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by Jon Hobein

New England Greyhound Lines

Dr. D.B. "Doc" Rushing

©  Copyright, 2009-10, Duncan Bryant Rushing.


 

Contents

Introduction
Origin
Eastern GL of New York
Eastern GL of New England
Development of New England GL
Through-coaches on Through-routes
Meeting Other Greyhound Companies
Merger into Pennsylvania GL
Beyond New England GL
Conclusion
Related Articles
Bibliography


 

 

Introduction

The New England Greyhound Lines (NEGL), an intercity highway-coach carrier, was a Greyhound regional operating company, based in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.  It ran from 1937 until -60, when it became a part of the new (second) Eastern Greyhound Lines.

Origin

In 1937 The Greyhound Corporation (with an uppercase T, because the word the was an integral part of the official name of the corporate entity), the original parent Greyhound firm, formed the New England Greyhound Lines (GL), as a subsidiary.  The purpose of the new firm was to take over three routes of the New England Transportation (NET) Company plus two subsidiaries of the NET Company – the Berkshire Motor Coach Lines and the Victoria Coach Lines, two discount-price carriers which NET had previously bought (not later than 1932) – along with two other unrelated firms, the Quaker Stages and the Old Colony Coach Lines.

The NET Company was the bus subsidiary of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford (NYNH&H) Railroad, commonly known as the New Haven Railroad.

The railway firm acquired a one-half interest in the New England GL.

Eastern GL of New York

Already, however, Greyhound had made its first presence in New England in 1930, by forming the Eastern GL (EGL) of New York, as a subsidiary of the undenominated main (first) Eastern GL, and by buying and taking over the Colonial Motor Coach Corporation.

[The main EGL had come into existence in the previous year, 1929, as a holding company (rather than an operating company), to own a number of Greyhound subsidiaries, both existing ones and future ones, to the east of Chicago – other than the Pennsylvania GL, in which the Pennsylvania Railroad soon bought a large but minority interest.]

The EGL of New York ran in part between Albany, New York, and Boston, via Pittsfield, Springfield, and Worcester, all the last four in Massachusetts, along the entire width of the Bay State.

Eastern GL of New England

In 1930 The Greyhound Corporation, the parent umbrella firm, during a time of its rapid growth, formed another subsidiary, named as the Eastern Greyhound Lines of New England (the EGL of New England), separate and different from the similarly and confusingly named EGL of New York, then placed it under the undenominated main EGL (the holding company) – along with three other regional operating subsidiaries (the EGL of Ohio, the EGL of New York, and the EGL of Michigan).

In that same year, 1930, the new EGL of New England started running, on two intercity routes acquired from the Gray Line of Boston (a part of the famous sightseeing organization), two routes between Boston and New York City – the inland route, via Worcester and Springfield, both in Massachusetts, and Hartford and New Haven, both in Connecticut, and the shoreline route, via Providence, Rhode Island, and New London and New Haven, both in Connecticut.

{In 1935 the main (first) Eastern GL plus three subsidiaries (the EGL of Ohio, the EGL of New York, and the EGL of Michigan) became renamed respectively as the (second) Central GL (CGL), the CGL of Ohio, the CGL of New York, and the CGL of Michigan, whereas the EGL of New England, due to its eastern location, continued to use its same name.  The purpose of the multipart renaming was to attach the name Central to those subsidiaries, in the Midwest and the Northeast, in an area which coincided with the territory of a major railway company, the New York Central (NYC) System, one in which Greyhound transferred a minority non-voting interest to the NYC System.  The Greyhound executives wished for those subsidiaries to bear a name (Central) which would suggest the kinship with the related railway firm (New York Central), as in the case of the neighboring Pennsylvania GL and the Pennsylvania Railroad.  [The EGL of New England ran outside the service area of the NYC System.]}

[For several years during the 1930s the coaches of the second Central GL and the Pennsylvania GL bore, in addition to their usual Greyhound markings, the logos of the respective related railway companies – the oval or ellipse of the NYC System and the keystone of the "Pennsy" Railroad.]

In 1936 The Greyhound Corporation began to eliminate its multiple (and often complex) intermediate holding companies (between the parent firm and the operating companies).  The purpose of those steps was to avoid a hugely increased federal income tax on the undistributed earnings of corporate subsidiaries.  The tax increase took place under the Revenue Act of 1936, which the national Congress had passed as a means by which to cause or force a simplification of complicated corporate structures in the public-utility industries (including the transportation industries).

In one response (among several others) to the new legislation, in that same year, 1936, Greyhound merged the EGL of New England, as a division rather than a subsidiary, into The Greyhound Corporation, the parent firm.

By that merger The Greyhound Corporation, previously merely a holding company rather than an operating company, became a carrier in its own right and under its own authority with its own ICC-MC number.  That is, only then, by that action, did The Greyhound Corporation become a carrier rather than a holding company.

Development of New England GL

While waiting for the mandatory approval (for the investment, the acquisitions, and the mergers pertaining to the New England GL) of the federal Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), the EGL of New England (in operation since 1930) and the New England Transportation Company began to coordinate their scheduled trips (between Boston and New York City) with each other.  Each company began to accept the tickets of the other.

In 1939 the ICC announced its decision to allow the proposed actions, and the two companies (the NEGL and the NET Company) moved forward by carrying out their plans.

