from Florida).]

The IC-41 was 35 feet long, two feet longer than the longest of the prewar models, due to an increase in the legal limit on the length.

At Southeastern the standard arrangement of the IC-41 had 37 seats for passengers, whereas the layout for the premium service had only 32.

When the IC-41s began to arrive throughout the SEG territory, they all were equipped with spotlights, as were many of the older coaches.

However, after a certain point the bulbs began to disappear from the spotlights, then the spotlights began to disappear, and no further new IC-41 arrived with a spotlight.

There's a story behind that:  According to the tale, one night somewhere near Lexington, while Guy Huguelet rode in the rear of his limousine, and while his chauffeur drove, his driver failed or refused to dip the headlamps from high beam to low – for an oncoming Southeastern coach equipped with a spotlight – and the coach operator then slapped his spotlight across the face of the defiant or uncooperative chauffeur – with the result that Mr. Huguelet soon ordered the disablement of the existing spotlights, the removal of them, and the deletion of further spotlights on the future new coaches.

All the IC-41 coaches were built at the Brill plant in Philadelphia.

[One Saturday afternoon in June 2008 my wife, Marda, and I discovered the site of the Brill plant in Philadelphia, on Woodland Avenue at 58th Avenue.  Several structures survive – including an office building, a large assembly shed, and a water tower.  A recycling firm now uses the shed.]

[Afterward, on our way up Woodland Avenue toward downtown, we happened to see a beautifully restored PCC streetcar (of a sort long used in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington, San Francisco, and other cities), parked at an active carbarn still serving the local transit system.]

In 1947 through -49 the SEG Lines bought also 67 ACF-Brill suburban coaches – five of the C-36 and 62 of the C-44, with nominal seating capacities of 36 and 44 respectively – for use in local commuter service based in Nashville, Atlanta, Birmingham, and Louisville.

All those C-36 and -44 coaches were built in Nashville – at the Vultee aircraft plant at Berry Field (previously used for the construction of the Vultee A-31 Vengeance dive bomber and the Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter), because in 1946 the Convair empire (the Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation) had bought The Brill Corporation from the parent ACF company, and because Convair had a surplus of manufacturing capacity at the Vultee plant in Nashville, whereas ACF-Brill had a shortage of manufacturing capacity at the Brill plant in Philadelphia.

At Southeastern the C-36 and the 1947 version of the C-44 used three-speed manual transmissions, longitudinal bench seats above the wheel wells, and typical city-transit seats, whereas the -48 and -49 versions of the C-44 used four-speed transmissions plus all forward-facing high-back (although fixed-back) suburban seats mounted on slightly raised platforms – plus overhead package racks.  [The drivers and the mechanics referred to the suburban cars as three-legged or four-legged, depending on the numbers of the forward gears in the gearboxes.]

All the suburban cars used typical air-operated leaf-type folding doors, front doors only without rear ones, despite the fact that the suburban coaches were based on the design of city-transit cars (which ordinarily had and still have rear doors as well).

One visual cue could quickly tell whether any particular suburban car had three legs or four:  On the three-legged ones the fixed portions of the side windows were at the top, and the sliding sashes were at the bottom.  On the four-legged ones the opposite was true: the sliding sashes were at the top, and the fixed portions were at the bottom.  [That's because the seats on the 1948 and -49 versions rode several inches higher on raised platforms.] 

There was one other small – tiny – difference among the SEG suburban cars.  All of them used air-control valves for the doors in the normal position (that is, the usual position on a city-transit design) at the driver's left hand at the top of the switch panel.  However, the C-36 and the 1947 version of the C-44 used a short black plastic handle, curved slightly downward, mounted on the top of a stem rising about two inches above the switch panel, whereas the -48 and -49 versions used standard longer straight metal handles (of a sort seen many years – decades! – on city-transit cars of various makes), attached to a stem just barely protruding above the switch panel.

Such minute details always caught my attention.

[That tendency (my close attention to details) later well served me, an admitted nitpicker, during my time as a student and a practitioner of physics and engineering, as a submariner, as a student of the law and a professor of it, and as a real-estate title examiner.]

At Southeastern all those suburban coaches bore numbers in the 800 series; the C-36 were 800-804, and the C-44 were 830-891.

ACF-Brill built many or most of its domestic C-36 and -44 coaches (its only immediate postwar suburban or city-transit models and its only such postwar full-size heavy-duty models) at the Vultee plant in Nashville, although CCF-Brill, the Canadian subsidiary, operated a plant in Fort William, Ontario, for the Canadian market.  The first coach from the Vultee plant was a C-44 demonstrator.  The next 15 were an order of the C-44 for us hometown people – for the Southern Coach Lines, which was then the city-transit carrier in Nashville.  Shortly afterward the suburban coaches for the SEGL began rolling out of the hangar at Berry Field, as did many other C-36 and -44 city-transit and suburban coaches for a large number of other customers.

[Many of the official builder photographs of those new coaches for various buyers show them against the background of the Parthenon, in Centennial Park, on West End Avenue, near the campus of Vanderbilt University, along with other scenes around Nashville, the "Athens of the South".]

All of the C-36 and -44 coaches used under-floor Hall-Scott gasoline engines; some of them (but none of those for the SEGL or the Southern Coach Lines) used Spicer hydraulic automatic transmissions (rather than manual gearboxes).

One interesting factoid is that the nose cap (the entire front end of the body) of the C-36 or -44 consisted of a single piece – not fabricated from multiple component parts attached together but rather a single huge stamping from a single sheet of aluminum.

At the SEG Lines all of the IC-41 (intercity) coaches were equipped with air-conditioning, but the C-36 and -44 (suburban) coaches were not.

Southeastern was the single largest customer – that is, SEG bought the largest total number – of ACF and ACF-Brill products; it bought 631 of them.  It owned the largest fleet of 29-PB parlor coaches (100 of the 225 built), the largest fleet of IC-41 parlor coaches (280 of the 1,375 built), and the largest fleet of C-36 and -44 suburban cars (67 of an uncertain number of suburban cars from among 1,546 of the C-36 and 1,089 of the C-44, consisting of mostly city-transit cars).

Southeastern owned 20.4 percent of the total production of the IC-41 and 5.7 percent of the C-44.  One IC-41 in every five was an SEG coach!

After Southeastern quit buying ACF-Brill products, the builder introduced its model IC-41A, which included several minor superficial changes in the trim, and the IC-41AD, which included also an under-floor Cummins diesel engine (rather than a Hall-Scott gasoline engine).

Regrettably, ACF-Brill built only 50 of the IC-41A and 49 of the -41AD.

In 1953 ACF-Brill discontinued its production of motor coaches, due to the sharp decrease in the demand for them – for a number of reasons, including the late and reluctant willingness of the management of ACF-Brill to offer diesel power even as an option.  [By that time the rest of the bus industry throughout the US had flocked to the new GM coaches (transit, suburban, and parlor) and to the GM diesel engines.]

The IC-41 had a strong reputation as a fast runner and a strong hill climber, and the SEG drivers had a good way to show that.  The route between Monteagle and Chattanooga was a shared one, where US-41 and -64 coincided with each other, with Dixie GL on US-64 to and from Memphis and with Southeastern on -41 to and from Nashville.  Several times through the years, Memphis trips and Nashville trips were scheduled at the same times or nearly so.  Often the Dixie drivers in their diesel-powered GM Silversides coaches and the Southeastern drivers in their gasoline-powered ACF-Brill IC-41 coaches put their machines to a test during friendly little contests in hilly and curvy terrain.  Most of the time neither type of coach could walk away from the other (or not by much of a margin).  Sometimes one led, sometimes the other led; sometimes one or the other dropped back slightly.  Overall, though, each type of coach did a creditable job of keeping up with the other type.

[Some of the Dixie drivers (in their diesel-powered coaches) tended, in a good-natured way, to tease the Southeastern drivers (in their gasoline-powered coaches) by referring to them as the "wood-axle gang" and to their equipment as "wood-axle wagons".]

There may have been more than one reason for which for 12 years, from 1935 until -47, Southeastern bought so many ACF and ACF-Brill products and no Yellow or GM product – a reason in addition to the success, durability, desirability, and profitability of the ACF and ACF-Brill coaches.

In 1935 the SEG Lines owned several Yellow long-nose parlor cars.

However, according to a strong legend, which may or may not be true, at a trade convention of the intercity-coach carriers, a Yellow Coach salesman, possibly with a tongue lubricated with alcohol, was overheard to make some uncomplimentary comments about the Southerners or about the Kentucky men from the SEGL, characterizing them as hicks, rubes, bumpkins, or hillbillies – within the hearing of one of the SEG executives.

That story may or may not be true, but it's obvious that Southeastern did not elect to buy even one more Yellow or GM product – not until late in 1947, when the SEGL received its first diesel-powered equipment, the GM Silversides PD-3751 coaches – while every one of the other Greyhound companies bought large quantities of various models of YC and GM coaches, almost exclusively.

The Silversides

In 1940 the Yellow Coach PGG-3701 and -4101 (the first version of the Silversides) made its début and quickly began to attract much well-deserved positive attention.  [The designations PGG-3701 and -4101 mean parlor-gasoline-Greyhound, an exclusive design for Greyhound alone, with a seating capacity of either 37 or 41 as indicated, the first in each of two new series.]

Almost immediately the PGG-3701 and -4101 morphed into the PDG-3701 and -4101 (parlor-diesel-Greyhound), due to the availability and installation of the new GM 6-71 diesel engine – largely a result of the work and influence of Charles Franklin "Boss" Kettering, the legendary inventor who had previously created self-starters, generators, and automotive electric systems and other components, along with a dazzling variety of other inventions in many fields – the new product from the new GM Diesel Engine Division (renamed in 1958 as the Detroit Diesel Engine Division) of the GM Corporation.  [The number 6-71 means six cylinders in line with a displacement of 71 cubic inches in each cylinder (426 cubes altogether).]

For a short while, late in 1939 or early in -40, in an unusual situation at the Yellow Coach plant in Pontiac, Michigan, two different exclusive designs for Greyhound alone were in production concurrently – the Super Coach and the Silversides – before the last of the Super Coaches came off the line, and after the first of the Silversides had already come off the line – during which time the GM 6-71 diesel engine became available.

For that reason the first few Silversides coaches (127 of them) got GMC gasoline engines, and the last few Super Coaches (82 of them) got GM diesel engines – although all the previous Super Coaches (1,664 of them) had gotten gasoline engines, and all the following Silversides coaches (2,459 of them) got diesel engines.

Eventually the surviving gasoline-powered Silversides PGG-3701 (92 of them) and -4101 (35 of them) became refit with GM 6-71 diesel engines.

After WW2 800 of the gasoline-powered Super Coaches (the better remaining ones, in four groups of 200 apiece) became repowered with GM 6-71 diesel engines under a contract with the General American Aerocoach Company at its plant in East Chicago, Indiana, near Hammond.  Those refit coaches also became spruced up by the renovation of the interiors and by the addition of partial brightwork (fluted aluminum siding) just below the belt line.

The Silversides had a stunning new design – with distinctive Art Deco styling which included fluted aluminum brightwork siding – to suggest or imitate the fluted stainless-steel siding on the streamlined railway passenger cars – along with a lighted round drumhead sign on the tail (similar to those which typically appeared on the tails of railway observation cars).

The fluted aluminum brightwork siding, introduced in 1939 aboard the hand-built Silversides prototype, quickly became the nearly universal standard (in the US) for intercity coaches until 1987, when the C series of the coaches from the MCI returned to the concept of smooth painted sides.

Even now, however, many carriers still (or again or anew) specify fluted brightwork siding (in either aluminum or stainless steel) – all because the Silversides in 1939 began to imitate or emulate the appearance of the streamlined Art Deco railway passenger cars.

The Silversides quickly became a big hit among drivers, passengers, fans, and Greyhound executives and accountants.  It soon became and long remained as the King of the Road – until the GM Highway Traveler PD-4104 arrived in 1953, and until the GM Scenicruiser PD-4501 arrived in -54.

The Silversides featured standard air-conditioning, although a few of the Greyhound companies ordered several of them without air-conditioning for use on routes in the far North.

[Aboard an ACF-Brill IC-41 coach, the main engine (the only engine) drove the air-conditioning compressor; however, aboard a Yellow or GM Silversides (and aboard later GM Coaches, until the Scenicruiser PD-4501 and the PD-4106), an under-floor auxiliary engine (a small Continental four-cylinder gasoline engine mounted amidships on the street side) drove both the air-conditioning compressor and a second 12-volt DC generator (in addition to the generator driven by the main engine), thus providing cooling while parked without running the main engine.]

Due to several factors it soon became obvious – to almost every decisionmaker in the motor-coach industry – that diesel power, not gasoline power, held the future for intercity, suburban, and city-transit operations.

Of course, WW2 interrupted the production of the Silversides.

During the war the engineers at both Greyhound and Yellow Coach (which became GM Coach in 1943) began working on the next coach design, which would build on the Silversides, improve on the Silversides, and replace the Silversides as the next standard coach, the next King of the Road, to replace what would most likely become – and did indeed become – a fleet of old, tired, worn-out, beat-up, patched-up, overextended coaches ready for replacement after the ravages endured during the hard wartime service.

Unfortunatelely, for a combination of causes, the new design had not yet become ready to go into production in 1945 or for several more years.

Therefore the executives of Greyhound and the GMC Truck and Coach (T&C) Division agreed to postpone the new design, to work on it some more, and to put the Silversides back into production along with the PDA-3703, -3704, and -4101.  [None of those last three models ever appeared in the fleet of SEG, due to the decisions in Lexington to continue buying ACF and ACF-Brill products rather than YC or GM between 1935 and -47.]

In 1946, when the GM and Greyhound engineers finally reached an agreement for the specifcations for the postwar Silversides, the managers of the GMC T&C Division had tentatively intended to designate the new models as the PDG-3702 and -4102; however, before production began, those models became known instead as the PD-3751 and -4151.

The 2,000 postwar Silversides coaches (PD-3751 and -4151) were built and delivered between March 1947 and December -48.

[The PGG- and PDG-3701 (pre-WW2 models) were 33 feet long; the PGG- and PDG-4101 (also pre-WW2) and the PD-3751 and -4151 (post-WW2) were all 35 feet long, due to an increase in the legal length limit after the introduction of the -3701.  There was no structural or dimensional difference in the coachwork among a -4101, a -3751, and a -4151.  The -4101 and the -4151 used slightly slimmer seats spaced on shorter intervals than on the -3701 and the -3751, thus accommodating 41 seated passengers rather than 37.]

Diesel Power for Southeastern

Meanwhile, the Southeastern executives had begun to feel a need to join the diesel revolution – for a number of good and persuasive reasons, in part to allow the SEG Lines to participate in more pool operations on more pooled through-routes with more Greyhound companies, by using the diesel-powered Silversides as the standard coach for interlining in pool operations.  [The continued use of gasoline-powered ACF-Brill coaches would have severely limited the opportunities to interline with other Greyhound companies, most of which (nearly all) no longer operated any ACF-Brill or other gasoline-powered equipment.]

However, because the Silversides was an exclusive design for Greyhound alone (along with a few closely related non-Greyhound carriers with the consent of Greyhound), the executives at the Greyhound headquarters in Chicago strictly rationed and assigned the Silversides coaches.

Further, according to another strong legend, which also may or may not be true, the Southeastern executives in Lexington had not yet succeeded in convincing the Greyhound managers in Chicago to allot any Silversides coaches to Southeastern, not anytime in the near future.

As that story continues, Huguelet and others in Lexington became so frustrated and agitated that they began inquiries and negotiations with another large and independent intercity-coach carrier, a coast-to-coast firm, the American Buslines (ABL), the company with the eagle trademark which later became the Continental Trailways eagle trademark, after the ABL became a major part of the Continental Trailways – which in turn became the largest member company (by far) and the dominant member company in the National Trailways association – and which later became renamed as the Trailways, Inc., the TWI – which the (second) Greyhound Lines, Inc., the (second) GLI, bought in 1987 – while (allegedly, at least) the TWI teetered only hours or days from sinking into bankruptcy – which may or may not have been true – or maybe the TWI had been falsely caused to appear to be insolvent.

According to that tale from 1947, the negotiations had led to a plan which would include the withdrawal of the Southeastern GL (still an independent corporation under independent ownership) from its relationship with The Greyhound Corporation – and its purchase of the American Buslines (and possibly one more carrier, which may have been the Continental Trailways, then still in its infancy).

The old legend says that the planning had advanced as far as selecting not only a new name but also new uniforms and a new color scheme.

In due time in 1947, though, according to the story, Orville Caesar (one of the original busmen who had started in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota), who was then the president of The Greyhound Corporation, eventually learned about the plan, then he called Huguelet, sought an audience with him, and rode in his private coach (a Silversides, of course) to meet in Lexington.

According to the tale, during that meeting the two presidents (Caesar and Huguelet) worked out a solution, which resulted in the cancellation of the alternate plan and in the allotment of Southeastern's first 50 Silversides coaches, which began to arrive at the end of 1947, and which were followed by 25 more early in -48.

That account came to me in 1977 through a group of veteran drivers based in Louisville and Lexington, who claimed to have seen Caesar's private coach when it passed twice through the station in Louisville, and while it waited at the station and at the SEG headquarters in Lexington.

That journey may or may not have taken place, and the reported conversation in Lexington may or may not have taken place, and the alternate plan may or may not have ever existed – but that makes an interesting story, along with good material for conjecture or contemplation about what might or might not have resulted if the supposed plan had ever been put into action.

Regardless of whether the old legend is true or false (or both or neither), the Silversides did begin to arrive at the SEG Lines late in 1947.

Those cars, all in the 37-seat configuration (PD-3751), became numbered as 3000-3074.

[The first Southeastern Silversides, numbered as 3000, bore the serial number 686 (in a production run of 2,000 of the postwar versions), more than one-third of the way through the run, whereas every other Greyhound company (plus several non-Greyhound affiliates) had already received a substantial number of the Silversides; clearly, something had delayed (or interfered with) the decision in Chicago to allot the new coaches to SEG.]

