Installment Twenty Five
The story of Evergreen Trailways is really the story of three legally separate beastliness, all headquartered in Seattle, and all with the involvement of the Arneson family.
The original company began in August 1921, and its corporate name was North Bend Stage Line. As you can imagine, operations were between Seattle and North Bend. The two principles in the operation were E. A. Arneson and W. A. Cochran. Each of the partners owned and drove their own touring car, and Arneson's vehicle was a Pierce Arrow. The year 1921 is also when the state of Washington began regulating bus lines, amongst other things, and the new company received certificate 100 from the new Utilities Commission. In 1925 it was incorporated and became known as North Bend Stage Line, Inc.
Through the 20's and 30's the company operated continuously, and purchased a number of other early bus operators who had service touching their route.
In 1940, Elwood Arneson, E. A.'s son, and Grant Myers, their operations man, went back to Chicago to attend the meeting of the National Trailways Bus System and before they left for home, North Bend had become a member of the association, being known as Evergreen Trailways. There is some speculation that they joined because of the application of West Coast Bus Lines to run into Seattle, but in talking to Grant Miles for historical details, he didn't mention that as a reason. Evergreen thus became the first member of Trailways to serve points in the northwest.
Through the 40's, they continued to expand the operation, acquiring Redwood Stage Co., another local operator, and in 1946, when Redwood was merged into North Bend, the corporate name was legally changed to Evergreen Trailways, Inc. During the war, Evergreen operated numerous suburban routes and also started service from Seattle to North Bend using the newly opened floating bridge across Lake Washington, eliminating both mileage and travel time on the route.
On December 29, 1950, Arneson leased all the routes of Evergreen to Lake Shore Lines, and as of mid 1951, were operated as East Side Lines. In 1954, the lease expired and the routes were permanently transferred and sold to Lake Shore Lines, which later was known as Metropolitan and then Seattle Metro, the transit authority. Thus, 1954 was the end of Evergreen Trailways for the first time.
In 1950, the original Evergreen had purchased a route from Vashon Island to Seattle from Purse Stage Lines. On December 30, 1950, one day after the lease of Evergreen's routes to Lake Shore, the former Purse authority was transferred from Evergreen to Elwood Arneson as an individual, Elwood having by then become an officer in Evergreen, His father, E. A., had effectively retired in the mid-40's. Elwood formed Evergreen Bus Company in August 1951 and continued to operate as Evergreen Trailways. In July 1954, with traffic declining, Elwood sold Evergreen to Island Transit, and that was the end of the second Evergreen Trailways.
In 1921, a bus company named Index Stages began with Washington certificate number 2, and operated between Monroe and Index. Over the years, the operation was extended to Seattle, and in 1945, four Seattle businessmen acquired the company, one of whom was E. A. Arneson, Elwood's father.
In 1954, the partners sold the company to Elwood Arneson and one of the partners, Walt Bourdage, who subsequently decided to leave, which is when Bill Niskanen of Pacific Trailways became involved, purchasing Bourdage's 50% share. The company's route extended from Seattle to Snoho,ish.
On May 1, 1957, Evergreen Trails joined the National Trailways Bus System, and became the third and final Evergreen Trailways.
On July 1, 1921, the local cab company there began Anacortes-Mt. Vernon Stage Lines, receiving Washington certificate number 1.
By 1946, company operations had been extended all the way down the island to Seattle and in 1953, the name of the company was changed to Island Empire Lines. In the fall of 1975, advertisements appeared looking for a buyer for the company and on January 1, 1977, Evergreen Trailways began operating the route.
In the meantime, the original Index Stages route from Seattle to Monroe, Snohomish and Skykomish was being operated until 1973, when agreements were made with several transit authorities over the years for operation culminating in the transfer of the service to Seattle Metro in 1984.
After the Island Empire service was taken over, Evergreen also began one round trip a day between Seattle and Victoria, BC, Canada, operating express via I-5 out of Seattle and using the Washington State Ferry from Anacortes via the San Juan Islands to Victoria. The service was operated with a P8M-4905A.