The New England GL acquired three routes from the NET Company:

  • the shoreline route between Boston and New York City via New London,
  • the one between New Haven and Willimantic, both in Connecticut,
  • and the one between New York City and Pittsfield, Massachusetts, via Danbury, New Milford, and Torrington, all the last three in Connecticut.

The NEGL acquired also two discount-price subsidiaries of the NET Company, the Berkshire Motor Coach Lines and the Victoria Coach Lines, each of which had run between Boston and New York City on an inland route via Hartford.

The NEGL further acquired two other properties, the Quaker Stages and the Old Colony Coach Lines.  The Quaker firm had run between Boston and Bangor via Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Portland and Augusta, both in Maine, and between Portland and Belfast, also both in Maine.  The Old Colony firm had run not only between Boston and New York City but also between Boston and Saint Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, just across the border from Calais, Maine, via Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Portland, Augusta, and Bangor, all three in Maine.

[After those route acquisitions by the NEGL, Berkshire, Victoria, Quaker, and Old Colony all ceased to exist, although the NET Company continued to operate on several other routes, albeit on shorter ones, in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, all radiating from Providence, Rhode Island, until 1958, when it too went out of business, after it sold all its remaining routes.  The line between Worcester and Providence went to the Johnson Bus Line, which the Short Line bought in 1963.  All the other NET lines went directly to the Short Line.]

The Greyhound Corporation, the parent firm, promptly transferred all the new routes north of Boston (to Portsmouth, Portland, Belfast, Augusta, Bangor, and Saint Stephen) from the NEGL to the EGL of New England, which still ran several trips each day between Boston and New York City on the shoreline route alongside the NEGL in an atypical arrangement.

In 1940, however, Greyhound transferred to the NEGL the remaining trips of the EGL of New England between Boston and New York City, thus leaving the NEGL as the sole Greyhound firm running between those two cities.

The New England GL made several minor acquisitions and dispositions of routes during the following years.

On the last day of October 1950 The Greyhound Corporation bought back the one-half interest of the New Haven Railroad in the New England GL.

On the last day of 1950 the parent firm merged the EGL of New England into the NEGL.

In 1953 the New England GL bought the International Coach Lines (ICL), based in Rumford, Maine, which ran between two points in Canada – Montréal, Québec, and Saint John, New Brunswick – along a route mostly through northern New England in the US – via Stanhope in Québec, Norton in Vermont, Colebrook, Lancaster, and Gorham, all three in New Hampshire, Rumford, Bangor, Lincoln, and Calais, all four in Maine, and Saint Stephen in New Brunswick.

After the purchase of the ICL, the New England GL received five new MCI Courier 95-D coaches, which the ICL had previously ordered, but which had not yet become delivered before the merger of the ICL into the NEGL.

Thus The Greyhound Corporation, through the NEGL as a wholly owned subsidiary, acquired and began to operate its first MCI coaches in the USA.

[The Motor Coach Industries (MCI), Limited, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, in one of the "prairie provinces" (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba) of western Canada, north of North Dakota and Minnesota, was then a Canadian coach builder and was then a subsidiary of one of the Greyhound carriers in Canada.]

[In 1948 the Western Canadian Greyhound Lines, Limited, had bought the MCI as the supplier of its coaches for its operations in Canada and for sale to others; in 1958 The Greyhound Corporation, the parent firm in the US, bought a controlling (majority) interest in the MCI, thus taking an important step toward again developing its own source for its future equipment in the US (as well as in Canada), and thus turning away from the GMC Truck and Coach (T&C) Division of the General Motors (GM) Corporation.  For more information please see a string of references, starting here, in my article entitled "The Scenicruiser" at this website.]

Through-coaches on Through-routes

The New England GL ran a number of through-coaches along its own routes, including those between New York City and Boston, New York City and Portland, New York City and Bangor, New York City and Saint Stephen, and Montréal and Saint John.

However, the NEGL took part in only a few pooled interline through-routes in cooperation with other operating companies – those between Boston and both Richmond and Norfolk, both in Virginia, each with the Pennsylvania GL and the Richmond GL, and between New York City and both Bennington and Burlington, both in Vermont, with the Vermont Transit Company, in which The Greyhound Corporation then owned a minority interest.

Meeting Other Greyhound Companies

In Boston the New England GL met the CGL of New York and the EGL of New England, and in New York City it met the (second) Central GL and the Pennsylvania GL.

Merger into Pennsylvania GL

In 1955, during a time of consolidation, Greyhound merged the New England GL into the newly enlarged Pennsylvania GL, which became redesignated as the Eastern Division of The Greyhound Corporation, known also as the (second) Eastern GL, the first of four huge new divisions (along with Southern, Western, and another Central).

[In the previous year, 1954, Greyhound had already merged the Capitol GL and the (second) Central GL into the Pennsylvania GL.]

Thus ended both the New England GL and the Pennsylvania GL, and thus began the (second) Eastern GL.

Beyond New England GL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

The New England GL made a major, significant, and lasting contribution to the present Greyhound route network.

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

Bibliography

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

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

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

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

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

  • December 1978;
  • September 1979;
  • October 1979;
  • July 1984;
  • October-December 1999.

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

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

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



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Posted first at 15:49 EST, Monday, 21 December 2009.
Revised most recently at 13:20 EST, Monday, 15 November 2010.

 




©  Copyright, 2009-10, Duncan Bryant Rushing.