When the SEG Silversides began to arrive in Nashville, the Southeastern drivers quickly nicknamed it as the "Ragburner", due to the large volume of black exhaust smoke and the strong characteristic odor of the fumes, which in those years were the signature features of diesel engines, which characteristics, fortunatelely, have become largely eliminated through the years.  [The Silversides was sometimes called also the "Coal-oil Cruiser" or the "Kerosene Kruiser" (because its engine burned diesel fuel, similar to coal oil, kerosene, jet fuel, and heating oil).]

[According to one report, a private individual collector has acquired the Silversides which in 1947 was number 3000, the first SEG Silversides (serial PD-3751-686), later called M-3000 – even later renumbered as about M-550, I think, and eventually renumbered again as about M-5040, I think – with the announced intent to restore it to its original appearance and configuration.]

In the summer of 1948 I made my first trip out of town with Pop alone without Mother – to Birmingham, on a pair of brand-new IC-41 coaches, in each direction on a through-bus running between Louisville and Saint Petersburg.  We stayed in room 1111 at the Redmont Hotel – for $3!

[The pool of new IC-41s running between Louisville and Saint Petersburg included 2153, later redesignated as M-2153 – which many years later, about 1977, became reacquired (by The Greyhound Corporation) and restored to its original appearance and condition, with the side number of 1948 (the year of its manufacture) in the corporate historic fleet.  That's one of the coaches which Pop drove routinely between Nashville and Birmingham.]

The next summer I made another trip to Birmingham with him, on a pair of new Silversides coaches, in each direction on a through-bus running between Detroit and Birmingham.

Prefix Letters for Greyhound Companies

On the southbound leg of that latest trip to Birmingham, Pop taught me more about some of the other Greyhound regional operating companies and about the prefix letters, which most of the bus numbers had begun to sprout.

The previous year, 1948, The Greyhound Corporation had begun to identify each coach with not only a distinctive number, as before, but also a prefix letter, a unique letter for each Greyhound division or subsidiary.

However, since the Southeastern GL and the Overland GL were still independent companies under independent ownership (not divisions or subsidiaries of The Greyhound Corporation), Southeastern and Overland did not then use prefix letters, not until the parent Greyhound company later bought the controlling interest in each of them.

Pop pointed out to me that our bus that night was G-7059, and he took that opportunity to explain about the significance of the prefix letter G and about the Great Lakes GL, which owned the bus and had provided it to the pool of coaches running between Detroit and Birmingham.  [The territory of the Great Lakes GL ran (on that through-route) between Detroit and Louisville, and the territory of the Southeastern GL ran (on that through-route) between Louisville and Birmingham.  I discuss pool operations in a later section in this chapter on pages 250 through 254.]

Sooo – because I cannot resist the temptation to include this, which I've never seen anywhere else – here's a list of all the prefix letters for the various Greyhound regional operating companies:

The prefix letters continued in use, although in a dwindling number of them, due to the dwindling number of divisions, due to the continuing mergers, until about the end of 1960, shortly after The Greyhound Corporation finished reorganizing its regional operating divisions into four huge divisions, then carried out a massive renumbering of the entire fleet (using four digits) throughout the corporation, and then dropped the prefix letters.

[About 1969 the company reorganized again, into just two humongous divisions, named as the Greyhound Lines East (GLE) and the Greyhound Lines West (GLW); about -75 it eliminated those two divisions, thus leaving a single gargantuan undivided nationwide fleet.]

[When, in 1960, the Southern GL came into existence, eliminating the Southeastern GL and the Atlantic GL, the headquarters functions became gradually transferred from Lexington, Kentucky, and Charleston, West Virginia, to Atlanta, Georgia; when, about 1975, the GLE came into existence, many of those administrative functions became shifted to Cleveland, Ohio, where the Central GL, the Pennsylvania GL, and the Eastern GL had been based; later those functions migrated to Chicago, Illinois, then to Phoenix, Arizona, whither The Greyhound Corporation (in 1971) had moved its headquarters from Chicago to an impressive new building in Phoenix.]

[Here's another bit of trivia:  In 1937 the Pennsylvania GL began to assign side numbers to its coaches in an unusual pattern:  The first two digits of a four-digit number indicated the year of the manufacture of each coach.  Thus its Super Coaches became numbered in the 37-, 38-, and 39- series, Silversides in the 40-, 41-, 47-, and 48- series, WW2 Camelback (PDA-3701 and -3702) Victory coaches in the 42-, 44-, and 45- series, IC-41s in the 45- series, Henry Js in the 51- series, PD-4104s in the 53- and 54- series, and Scenicruisers in the 54- and 55- series.]

The prefix letter M – for the Southern GL – along with the other three letters for the other three huge remaining divisions – C, E, and W – for Central, Eastern, and Western – became dropped after only a few more months.

Downshifting and Double-clutching

Later that night in 1949, cruising through the darkness between Columbia and Pulaski on that new Silversides, Pop gave me one of the most important and most productive lessons which he ever gave me.  That night I learned, at the age of 9, how to shift a four-speed unsynchronized gearbox while using the double-clutch technique.  For the previous year or two I had shifted the gears for him while he drove his 1936 Chevrolet two-door sedan.  But that was on a three-speed synchronized transmission.  He had previously told me and shown me about double-clutching.  That night, while we rolled down US-31, and while I stood in the stairwell beside the driver's seat, I watched the motion of his feet and legs, especially his left leg, while he pumped the clutch pedal down and back up, and I began to shift the gears on the Silversides, coordinating the motion of the gearstick with the motion of his left leg.  I felt amazed and gratified that the shift lever moved so smoothly and easily.  It slid in or out of each hole with a soft but distinct click.  I also felt delighted, and I still feel pleased, that I did not miss or grind any gear although Pop did not touch the stick even slightly while I shifted it.  [By the way, the Silversides was the only Greyhound coach with the stick mounted on the steering column (rather than on the floor).]

Several years later I learned from Pop how to float-shift – to shift gears without using the clutch pedal – or by using it only slightly – just enough to provide timing for the shift and to soften the meshing of the gears.  [On page 272 I further describe double-clutching and float shifting.]

There must be something special in my genes!

A Designer of Buses

For a couple of years, while I was in the fourth and fifth grades (1949-51), sometimes in class while feeling bored, sometimes in my bedroom at home, I often amused myself by designing a bus – by sketching one side, the nose, and the tail of an imaginary bus which I conjured or fantasized.  They usually had an Art Deco appearance.  Some of them were longer than the standard length of 35 feet, and some of them had tandem rear axles.  [In 1954 the Scenicruiser became the first modern highway coach with tandem axles and a length of 40 feet.]  I made several dozens of those sketches.  I wish that I still had some of them.  They all went out in the trash decades ago.

Change of Ownership

On the last day of 1950 the Southeastern Greyhound Lines, Inc., ceased to exist, and on the next day the Southeastern GL became a division of The Greyhound Corporation, the parent Greyhound company, after the latter acquired not merely a controlling interest but 100 percent of the shares of the capital stock outstanding in the former.

Thus the prefix letter M – because the Southwestern Greyhound Lines already used the prefix letter S, and because Greyhound used only single prefix letters – the M began to appear in the side numbers of all the Southeastern coaches – often applied by spray-painting through stencils (and often done inartfully, I regret) – until the M had shown up on all the coaches.

By that time the SEGL met the Atlantic GL to the east, the Florida GL to the southeast, the Teche GL to the southwest, the Dixie GL to the west, and the Capitol, Central, Great Lakes, and Pennsylvania GL to the north.

The Henry J

In 1951 the GM PD-4103, the coach which GM introduced to compete against the ACF-Brill IC-41, reached the market.

When I first saw a PD-4103, in the summer of 1951, the car was in the colors of Trailways, rolling north on Fifth Avenue South, directly in front of the SEG shop in Nashville, moving from the Trailways shop toward the Trailways station on Sixth Avenue North, near the Greyhound station.  It was a sharp-looking car with full fluted brightwork siding.  I waved to the driver, and he waved and beeped.

Because it looked so much like an IC-41, I first thought that it was a new diesel-powered model from ACF-Brill.

Southeastern's PD-4103 coaches began to arrive in the fall of 1951.  They were the first coaches to come to the SEGL from a factory with the prefix letter M in the fleet numbers and with the name on the sides as merely "Greyhound Lines" rather than "Southeastern Greyhound Lines" – because of the new ownership of SEG by The Greyhound Corporation.

The SEG Lines received 75 of the -4103, numbered from M-100 through -167 and from M-180 through -186.  [In this instance too I've never understood why the managers messed around with the side numbers; this time they skipped the numbers from M-168 through -179.]

The inside of the shell was painted in a medium-light shade of blue.

Because of the Korean War, the civilian use of aluminum had again become severely rationed, so that the scarce aluminum could be diverted to the manufacture of military aircraft.

Sadly, then, most of the Southeastern PD-4103 coaches included painted smooth sides (with no fluted brightwork siding) and with only the barest minimum of other bright trim.  Only the first eight (and maybe the last seven) of them at the SEGL got bright fluted siding and other brightwork.

Shortly after the PD-4103 arrived on the SEG property, the drivers gave it the derisive nickname of "Henry J" – because the drivers strongly disliked it – partly because of the cheap appearance due to the lack of bright trim, partly because of its flimsy construction in several ways, and partly because the handling of it did not compare well with that of the other types (the GM Silversides PD-3751 and the ACF-Brill IC-41) to which they were accustomed.  [The Henry J automobile, named for Henry John Kaiser, the famous WW2 shipbuilding magnate, was a cheap stripped small car of the same era – which was sold also for a while under the brand name of Allstate through Sears stores and the Sears catalog – at the bottom or, as some have suggested, below the bottom of the otherwise attractive line of cars from the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation.]

One further partial explanation of the nickname Henry J may relate to the change of ownership of Southeastern (the acquisition by The Greyhound Corporation).  Previously the maintenance program at SEG had been superb (not perfect but extremely good and effective).  Sadly, though, the parent company soon imposed a number of financial constraints which required cutting corners and otherwise trimming the maintenance activities.  Although the reductions affected all the coaches of all models, the results became particularly apparent in the case of the Henry J, because the less vigorous maintenance was more obvious on the new model than on the older models – that is, the new Henry J appeared to age faster (and indeed did age faster) than the older models had aged when they were new (under the less stingy maintenance).

The Henry J allowed Southeastern and other carriers to retire their remaining worn-out prewar coaches, but few drivers said much good about it.

The Highway Traveler

After only two more years, in 1953, after the Korean War, GM introduced another stunning model – an innovative one, the PD-4104, which Greyhound named and trademarked as the Highway Traveler (the name previously given to the GX-1, the first hand-built experimental prototype used in the development of the concept of the Scenicruiser) – the GM Highway Traveler PD-4104, the new King of the Road, the pre-Scenicruiser – with full fluted aluminum brightwork siding, along with a number of major and significant improvements, including air suspension, power steering, and picture windows (in the shape of an elongated forward-leaning parallelogram with gracefully rounded corners) – introducing the styling which the GM Scenicruiser PD-4501, after only one more year, continued and made even more famous – a model which no other builder matched its popularity – until, some years later, The Greyhound Corporation itself did so – by building its own coaches again – as it first had done in 1927-29 (through a short-time subsidiary, the C.H. Will Motors Corporation, based in Minneapolis) – before the Dog turned to Yellow Coach and its products.  [On page 242 I refer again to the record of the PD-4104 and the breaking of it.]

As soon as the PD-4104 arrived in any fleet, suddenly everything else looked old and outdated.

However, one unfortunate feature of the new cars was the unattractive interior color scheme – brown upholstery with brown on the floor and beige and brown on the inside of the shell.  Why not something pretty instead?  Why not two-tone blue or two-tone gray or blue and gray?  Why brown?  [I guess that some decisionmaker wanted to use a color which would hide dirt.  Why not just keep the buses clean?]  Oh, well ....

Unfortunatelely, that brown color scheme was the standard one for all the coaches of the first version of the PD-4104 for the entire fleet throughout The Greyhound Corporation.

Southeastern received 55 Highway Travelers (numbered as M-200 through -254), which arrived late in 1953 and early in -54.

The PD-4104 began to pass through Nashville in the fall of 1953 – in pools on through-schedules running between Chicago and Miami, Chicago and Birmingham, and Detroit and Birmingham, then also between Memphis and Bristol and before long onward to Washington, DC.

Soon I made a trip with Pop to Birmingham – southbound on a Henry J (on a through-sked from Louisville to Saint Petersburg) and northbound on the next day (Thanksgiving Day) on a brand-new Traveler (on a through-sked from Birmingham to Detroit).

That ride on the new car was most impressive – smooth and enjoyable – due in large part to the air suspension (rather than steel springs, as on the older coaches).

The Scenicruiser

On 14 July 1954 The Greyhound Corporation and the GMC Truck and Coach (T&C) Division of the GM Corporation presented the result of their latest (and final) joint project, another new King of the Road, the fantabulous GM Scenicruiser PD-4501, the result of years of planning, styling, designing, and engineering through collaboration between GM and Greyhound.

During a ceremony at the T&C facilities in Pontiac, Michigan, Orville Snow "Sven" Caesar (one of the original busmen from northern Wisconsin and Minnesota, who was then the president of Greyhound), along with various senior officials of both GM and Greyhound and other dignitaries, including the Honorable G. Mennen Williams, the Governor of Michigan, took part in the festivities accompanying the formal delivery of the first group of the new coaches.  A parade of the new cars emerged from a building.  The first one burst through a huge paper poster, appropriately decorated, which completely covered the doorway.  The first coach in the line, the one which burst through the paper, was C-675 (serial 006) – which GM later used (with  NEW YORK EXPRESS  on the destination sign) for a large number of factory photographs shot in several locations around Pontiac and elsewhere near Detroit.  Mrs. America (Wanda Jennings, of Saint Louis, Missouri) broke a traditional bottle of champagne on the front bumper of F-701 (serial 002).  During the excitement of that busy day, P-5446 (serial 001) somehow became ignored and lost in the shuffle despite its special status as the first Cruiser to have rolled off the end of the production line, although it eventually became restored (with the side number of 1954, the year of its manufacture) in the Greyhound historic fleet.  [M-300, the first Southeastern Scenicruiser, later renumbered as M-100, even later as C-1250, eventually as just 1250, bore the serial number of 005.]

The appearance of the Scenicruiser was impressive and distinctive.  The styling was stunning and superb, continuing the styling theme introduced the previous year on the GM Highway Traveler PD-4104.  It included full fluted aluminum brightwork siding below the belt line.  It too featured large picture windows (in the shape of an elongated forward-leaning parallelogram with gracefully rounded corners, as on the -4104).  The deck-and-a-half design gave it the characteristic stepped silhouette.

The outside paint scheme was fully consistent with that on the Highway Traveler PD-4104 – except that the name Greyhound alone (no longer Greyhound Lines, just plain Greyhound) appeared in the characteristic style of italic lettering on the sides near the tail and across the tail.

The Cruiser was 40 feet long, and it had a standard washroom (on the street side at the foot of the steps to the upper deck), two huge baggage bins below the upper deck, a pair of tandem rear axles (although the rearmost axle was an idle non-powered one), and a pair of GM 4-71 diesel engines (mounted longitudinally straight-in side-by-side in the tail), acting through a fluid coupling, a conventional dry clutch, and a Spicer three-speed manual mechanical gearbox with a two-stage splitter section (providing six forward speeds altogether).

Air-conditioning was, of course, a standard feature, with the Freon compressor driven by one of the two main engines (the only engines).  [Previous models of Yellow and GM Coaches with air-conditioning had used a small Continental four-cylinder gasoline engine (mounted amidships on the street side) to drive the Freon compressor and a second 12-volt DC generator.]

Incidentally, the Scenicruiser PD-4501 was the first model, from any builder for any carrier, to have both air-conditioning and a washroom as standard features aboard every coach without exception.

Fortunatelely, the interior of the Cruiser greatly improved on the depressing and unimaginative brown of the Highway Traveler.  The inside of the shell was yellow, in an attractive soft shade, with white on the ceiling.

The GM Scenicruiser PD-4501 began to run through Nashville in the fall of 1954, in pools on through-schedules running between Chicago and Miami, Chicago and Birmingham, Chicago and Saint Petersburg, Louisville and Saint Petersburg, Detroit and Nashville, Detroit and Birmingham, Dallas and Knoxville, Memphis and New York City, New Orleans and Detroit, New Orleans and Cleveland, and Nashville and Miami, and between Saint Louis and both Miami and Jacksonville.

Sadly and regrettably, the build quality of the new coaches was deficient – characteristic of that era throughout not only GM but also the other automotive manufacturers as well – due in part to the difficulties with the relations between the employer builder and the unionized employees (that is, due to sloppy or careless workmanship on the part of displeased, disgruntled, or malcontent factory workers)– to the extent that Greyhound found it necessary to run each new Scenicruiser directly from the plant in Pontiac to the regular Greyhound shop in Toledo, about 80 miles to the south, for final adjustments and corrections – final assembly, the wags suggested – before sending it on to its destination division and to its first assignment.

Although the Cruiser was a beautiful machine, and although it gave an extremely comfortable ride (a distinctive and recognizable ride due to the full tandem rear axles), it presented a new set of mechanical problems.

When the Scenicruisers ran well, they did so incredibly well, and most of the time they did; however, sometimes (too often, more often than did less unusual coaches) they broke down, largely due to the two-engine powertrain.

Unfortunatelely, from the engineering viewpoint, the Scenicruiser was ahead of its time.  Many of the concepts used in the engineering design – and many of the tricks required of the vehicle – were ahead of the state of the art of the components available at the time (mechanical, electric, and electromechanical).  [That era was about one eon before the days of computers, chips, semiconductor devices, and other fancy electronic gadgets, all of which we now accept and expect as routine.]

To say it another way, the design of the Cruiser demanded a level of technology which in 1954 was not yet available, or not yet developed well enough, or not yet at an acceptable level of reliability.

The largest and most fundamental problem was that no single appropriate engine (either diesel or gasoline) was then feasible – not large enough, not rated for enough horsepower or torque, to provide adequate acceleration, speed, and hill-climbing capability.