On November 1, 1979, Evergreen Trails, the 3rd Evergreen Trailways, was sold to Holland-America's Westours division. Although Evergreen remained in Trailways for a time, today it operates outside of Trailways as an independent company. Since the purchase, Evergreen under Holland America has purchased Western Tours, the airport service to Seatac Airport. Today, the operation includes the airporter, both the Gray Line and American Sightseeing franchises and their charter service. Holland America wanted to control the Seattle bus market and so they bought everyone.
We would be remiss if we closed here without mentioning Bremerton-Tacoma Stages or Cascade Trailways.
On July 1, 1960, Elwood Arneson, on his own, purchased Bremerton-Tacoma Stages. This was an old company, operating chiefly on the Olympic Peninsula across Puget Sound from Seattle. Bremerton-Tacoma Stages operated between their name sake cities and also had authority to Port Angeles and across to Seattle using the Washington State Ferries. They also operated extensive commuter service from the Seattle suburbs to the U.S. Navy facilities around Bremerton. Arneson had, from the first, planned to bring Bremerton-Tacoma Stages into Trailways, but unbeknownst to him, his Evergreen partner, Bill Niskanen, blocked his application every time it was submitted. Niskanen's thinking was that once in Trailways, Arneson would use B-T membership to siphon charter business away from Evergreen. In 1972, however, Arneson finally succeeded in getting Bremerton-Tacoma Stages into Trailways and it began to operate as Cascade Trailways in 1978, Arneson sold Bremerton-Tacoma Stages to the team of Tom Harmon and Roger Peck who owned Pacific National Lines which operated Northwest Greyhound's old local route from Seattle to Tacoma, plus several small suburban carriers in the Tacoma area. Peck, who had inherited a fortune from a Portland, Oregon, department store chain, and who was a major rail buff immediately began coordinating the service with Amtrak, Also, with the Bremerton-Tacoma acquisition, they got the rights to extend south from Tacoma to Olympia via McChord AFB and Ft. Lewis.
Peck and Harmon didn't particularly get along, but Peck was the money in the deal. After Peck's sudden death due to a heart attack, Harmon soldiered on, although financially weaker. At the time of the Trailways, Inc. Sale to Greyhound, Cascade under Harmon had just taken over the Seattle to Sacramento route of TWI and had taken over the lease of the Sacramento Terminal a week prior to the TWI buy out. Harmon now had a bus station in Sacramento serving his one schedule a day and no bus line to connect with to either San Francisco or Los Angeles.
He was able to get into Greyhound;s houses up and down the line, but the ability to pull your buses through the driveway didn't mean you got any passengers, and with no feed from the south and Greyhound schedules running in front of and behind him to make sure that he didn't carry any of "their" passengers, Harmon soon withdrew his service, but not before it almost drained his company.
In the 1990's, then Trailways association President J. D. Johnston, put together a plan to get Trailways running as a scheduled carrier on the West Coast. The plan was for Harmon to begin service south again, operating From Seattle to Medford, Oregon. At Medford, he was to be met from the south by Alex Alan who owned Amador Trailways. Suffice it to say that all the PR was out, leases signed, timetables in Russell;s Guide, when Alan reneged and Cascade had to run all the way south again on its own. He'd been there once and I don't believe he ever even began the service again after Alan backed out without so much as an excuse.
Cascade is no longer in Trailways and there is no information available to this writer as to its current situation.
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Installment Twenty Six
PAN AMERICAN TRAILWAYS
The story of Pan American Trailways spans a short period of time, is bizarre and details a largely unknown Trailways member. It started out as an independent, was a Trailways operation owned by three other members and then ended its life as part of Greyhound where it also created problems and was finally, quietly, shut down, and it all began in Charlotte, North Carolina with a man named Paul R. Sheahan.
Sheahan was no newcomer to the bus business, having come from J. L. Gilmer's Old South Lines, when on December 11, 1934, he incorporated Pan American Bus Lines in South Carolina. His premise was to operate a limited stop, through bus service between New York City and Miami.
