Bluehounds and Redhounds
the History of Greyhound and Trailways
Teche Greyhound Lines
© Copyright, 2009-10, Duncan Bryant Rushing.
The Teche Greyhound Lines (TGL), an intercity highway-coach carrier, was a Greyhound regional operating company, based in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. It ran from 1934 until -54, when it, along with the Dixie Greyhound Lines, became merged into the Southeastern Greyhound Lines, a neighboring company.
[Teche (pronounced as "tesh") is 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.]
The Teche Greyhound Lines (GL) began as the Teche Transfer Company, which became incorporated in Louisiana in April 1920 to operate buses between Jeanerette and New Iberia, a distance of about 10 miles in the region west of New Orleans and Baton Rouge and southeast of Lafayette. The firm then grew in steps.
In 1929 the Teche Transfer Company became renamed as the Teche Lines, then in 1932 it began to use the hyphenated brand name, trade name, or service name of the Teche-Greyhound Lines (with the consent of The Greyhound Corporation, the parent Greyhound firm), while retaining its own corporate name until 1934 – after it entered into a through-traffic agreement with Greyhound, and after Greyhound began to buy a minority interest in Teche, which interest continued to grow.
Wheeling and Dealing
In 1929 the Old South Coach Lines came into existence – to buy (from the Alabama Bus Company) a branch line (with a length of about 59 miles) between Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, both in Alabama) – then promptly extended about 93 more miles, by application rather than purchase, from Tuscaloosa to Meridian, Mississippi.
The next year, 1930, the Teche Lines bought the Old South Coach Lines, thereby completing its route between New Orleans and Birmingham.
[In that same year, 1930, the Alabama Bus Company – the same firm which had sold its branch route from Birmingham to Tuscaloosa (to the Old South Coach Lines) – became bought by and merged into the Consolidated Coach Corporation (which in 1936 became renamed as the Southeastern Greyhound Lines) – thereby extending Consolidated from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Mobile via Birmingham and Montgomery, all three in Alabama – through the entire length of the "Heart of Dixie".]
The Old South Lines, entirely separate and different from the Old South Coach Lines, was a property of John Gilmer, who in 1925 had founded the Camel City Coach Company, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which became the southern half of the National Highway Transport (NHT) Company, of Charleston, West Virginia, which in 1931 became renamed as the Atlantic Greyhound Lines.
Gilmer's Old South Lines in 1934 bought the route between Montgomery and Atlanta, Georgia, including an alternate loop through Columbus, Georgia, from the Hood Coach Lines. Hood on that route had begun its first service (in 1930 between Atlanta and Columbus, then in 1933 onward to Montgomery), and had unsuccessfully tried to expand by running additional routes.
Hood in November 1934 sold also the latter other routes – to the Consolidated Coach Corporation and the Union Bus Company, acting jointly – one route between Atlanta and Macon and one between Macon and Jacksonville via Waycross, Georgia, both going to Consolidated, which in 1936 became renamed as the Southeastern Greyhound Lines – plus a third route between Macon and Savannah, both in Georgia, going to Union, which in 1941 became bought by and merged into the SEGL. That provided to Consolidated and Union, and therefore later to Greyhound, not only a new route between Macon and Savannah and a parallel alternate route between Atlanta and Macon but also a quicker alternate route between Macon and Jacksonville (about 50 miles shorter than the older route via Valdosta, Georgia, and Lake City, Florida).
After that last sale the Hood firm, no longer holding any other route, went out of business.
In 1935 the Atlantic GL bought the Old South routes to Atlanta from Charlotte, North Carolina, and from Columbia, South Carolina, thereby preparing to establish connections in Atlanta with the Teche GL and the Southeastern GL.
In February 1936 Teche bought the Old South route between Montgomery and Atlanta (with the loop through Columbus), thereby completing its route between New Orleans and Atlanta.
Background and Participation of O.W. Townsend
O.W. Townsend, who in 1932 obtained control of the Teche Lines, had begun in the highway-coach industry in 1924. He founded the Cornhusker Stage Lines (based in Hastings, Nebraska, running between Hastings and Lincoln, the capital of the Cornhusker State), which in 1927 became one link in the chain of independently owned carriers which, acting separately but cooperatively, operated under the collective name of the YellowaY Lines (in a successful attempt to reach from coast to coast).
Soon under the YellowaY name Townsend ran his coaches across Nebraska between Chicago, Illinois, and Denver, Colorado, and maybe onward to Salt Lake City, Utah.
In 1928 Townsend sold some but not all of his rights (in the routes of the Cornhusker Stage Lines) to the newly formed American Motor Transportation Company, based in Oakland, California, which bought also most of the other independent YellowaY member firms, and which then operated them as the YellowaY-Pioneer System. [On 11 September 1928 a Yelloway-Pioneer coach completed the first regularly scheduled coast-to-coast bus trip in the US, from Los Angeles to New York City, by a single operating company.]