[Although several hotter engines were available, they were not suitable or readily adaptable to an application in highway coaches, or the dimensions were too large, or the fuel-consumption rates (an extremely important factor) were too high.]

That's why the Cruiser first used a pair of four-cylinder engines rather than a single eight-cylinder engine.

That problem became solved in 1960, when the Detroit Diesel Engine Division (of the GM Corporation) introduced its long-awaited 8V-71 (V-8) machine (based on the original 6-71), shortly after the introduction of the smaller 6V-71 (V-6), first used in 1959 in the GM Fishbowl suburban and city-transit coaches).

Maintenance on the Scenicruiser was a constant headache – partly because of the complicated nature of some of the new systems (in the manner of Rube Goldberg, some of the critics suggested), partly because some of the components were too new and unimproved (using new, unproved, and unimproved technology), partly because the diagnostic tools and techniques were inadequate, partly because the training and availability of mechanics (and maintenance supervisors and managers) for the new model were less than optimum, partly because the technical support and repair-parts support were less than optimum, and largely because of a combination of several of those factors – along with a few other explanations – including, sadly, occasional incidents of careless or intentional abuse of the new coaches by disgusted drivers or mechanics.

Late in the fall of 1955 the GMC T&C Division introduced a midstream revision, which consisted mainly of a new clutch arrangement, along with a few miscellaneous minor improvements (including pantograph wiper arms, which allow the blades to remain in a vertical position throughout the entire arc of the sweep).  After that point all new Scenicruisers left the plant with the new features, and all the older (that is, less new) Cruisers became retrofitted with the new items.

The clutch was not changed or replaced, but the manner of controlling it was changed.  [The clutch was a conventional dry clutch connected to the engines by a fluid coupling (a "slush box" but not a torque converter).]

In the original design the clutch was engaged and disengaged by an electric solenoid controlled by a switch connected to a treadle-type pedal (similar to the brake and accelerator pedals) mounted in the usual spot at the driver's left foot.  That concept allowed the driver to select between only two positions for the clutch – on or off, out or in, 1 or 0, engaged or disengaged – without a capability to engage or disengage the clutch smoothly or gradually.  Thus it was physically or mechanically impossible for the driver to avoid a lurch while engaging the clutch at a standstill with the transmission in gear, and it was extremely difficult to avoid another lurch while engaging the clutch again after shifting gears while in motion.

The revised arrangement, introduced late in 1955, continued to use the same clutch, fluid coupling, and transmission; it changed only the manner of actuating the clutch.  It returned to the old notion of engaging and disengaging the clutch by using a direct mechanical linkage connected to a standard relief-type pedal – similar to the familiar clutch pedals on the PD-4103 and -04 and other GM models with manual gearboxes.  Thus the driver could engage or disengage the clutch smoothly and gradually, while either at a standstill or in motion, and thereby could achieve a high degree of comfort and expertise (without jerking or lurching, in contrast with the original design).

Because of the presence of the fluid coupling (between the clutch and the engines), when the driver prepared to set into motion from a standstill, he applied the service (foot) brakes, released the parking brake, depressed the clutch pedal, made sure that the splitter switch was in the L position (L for low rather than H for high), briefly nudged the gearstick toward (or partly into) the 2 position – to use the synchronizer feature (as though starting to shift into 2), because the second and third gears used synchronizer cones, although 1 and R did not) – then shifted into 1 (or R as needed), released the clutch pedal, released the brake pedal, and accelerated in the usual manner.  That technique (thus far) was much the same as used while setting into motion a 1940s or -50s Chrysler product equipped with Fluid Drive (an early semiautomatic transmission), because the mechanical arrangement was similar.  [Although Fluid Drive did not use a splitter section on the gearbox, it did use an automatic overdrive.]

The driver then manually shifted through the three forward gears (arranged in the customary H pattern) by using a stick mounted in the floor and by using the clutch in the usual way – but not using the double-clutch technique (because of the synchronizer feature on the second and third gears).

The two-stage splitter section of the gearbox (which gave six forward speeds with only three gearstick positions) was controlled by an oversize electric switch with two positions (L and H, for low and high), which also served as the knob at the top of the gearstick in the first version (with the original clutch arrangement), but which later became attached to the stick just below a standard knob in the second version (with the improved clutch arrangement).  [The two-stage splitter was truly a separate rear section of the gearbox, not a two-speed drive axle and not a "two-speed clutch" (whatever that may mean), as some have labeled it.]

On a Scenicruiser with the original clutch arrangement, the prescribed protocol required the driver to shift through the gears in only five steps: 1L, 2L, 2H, 3L, and 3H (thus skipping directly from 1L to 2L without using 1H).

However, on a Cruiser with the improved clutch arrangement, the new protocol required the driver to shift in all six steps: 1L, 1H, 2L, 2H, 3L, and 3H.  [I had thought at the outset that the reach from 1L to 2L was a bit too far (in terms of the corresponding engine speeds); obviously, some engineer in Pontiac later reached the same conclusion.]

With the new clutch arrangement, the driver operated the clutch pedal in the normal manner, engaging and disengaging gradually and smoothly, except that he fully engaged the clutch before setting into motion, and except that some drivers while in motion used a form of "float" shifting without using the clutch or by using it only minimally.  [I describe that technique on page 272 in the section entitled "Pop's Unsurpassed Smoothness".]

A splitter section or a splitter transmission bears the name splitter because it "splits" each gear into two gears, thereby doubling the number of gear ratios available from the same number of positions of the gearstick – by using an electric switch (as aboard a Scenicruiser) or an air valve (as usually aboard a heavy-duty truck) – to obtain either of the two gears available in each "hole" or position of the stick.  Spicer (along with a few other concerns) built many splitter transmissions during the 1950s through the -80s.  [Truckers often referred to them as "splicer" gearboxes.]

A ranger section or a ranger transmission (in contrast) bears the name ranger because it uses separate ranges (usually two ranges), with the gears (usually five) in the HH (double-H) pattern, selected in sequence (typically in five positions of the gearstick) – first in the low range and then repeated in sequence in the high range – 1L, 2L, 3L, 4L, 5L, 1H, 2H, 3H, 4H, 5H, also called simply 1 through 10.

EatonFuller, the premier builder of manual and automated (but not automatic) transmissions for heavy-duty trucks, has built (and continues to build) four popular variations of Roadranger gearboxes – with 9, 10, 13, or 18 speeds – and a number of other variations as well.  The 10-, 13-, and 18-speed types are based on the 9-speed shift pattern, thus:

The 9-speed pattern calls for the driver first to use the gearstick to shift through five holes in the HH (double-H) pattern (while in the L or low range).  [The 1L gear is a double-low or "granny" gear, so most drivers usually start in 2L in ordinary traffic.]  After winding up in 5L, then the driver selects H (for high) on an air valve on the gearstick knob, then he repeats the positions 2 through 5, thereby getting the sixth through ninth gears (which are truly 2H through 5H).  [Although it's physically or mechanically possible to shift into the 1H position, the ratio of that combination almost exactly duplicates that of 5L, so it's pointless to select 1H rather than going directly from 5L to 2H.]

The 10-speed pattern also calls for the driver first to use the gearstick to shift through five holes in the HH (double-H) pattern (while in the L or low range).  [Again, the 1L gear is a double-low or "granny" gear, so most drivers usually start in 2L in ordinary traffic.]  Again, after winding up in 5L, then the driver selects H (for high) on an air valve on the gearstick knob, then he repeats the positions 1 (rather than 2) through 5, thereby getting the sixth through tenth gears (which are truly 1H through 5H).  [The successive ratios of the gearset in the 10-speed design use a slightly different sequence, which causes 1H to provide a useful ratio between 5L and 2H; that accounts for the difference between a 9-speed and a 10-speed transmission.]

The 13-speed shift pattern uses the 9-speed pattern, and it adds another twist:  It also splits 2H through 5H, thereby getting eight gears (rather than just four gears) – that is, two gears (rather than one) in each hole in the high range – 2HL, 2HH, 3HL, 3HH, 4HL, 4HH, 5HL, and 5HH – also called 6 through 13 – in addition to the five gears in the low range.

The 18-speed shift pattern also uses the 9-speed pattern, and it adds yet another twist:  It splits each of the nine gears, thereby getting 10 gears (rather than just five gears) in the low range plus eight gears (rather than just four gears) in the high range.  [For a while there was also a similar 20-speed design, which split each of 10 gears.

Some years ago the 13-speed Roadrangers used two different air valves on the gearstick (one for the ranger and one for the splitter); now, however, they use a three-position valve built into an oversize knob on the top of the stick.  [The 18-speed Roadrangers still use two separate air valves built into an oversize knob.]

At various times I've had the pleasure – genuine pleasure! – really – of successfully learning to shift each of those types of gearboxes and a few other types as well.  Most of the time I used float shifting (using the clutch only slightly, just enough to soften the meshing of the gears).

[Shifting a 13- or 18-speed gearbox is somewhat like singing or playing a musical composition by Mendelssohn; the hardest part is keeping one's place in the score without becoming lost.]

After the 8V-71 engines became available, the engineers at GM and Greyhound began making plans to improve the entire fleet of Scenicruisers, by replacing the original dual-engine powerplants with single V-8 machines.

This part of the Scenicruiser story continues on pages 244 and 245 in the section entitled "Even More New – and Renewed – Buses".

How many Scenicruisers ever existed?  That depends; that depends on how one counts.  There are three different answers to that question, and each one is correct (at least in part) in its own sense.  I have my own favorite answer:

  • First, the regular production run of the PD-4501 consisted of exactly 1,000 coaches, bearing serial numbers from 001 through 1000.
  • Second, after that production run ended, the GMC T&C Division pulled out the EXP- 331, its hand-built prototype of the PD-4501, rebuilt it somewhat, completed it in the standard seating configuration, revised the exterior trim to conform with that on the production coaches (including the removal of the round drumhead sign), then gave it the serial number of PD-4501-1001, then sold it too to Greyhound as A-2267 (in the fleet of the Atlantic GL), which later became renumbered as A-6464, then as M-6464 and soon as 6464 (in the fleet of the Southern GL), and eventually as 5399 (in the fleet of the Greyhound Lines East).  [That was the only Cruiser which left the plant with a spotlight, a drumhead sign, or an emergency door (which became sealed during the rebuilding).]
  • [During the production of the first version of the Highway Traveler PD-4104 – and after the beginning of the construction of the hand-built prototype of the Scenicruiser PD-4501 – but before the production run of the PD-4501 – the federal regulations became changed in such a way that an emergency door became no longer required on a coach with large picture windows equipped with hinges and simple latches (operable by passengers as well as drivers) along with adequate instruction plates.  Thus no PD-4501 in the production run had an emergency door – although every PD-4104, even in the second version of it (beginning in 1957) – did have an emergency door.]
  • [Shortly before the beginning of the production run of the Scenicruiser, the managers at the T&C Division (with the consent of their counterparts at Greyhound) took the hand-built prototype to a Tootsietoy plant, then allowed the officials and workers at Tootsietoy to examine their new coach, photograph it, and measure it, in preparation for Tootsietoy to begin producing die-cast metal models of the Scenicruiser, in the 1:50 scale, almost the same as the O scale (1:48) in model trains, about 9.6 inches long.  The prototype at that time bore a round drumhead sign on the tail, as aboard a Silversides (and a number of other previous models) – that is, as though on the tail of a railway passenger observation car.  Thus the Tootsietoy models of the Scenicruiser have evermore bore drumhead signs on their tails, although no other Scenicruiser ever left the plant with a drumhead sign, and although the prototype lost its drumhead sign before it went into regular revenue service.]
  • Third, the GX-2 – the second hand-built experimental prototype involved in developing the Scenicruiser concept and leading to it – eventually got a bogus "builder's plate" identifying it as PD-4501-1002, then (with the side number of G-7483) became assigned to the Great Lakes GL.

Sooo ... how many Scenicruisers?  I say there were 1,001.  The GX-2 was a special coach, but it never was a PD-4501, although it bore the name Scenicruiser in script on each side, and it never was a GM product at all, except that Greyhound had built it (in a shop in or near Chicago) from parts obtained from the GMC T&C Division – despite the contrived serial number on the artificial "builder's plate".

[PD-4501-1001 (the one which went into revenue service as A-2267) was a hand-built product of the GM Corporation, built in the T&C facilities in Pontiac (and finished in 1953) – whereas the GX-2 (named as a Scenicruiser, the only "Scenicruiser" at that time) was a hand-built product of The Greyhound Corporation, built in Greyhound facilities in or near Chicago (and finished in -49), largely using parts and components obtained from GM (starting with an unfinished PD-4151) – and whereas the GX-1 (named as a Highway Traveler, the only "Highway Traveler" at that time) was a hand-built coach, nominally (at least) also a Greyhound product (and finished in -47), also largely using parts and components obtained from GM.]

[However, there is circumstantial evidence, albeit slim, which strongly suggests that Carl Will, the former owner of the Wilcox Trux, Inc., the successor to the H.E. Wilcox Motor Car Company, in Minneapolis – after he renamed it (as the C.H. Will Motors Corporation) and started producing WMC and, later, Will coaches, mostly for Greyhound and for a few other carriers as well – and after the Motor Transit Corporation (the predecessor of The Greyhound Corporation) in 1927 bought the Will firm – evidence that Carl Will built the GX-l for Greyhound (due to the influence of Orville Caesar himself) in one of Will's old plants, which he had converted for the production of automotive heating apparatus – after Greyhound in -29 had sold the Will company to GM, and after GM in -30 had closed the Will coach-building operation (but turned over the facilities in Minneapolis to Carl) – as one result of a complex deal which had led to the development of the Yellow Coach organization as a long-term nearly exclusive supplier of coaches to Greyhound – after which Carl Will founded another company which continued to build automotive heaters and related hardware under the trade name of Tropicaire.  That is, ironically, it may be that the very last "Will" coach was also, in a special and limited sense, the first "Scenicruiser" – or at least the first tangible step in the development of the Scenicruiser concept – on the way toward the first post-WW2 double-deck Greyhound coach.]

[Tropicaire heaters were the first automotive heaters in the US to use hot water and electric blowers, which were first, in October 1926, installed aboard the coaches of the MTC.]

Sadly and regrettably, although the Scenicruiser program marked the high point, the crown jewel, of the long relationship between Greyhound and the T&C Division (of the GM Corporation), the Scenicruiser program also marked the beginning of the end of that liaison.  The mechanical problems with the Cruiser led to major disagreements between those two parties, then to a lawsuit by Greyhound against GM, then to a settlement, all of which resulted in a thoroughly ruptured and intolerably unhappy relationship.  [More about that appears on page 245.]

Mergers, Old Coaches, and More New Ones

In October 1954 Greyhound merged two other divisions, the Teche GL (Teche or TGL) and the Dixie GL (Dixie or DGL), into the Southeastern GL.  The three fleets of the three divisions became consolidated into a single fleet, all of which became renumbered, using the M prefix (the letter already in use for the SEG Lines).

Teche (pronounced as "tesh") – from a word of French origin, a word (téche) for "snake", due to a legend (about a large snake in the region) which the natives had told to the early French traders and explorers – from the name of the Bayou Teche in the swamp country in coastal Louisiana – had been based in New Orleans, Louisiana.  It ran from New Orleans to Natchez, Mississippi; through Hammond, Louisiana, to Jackson (in Mississippi and on the way to Memphis, Saint Louis, and Chicago); through Hattiesburg and Meridian, both in Mississippi, to Birmingham, Alabama; through Montgomery, Alabama, and Columbus, Georgia, to Atlanta; through Mobile, Alabama, to Marianna (in Florida, meeting the Southeastern GL, on the way to Tallahassee and the rest of the Sunshine State); and westward through Baton Rouge and Lafayette to Lake Charles (all three in Louisiana), meeting the Southwestern GL in Lake Charles, on the way to Houston, the rest of Texas, and the rest of the West); plus along several regional and feeder routes in the south part of the Pelican State.

Dixie had been based in Memphis.  It ran from Memphis to Saint Louis, Paducah, Evansville, Nashville, Chattanooga, Florence, Birmingham, Columbus, Jackson, and Vicksburg, all the last three in Mississippi, and Springfield and Effingham, both in Illinois and on the way to Chicago, plus along branch lines to Jonesboro, Arkansas, and in West Tennessee.

After that merger Southeastern served 12 states along 13,227 route-miles – from Cincinnati, Saint Louis, Memphis, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Lake Charles – to Savannah and Jacksonville – from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Ohio River to the Gulf of Mexico.

One night during the winter of 1954-55, just after the merger of Teche and Dixie into Southeastern, I discovered a former-Teche Highway Traveler in the shop in Nashville.  I went straight to the destination sign and started rolling through it.  I felt amused and enriched by the sight of the exotic-sounding places with the French, Cajun, Creole, Indian, and other names listed on the curtain – Houma, Amite, Natchez, Baton Rouge, Biloxi, Thibodaux, Lafayette, Picayune, Opelousas, Ponchatoula, Pensacola, Bogalusa, New Iberia, Mandeville, Abita Springs, ....  What a blast!

During 1955 a bunch of old buses showed up at Southeastern from two other divisions – 37 copies of the pre-WW2 Yellow Coach (pre-GM) Silversides PDG-4101 (built about 1941), 32 from the Southwestern GL and five from the Richmond GL, renumbered in the M-800 series alongside similar cars from the Teche GL.

Those buses had a curious (and often inaccurate and undependable) air-operated shifter mechanism for the transmission (even though using a gearstick on the steering column, which was standard on the Silversides).  That feature caused the drivers to refer to them as "Windjammers".

Late in the spring of 1957 the second version of the PD-4104 began to appear, 125 of them, throughout the SEG Lines – with toilets (although the first version did not include that option) and with several other improvements, including pantograph wiper arms (as in the second version of the Scenicruiser), arms which allowed the blades to remain vertical at any point during the arc of the sweep, along with left-side rear-view mirrors mounted at the belt line (as on the Scenicruiser) rather than near the top of the side window (as in the first version of the -4104).  They were no longer named as Highway Travelers, as were the cars of the first version of the -4104, starting in 1953.  Instead they bore the legend "Scenicruiser Service".  Otherwise the livery (the paint and markings) continued as on the first version.  The inside décor used a medium shade of metallic green, which greatly improved on the previous brown.  They became numbered from M-1100 through -1224.