Sheahan had already purchased a bus line operating between Columbia, SC and Savannah, GA, on December 1st and by the end of 1934, he had obtained leases to allow his buses to operate north of Columbia to Charlotte, where Sheahan also operated a trucking business.
With the obtaining of equipment and the resolution of state permitting issues, the first trip was made on August 10, 1935, all this prior to the Interstate Commerce Act. The route followed was from New York City south through Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Roanoke, Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Columbia, Savannah, Jacksonville and via the Florida east coast to Miami. The service was noteworthy for the fact that through, no change, bus service was offered, limited stops, reserved seats, pillows, magazines and cold drinking water. The equipment used was two White 54A, 33 passenger buses. The service was aimed at through passengers rather than local riders over the 1,442 mile trip which spanned about 42 hours in each direction.
At first one trip per week operated in each direction, but Sheahan increase it two times weekly in November 1935 and three times a week in February 1936. Two more White 54A's were added to provide the additional equipment needed.
On February 3, 1936, Paul Sheahan applied to the Interstate Commerce Commission for a certificate to operate, which was now necessary, under the grandfather provisions of the Interstate Commerce Act. The ICC refused to grant Sheahan a certificate under the grandfather clause but with some tortured reasoning, the Commission did grant a certificate based on the evidence presented that sufficient planning for the new bus line had, in fact, been in progress.
The protesting carriers howled with the award and appealed the Commission's decision and in subsequent hearings, the ICC decided that Pan American proposed to offer service not operated by the existing carriers and thus met the criteria of proving public convenience and necessity (PC&N) and awarded Pan American the certificate on November 2 1936, the first certificate awarded under the PC&N rules. Until bus deregulation Act, the Pan American decision was cited as a landmark case in ICC law, just as the Mount Hood (Pacific Trailways) case would be later regarding anti-trust. Indeed, Greyhound operated a luxury service, Bus Plus, between Montreal and New York City for years for the simple reason that Murray Hill was making application with the ICC to operate from Montreal to New York City based on luxury service.
The ICC did grant authority under the grandfather provisions of the act to the Columbia-Savannah portion of the route which had been Sheahan's initial purchase in 1934 and the segment was the only portion of the route where Pan American held underlying intrastate authority.
Sheahan's certificate was for interstate authority only and was restricted against carrying passengers locally in the zone between Washington and New York City and between Washington and Staunton, Virginia. With the grant of the certificate, Sheahan purchased six new White 7788 buses in 1938, featuring 12 cylinder underfloor engines which made them among the fastest highway buses of their day, regardless of their three mpg gasoline consumption. The 7788's featured reclining seats, window curtains, reading lights and generous, overhead baggage racks. Overflow luggage was carried in roof well at the rear. The four 1934 White 54A's then became spares, stationed at New York City, Charlotte, Jacksonville and Miami. Driver changes were made at Washington, Charlotte and Jacksonville.
In 1940, Sheahan had decided he'd had enough of running a bus line stretching 1,400+ miles from New York City to Miami, and he concluded a lease agreement with a new company organized on May 5,
1940 in Charlottesville, Virginia, Pan American Trailways, Inc. To operate the bus line. Ownership of the company was held 50% by Virginia Stage Lines, 25% by Safeway Trails and 25% by Eastern Trails, all three Trailways members. Effectively, Claude Jessup, through his control of Virginia and Safeway and interest in Eastern Trails, controlled Pan American Trailways.
Sheahan executed the lease on July 11, 1940 with terms of the initial two-year lease at $2000 a month or 5% of the gross receipts whichever was greater, the lease amount included the six White 7788 buses. The Trailways company also had .the right of renewal of additional three-year lease term at 5.5% of gross receipts and to purchase the authority and buses at the end of the five=year period for not less than $400 thousand, nor more than $600 thousand.