In 1929 the Motor Transit Corporation (MTC) bought the Yelloway-Pioneer System, and later in 1929 the MTC 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).
Townsend in 1929 sold his remaining property (including the remaining routes) in the Cornhusker Stage Lines to the Union Pacific (UP) Railroad. The railway firm merged the coach property into its new Interstate Transit Lines, which in 1943 (along with the Union Pacific, UP, Stages, another bus subsidiary of the UP Railroad) began operating under the brand name, trade name, or service name of the Overland Greyhound Lines, after The Greyhound Corporation began to buy a minority interest in each of those two bus concerns of the railroad. Both those bus firms in 1952 became wholly owned subsidiaries of the parent Greyhound company and then became merged, under the name of the Overland Greyhound Lines, as a division of The Greyhound Corporation.
Meanwhile, even before Townsend sold the remainder of Cornhusker to Interstate (that is, not later than 1929), he began another carrier – the Atlantic-Pacific Stages, running between Saint Louis, Missouri, and Los Angeles, California, via Kansas City, on the state line between Kansas and Missouri, Denver, Colorado, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 1930 he sold it to the Interstate Transit, Inc., a completely separate and different firm (different from the Interstate Transit Lines) with a confusingly similar name, operating as the Colonial Stages. The latter company afterward became renamed as the Colonial Atlantic-Pacific Stages (CAPS), and it succumbed in 1932 during, and as a casualty of, the Great Depression.
In 1931 and -32 Townsend lived and worked in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as the regional manager of the eastern end of the CAPS.
After the second and final failure of the CAPS, Townsend moved to New Orleans (lawfully taking with him about 20 of the newer coaches, Macks of the model BK), bought a controlling interest in the Teche Lines, and began making deals with The Greyhound Corporation.
About 1934 Greyhound increased its partial ownership of the Teche Lines to a controlling (majority) interest, and Greyhound renamed Teche as the unhyphenated Teche Greyhound Lines; then in 1939 Greyhound bought also the last remaining minority interest of Townsend (first leaving the new Teche GL as a wholly owned subsidiary); and in 1941 Greyhound merged the TGL into itself as a division of the parent Greyhound firm.
O.W. Townsend continued to serve through the years as the president of the Teche GL until he retired (about 1950).
By 1954 the TGL ran from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and to Natchez, Mississippi; through Hammond, Louisiana, to Jackson, Mississippi, on the way to Memphis, Saint Louis, and Chicago; through Hattiesburg and Meridian, both in Mississippi, to Birmingham, Alabama; through Mobile and Montgomery, both in Alabama, and Columbus, Georgia, to Atlanta, Georgia; through Mobile, Alabama, to Marianna, Florida, on the way to Tallahassee and the rest of the Sunshine State; and westward to Lafayette and Lake Charles, both in Louisiana and on the way to Houston, the rest of Texas, and the rest of the West; plus along a number of regional and feeder routes in the southern part of the Pelican State.
The TGL took part in major interlined through-routes (using pooled equipment in cooperation with other Greyhound companies) – that is, the use of through-coaches on through-routes running through the territories of two or more Greyhound regional operating companies – connecting New Orleans with Los Angeles, Houston, Memphis, Saint Louis, Chicago, Detroit, New York City, Washington, Jacksonville, Miami, and Saint Petersburg.
Merger into Southeastern GL
In October 1954 The Greyhound Corporation merged Teche, along with the Dixie GL, based in Memphis, Tennessee, into the Southeastern GL, a neighboring regional operating company, based in Lexington, Kentucky. The three fleets became combined into a single fleet.
Thus ended the Teche GL.
Beyond Teche GL
After that merger the newly expanded Southeastern GL served 12 states along 13,227 route-miles – from Cincinnati, Saint Louis, Memphis, Vicksburg, Natchez, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Lake Charles – to Savannah and Jacksonville – from the Ohio River to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Ocean.
In October 1957 The Greyhound Corporation merged also the Florida GL (FGL), one more neighboring operating company, based in Jacksonville, Florida, into the Southeastern GL.
In November 1960, in another round of consolidation, Greyhound further merged the Atlantic GL (AGL), yet another neighboring regional company, based in Charleston, West Virginia, with – not into but rather with – the Southeastern GL – thereby creating the Southern Division of The Greyhound Corporation (known also as the Southern GL), the third of four huge new divisions (along with Central, Eastern, and Western).
Thus ended both the Southeastern GL and the Atlantic GL, and thus began the Southern 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.
When the Southern GL came into existence, in 1960, the headquarters functions became gradually transferred from Lexington, Kentucky, and Charleston, West Virginia, to Atlanta, Georgia; when the GLE arose, many of those administrative functions became shifted from Atlanta to Cleveland, Ohio; later yet those functions migrated to Chicago, Illinois, then to Phoenix, Arizona, when, in 1971, The Greyhound Corporation moved its home office from Chicago to a new building in Phoenix.
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).]
The Teche 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.
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:
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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© Copyright, 2009-10, Duncan Bryant Rushing.