In October 1957 The Greyhound Corporation merged the Florida GL (FGL) into the Southeastern GL.  The FGL fleet became renumbered into the scheme which had come into existence in the fall of -54 upon the merger of Teche and Dixie into Southeastern.

The Florida GL had been based in Jacksonville.  It ran throughout the Sunshine State – from Jacksonville, Lake City, and Tallahassee, through Orlando, Tampa, and Saint Petersburg, to Miami and Key West – especially along the main drag, US-1, on the East Coast between Jacksonville and Miami via Saint Augustine, Daytona Beach, Melbourne, Vero Beach, Fort Pierce, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale – including local commuter service from Miami to Fort Lauderdale and to Homestead (near the tip of the mainland on the Dixie Highway, US-1, on the way to Key West via the Overseas Highway).

In November 1957 another group of the second version of the PD-4104 – 120 more of them, also with toilets – began to appear throughout SEG.  They too bore lettering for Scenicruiser Service (rather than Highway Traveler).  They became numbered from M-1240 through -1359, continuing after the previous group, which had ended at -1224.  [That last group of new cars introduced a clever twist on the destination sign – the silhouette of the Greyhound dog trademark (as an alternate to a blank reading) for use when the correct destination was not available on the curtain for a particular trip.]

Of the 5,065 copies of both versions of the PD-4104, the Greyhound companies altogether bought a total of 1,985 of them, 39.2 percent of them, delivered in the years 1953-54 and -57-58.  [The number 5,065 made the -4104 the most numerous coach in North America – until the MC-9 exceeded it and, in 1994, reached a total of about 9,513 when production ended.]

In November 1960 The Greyhound Corporation merged the Atlantic GL (Atlantic or AGL) with – not into but rather with – the Southeastern GL, thereby creating the Southern Division of The Greyhound Corporation, which became known also as the Southern GL, the third of four huge new divisions (along with Central, Eastern, and Western).

Thus ended both the Atlantic GL and the Southeastern GL, and thus began the Southern GL.

The Atlantic GL had been based in Charleston, West Virginia.  It ran from Charleston throughout the Mountain State, to Cincinnati and Columbus (both in Ohio), Pittsburgh (in Pennsylvania), Washington, DC, to Richmond, Roanoke, and Norfolk (all three in Virginia), Bristol (on the state line between Tennessee and Virginia), Knoxville (in Tennessee), through the Carolinas, to Atlanta, Augusta, and Savannah (all three in Georgia), and to Jacksonville (in Florida).  The AGL also ran local suburban commuter service based in its hometown and in Portsmouth in Ohio, Winston-Salem in North Carolina, Sumter in South Carolina, and (in conjunction with the Queen City Trailways) in Charlotte in North Carolina.  [On page 250 I describe that operation in Charlotte.]

That last merger required yet another renumbering of the newly merged fleet, in a part of a total renumbering throughout the entire Greyhound system.  The former-SEGL cars became numbered from M-5000 through -6053; the former-AGL cars, from M-6400 through -6971.

The prefix letter M (previously for the SEGL) – along with the three other letters for the three other huge remaining divisions (C, E, and W, for Central, Eastern, and Western) – became dropped after only a few more months.

Seeing-eye (or Sightseeing) Dogs

In 1957, as the second version of the GM PD-4104 replaced and displaced the ACF-Brill IC-41 coaches of the Southeastern GL, Greyhound moved the retired IC-41s to a storage lot at the Greyhound shop on New York Avenue NE in Washington, DC.

As the next tourist season approached in Washington, the management of the new DC Transit System, which in 1956 had replaced the Capital Transit Company, felt a need to acquire more coaches (as inexpensively as possible) for its charter and sightseeing operations (in addition to its basic city-transit function), partly in anticipation of expanding its tour and charter activities (by competing more aggressively against its rivals).

Thus the managers of the DC Transit System approached Greyhound, carefully selected 10 copies of the 1948 (that is, the youngest) version of the IC-41 and bought them (for a total of only $8,000), repainted them and refurbished them somewhat, then put them back to work.

Some of those cars continued to operate in and around Washington well into the 1960s, thereby running almost as many years as they had for the SEG Lines, although not running nearly as many miles as before.

Even More New – and Renewed – Buses

In March 1961 the GMC T&C Division introduced the PD-4106, a 35-foot parlor car which took the next logical step beyond the -4104 (skipping the number -4105, which was never used for a production model), and which featured the new Detroit Diesel 8V-71 (V-8) engine (after the début of the 6V-71 (V-6) in 1959 in the GM Fishbowl suburban and city-transit models).  [As the numbers suggest, both the 6V-71 and the 8V-71 were based on the durable and dependable (although leaky) in-line 6-71.  Engines of the 71 series were and are often called "green screamers" (because of the color of the factory paint and because of their characteristic and distinctive whining sound, due to the presence of a gear-driven Roots blower in the air-intake system, because they use the two-stroke concept, and because natural (unblown) aspiration cannot provide enough air to the combustion chambers in a two-stroke high-compression diesel engine).]  The styling of the -4106 was similar to that of the -04 but somewhat more creased or angular (or less soft or rounded) than on the -04.  [For example, the rounded corners of the picture windows on the sides used shorter radii – that's the plural of radius – shorter than on the -4104 (Highway Traveler), -4501 (Scenicruiser), and Fishbowls.]  It included the first quad headlamps (round ones) on a GM parlor car.  [The Fishbowls in 1959 had introduced quad headlamps on suburban and city-transit cars.]  The standard transmission was the Spicer manual four-speed gearbox.  The main engine (the only engine) drove the air-conditioning compressor (through a pair of hydraulic lines running between a hydraulic pump on the engine and a hydraulic motor on the compressor, inside the ventilation compartment, on the street side).  [That is, again there was no auxiliary engine, just as there was none aboard the Scenicruiser.]  The new car introduced slightly revised markings, with the name of GREYHOUND (again, no longer Greyhound Lines, just plain Greyhound) in slightly larger and bolder vertical uppercase letters (rather than the old italic upper-and-lowercase letters) on each side, and, for the first time, across the nose.  They too bore lettering for Scenicruiser Service, as on the -4104s with washrooms.

Of the 3,226 copies of the -4106 built, Greyhound bought 1,105 of them, 34.3 percent of them, delivered in the years 1961-64.

After the PD-4106s began to arrive with their new markings, in 1961, as the Scenicruisers became repainted in due course, their livery became changed slightly.  The name Scenicruiser (on the sides near the nose) became Scenicruiser Service, in line with the -4104s with washrooms and the -4106s (all of which had washrooms at Greyhound, although not all other carriers specified them). Further, the name of GREYHOUND appeared in even larger and bolder vertical uppercase letters (replacing the old italic upper-and-lowercase letters), on each side near the tail and across the tail (as before), and (for the first time on the Scenicruiser) across the nose (as on the PD-4106 as they came from Pontiac).  [Relatively few Scenicruisers ever acquired those markings, because late in 1961 another new livery began to appear on the renovated Scenicruisers.]

By that time a decreasing number of Henry Js and other coaches of older models still remained on the roster at Greyhound; a few of them got the name of GREYHOUND on the sides in vertical uppercase letters in a style slightly bolder than before.

After the 8V-71 engines became available, the engineers at GM and Greyhound began making plans to improve the entire fleet of Scenicruisers, by replacing the original dual-engine powerplants with single V-8 machines.

Although the managers of the GMC T&C Division provided the engineering support to design the replacement installation, they declined to carry out the conversion project.

Therefore Greyhound hired the Marmon-Herrington (MH) Corporation, of Indianapolis, to repower all the remaining Scenicruisers (979 of them, because 22 had become destroyed in fires and wrecks) for a price of about 10 million dollars.  [MH is the company best known perhaps for its trackless trolley coaches (which have long run in San Francisco and several other cities), along with its Marmon heavy-duty tractor trucks and its short-lived (1950-55) line of small gasoline-powered city-transit buses (after MH bought the right to use the design of the defunct Ford Transit buses, after the Checker Motors Corporation, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, the famous taxicab manufacturer, gave up in its attempt in the bus-building industry).  MH still continues in business in 2010 as a constructor and converter of all-wheel-drive (AWD) vehicles for a variety of commercial and military applications.]

Between October 1961 and September -62, Marmon-Herrington replaced the pairs of 4-71 engines, the fluid couplings, the clutches, and the three-speed gearboxes with new powertrains, consisting of single Detroit 8V-71 (V-8) engines, standard dry clutches (without fluid couplings), and Spicer manual four-speed unsynchronized gearboxes – mounted longitudinally (straight-in) – that is, without using the Austin angle-drive arrangement (as did most other flat-nose GM coaches, which used engines mounted transversely in the tail).

Aboard a repowered Scenicruiser the new V-8 main engine (the only engine) drove the Freon compressor, as had one of the four-cylinder main engines previously.

As each Scenicruiser left the MH plant in Indianapolis, Greyhound then refurbished the interior and made several changes on the exterior, at a total cost of about three more million dollars.

Regrettably, the inside work included a repainting of the previous yellow metalwork on the dash and other surfaces (only on the lower deck) into a medium shade of metallic green, which matched the inside décor of the PD-4106, which had begun to arrive early in 1961, and that of the second version of the -4104, which had begun to arrive in -57.  Sadly, the new green paint completely covered the handsome builder's plate (attached to the dash near the door) and obliterated the lettering on it.

The outside work included the replacement of the pair of tailgate doors (hinged at the sides of the tail) with a single overhead door hinged at the top, a pair of full-length horizontal gold Scotchlite stripes, and new lettering, announcing the new name of Super Scenicruiser (on each side near the nose, as before) – no longer just Scenicruiser or even Scenicruiser Service – but rather Super Scenicruiser! – along with the name of GREYHOUND in larger yet and bolder yet vertical uppercase letters, on each side near the tail and across the tail (as before) and across the nose (as on the PD-4106s as they came from Pontiac).

Every remaining Scenicruiser (979 of them) became repainted and changed into the Super Scenicruiser livery (with the gold Scotchlite stripes) during the process of repowering and renovating.

Late in 1963 a few of the new MC-5 coaches began to appear in service at Greyhound in the US, then in -64 Greyhound received 200 copies of the MC-5, the first model which Greyhound ordered (for service in the US) from the Motor Coach Industries (MCI), which then was a Canadian coach builder.  [The New England GL had previously (in 1953) acquired five MCI Courier 95-D coaches when it took over the International Coach Lines.]

[In 1948 the Western Canadian Greyhound Lines, Limited, had bought the MCI as the supplier of its coaches for its operations in Canada; in -58 The Greyhound Corporation (the parent firm in the US) bought a controlling interest in the MCI, thereby taking an important step toward again developing its own source for its future equipment; in -63 the MC-5 (equipped with power steering, air suspension, air-conditioning, a Detroit 8V-71 engine, a manual four-speed gearbox, and a toilet) compared well with the GM PD-4106.]

The early successes with the MC-5 paved the way for Greyhound to continue developing the MCI as the new exclusive source of its coaches (for the US as well as for Canada) and to continue to turn away from the GM Corporation and its T&C Division.  [More about the MCI in the next section.]

However, the MCI could not yet reach the level of production necessary to fully satisfy the needs of Greyhound in the US, so the executives of the Dog bought a modest number (in a stopgap measure) of the next model from GM, the PD-4107, which quickly became nicknamed as the "Buffalo" (due to the distinctive hump in the roofline near the nose) – 162 in 1966 and 200 more in -67.

The GM Buffalo PD-4107, another 35-foot car, continued essentially the same features as aboard the -4106, including a washroom and air-conditioning (driven by the V-8 main engine) plus two huge baggage compartments, much as on a Scenicruiser, due to the single raised deck).  One new touch was the stepped or graduated arrangement of the first three rows of seats in a way which offered in effect 12 front seats with a good view.  Unfortunately, Greyhound resurrected the unattractive brown interior décor for the Buffalo (from the first version of the -4104).

Because of the wonderful new design of the wonderful new clutch on the Buffalo, the drivers uniformly found it to be markedly difficult to shift gears with any degree of smoothness.  Pop said that, of all the coaches he had driven, it was the hardest model he had ever tried to shift.  I later drove a couple of Buffaloes, and I too found it to be challenging.  I eventually discovered or developed a combination of ways to shift it less poorly, but I've said few good things about the Buffalo.  [One secret was to shift a Buffalo fast; if I tried to shift it slowly and carefully, I was bound to grind the gears.  The timing on shifting the Buffalo was baffling.]

GM had put little effort into the styling of the Buffalo, for it had become obvious that the Buffalo would be the last parlor car from the T&C Division, and that it would emerge only in rather small numbers – partly because Continental Trailways also had begun developing its own new signature coaches from a different source (the Golden Eagle and the Silver Eagle, which Greyhound people tended to call the Buzzards, from the Kässbohrer industrial empire, based in Ulm in Germany).  Thus GM took the PD-4106, built it with a single high deck, used the windows and a few panels from the Fishbowl series (of suburban and city-transit cars), then added some flat panels and several new stampings, then patched or cobbled it all together and called it the -4107.

Of the 1,267 copies of the -4107 built, Greyhound bought 362 of them, 28.6 percent of them, delivered in the years 1966-67.

The Buffalo introduced another minimally changed livery, using a slightly darker shade of blue and a narrow red stripe at the belt line.

After that, as Scenicruisers became due for repainting in due course, a few of them got the same livery as the one on the Buffaloes.  The name of Super Scenicruiser continued, but the lettering for the name of GREYHOUND became even larger and bolder.  At the same time, the company began removing the fluted aluminum trim flanking the side picture windows, because of increasing oxidation behind the trim.  Unfortunately, that removal harmed the overall appearance of the coaches.  [That livery became applied also to the -4104s and -06s during repainting in due course.]

About 1970 some 500 of the Scenicruisers (in better condition) became renovated again, with no change in the mechanical arrangement.

That time about 130 of them became converted into the combination ("combo") configuration, which provided a cavernous cargo compartment in the rear of the upper deck plus an access door on the curb side near the tail.  The remaining seats, in several patterns, numbered from 10 (those on the lower deck) to about 26 (including up to 16 on the upper deck).  [The toilet aboard a Scenicruiser was on the lower deck (on the street side), so it remained accessible to all the passengers even in the combo floor plan.]  The side number of a combo included a 0 (zero) as the first digit in the fleet-wide four-digit numbering scheme.

Some of the Scenicruisers continued operating, in decreasing numbers, but no longer scheduled as first sections on mainline or long-distance routes, until the mid-1970s, until the MC-8 finished replacing them and sending them out to pasture.

Meanwhile, Greyhound continued buying from the MCI – more of the MC-5 and -5A, 100 copies of the MC-6 (15 for Canada and 85 for the US), then large numbers of the MC-7, -8, -9, and -12, the 96A3, 102A3, -B3, and -DL, and the G45.

Motor Coach Industries

The Motor Coach Industries (MCI) began in 1932 as an automotive body shop, named as the Fort Garry Motor Body and Paint Works, Limited, in a suburb of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, in one of the "prairie provinces" of Canada (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba), north of North Dakota and Minnesota.  It soon diversified into bus construction.  In -33 it built its first bus, a stretched Packard sedan, and in -37 it built its first bus from scratch on its own chassis.  In -38 it filled its first order for new coaches for Greyhound in Canada.

In 1941 the firm became renamed as the Motor Coach Industries, Limited.

At first the MCI used under-floor Hall-Scott gasoline engines (as did ACF and ACF-Brill in the US and CCF-Brill in Canada).

However, the MCI later began to use rear-mounted gasoline engines (Continental in 1950, then International in 1951), then rear-mounted Cummins diesel engines in 1952, then rear-mounted GM (renamed in 1958 as Detroit) diesel engines – the 4-71 in -53, the 6V-71 in -61, the 8V-71 in -63, the 12V-71 (V-12) in -69 (in the short run of the MC-6), the 6V-92 in -79, the series 60 in -92, and the series 50 in -94.

I comment on the MCI in more detail on pages 30xx-30xx in chapter 30.

Again, though, I've gone far ahead, so let's return to an earlier time.

Tennessee Coach Company

The Southeastern GL cooperated with another carrier, the Tennessee Coach Company (TCC), in an unusual arrangement on its scheduled trips between Nashville and Knoxville.

The TCC, based in Knoxville, had begun in 1928, combining the Southern Motor Coach Company, which had started running in -24 between Knoxville and Chattanooga, and the Safety Coach Company, which had started running in -25 between Knoxville and Johnson City along US-11E via Jefferson City, Morristown, and Greeneville.

The State of Tennessee in 1929 issued a joint certificate (of public convenience and necessity) to the TCC and the Union Transfer Company (a predecessor of the Consolidated Coach Corporation and the Southeastern GL) for service between Nashville and Knoxville along US-70 (later redesignated in part as -70S) via Murfreesboro, Woodbury, McMinnville, Sparta, Crossville, Rockwood, and Kingston, which was then the best and most practical route.

In 1929 the TCC extended its Johnson City line to Bristol, on the state line between Tennessee and Virginia, and in -30 to Bluefield, on the state line between Virginia and West Virginia; then in -38 it added service to Atlanta both from Knoxville and from Chattanooga (although on backwoodsy routes, because Greyhound already ran between Chattanooga and Atlanta through more populous areas in north Georgia via Rome, Dalton, and Calhoun).

The Tennessee Coach Company also provided extensive local commuter service (especially during WW2) between Knoxville and Oak Ridge (still sometimes called the Secret City), the site of the headquarters of the top-secret Manhattan Project, which in 1945 produced the world's first nuclear weapons.  [Dr. Robert Lagemann was one of the physicists who worked during WW2 at the Manhattan Project; he later served as the Chairman of the Department of Physics at Vanderbilt University (as well as my faculty adviser in the honors program during my senior year in 1960 and -61) while I was a physics major at Vandy.]

The two carriers – the TCC and the UTC (later the CCC, even later the SEGL) – shared their joint certificate (on the route between Nashville and Knoxville) in a novel way:  One carrier ran in one direction on any given day, and the other carrier ran in that direction the next day, and vice versa.  That is, they ran in opposite directions, and they changed directions each day.