Authority to lease the authority was required from the Interstate Commerce Commission. This application garnered a protest from Atlantic, Pennsylvania, and Richmond Greyhound Lines and Florida Motor Lines. The Greyhound companies were still smarting over the initial award of Pan American's operating authority and Sheahan's lease of his operation to a Trailways company just ratcheted up the chance for meaningful competition. The ICC over ruled Greyhound's opposition to the lease, however, in the hearing, Claude Jessup promised that if he did not elect to extend the lease or purchase the company, he would sell the company only to Atlantic Greyhound Lines.
On August 17, 1940, under temporary ICC authority, Pan American Trailways began operating out of the Dixie Terminal in New York City with two daily departures spaced 12 hours apart. The six White 7788's had been repainted in red and cream and the owning companies had contributed four additional ACF buses, two from Virginia, and one each from Safeway and Eastern.
The new operation had problems from the start. South of Roanoke to Miami, no other Trailways member would work with the new member company or allow Pan American in their terminals at common points! Jessup attempted to get their cooperation by offering ownership stakes in the new company to Carolina, Queen City and Tamiami. There were no takers and no interest. On February 11, 1941, the ICC approved the lease to the Trailways company, however the ICC imposed modifications to the lease terms which were unacceptable to Jessup and he immediately terminated the lease. Sheahan now had his unwanted bus line back since the Trailways company had never purchased the company and the following day instituted one daily round trip on the route.
Sheahan immediately turned to Greyhound as a buyer and approached Atlantic Greyhound Lines. Greyhound, who'd fought the initial application and then protested the Trailways lease, wasted no time talking to Sheahan to eliminate this burr of competition. The plan was to divide ownership of Sheahan's original Pan American stock up between Sheahan, Atlantic and Pennsylvania Greyhound and Florida Motor Lines, a Greyhound affiliate.
A joint application was filed with the ICC on August 22, 1941. Arthur Hill of Atlantic Greyhound testified that Pan American Bus. was deeply in debt and was, in fact, in danger of immediate collapse. This is the same argument which would be made by Fred Currey in his take over of Trailways, Inc. 46 years later. Hill decided that Trailways had missed the chance to just purchase Pan American outright once through stupidity and he wasn't about to wait and give them another chance to have a competitive go at him, keeping in mind that the Pan American route duplicated Atlantic Greyhound for about 850 miles from Washington, DC to Jacksonville, Florida.
The ICC, however had a different idea. They didn't like the dividing up of Pan American amongst their competitors and in Novemer 1941, denied Greyhound's application. Hill wasn't going to take no for an answer and two weeks later he formed Pan American Greyhound Lines, Inc.to acquire Sheahan's assets. The stockholders of Pan American Greyound turned out to be the same four individuals, Sheahan, Atlantic and Pennsylvania Greyhound and Florida Motor Lines. Sheahan then sold his stock back to the other three stockholders in exchange for the assumption of his debts.
Another joint application was made and on January 16, 1942, permission was granted for Pan American Greyhound Lines to acquirePan American Bus Lines, with Atlantic Greyhound controlling the new company. This marked the first time Greyhound buses actually operated substantially into peninsula Florida and could be seen on their one round trip per day in Miami.
Pan American Greyhound also inherited Paul Sheahan's White 7788's, now reoainted for the third time from Trailways red and cream to Greyhound blue and white. Noted Greyhound historian Don Coffin captured a snap shot of bus 106 parked in the Capitol Terminal on 50th Street in New York City. The only known pictures of Pan American Trailways' operation of the big Whites were taken by the late Wally Brochart. When Wally passed on his landlady cleaned out his room in Seattle and threw his volumes of pictures and negatives away.
In 1944 the venerable White 7788's were retired and replaced by PGA-3702's, produced by Pontiac Motor Division during World War II. They eventually found their way into Atlantic Greyhound's fleet, and quickly disposed of there as posr-war Sioversides diesels became available. The Pan American Greyhound schedule reproduced here shows Silversides, but none were ever operated by the property.
On April 16, 1947, Atlantic Greyhound received permission to merge Pan American Greyhound into its operations and the company quietly disappeared after 12 years of operation under three owners.
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