That plan continued until 1956, when the TCC joined the National Trailways Bus System.  With the approval of the federal Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), Southeastern took over five of the nine daily skeds in each direction, and the TCC took over the other four skeds each way.  [The TCC also started one daily trip each way between Nashville and Knoxville along US-70N via Lebanon, Carthage, Cookeville, Crossville, and Rockwood, joining the Continental Tennessee Lines, another Trailways carrier, on that route.]

Shortly before the TCC defected to the Trailways system, but before the new affiliation became effective, a few of the TCC coaches showed up at the Greyhound station in Nashville in their new livery (red and white, exactly as before, even with the same markings, except that blue had become red, plus the Trailways name and the Trailways trademark).

For a brief time late during the 1930s, while the TCC operated in cooperation with the Southeastern GL, several of the coaches of the TCC (Yellow Coach long-nose streamliners) appeared (with the consent of Greyhound) in the Greyhound livery, complete with lettering for the "Tennessee Greyhound Lines" (which never existed at all as a separate distinct entity).

In 1939, using six copies of the Yellow Coach model 1210, numbered as 88-93, with GM 6-71 engines, the TCC became the third highway-coach carrier in the USA to introduce diesel (rather than gasoline) power, after Greyhound, the first, and the Burlington Trailways, the second, using the model 743.  Those six coaches were the only diesel-powered 1210s ever built.  [The 1210 soon became redesignated as the PD-3701 (different from the PDG-3701).]

Now let's turn back to 1929 – the year in which the TCC and the UTC obtained their joint certificate for service between Nashville and Knoxville.

Three major players in the early intercity-coach industry organized yet another carrier, named as the Old Dominion (OD) Stages, using the nickname of the state or Commonwealth of Virginia.  The founders were Arthur Hill (of the Blue and Gray Transit Company, of Charleston, West Virginia), John Gilmer (of the Camel City Coach Company, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina), and Guy Huguelet (of the Consolidated Coach Corporation, which in 1936 became renamed as the Southeastern Greyhound Lines).  They owned the new firm in three equal shares.  The purpose of the new firm was to run between Knoxville and Washington, DC, via Bristol, Wytheville, Roanoke, Staunton, and Winchester, all five in Virginia, along a route which divided between the territories of the Blue and Gray and the Camel City companies.  Service began on the day before Thanksgiving Day in November 1929.

The Blue and Gray Transit Company and the Camel City Coach Company in December 1929 together became the National Highway Transport (NHT) Company.  NHT soon formed operating ties to Greyhound and began negotiations with the Hound.  Early in 1931 NHT began using the brand name, trade name, or service name of the Atlantic Greyhound Lines, while at first retaining its previous corporate name.  In July -31 it became renamed as the Atlantic Greyhound Lines (AGL).

In May 1932 the Old Dominion Stages leased its route segment between Knoxville and Bristol (along US-11W via Rutledge, Bean Station, Rogersville, and Kingsport) to the Tennessee Coach Company, then the TCC began running between Knoxville and Bristol along both -11W (the leased route) and -11E (its own original parallel route).

Later in 1932 Hill and Gilmer bought the one-third interest of Huguelet in the OD Stages, then they merged OD into their Atlantic GL.

The TCC continued to run the leased OD route along US-11W as well as its own original route along -11E – until 1956, when the TCC joined the National Trailways system, and when the TCC returned its leased right (to the OD route) to the Atlantic GL (as the successor in interest of the OD Stages) – as a part of the deal related to the dissociation of the TCC from Greyhound.

After that the TCC still continued to run between Knoxville and Bristol, but only on its own old original route along US-11E.

In 1960 the Tennessee Coach Company became sold to a new firm (created specifically to buy the TCC), named as the Tennessee Trailways, Inc., owned in three equal shares by three other Trailways member companies.  The investors were the Virginia Stage Lines (the Virginia Trailways), the Smoky Mountain Stages (the Smoky Mountain Trailways), and the Continental Tennessee Lines (which ran in part between Nashville and Knoxville along US-70N via Lebanon, Carthage, Cookeville, Crossville, and Rockwood).  That last company was in turn a wholly owned subsidiary of the Continental Southern Lines, based in Alexandria, Louisiana.  The two latter firms were members of the Transcontinental Bus System, which used the trade name of the Continental Trailways.  Despite the sale the TCC retained its old brand name until 1976.

In the past the TCC had operated mainly Yellow and GM Coaches plus a number of Aerocoaches during WW2; however, in 1961, under the new ownership, the TCC began buying Silver Eagle coaches, as did most of the other Trailways member companies.

Incidentally, I'm aware of only one other sharing arrangement similar to the one between the SEGL and the TCC – with another twist:  For some years during the 1940s and -50s, two carriers – the Atlantic Greyhound Lines and the Queen City Coach Company (the Queen City Trailways) – provided local suburban commuter service between Charlotte and Gastonia, both in North Carolina.  [The Queen City Coach Company was based in Charlotte, the seat of Mecklenburg County, called the Queen City – named for Queen Karlotte Sophia von Mecklenburg-Strelitz (that is, Charlotte of Mecklenburg, Charlotte from a duchy or dukedom in northern Germany), the wife (the queen consort) of King George III, the British monarch who (in the view of his subjects) "lost the American colonies".]  Those two carriers alternated skeds each day – first one company, then the other.  However, in a curious twist – to make doubly sure, I guess, that the two carriers got equal shares – each month – each month! – the companies swapped the skeds – first the second carrier, then the first carrier.

Pool (Interline) Operations

Although the Southeastern GL long was independent of the ownership of The Greyhound Corporation, the SEGL from its beginning participated fully in the through-ticketing of passengers, through-checking of baggage, coordinated scheduling, and another important practice:  SEG took part in many through-schedules in interlined pool operations with several Greyhound divisions (or, later, other divisions), in which the coaches of Southeastern and the other Greyhound companies ran through-buses on through-routes in not only their own respective territories but also the territories of other neighboring Greyhound regional operating companies.

For example, on one certain schedule a single coach ran from Chicago to Miami through Nashville – through the territories of the Pennsylvania GL (between Chicago and Louisville), the Southeastern GL (between Louisville and Jacksonville), and the Florida GL (between Jacksonville and Miami).  A specific pool (group) of buses was dedicated to that specific through-route.

During that era, many years before the time of the international registration plan (IRP) and the international fuel-tax agreement (IFTA), it was necessary for the operating companies to assign specific coaches to particular routes – and to register the coaches and to attach multiple license plates to them (for all the states along the respective routes – to comply with the laws of the various states.  [That's why in those days we saw large numbers of trucks and buses with multiple license plates plastered onto their tails and noses.]

The coaches in the pool in this example came from the Pennsylvania GL, the Southeastern GL, and the Florida GL.  Each of those buses along that route was driven by eight different drivers – two from the Pennsylvania GL (one from Chicago to Indianapolis and one onward to Louisville), four from the Southeastern GL (one from Louisville to Nashville, one onward to Chattanooga, one on to Macon, and one to Jacksonville), and two from the Florida GL (one from Jacksonville to Stuart and one finally to Miami).  Of course, those three Greyhound companies (Pennsylvania, Southeastern, and Florida) made some complex accounting settlements among themselves for the shared use of the equipment (the coaches) by the various regional operating companies.

More than once Pop held a run from Nashville to Chattanooga on which he was the SEG driver (from Nashville to Chattanooga) who ran the one daily (or, more accurately, nightly) sked through Nashville from Chicago to Miami, leaving Nashville at slightly varied times about 10:30 p.m.  That pool was one of the early ones to get the first version of the GM Highway Traveler PD-4104, starting in the fall of 1953, then the first version of the GM Scenicruiser PD-4501, starting in the fall of -54.  [On his return leg he drove a sked which started in Chattanooga, arrived in Nashville at 9:30 a.m., and continued (with a fresh driver) to Louisville, normally on a GM Silversides PD-3751 but sometimes a GM Henry J PD-4103 or an ACF-Brill IC-41, then later a GM Highway Traveler PD-4104.]

Several times I rode with him on that run.

Many more other times I rode with him on his "midnight" run to Chattanooga, leaving Nashville at 12:40 a.m. and returning at 12:40 p.m.  At first the southbound leg ran only from Nashville to Chattanooga (on usually a GM Silversides PD-3751 but occasionally a GM Henry J PD-4103 or an ACF-Brill IC-41, which then turned around in Chattanooga and went back to Nashville and onward to Louisville, with the driver who had arrived in Chattanooga on the previous sked from Nashville).  The northbound leg was the last segment of a through-sked from Jacksonville to Nashville (almost invariably on a Silversides, but one Sunday in 1955 on a brand-new GM Scenicruiser PD-4501, one which had just arrived from the plant in Pontiac and the shop in Toledo but had not yet gone to the pool in which it would soon start its regular assignment).  Starting in January 1956, though, the southbound leg on that run took place on a new sked from Saint Louis to Miami (pooled with the Florida GL between Jacksonville and Miami), and the northbound leg on a new sked from Jacksonville to Saint Louis, both using brand-new Scenicruisers of the second version, which introduced the modified clutch arrangement and other improvements, which I describe on pages 235 and 236.

A single pool of coaches then served that pair of two daily round trips between Saint Louis and Florida, a shorter one between Saint Louis and Jacksonville and a longer one between Saint Louis and Miami.  Those coaches were numbered from about M-178 through at least -184.

While I was a kid, the first pooled interlined through-skeds (that is, with other carriers) via Nashville were those between Louisville and Saint Petersburg via Birmingham and Tallahassee, using the ACF-Brill IC-41, with the Florida GL (between Tallahassee and Saint Petersburg), starting late in 1947 or early in -48, shortly after the Florida Motor Lines (in -46) became renamed as the Florida Greyhound Lines.

After the GM Silversides PD-3751 arrived in the Southeastern fleet, starting in the fall of 1947, SEG in -48 formed new pools running through Nashville using the Silversides:

  • between Nashville and Saint Louis via Evansville with the Dixie GL (between Evansville and Saint Louis via Mount Vernon, Illinois);
  • between Memphis and Knoxville with the Dixie GL (between Memphis and Nashville);
  • between Detroit and Birmingham via Louisville with the Great Lakes GL (between Detroit and Louisville via Cincinnati).

After the GM Henry J PD-4103 arrived, late in 1951, it replaced the IC-41 in the pool between Louisville and Saint Petersburg via Birmingham and Tallahassee.

After the GM Highway Traveler PD-4104 arrived, late in 1953, SEG formed additional pools through Nashville using the Traveler:

  • between Chicago and Birmingham via Louisville with the Pennsylvania GL (between Chicago and Louisville via Indianapolis);
  • between Chicago and Miami via Atlanta with the Pennsylvania GL (between Chicago and Louisville) and the Florida GL (between Jacksonville and Miami);
  • between Nashville and Miami with the Florida GL (between Jacksonville and Miami);
  • between Memphis and Bristol (extending the through-route between Memphis and Knoxville) with the Dixie GL (between Memphis and Nashville) and the Tennessee Coach Company (between Knoxville and Bristol) and soon onward to Washington, DC, with the Atlantic GL (between Bristol and Washington via Roanoke and Winchester, both in Virginia).

[I describe the Tennessee Coach Company in the immediately previous section of this chapter on pages 247 through 250.]

The Highway Traveler also replaced the Silversides in the existing pool between Detroit and Birmingham via Nashville, Louisville, and Cincinnati.

After the GM Scenicruiser PD-4501 arrived, starting in the fall of 1954, SEG formed even more pools through Nashville using the Cruiser:

  • between Detroit and Nashville via Louisville with the Great Lakes GL (between Detroit and Louisville via Cincinnati);
  • between New Orleans and Detroit via Louisville with the Great Lakes GL (between Louisville and Detroit via Cincinnati);
  • between Dallas and Knoxville via Memphis with the Southwestern GL (between Dallas and Memphis via Texarkana and Pine Bluff, both in Arkansas);
  • between Memphis and New York City with the Atlantic GL (between Knoxville and Washington) and the Pennsylvania (later Eastern) GL (between Washington and New York City);
  • between New Orleans and Cleveland with the Great Lakes (later Central) GL (between Louisville and Cincinnati) and the Central (later Eastern) GL (between Cincinnati and Cleveland);
  • between Saint Louis and Miami with the Florida GL (between Jacksonville and Miami).

The Scenicruiser also replaced the Henry J in the existing pool between Louisville and Saint Petersburg and the Highway Traveler in the existing pools between Chicago and Miami, between Chicago and Birmingham, between Detroit and Birmingham, and between Nashville and Miami.

Using the Cruiser, the SEGL also extended from Birmingham to Mobile on some of the skeds which previously had run between Detroit and Birmingham and between Chicago and Birmingham.

In 1954 The Greyhound Corporation bought (from the Fitzgerald brothers) the Southern Limited (which had run from Chicago to Evansville via Danville, Illinois, and Terre Haute, Indiana, with a branch from Paris, Illinois, between Danville and Terre Haute, to Paducah, Kentucky) and assigned those routes to the Pennsylvania GL (which soon became a part of the new Eastern GL), then transferred them to the Great Lakes GL (which soon became a part of the new Central GL), then to the old Central GL (which also soon became a part of the new Eastern GL).

Then SEG formed a new pool, using the Scenicruiser, between Chicago and Saint Petersburg via Danville, Terre Haute, Evansville, Nashville, Birmingham, Montgomery, and Tallahassee, with the new Central GL between Chicago and Evansville, using the route acquired through the purchase of the Southern Limited.

After the second version of the GM PD-4104 arrived in the Southeastern territory, starting in the spring of 1957, SEG formed another pool through Nashville between Memphis and Cleveland, using the new cars, with the new Central (formerly Great Lakes) GL (between Louisville and Cincinnati) and the new Eastern (formerly Central) GL (between Cincinnati and Cleveland).

The newer PD-4104s also replaced the Scenicruisers in the pool between Chicago and Saint Petersburg via Evansville, Nashville, and Birmingham.

A Pool with Trailways

The SEGL also operated in a tiny pool with a Trailways company from 1949 until -64 between Nashville and Louisville along US-31E via Scottsville, Glasgow, and Bardstown, all three in Kentucky, in addition to the large number of daily skeds which SEG ran on -31W between Nashville and Louisville via Bowling Green and Elizabethtown (in the fall of 1956, for example, 17 trips each way every day).

Each day SEG ran one round trip between Louisville and Scottsville.

Each day a second trip from Louisville continued beyond Scottsville through Westmoreland and Gallatin, both in Tennessee, to Nashville and then back.

The Southeastern GL held the certificate for the route between Louisville and Scottsville, and the Continental Tennessee Lines, formerly the Central Bus Lines (the Central Trailways), originally called the Cookeville Coach Company, held the paper for the route between Nashville and Scottsville.  [I describe those other firms on pages 254 through 256.]

On that one daily turnaround from Louisville to Nashville and back, an SEG coach made the entire trip, but an SEG driver drove it over an SEG route between Louisville and Scottsville, and a Trailways driver drove it over a Trailways route between Nashville and Scottsville.  That Hound bus (first an ACF-Brill IC-41, later a GM Henry J PD-4103) arrived at the Trailways station in Nashville at 1:05 p.m., then headed back toward Louisville at 1:35, without having made a stop at the Greyhound station in Nashville!  [The SEG driver waited off-duty in Scottsville until his bus returned from Nashville.]

Several times one of my special girlfriends, Eleanor "Ellie" Shannon McDowell, rode on that pair of skeds between Nashville and Glasgow (to visit one of her cousins in Glasgow).  Naturally, I got the pleasure of putting her on the bus and meeting her later.

While Ellie made those trips, the regular Southeastern driver (between Scottsville and Glasgow), based in Louisville, was Lynn Surber, a good and likeable man, who was a long-time friend of Pop, one of the first drivers whom he had met in Louisville, who visited our home several times during his layover time in Nashville (on runs different from the one to Scottsville and back) before returning to his home terminal in Louisville.

Of course, Ellie carried greetings between Lynn and my family and me.

That pool ended in 1964, when Trailways started its own route between Nashville and Louisville, on a circuitous path on Kentucky state roads via Scottsville and Leitchfield, and directly onward to Chicago via Indianapolis, on Indiana state roads paralleling the US highways on which Greyhound ran, or to Detroit, continuing on another circuitous path via Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, also using state roads.  [Greyhound had long run directly between Nashville and Detroit via Louisville, Cincinnati, Dayton, and Toledo.]

Trailways in Nashville

While I was a kid, in Nashville there were three Trailways member companies – that is, three separate carriers which were members of the Trailways association (named as the National Trailways Bus System, the NTBS):

  • the Southern Bus Lines (the Southern Trailways), which later became renamed as the Continental Southern Lines;
  • the Crescent Stages (the Crescent Trailways), which later became renamed as the Continental Crescent Lines;
  • and the Central Bus Lines (the Central Trailways), which later became renamed as the Continental Tennessee Lines.

All three of those Trailways firms in Nashville later became parts of the Continental Trailways (using the official name of the Transcontinental Bus System and using the brand name, trade name, or service name of the Continental Trailways), which in 1979 became renamed as the Trailways, Inc., the TWI, and which in -87 became bought by and merged into the (second) Greyhound Lines, Inc., the (second) GLI.  [More about that appears on page 273.]

That part of the Trailways system (the largest part by far) – that is, the Continental Trailways (not even counting the smaller remainder of the Trailways network) – grew into the second largest bus system in North America (second only to Greyhound).

Here's a look at each of those three Trailways carriers in Nashville:

The Southern Trailways, based in Alexandria, Louisiana, ran a route, among many others, between Nashville and Memphis via Centerville along state road 100.  That was the farthest reach of that company to the northeast from its headquarters in Alexandria.  [The Southern Bus Lines had come into existence in 1945, as the consolidation of three other Trailways member companies (one small, one medium, one large), all based in Louisiana – the Bordelon Lines (the Bordelon Trailways), based in New Orleans; the Interurban Transportation Company (the Interurban Trailways), based in Alexandria; and the Tri-state Motor Transit Company (the Tri-state Trailways), based in Shreveport.  Bordelon ran from New Orleans to Shreveport via Alexandria; Interurban ran from Baton Rouge to Shreveport via Alexandria (on a different route), from Baton Rouge to Beaumont, Texas, and from Little Rock to Lake Charles via Alexandria; Tri-state ran from Shreveport and from Texarkana (on the state line between Texas and Arkansas) to Birmingham, from Shreveport to Meridian, and from Saint Louis to New Orleans, Mobile, and Gulfport and Biloxi (both in Mississippi), plus throughout a large network of feeder and regional routes.  The resulting firm, a huge one, based in Alexandria, became named as the Southern Bus Lines, using the brand name of the Southern Trailways.]

Southern began running its route between Memphis and Nashville in 1946 – along an indirect route via Somerville, Bolivar, Henderson, Jackson, Parsons, and Centerville (because the Dixie GL already ran directly along US-70).  [That was the first time when any Trailways company ever ran between Nashville and Memphis.]

In 1949 the Transcontinental Bus System (using the brand name, trade name, or service name of the Continental Trailways) bought the relatively new (recently consolidated) Southern Bus Lines (the Southern Trailways) and renamed it as the Continental Southern Lines.

The Crescent Stages had begun not later than 1928 (originally named as the Dixie Stage Lines, completely separate and different from both the Dixie Coaches and the Dixie GL), based in Anniston (previously sometimes called the "Crescent City"), running on routes which eventually reached from Anniston, Alabama, to Chattanooga, to Rome and Columbus, both in Georgia, and to Birmingham, Montgomery, and Huntsville, all three in Alabama, then in 1947 northward from Huntsville to Nashville (when Crescent bought the Lewisburg Bus Lines, which had run between Nashville and Huntsville via Lewisburg, Shelbyville, and Fayetteville).  [Thus in -47 Trailways first ran between Nashville and Birmingham.]  The Crescent Stages had joined the National Trailways association in 1939 (and thus had become known also as the Crescent Trailways).

In 1952 Crescent bought the Service Stages, which ran a circuitous route between Birmingham and Atlanta via Piedmont, Alabama, and Cedartown, Georgia; then in -53 the Continental Southern Lines bought the Crescent Stages (the Crescent Trailways) and renamed it as the Continental Crescent Lines.  [Thus in -52 Trailways first ran between Nashville and Atlanta, along another roundabout route via Huntsville and Gadsden, both in Alabama, and via Piedmont and Cedartown.]

The earliest forerunner of the Central Trailways was the Consolidated Bus Lines (completely separate and different from the Consolidated Coach Corporation, the predecessor of the Southeastern GL), which had started running in 1926 between Nashville and Sparta via Lebanon and Smithville along state road 26, later redesignated as US-70.  In -34 the owners formed also the Cookeville Coach Company, which they soon renamed as the Central Bus Lines, running between Cookeville and Crossville, and in -35 they extended westward to Nashville via Carthage and Lebanon.  [Each of those two companies ran as well several other less significant routes.]  In -37 the owners moved the home office of each company from Smithville to Nashville.  Central in -38 added routes from Nashville to Gallatin, Westmoreland, Lafayette, Red Boiling Springs, Celina, Hartsville, Gainesboro, Livingston, and Scottsville, Kentucky).  [That route to Scottsville (the one which Ellie McDowell rode to Glasgow and back in the 1950s) is the one which I describe in the previous section on pages 253 and 254.]  In -46 Central extended its Crossville line eastward to Knoxville (on a circuitous route via Clinton), and in that same year, -46, both Central and Consolidated joined the National Trailways Bus System, thus becoming known also as the Central Trailways and the Consolidated Trailways.  [That was the first time (in -46) when any Trailways company ever ran the entire distance between Nashville and Knoxville.]  By -47 the Central Trailways consisted mainly of its route between Nashville and Knoxville (an important link in an important new east-west Trailways route between Raleigh and Dallas and therefore between the East Coast and the West Coast), plus its local commuter services from Nashville to Lebanon and Carthage and to Gallatin, Westmoreland, and Red Boiling Springs, along with its pooled route (with the SEGL) to Scottsville and Louisville.  [One other service was a truly roundabout route (and therefore a lightly patronized one) between Nashville and Chattanooga – without a through-route extension on either end (and thus without sustaining overhead through-passengers, without whom few local routes, other than commuter routes, can easily survive at a profit) – with only two round trips each day, using GM PD-2903 Cruiserettes (the GM competitive response to the Flxible Clipper), via Lebanon, Smithville, McMinnville, Altamont, and Whitwell, with an elapsed time of six hours (!) each way and with a lunch stop of only five minutes, whereas the Southeastern Greyhound Lines ran between Nashville and Chattanooga straight along US-41 via Murfreesboro, Manchester, Monteagle, and Jasper, with running times as short as three hours and 30 minutes (including a 15-minute rest stop).]  In -47 Consolidated became merged into Central, which had begun to use the trade name of the Central Trailways, and in -54 Central became renamed as the Continental Tennessee Lines (upon its acquisition by the Continental Southern Lines into the growing Continental Trailways).

[One of the drivers for the Consolidated Bus Lines was a young man named Ray Cole, who drove for that firm in Smithville between 1934 and -36, then started driving for the Southeastern GL in Nashville.  Ray later worked for the SEGL as a dispatcher and a manager in both Nashville and Evansville.  As a teenager I sometimes hung out with Ray and talked with him in the dispatch office at the station in Nashville.  One time for him I banged out a long message on the Teletype machine to the dispatch office in Cincinnati.]

Incidentally, one of the owners of the Central Bus Lines and the Consolidated Bus Lines, for at least a while during the 1930s and early in the -40s, was James Edgar (J.E.) Evins, the father of the Honorable Joe Evins, the 15-term member of the US House of Representatives, 1947-77, from Smithville and DeKalb County.  [Joe's predecessor in the House (from the Fifth Congressional District) was Al Gore Sr., and his successor was Al Jr.]

[One Sunday morning in the summer of 1959 I became introduced to Joe Evins and his wife, Ann, while visiting at the Church of Christ on 16th Street NW at Decatur Place in Washington, DC, where Joe and Ann worshipped while in the capital city.  Joe, as a consummate small-town southern Democrat politician, said that I should call him Joe.]

[Joanna Evins, the eldest daughter of Joe and Ann, was one of my classmates at Vanderbilt University.  She and I shared two semesters of calculus under Dr. J.R. "Bob" Wesson, who was a truly remarkable professor and one of my very favorite ones of my entire time as a student.]

[Dan Evins, a nephew of Joe, in 1969 founded the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain, based in Lebanon, Tennessee.]

Southern Coach Lines and Nashville Transit Company

In 1940, the year in which I was born, rubber-tired motor coaches began to replace steel-wheeled streetcars in Nashville.  The gasoline-powered buses of the Nashville Coach Company (NCC) began to displace the electric streetcars of the Tennessee Electric Power Company (Tepco).  [In 1922 the Tepco had replaced the Nashville Electric Railway and Light Company.]  The first bus (a Twin Coach 41-G) headed out on the Hillsboro line in August -40, and the last streetcar (a Birney safety car) pulled in from the Radnor line in February -41.

Public transit had begun in Nashville with horse-drawn railcars in 1865, then had continued with electric trolley cars in 1889.  Thus Nashville became one of the early cities in North America to have electric streetcars.

However, the last street-railway extension had taken place in 1920, and the last new trolley cars had arrived in -27.

After that, as the needs and wishes of the growing populace required more transit service between the streetcar lines and beyond the ends of them, the Tepco responded to the new demands by forming a motor-coach subsidiary, named as the Tennessee Transportation Company (TTC), to operate 11 Yellow Coach long-nose transit buses of the Type Z on five new routes, starting in 1927.  The first bus lines were Bordeaux, Dickerson Pike, Granny White, Inglewood, and Sunset Park.  Additional coaches followed.

During the period of 1937-40 there developed a strong public sentiment which sought the replacement of the old streetcars by new motor coaches, accompanied by much legal and political wrangling and much pro-bus agitation by the two newspapers (the Banner and the Tennessean).

In 1940 the state Public-utility Commission (PUC) ordered the Tepco to substitute buses in the place of the trolley cars.

Then the federal Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) acquired the Tepco electric-power operations in Nashville, thus forcing a liquidation of the Tepco.

During the winding up of the Tepco and the TTC (the bus subsidiary of the Tepco), those two companies provided the capital for the formation of a new corporation, named as the Nashville Coach Company (NCC), to operate the new city-bus system, which also replaced the old bus service of the TTC (the bus subsidiary of the Tepco).

The NCC promptly placed orders for 154 new gasoline-powered coaches from three builders – Twin (for 20 of the model 27-G and 30 of the 41-G, all with Hercules engines), White (for 48 of the model 788), and Yellow (for 56 of the TG-3602).  The Twins became numbered as 601-620 and 801-830 respectively, the Whites as 901-948, and the Yellows as 701-756.  [TG-3602 means transit-gasoline, 36 seats, the second model in the series.]

Each new car arrived in a striped color scheme with curves, green and cream with silver on the roof, decidedly Art Deco, often called the Omnibus, Chicago, or Fifth Avenue livery, named for the large firms which used it in Chicago and New York City.  [The Omnibus Corporation was the holding company which owned those two carriers.]

Later the stripes became somewhat simpler as the coaches became repainted in due course, and about 1950 the design became rather stark – solid cream over solid green divided along a straight line at the belt line.

The Tepco had operated also the city-transit system in Chattanooga.

In 1941 a new company, named as the Southern Coach Lines (SCL), came into existence, and the SCL bought both the NCC in Nashville and the leftover Tepco bus system in Chattanooga, which became known as the Nashville Division and the Chattanooga Division of the SCL.

{During the changes from the Tepco to the NCC and on to the SCL, one of the principal players in the legal and financial moves, through his Equitable Securities Corporation, was Brownlee Currey Sr., a major figure in Nashville, who in 1947, through his Beneficial Finance Company, also provided much of the funding for the formation of the Transcontinental Bus System (the expanding Continental Trailways) by M.E. Moore in Dallas – and who had a nephew by the name of Fred Currey, who later became an assistant to Moore, then, by questionable means, displaced Moore as the CEO of the Continental Trailways (later renamed as the Trailways, Inc., the TWI), and later yet bought not only the Greyhound bus operations [known as the (second) Greyhound Lines, Inc., the (second) GLI] but also the TWI, and then completely ruined both carriers.}

In 1941 the Southern Coach Lines moved to Nashville a number of pieces of used equipment from Chattanooga, including 12 cute little 20-seat 1932 Twin Coach (model 19) shuttle buses (numbered discontinuously as 101 and upward), locally known as cracker boxes, for feeder lines.  [One of those cracker boxes survived until about 1960, as a truck for the company painters who periodically roamed around the town, painting the markings on pavement and on utility poles to designate the bus stops.  About 1956, at the age of 16, I wrote to the manager and asked to buy that one remaining little car, but he rebuffed me.]

For a short time, starting in 1941, the SCL in Nashville ran also 17 used copies of the revolutionary Twin Coach model 40, which the Fageol brothers (Frank and William) had introduced in -27.  [I mention that innovative design on pages 215 and 217.]  All of those in Nashville were built during 1928-30.  Seven of them had previously served on the international shuttle through the tunnel below the Detroit River between Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

In 1942 and -43 the SCL placed in Nashville 30 more new Twin Coaches of the slightly restyled and updated (and more attractive, especially on the nose) model 41-G (numbered discontinuously as 856 and upward) – and later transferred them to Chattanooga.

In 1946 the SCL bought 40 more new Whites – 15 of the model 798 (numbered curiously as 1-15) and 25 of the 788-2 (numbered as 951-975, after the 788s, 901-948), each of the last 25 of which had a White Hydrotorque transmission (a two-speed gearbox, coupled to a torque converter, manually shifted by an electric toggle switch in the side wall at the driver's left hand).  The last group had at SCL the first transmissions of any type other than manual three-speed gearboxes.

In 1947 the SCL got 15 handsome new ACF-Brill C-44 coaches (numbered as 501-515), built at the Vultee aircraft plant at Berry Field in Nashville (with serial numbers 002-016, right after one demonstrator).  They had Hall-Scott under-floor gasoline engines and manual three-speed gearboxes.  [I describe the production there on pages 221 and 222.]

Sometime about the middle of the 1950s, long before the time of coaches wrapped with vinyl graphics for advertising, one of those C-44s became painted (yes, painted, not wrapped) in such a way that it resembled a huge loaf of Sunbeam bread, with the obligatory pictures of little Miss Sunbeam.

In 1949 the SCL received 10 new small Brill C-31 coaches (numbered as 551-560) of a new model, not branded as ACF-Brill, just plain Brill – because in -46 the parent ACF owner had sold The Brill Corporation to Convair (the Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation) – about 30 feet long, with 33 seats, a manual three-speed gearbox, and an International gasoline engine in the tail (rather than a Hall-Scott engine under the floor) – to start replacing the aging Twin 27-G buses on the feeder lines.

In 1953 the city created the Nashville Transit Authority, and the new Nashville Transit Company (NTC) replaced the Nashville Division of the SCL.

That year the NTC placed an order for its first diesel-powered equipment, 30 copies of the GM TDH-4512 (numbered as 401-430) with air suspension, GM 6-71 engines, and GM hydraulic automatic transmissions.  The first 15 arrived in December 1953, and the other 15 followed in April -54.  [TDH-4512 means transit-diesel-hydraulic, 45 seats, the 12th model in the series.]

The GM cars introduced an attractive new livery (typical of the 1950s, a standard color scheme available from the T&C plant in Pontiac), in red and cream, which later became applied also to the older coaches as they became repainted in due course.

The ACF-Brill C-44 coaches (received in 1947) were equipped with factory-installed standard turn signals, as were the Brill C-31s (in -49) and all the new GM diesel coaches (starting in -53).

Shortly after the first of the GM coaches arrived, the NTC carried out a massive program to install aftermarket turn signals on all the older buses which had lacked them.  [Turn signals had become standard items on GM cars and light trucks during the 1953 model year, although they had become standard on YC (pre-GM) parlor coaches in -37.]

Late in 1954 the NTC received 15 more new GM diesel coaches (numbered as 301-315), shorter ones (32 feet long), model TDH-3714 – transit-diesel-hydraulic, 37 seats, the 14th model in the series – with GM 4-71 engines (with four cylinders rather than six).  The purposes of the smaller cars were to eliminate the shuttle buses on the feeder lines (by placing the new cars on light routes running all the way downtown) and to replace some of the aging Yellow Coaches (especially on the Shelby Street line across the weight-restricted Shelby Street bridge).

In the spring of 1955 the NTC bought several old 33-foot Greyhound suburban cars, 11 of the TD-4007 (built in -45) – transit-diesel, nominally 40 seats (although those particular cars used a 37-seat variant arrangement, using forward-facing suburban-type plush deep-cushion seats), the seventh model in the series – with GM 6-71 engines and GM hydraulic automatic transmissions – from the Great Lakes GL, used previously in local commuter service, originally in the bus subsidiary of the Cincinnati and Lake Erie (C&LE) Railway, in the suburbs of Dayton, Ohio – numbered as G-7129 through -7139 (originally numbered as 180 through 190), renumbered at the NTC as 351-361.  [One humorous touch is that – although all of those used cars had become freshly repainted into the new red-and-cream livery before they moved from Dayton to Nashville – one of them rolled into town with a non-matching blue-and-white wheel (the left-rear-outside one) – apparently because the tire or wheel in that position had become found to be bad just before shipment – and then became replaced with a tire and a wheel (from the stock on hand at the Greyhound shop in Dayton) – or maybe because of a tire failure while en route from Dayton to Nashville – still painted in the standard Greyhound colors.  Eventually, some months later, that anomalous wheel became repainted into red and cream.]

The NTC conducted two unsuccessful experiments with diesel power using engines other than GM, using Fageol-Leyland engines (that is, British Leyland engines from England marketed through the Fageol-Twin firm in Kent, Ohio).

In the first of those two steps, early in 1955 the NTC replaced the original White gasoline engines with Leyland diesel engines in several White coaches, first number 12, then 15, then three more of the model 798.  The first two of them bore their original numbers for a short while after the repowering, then they became renumbered in the group of 976-980, along with the three other 798s, which also became renumbered during the modification, right after the 788-2s (numbered as 951-975).  Next the NTC likewise replaced the engines in several (about five, I think) of the 788-2s, each of which retained its previous number in the group of 951-975.  Each of the modified 798s also got a Spicer hydraulic automatic transmission (replacing its original White three-speed manual gearbox), but each of the modified 788-2s retained its original White Hydrotorque transmission.

In the second of those two steps, late in 1955 the NTC bought five new Southern 40-seat 35-foot cars (numbered as 201-205) with under-floor Fageol-Leyland engines and Spicer hydraulic automatic transmissions.  [The styling of the Southern coaches represented an obvious attempt to imitate the styling of the current Twin Coach models (except the six-piece Twin windscreen design).]  They ran mostly on the Glendale, Granny White, and Eighth Avenue South lines; they also ran for a while late in the 1950s on my Porter Road line.  They had several neat features (including foot switches for the turn signals, at the driver's left foot, the first such switches at the NTC), but overall the Southern cars did not measure up well in comparison with the GM Coaches.  A few of the drivers liked them, but not many of them cared for them.

The Southern coaches and the Leyland engines were generally regarded as unfortunate and unsuccessful experiments.

Wisely, then, the NTC resumed its purchases of new GM products.  It bought 15 more of the TDH-4512 (numbered as 431-445) in 1956, 20 more (numbered as 446-465) in -58, and 10 more (numbered as 466-475) in -59.

The interiors of the TDH-4512 were quite attractive.  The first group (401-430) used a single light shade of green paint (slightly bluish) on the inside of the shell and a single dark shade of green on the upholstery.  The second group (431-445) used a dazzling two-tone treatment, light lime green over medium metallic green, for both the paint and the upholstery.  The third group (446-465) used a nice but uninspired combination of beige over medium-dark brown.  The last group (466-475) really hit the spot and got it exactly right – two gorgeous shades of blue, sky blue over ocean blue.

The TDH-3714s (301-315) and the old TD-4007s (351-361), along with the Southern coaches (201-205), used the same interior treatment as the first group of the -4512s (401-430).

Starting in 1954, as the old gasoline-powered coaches became repainted in due course, they got both the new red-and-cream exterior livery and the same interior treatment as on the first group of the -4512s (401-430).

The first GM Fishbowls (thus called due to the picture windows and the huge convex windscreens) arrived in Nashville during the summer of 1960, 10 copies (numbered as 701-710) of the striking new model TDH-4517, with the new Detroit 6V-71 (V-6) engines, GM hydraulic automatic transmissions, air suspension, and air-conditioning, a common or nearly standard feature on the Fishbowls.  The picture windows used the shape of a forward-leaning parallelogram with gracefully rounded corners (similar to the design used on the GM Highway Traveler PD-4104 and the GM Scenicruiser PD-4501).  Because of the extensive use of the fluted bright siding, the Fishbowls introduced a simple outside color scheme, a white roof over cream without red (except on the NTC logo, as before).  [The numbering of the new Fishbowls (701-710) represented a touch of whimsy or irony, which may or may not have been intentional, for the old Yellow TG-3602 buses (among the original equipment of the Nashville Coach Company in 1940) had been numbered in the 700 series – that is, the new GM Coaches of a new model bore the same numbers as the first 10 of the old Yellow Coaches (GM products of a previous era).]

In 1946 the new Whites (15 of the model 798 and 25 of the 788-2) introduced the use of split two-section destination roll signs in Nashville, whereas all the older coaches used one-section signs.

In 1947 the ACF-Brill C-44s continued the use of split two-section destination signs, although on the ACFs each of the two sections had a black background (rather than red for the smaller section).

In the new arrangement a relatively wide curtain with a black background on the curb side of the front of the coach showed the name of the route or line, such as Porter Road, or "special" or "garage" or other use or destination, and a relatively narrow curtain with a red background on the street side of the front of the coach showed "local" or "express" or the branch or extension of the line, such as Eastland.  Here's a real example:


SCOTT AVENUEHAYSBORO

 


In 1953 and -54 the first group of the GM TDH-4512 (numbered as 401-430) also had two-section signs, but they included an atypical twist, an anomalous (almost bizarre) twist:  The name of the route or line appeared on a black background on the smaller section on the street side of the front of the coach, and the name of the branch or extension of the route (or "local" or "express") appeared on a red background on the wider section on the curb side of the front of the coach.  Here's an example:


LOCALCHARLOTTE

 


That was backward.  It presented an awkward and impractical appearance.  I never heard or read an explanation of that.  I've wondered whether it resulted from a miscommunication between the NTC and the staff at the plant of the T&C Division in Pontiac, or whether some misguided person at the NTC had just tried to do something different, maybe for a lack of a better way to amuse himself.  I've also never known of that weird combination to be used on any other coach anywhere else.  Fortunately, that screwball aberration never recurred.

However, another anomaly (although not an objectionable one) occurred aboard the 15 copies of the TDH-3714 (numbered as 301-315) in Nashville:  All those coaches had black steering wheels and black turn-signal switches, whereas all the other Yellow and GM Coaches – the TG-3602, the TDH-4512, the used TD-4007, the TDH-4517, and the used TDH-4507 and -4509 (which I describe on page 265) – all of those coaches which served in Nashville before I left home and left town (after I graduated from Vanderbilt in 1961) – all of those had the familiar characteristic (almost signature) tan steering wheels and tan turn-signal switches (except that the TG-3602s did not originally have turn signals at all) – which Yellow Coach had introduced on its parlor and city-transit coaches in 1940 and which GM Coach continued consistently on its parlor models through the PD-4103 and on its transit and suburban models through the early Fishbowls in the mid -60s.  Starting in 1953, three parlor models got black steering wheels and black turn-signal switches (the PD-4104, the Scenicruiser PD-4501, and the PD-4106).  The Buffalo PD-4107 in -66 introduced white steering wheels of a different type, which began to appear also on transit and suburban models about the same time.  But I do not recall having seen black steering wheels or black turn-signal switches on any other GM transit or suburban coach anywhere else (in Nashville or otherwise) – not on the TDH-37 or the TDH-45 series.  The sales literature did not list those black items as options.  What happened?  I still don't know.  Maybe a shortage of the tan ones when the Nashville TDH-3714s came down the assembly line?  That's my best guess.

During 1954-61, while I attended David Lipscomb High School (DLHS) and Vanderbilt University (VU), I routinely commuted on the city buses of the NTC – between my home and downtown on the Porter Road line, between downtown and DLHS on the Belmont and Granny White lines, and between downtown and VU on the West End, Belle Meade, and Hillsboro lines.

Throughout those years I intently watched all the happenings in the city-bus operations, I learned much about them, and I became acquainted with most of the drivers to one extent or another.  A few of them allowed me to ride around town with them.

Several of the drivers have stood out in my memories.

W.K. Porter was probably the oldest driver at the NTC and probably the number-1 man at the top of the seniority list.  [He lived in a brick house on the north side of Eastland Avenue near the Eastwood Christian Church, on the Porter Road line.]  He consistently worked on the first shift, starting about 5 a.m., on the Porter Road line.  I often rode with him for several years, while I commuted to Lipscomb and Vanderbilt.  Despite his obvious advanced age (and his complete lack of teeth), he still did a remarkably good job of handling the buses with extreme smoothness and expertise.

Tommy Stamps was the most cheerful and outgoing of them all – and the most favored one among many of the older lady passengers.

Paul Evins and Edgar "Eddie" Angell showed by far the highest degree of smoothness, expertise, graciousness, friendliness, congeniality, and professionalism. They both stood well above all the others.  I always greatly enjoyed riding with either of them.

While in elementary school and afterward I rode with Paul many times on the Porter Road line; while in high school I rode with him a number of times on the Granny White line.

Late one afternoon in February 1960, during the start of a surprise snowstorm, after the city streets had already become quite messy, one of my special girlfriends, Carol Ann Smith, and I rode with Paul on the Hillsboro line on our way back home across town after our college classes.  As always, Paul did a super job of moving his TDH-4512 amid the snow and ice.  [Paul lived on Halcyon Avenue between the Glendale and Granny White lines.]

Many times in 1955-61 I rode with Eddie on the Porter Road line on my way back home after classes.  [Eddie was the father of Nick Angell, one of my schoolmates, one grade behind me at Inglewood School, and another son several more grades behind me; Eddie and his family lived on Porter Avenue, between Porter Road and Riverside Drive, near our school.]

Riding with either Paul or Eddie was always a special treat.  They consistently did everything well and right.  I do not recall any instance in which either of them ever committed a mistake of judgment or other glitch.

One afternoon in February 1956, during my junior year in high school, after several hours of another surprise snowstorm, while riding back home on a city bus after classes at DLHS, I pulled off a major success, for the benefit of the driver, the company, and a busload of kids.  The coach was a White 788-2 (numbered in the group of 901-948) on a routine special trip inbound on the Granny White line for the use of the DLHS students.  A regular trip on the Granny White line, using a GM TDH-3714 (numbered in the group of 301-315), was about 30 minutes ahead of us.  As we headed north on the Granny White Pike, we crossed Woodmont Boulevard, Noelton Avenue, and Clifton Lane, then we descended a short downgrade toward Battlefield Drive at the bottom.  Beyond that awaited an upgrade, a moderate one across a train track of the Tennessee Central (TC) Railway (which now provides the route of I-440 in that part of town), then a sharper grade (about six or eight percent) toward Gale Lane at the top.  As we eased down the first grade, we saw that the -3714 ahead of us had slid completely off the snowy steep upgrade, to the right into the ditch on the east side of the pavement.  We reached the bottom, crossed the TC train track, then started creeping up the steeper grade.  Only a few feet beyond the -3714, the drive wheels of our bus lost traction and started spinning on the icy snow, then started sliding to the left, not quite off the pavement but almost into the ditch on the west side of the road, although the nose of our bus remained well on the road.  The efforts of our driver availed naught.  Then came my shining moment.  I approached the driver and proposed a solution.  He seemed doubtful, but he had nothing to lose.  I mustered all the boys on the bus and took them outside and to the rear.  I positioned the boys on the left side of the tail.  On my signal the driver shifted into first gear and engaged the clutch but did not depress the accelerator.  As I had expected, the slow turning of the rear wheels did not produce any motion, but it did cause the rear of the bus to skate on a thin layer of water between the drive tires and the surface of the icy snow – water produced by the heat of the friction between the snow and the slowly turning tires.  Then, with the tires skating on the water, we boys pushed sideward at the tail of the bus, back toward the center of the road.  That really worked!  After we put the bus back in a straight line in the center of the road, then we started pushing the tail of the bus straight ahead and straight upward, all the way to Gale Lane at the top.  That too really worked!  The driver stopped again, we boys reboarded the bus, and we all continued to downtown without any further incident.  That little trick of mine was not bad for a kid who had not quite reached the age of 16!

After the introduction of the factory-installed air-conditioning aboard the new Fishbowls in 1960, the riders, the drivers, and the company all liked that feature well enough that the NTC installed aftermarket cooling machines aboard 15 of the newer TDH-4512s.  In -61 the 10 newest of them (466-475) got rooftop systems from Thermo-King, then in -62 five of the next newest (461-465) got under-floor systems from Thermo-Equipment.  As those cars gained their new coolers, they became renumbered as 601-615.

The NTC needed to finish retiring the old gasoline-powered buses.  The managers had a preference to do so with more GM diesel coaches, but the declining ridership did not produce enough revenue to enable the company, still a privately owned one, to buy more new equipment.

Therefore the NTC began a program of buying second-hand somewhat recent-model GM Coaches from publicly owned systems which had begun buying large quantities of new GM Fishbowls – 15 of the TDH-4507 (built in 1947-48, renumbered as 501-515) from Cincinnati in -60-61, eight of the TDH-4509 (built in -51, renumbered as 801-808) from Indianapolis in -62, 20 of the TDH-4509 (built in -49-50, renumbered as 811-830) from Memphis in -65, 11 of the TDH-4512 (built in -54, renumbered as 461-471, using numbers previously vacated by the -4512s modified in -61-62 with the aftermarket air conditioners and renumbered as 601-615) from Miami in -67, plus a single TDH-4512 (built in -56, renumbered as 472) from the Louisiana Transit Company, a suburban operation in New Orleans, in -67.

Using federal grants, which became available late in the 1960s, the NTC bought its first new equipment since 1960 – 10 35-foot GM Fishbowls in -67, 10 more in -68, and 10 more in -69, all numbered as 711-740, right after the first 10 Fishbowls in -60 (numbered as 701-710).

In July 1973, using a federal grant of 4.5 million dollars, the Metro government, created in -63, acting through its Metro Transit Authority (MTA), also created in -63, bought the assets of the NTC and began operating the system.  Thus Nashville became the last large city in the Volunteer State to lose its private city-bus carrier to public ownership.  [Memphis had converted in -61, Knoxville in -67, and Chattanooga in January -73.]

The MTA soon placed an order for 100 AM General 35-foot 41-seat coaches from the upstart (and short-lived, 1974-78) bus-building subsidiary of the American Motors (AM) Corporation (AMC).  The coaches (numbered as 800-899) arrived in 1974-75.

After that further unsuccessful experiment the MTA returned to GM, buying 20 of the 40-foot version of a new RTS model (the replacement for the Fishbowl design), numbered as 900-919, which arrived in 1979.  [Those were the first buses longer than 35 feet at the TTC, NCC, SCL, NTC, or MTA.]

In 1983 the MTA received its first articulated (tractor-trailer) coaches, 15 German MAN 72-seat coaches (numbered as 101-115).  [MAN is the abbreviation for Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg (Machine Factory Augsburg-Nuremberg).]

By that time I had lived so long away from Nashville, and I had become so involved with other activities, and my attention had become so diluted and diverted in other directions, that I lost contact with the MTA and its story.

Other Bus Companies in Nashville

The Ladd Motor Coach Lines, using the nickname of the Tennessee Trailblazers, connected Nashville with several towns to the southwest – Fairview, Centerville, Hohenwald, Waynesboro, Savannah, and Selmer, all in our state – and, for a while, via Waynesboro to Corinth, Mississippi, and Florence, Alabama – using a small fleet of dented and rumpled Flxible Clippers plus a few Pony Cruisers (even smaller than the Clippers).

W.C. Owen of Ashland City ran a one-man one-bus local operation, the Owen Bus Line, using a nice looking, nicely maintained Flxible Clipper 29BR with a Buick engine, making usually about three or four round trips each day between Nashville and Ashland City, the seat of Cheatham County, about 19 miles away to the northwest on state road 12 (Hyde's Ferry Pike) on the "back" way to Clarksville (the alternative to US-41A, the direct route to Clarksville, along which the SEGL ran through Clarksville and Hopkinsville to Evansville.

Mr. Owen had started his business with a sedan in 1918, then he graduated to an International truck chassis with a 21-seat bus body, then other small buses, and eventually his neat little 29-seat Flxible Clipper.

He retired about 1954, and he sold or leased his company and his one bus to the Ladd Motor Coach Lines, the Tennessee Trailblazers, which also owned and operated several Flxible coaches.  [He is said to have driven about two million miles before he parked his last bus the last time.]

In the spring of 1956 Ellie McDowell and I – along with about 20 other kids and one chaperone (our librarian, Miss Mary Frances Bynum, who later married Marshall Gunselman, the older brother of Darrell Gunselman, one of my classmates at DLHS) – rode on the former-Owen bus (then in the service of the Tennessee Trailblazers but still marked for the Owen Bus Line) – on a charter trip to Cookeville and the Tennessee Polytechnic Institute (TPI), later renamed as the Tennessee Tech University (TTU) – where my sister, Priscilla, in 1971 earned her BS degree (in secretarial science) – and where I in -80 earned my MBA degree – a trip for the Library Club (of which I was the president) at the David Lipscomb High School, to attend an annual state convention of high-school library clubs.  [Predictably, I engaged in much shop talk with the driver while Ellie and I rode right behind the door.]

The Franklin Interurban Bus Company ran between Nashville and Franklin on two routes, along the Franklin Pike (US-31) and the Hillsboro Pike (US-431), using mostly a group of 30-33-foot White suburban cars.  That firm also provided short-turn service from downtown Nashville to Green Hills (on the Hillsboro Pike) and to Crieve Hall and South Meade (just off the Franklin Pike) until 1962, when the Nashville Transit Company took over those last two more local lines.

The Franklin Interurban Bus Company, created in 1941, was an outgrowth of an electric rail carrier, first named as the Nashville Interurban Railway Company, later renamed as the Nashville-Franklin Railway, which had run 1909-43 along a single line paralleling the Franklin Pike.

During the 1950s, as the Whites continued to age, and as the company sought to do more tours and charters, the firm bought several used buses, first two or three Fitzjohn Falcons (from the Central Trailways), then at least one Beck Mainliner (from the Crescent Trailways, originally from the Lewisburg Bus Lines) and at least one GM Henry J PD-4103 with painted smooth sides (from the Southeastern Greyhound Lines).  The Fitzes became repainted to match the Whites, using mostly navy blue with gray and white.  The Beck(s) and the Henry J(s) became repainted in tan and white.  On the Henry J(s) the tan simply replaced the blue in the standard Greyhound livery (following the original stripes and curves), and the words Interurban Lines appeared on the sides in the same style, the same size, and the same places of the lettering which had previously said "Greyhound Lines".

School Buses Too

Even the school buses received my careful attention while I was a kid.

Because my house was more, slightly more, than a mile and a quarter from the school, the legal limit in that era, my neighbors and I were eligible to ride a county school bus.

During my first two years, 1946-48, I rode a -39 GMC (with the cab-over-engine, CoE, configuration and a short nose) with a Wayne body, number 67, I think.  The driver was "Mr. York", who next became a supervisor.  One of my early fascinations was the air cylinder which opened and closed the door.  I enjoyed watching the movement of the cylinder, the linkage, and the two halves of the door.  Any mechanical motion always caught my attention.

In the fall of 1948 we got a new bus and a new driver, a brand-new -48 GMC flat-front bus with a Wayne body, number 2, and Leon Williams – who continued driving on that route, to both Inglewood Elementary School and Isaac Litton High School, until sometime after I quit riding the county school buses, when I transferred from Isaac Litton to David Lipscomb.

After two more years, in the fall of 1950, we got another brand-new flat-front bus, number 38, a 1950 flat-front GMC with a Blue Bird body.

Naturally, I paid close attention to every detail about those buses and the operation of them, and I felt thoroughly enthralled about the whole program.

Riding with Other Drivers

Through the years I rode with a number of other Greyhound drivers, starting when Pop and I rode with them between the shop and the station.

One special ride took place in the summer of 1947, when Mother and I rode to Chattanooga with Herbert "Bert" Brown, one of her maternal first cousins, on a new ACF-Brill IC-41 (on the porter's seat, of course) on the first leg of a trip to Albany, Georgia, then on to Miami, Florida, to see relatives.

That night I felt very favorably impressed, even at the age of 7, by Bert's smoothness and expertise in handling the coach, especially his extremely smooth shifting and double-clutching.

[Many years later, in 1978 at the funeral for Bert, I learned that Tommy Tidwell, as a brand-new SEG driver hired from Murfreesboro, had encountered much difficulty in learning how to double-clutch (which was indispensable, because all the coaches then had manual unsynchronized transmissions), and that Bert had taken Tommy aside and successfully taught him how to do that bit of mechanical magic.  Partly due to Bert's caring, Tommy continued driving for SEG until he eventually retired.  I last saw Tommy in 1998 at the funeral home after Pop died; he too has since died.]

Then we rode with a different driver to Atlanta aboard a second Southeastern coach, another new IC-41, right behind the driver (because two other passengers were already on the porter's seat).

In Atlanta we walked across an alley to the Trailways station, then rode a Flxible Clipper to Albany – because that was a Trailways route, the circuitous main drag of the Modern Coach Corporation (the Modern Trailways) and the Tamiami Trail Tours (the Tamiami Trailways) between Atlanta and Miami via Tallahassee, Tampa, Fort Myers, and Naples.  [The Southeastern GL and the Florida GL together had a shorter and more desirable route between Atlanta and Miami via Jacksonville, Saint Augustine, Daytona Beach, Melbourne, Vero Beach, Fort Pierce, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale.]  Naturally and predictably, even aboard a Trailways bus, Mother and I rode right behind the door.

Pop and Granny (my maternal grandmother, Pearl Anita Woodall Duncan) followed us to Albany after a few more days.

Then my parents and I rode to Miami and back to Albany with Margaret Culbreth Ryals – one of Mother's paternal first cousins (the daughter of Lillie Dale Duncan Culbreth, one of the two sisters of my maternal grandfather, and her husband, John Wesley Culbreth Sr.) – and her husband, George Stanley Ryals, in their new postwar Nash four-door sedan.

In Miami we visited with Uncle Larry and Aunt Enola – Larry Moore Duncan Sr., one of the brothers of my maternal grandfather (Harry Graham Duncan Sr., who had died before I was born), and his wife, Enola Hester Duncan.

Eventually my family and I rode together on a Flxible Clipper of the Modern Trailways from Albany back to Atlanta, then on ACF-Brill IC-41s of the SEGL back to Nashville via Chattanooga.

In early 1949, shortly before my sister, Priscilla, was born (on Valentine Day), Mother and I, along with Dorothy "Dot" Corlew Essary, one of Mother's long-time friends from their school days, rode to Murfreesboro for lunch and shopping.  That morning we rode with Bernice (B.H.) Summar, a native of Murfreesboro, on a local run to Murfreesboro on a new four-legged ACF-Brill C-44 suburban car; that afternoon we rode back on a through-sked from Chattanooga with Herschel Craun on a 1947 IC-41.

While riding with Bernice, Mother and Dot sat directly behind the driver, and I sat directly behind the door; while riding back with Herschel, Mother and Dot sat somewhere in the middle of the bus, and I sat on the porter's seat beside Herschel.  Naturally, as always, I intently watched everything I saw.  While watching Herschel as he steered and shifted gears, I noticed that he appeared to hold one of the fingers of his right hand (the index finger, as I recall) folded in an unusual position; after a few more minutes I realized that part of that finger (about half of it) had become amputated.  That loss did not impair his driving in any way.

In the summer of 1950 Granny and I made a trip together to Louisville to visit relatives (her mother, her two sisters, and their families).  On the way up we rode with Van Creech aboard 2215, a 1948 IC-41; on the way back we rode with Herman (H.B.) Laubheimer (called also "Sledgehammer") on a -47 IC-41.  While northbound Granny and I sat directly behind the door; while southbound I sat with Sledgehammer on the porter's seat.

Both Van and Sledgehammer were based in Louisville.  In that era all the regular runs between Nashville and Louisville were based in Louisville.  Due to the work rules under the union contract, only drivers based in Louisville could hold regular runs between those two cities, although Nashville drivers and Louisville drivers alike were eligible for extra-board assignments – mostly for extra sections (extra coaches due to passenger overflow) on scheduled trips (doubles, triples, and such) or charters, specials, or deadheads (empty moves) – between Nashville and Derbytown.

Under those same work rules, all the Southeastern runs from Nashville to all the other SEG destinations were based in Nashville.

The assignment of the regular runs to particular home terminals had resulted from the way in which the Southeastern route network had developed.  Consolidated first reached Nashville by reaching southward from Louisville through Bowling Green; thus CCC and SEG regular runs between Louisville and Nashville remained based in Louisville.  When the CCC bought the UTC, based in Nashville, the UTC drivers in Nashville held all the Union runs to Union destinations from Nashville; thus CCC and SEG regular runs to destinations other than Louisville (that is, to Evansville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Florence, and Birmingham) remained based in Nashville.  That territorial concept continued many years (until early in the 1980s, I think).

All the regular runs between Nashville and Memphis were based in Memphis, because that route was the property of the Dixie GL, a completely separate regional company, based in Memphis.

By that time, in 1950, I had learned how to watch the right-hand rear-view mirror while Pop passed another vehicle, then I told him (from the porter's seat) when it was clear for him to move back into the right lane, so I did that for Sledgehammer too.  [I trust that both Pop and Sledgehammer verified the accuracy of my advice.]

In the summer of 1955 Granny and I made a trip to Miami – on the Southeastern GL to Jacksonville, then onward on the Florida GL to Miami, then back – consistently riding just behind the door aboard GM diesel coaches.

On a Sunday night we started that trip by riding with Pop to Chattanooga on a Silversides on his midnight run, then he helped us get onto a connecting southbound Highway Traveler on a through-sked from Cincinnati.

After a wonderfully enjoyable week in Miami with Uncle Larry and Aunt Enola, whom I describe on page 268, Granny and I headed back home, on what was supposed to be a through express car from Miami to Chicago.  That journey gave us three special treats – riding two different brand-new Scenicruisers and riding with Billy Hewitt.

First in Miami we boarded F-724 (serial 528, in the fleet of the Florida GL), which was so new that it had just arrived from the T&C plant in Pontiac and the Greyhound shop in Toledo, without a curtain (the long fabric strip containing the names of the destinations) for the roll sign and without any registration for revenue service outside Florida.  Thus it became necessary for us to change coaches in Jacksonville, so that we could ride a coach properly registered for not only Florida but also the other states farther north.

Then in Jacksonville we boarded M-165 (serial 530, in the fleet of the Southeastern GL), which also was so new that it too had just arrived from the plant in Pontiac and the shop in Toledo, likewise without a curtain for the destination sign, although it did have the necessary registration (including the required license plates) for revenue service through all the states on the way to Chicago (that is, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois).

The third special treat began in Chattanooga, where W.K. (Walter Kenneth) "Billy" Hewitt joined us to drive us to Nashville.  Riding with him was an enjoyable and entertaining experience – because of the extreme smoothness with which he handled the machine, because of his pleasant and comical behavior, because of his nature as such a character, and because of his eccentric techniques (due in part to his shortness of stature).

Billy was so short that, when he adjusted his seat high enough to give him a good view and a comfortable grip on the wheel, then he found it uncomfortable to stretch his right leg and foot far enough to hold the accelerator pedal down for long times during normal driving; so Billy had invented his own solution.  He had rigged a small block of wood, just the right size to fit the pedal (about three inches thick) with an unusually long hose clamp which held the block onto the pedal.  The block allowed Billy to operate the accelerator quite comfortably.  [To depress the brake pedal or the clutch pedal, he just stretched his legs for the relatively short times required.]

That's not all.  When Billy prepared to drive, he took two brown paper towels from the dispenser in the washroom aboard, held them together, tore them into two strips, then placed them on the dash.  When he sat down to drive, he picked up the doubled strips, then held them in such a way as to protect or isolate or insulate his hands from the steering wheel, the gearstick, the door handle, and the other controls.

Watching Billy's preparations and his driving provided an entertaining spectacle, one which I've never seen anywhere else.

Despite Billy's eccentric behavior, his driving was incredibly smooth and reassuring, and he gave us an extremely good ride.

Billy was then the number-1 man at the top of the seniority list in Nashville, and he had been many years (since early in the 1940s, after "Uncle Mert" Nesbitt had died, and after Dave Gill and "Cap" Dabbs had retired).  [Billy had started in 1925 (only two months later than Uncle Mert) as a driver for the Union Transfer Company, a predecessor of the Consolidated Coach Corporation and the Southeastern Greyhound Lines.]

The top of Billy's mailbox, at the edge of the street in front of his house, on Horner Avenue in the Melrose section in Nashville, bore the unique and distinctive silhouette of a Scenicruiser.

One afternoon and evening during my senior year, 1956-57, at DLHS, many of my schoolmates and I rode aboard four Southeastern coaches on a charter trip for a basketball game (our opening game of the season) at the Linden High School, in the seat of Perry County, about 80 miles to the southwest on state road 100.  [We lost that night by the score of 57-49.]  One GM Henry J PD-4103, M-359, led the parade, then came two ACF-Brill IC-41s of the 1947 version, then another Henry J, M-360.  [Each of those two Henry Js had come to SEG from the Dixie GL during the merger (in 1954); each of them (formerly numbered as D-984 and -985) had full fluted brightwork siding.  M-360 was then the coach which Ralph Elliott ordinarily drove six days each week (except Sunday, when a relief driver did so) on the local runs between Nashville and Springfield.]  I wanted to ride a Henry J that time, so I headed toward the one in the rear – because I felt that aboard that one I had the best chance of getting the seats right behind the door – along with Gwendolyn "Gwen" Ann Johnson, a special buddy, girlfriend, and partner in harmless mischief.  Gwen and I did indeed get those choice seats.  Two special friends of ours, Jack O'Neal and Oswald Turner, went with us.  Our driver was Jasper Johnson, whom I had known several years.  [I last saw Jasper in 1998 at the funeral home after Pop died; Jasper recalled that trip; he too has since died.]

Through the years I rode also aboard a number of Greyhound coaches with other drivers, including Bill "Gildersleeve" Kelly, Joe Horton, Robert Riall, Virgil Prater, Dave Speights, Jack Black (called also "Blackjack"), Walter McBee Sr., and Hank "Mother" Hubbard (a Dixie driver from Memphis) – along with others between Houston and Mobile, between Mobile and Nashville, between Knoxville and Norfolk, between Norfolk and Washington, between Knoxville and Washington, and between Washington and New London, Connecticut – and, many years later, between Nashville and Detroit, between Nashville and Chicago, between Nashville and Montgomery, between Nashville and Dallas, and between Nashville and Oklahoma City – all before I too worked for three years as a Greyhound coach operator.  [Blackjack served as a pallbearer for Pop in 1998; he too has since died.]

Not surprisingly, I also found or made opportunities to ride with several Trailways drivers in Nashville, including George Ogle, who had driven the charter coach on my high-school senior trip to Washington, DC, in 1957.  For example, while an undergraduate student at Vanderbilt University, 1957-61, several times I rode with George (and one or two other Trailways drivers) on occasional afternoon local charter trips for Dr. Willard Jewell, a professor of geology (and the chairman of his department), when he took his lab classes into the field to see nearby geological formations.

Pop's Unsurpassed Smoothness

Pop was a member of a tiny class among coach operators with regard to unsurpassed or unexcelled smoothness and expertise in driving a coach, especially in braking, steering, and, most especially, shifting the manual transmissions – along with Bert Brown, Billy Hewitt, and Dave Speights, among the old-timers, and two black drivers (Joe Gibson and a man whom I remember only as Tony), based in Detroit in the 1980s – but few others with whom I've ever ridden – except, I feel confident, Paul Evins and Eddie Angell (of the Nashville Transit Company), if they too had driven intercity coaches.

Pop and those other drivers have served as my heroes and models.

Pop was the "chiefest", the best and "biggest", and the most important, of my role models, despite the difficulties between him and me while I grew up.  I felt an enormous amount of respect and admiration for him and his capabilities.  [I also found it quick and easy to tell other people – anyone – how exceptional he and his skills were – and I still do so.]

Each of the others also did impeccable work, but I remain persuaded that nobody in my experience ever exceeded my Pop.  He had an uncanny knack for succeeding and excelling under difficult circumstances, including bad weather.

One of the nifty tricks of Pop and the other old-time smooth operators is a technique called "float shifting", which consists of shifting gears (while in motion) when using a manual unsynchronized transmission (rather than a synchronized one) – as, for example, on almost all heavy-duty trucks and buses in that era – without using the clutch pedal or by using it only minimally (just enough to time the shift and to soften it).

Float shifting requires considerable skill – that is, to be able to do it quietly, without grinding, raking, or jamming the gears – with an unsynchronized gearbox.

To do so well requires that one first must become adept at double-clutching – while both upshifting and downshifting (that is, shifting up into a higher gear and down into a lower one) – because successful double-clutching causes or allows a driver to learn the reason which makes double-clutching necessary in the first place – that is, the need to match engine speed to road speed, in view of the intended next gear, while the gearbox is in neutral during the shift, in such a way that the two toothed gearwheels (the ones about to mesh) spin at the same speed (or nearly so) so that the teeth on the two gearwheels can slide together smoothly and therefore quietly.

[Double-clutching, by the way, is the technique in which one shifts gears (while in motion) by depressing the clutch pedal, pulling the gearstick out of one gear, releasing the clutch while the stick is in the neutral position, depressing the pedal again, placing the stick into the next gear, then releasing the pedal again.  While the clutch is engaged again with the stick in neutral during a shift, the goal is to use the accelerator to cause the engine speed to match the road speed (that is, to cause the engine to reach the speed appropriate for the road speed and the next intended gear).  That's why it's necessary to "goose" the engine during a downshift (but not ordinarily during an upshift) – as, for example, while losing road speed on a sharp upgrade with a heavy load – to raise the engine speed – while the stick is in neutral, and while the clutch is engaged – to raise the speed of the driving gearwheel (the next lower gear) to match the speed of the driven gearwheel (inside the gearbox).]

After one becomes adept at double-clutching, then, if one wishes, the next step is to start depressing the clutch pedal less and less, until eventually one may reach the point of not using the pedal at all (or using it only minimally).

While practicing shifting with a decreased use of the clutch pedal, one almost unavoidably increases his proficiency in controlling the engine speed during shifting – and therefore becomes able to use the clutch even less and less – and therefore becomes able to shift much more smoothly and quietly, thereby realizing considerable enjoyment and satisfaction.

That's not for everyone, but that's the way in which many of us gearheads look at that.

Pop was at his very best during the late 1950s and early -60s, especially on the second version of the Scenicruiser, while they were brand-new, on his runs between Nashville and Chattanooga, taking part in a pool operation between Saint Louis and both Miami and Jacksonville.

When my turn came, I learned, used, and practiced float shifting – in 1976, while I owned and operated a tractor truck, a used 1974 Ford W-9000, with a Detroit 8V-71 engine (as on a repowered Scenicruiser) and a 10-speed Spicer "splicer" gearbox (with five gears and a two-stage splitter, much as on an original Scenicruiser) – for one year, until I got my first teaching job (at David Lipscomb College, where I had graduated from high school).  [That year I pulled company trailers in the commercial-transport (but not the household-goods!) division of the North American Van Lines.]  I enjoyed polishing my proficiency.  Most of the time I used the clutch pedal only slightly, just enough to time each shift and to soften it, just as Pop had done while I watched.

A Fork in the Road for Greyhound

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, 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, likewise based in Dallas), which was by far the largest member company in the Trailways association.

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 – by hauling fewer passengers aboard fewer coaches on fewer trips along fewer routes with fewer stops in fewer communities in fewer states – and by doing so on fewer days – that is, increasingly operating some trips less often than every day (fewer than seven days per week) – and by 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 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 whatever 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., one of the subsidiaries of the Viad Corporation, began in the 1960s as the Greyhound Exposition Services (GES).]

[In chapter 25, entitled "Further Developments at Greyhound", I comment in more detail about the many regrettable changes in the old Dog.]

A Tribute to Pop

When Father's Day neared in 1995, I wrote and sent this letter:

  • "Dear Pop:
  • "Some time ago I heard one person ask another what he admired most in his father.
  • "That caused me to think about what I admire most in you.
  • "As another Father's Day approaches, I want to share those thoughts with you.
  • "Through the years, even from my early childhood, I've felt especially impressed by your dedication to our family and your determination in providing a comfortable living and a comfortable home for all of us – not only by your working hard on a job involving long hours but also by your working hard on the house, the yard, and all the rest.  I particularly recognize that you often took runs with undesirable hours so you could earn more money for our family.  The times were not always easy, but you always did well.
  • "Although I also appreciate the many other benefits of various kinds which I've gotten from you, I most admire and appreciate your perseverance in providing well for us.
  • "Happy Father's Day!
  • "With love and respect,
  • "/s/  Duncan."

That letter became one of his special treasures during his three remaining years in this world, and he often proudly showed it to others.

A Lifelong Bus Nut

Longer than I can remember, I've felt thrilled, enthralled, enchanted, fascinated, and captivated by machines – mostly self-propelled machines – as the title of this book says, Wheels, Water, Words, Wings, and Engines – especially trucks, buses, trains, ships, and aircraft – most especially motor coaches and the intercity-coach industry – all against the pervading background of my enormous interest in words and communication.  [Please note that "words" is the central notion among the five items in that title.]

That lifelong interest in machines has never waned or wavered.

Even now, as a senior or elderly member of society, at age 70 in 2010, I still remain intensely interested in all those objects of my attention.

After I die, and after a few other similarly inclined people die, then who will know anymore about many of the nuggets or scraps of knowledge about many of the early happenings in the motor-coach industry?  [One also might wonder whether anyone then will care.]

Here's my chance to share some of what I've learned throughout my life.

Acknowledgments

Much or most of this chapter is based on my own personal recollections.

Clearly, though, I've relied also on other resources – to supply data about events predating my own time, to fill gaps in my memory, and to provide additional details.

For that reason I feel deeply indebted to those responsible for a large number of sources, including these:

Grams, Brian, and Donald Bain, Greyhound Canada: Its History and Coaches.  Calgary: Kishorn Publications, 2001.  ISBN 0-919487-71-8.

Hixson, Kenneth, Pick of the Litter.  Lexington: Centerville Book Company, 2001.  ISBN 0-87642-016-1.

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).

Plachno, Larry, Modern Intercity Coaches.  Polo: Transportation Trails, 1997.  ISBN 0-933449-27-5.

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

Trimble, Vance, Overnight Success.  New York City: Crown Publishers, 1993.  ISBN 0-517-58510-3.

Walsh, Margaret, Making Connections.  Burlington: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2000.  ISBN 0-7546-0207-9.

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

  • August 1977;
  • October-November 1977;
  • May 1980;
  • July-August 1990;
  • March-April 1991;
  • April-June 1995;
  • October-December 1996;
  • October-December 1997;
  • October-December 1998;
  • January-March 2001;
  • July-September 2003;
  • October-December 2007;
  • January-March 2008.

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.

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.



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[I purposely typed my e-mail address in that unusual way
in an attempt to defeat the web-crawling spam-oriented harvester spiders.]


Posted first at 22:08 EST, Saturday, 16 January 2010.
Revised most recently at 20:39 EST, Tuesday, 28 December 2010.

 




 ©  Copyright, 2009-10, Duncan Bryant Rushing.