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Jon's Trailways History Corner

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Installment Nine

Early consolidations - Part 1

One of the on-going internal stories of Trailways has been the acquisition of one member by another.  Prior to Continental (previously Bowen) beginning its growth and expansion, three companies in east Texas and three companies in the deep south combined to form two large regional Trailways companies. DIXIE TRAILWAYS in east Texas -

SUNSHINE BUS LINES was organized in 1919 and had only 26 miles of routes, however with steady growth and acquisition of competing and connecting carriers, it kept pace with the times and by 1931 it was operating eastward from Dallas to Tyler over two routes and between Dallas and Palestine plus various feeder routes.  In 1933, their routes had been extended from Tyler on to Shreveport, Louisiana.  Attached is a picture of an early Sunshine Bus Lines White motor forward with a Bender body.

DIXIE MOTOR COACH CO. was started in 1928 and acquired various certificates to operate between Dallas, Ft. Worth and Ardmore, Oklahoma; Dallas and Durant, Oklahoma; Dallas, Greenville and Texarkana; Wichita Falls and Texarkana; and various feeder lines.

In 1939, the Kittrell family acquired 100% ownership of both Dixie and Sunshine, operating them as separate companies until 1945 when the companies were sold and application was made to merge the two corporations into one. Soon afterwards the ICC authorized Dixie Motor Coach to purchase the stock of Sunshine Bus Lines, and to change the name to Dixie-Sunshine Trailways.

AIRLINE MOTOR COACHES of Nacogdoches, Texas had principle routes that ran north-south, extending from Shreveport, Louisiana to Houston, Texas and from Shreveport to Beaumont, Texas.

In 1946, Dixie-Sunshine made application to purchase Airline Motor Coaches, completing an almost virtual Trailways monopoly in east Texas and excluding Greyhound with the exception of Southwestern Greyhound;s route from Dallas to Texarkana.

The attached route map shows the combined Dixie operations in 1948, just prior to its own acquisition.


Attached is a map of the Southern Bus Lines system as it was in 1948, just prior to being acquired by the newly formed Transcontinental Bus System.  It stretched from St, Louis and Little Rock in the north, to Nashville and Meridian on the east, to Mobile, Gulfport, Biloxi and New Orleans in the south and Beaumont, Texas and Shreveport, Louisiana in the west.  Head of this bus line serving nine states was Morgan W. Walker.

BORDELEON LINES, INC. was headquartered at 1314 Tulane Avenue in New Orleans, Louisiana, which was also the New Orleans Terminal which would serve Trailways until the last day of operation at the Greyhound takeover in 1987.  Bordeleon's main route ran west to Baton Rouge and Alexandria.

INTERURBAN TRANSPORTATION COMPANY had its headquarters in Alexandria, Louisiana, and was Morgan Walker's home base company.  Interurban's routes stretched from Baton Rouge through Alexandria (on a different route than Bordeleon) to Shreveport; from Baton Rouge to Beaumont; and from Little Rock through Alexandria to Lake Charles.  A picture of one of Interurbans pretty ACF Brill 37-PB's shows their big, modern equipment.

TRI-STATE MOTOR TRANSIT OF LOUISIANA headquarters was in Shreveport, Louisiana.  Tri-State was the largest carrier of the three, stretching from St> Louis through Memphis and Jackson to New Orleans, Gulfport, Biloxi and Mobile on the Gulf Coast, Nashville through Memphis to Shreveport; Texarkana to Lake Charles; and Birmingham to Texarkana plus a large network of feeder routes

By the mid-40's, Bordeleon, Interurban and Tri-State had been combined into a new company, Southern Bus Lines, headquartered at Alexandria and led by Morgan W. Walker.  The attached route map shows the size of this huge regional company.


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Installment Ten

Transcontinental Bus System - The 1940's

Although the Transcontinental Bus System throughout its life was popularly referred to as the Continental Bus System or Continental Trailways, the two did not evolve simultaneously.

Continental Bus System resulted from M. E. Moore's 1943 purchase of Bowen Motor Coaches and was only a name change from Bowen to Continental.

The Transcontinental Bus System was formed in 1948 and marked the beginning of Moore's expansion through acquisitions.  The initial expansion merged Moore's Continental Bus System with Santa Fe Trailways and Dixie Sunshine Trailways and spread Moore's "Continental" name from Los Angeles east to Chicago, north and west to Salt Lake City and south to Corpus Christi, Texas.  After the handshakes were over, The AT&SF Railroad (Santa Fe) owned 39% of the new Transcontinental Bus System, a stake they would hold on to well into the 1960's, if for no other reason than the over the counter stock was almost worthless, the company had never paid a dividend.  Santa Fe 1846 can be seen still in it's original paint job with Continental lettering applied on the roof.

With the Santa Fe purchase came the rest of West Coast Trailways not already owned by Continental with 870 miles of routes stretching the new system north to Seattle from San Francisco.  West Coast was a joint venture between Santa Fe and Continental and it's number 5, an IC-41 is shown at Medford, OR.

In the works as the Continental-Santa Fe-Dixie merger was approved was the merger of Rio Grande Trailways along with its interests in the affiliated companies, D.C.S.P. Motorway (50%) and D.S.L.P. Stages (33%).

The Transcontinental Bus System was incorporated with 896,100 shares of stock and $6,775,500 in debentures (debt) at 4% interest over 15 years to finance the project.  Carrying the debt was A. C. Allyn Co. of Chicago and Beneficial Finance Corp. of Nashville, owned by B. O. Currey, Fred Currey's uncle.

In 1949, Transcontinental stretched out again, extending its territory eastward to Meridian, MS and Birmingham, AL and northward to St. Louis, MO when Morgan Walker's Southern Bus Lines of Alexandria, LA was acquired and merged into the Continental System.  Shown is one of Continental Southern,s ACF Brill IC-41's leaving the Trailways Depot in Chicago.  The sign on the side of the bus advertising the Chicago to Biloxi thru service with Continental Central taking the us to St. Louis and Continental Southern picking it up there for the rest of the journey to Biloxi.

Of the acquisitions during the 40's, only Rocky Mountain, Continental Bus System and the Santa Fe System (which would become Central Lines and Western Lines) were actual divisions of the Transcontinental Bus System, everything else, and all future acquisitions would be subsidiaries, retaining their corporate structure, with Transcontinental owning 100% shares.

At the close of 1949, from his beginnings with Arkansas Motor Coaches and then the purchase of Bowen in 1943, Moore's empire had grown to serve 18 states stretching from the Pacific Coast all the way east to Chicago and Birmingham, but he wasn't coast-to-coast... yet.


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Installment Eleven

Transcontinental Bus System - The 1950's

In the early 50's Transcontinental started buying again.

Continental Crescent Lines was incorporated in Delaware in 1952, a wholly owned subsidiary of Continental Southern Lines, for the purpose of purchasing Crescent Stages, a member of the Trailways association. Crescent's routes stretched from Nashville, TN on the north through Huntsville and Birmingham to Montgomery, AL; from Montgomery to Columbus, GA; from Chattanooga, TN to Montgomery; and with the 1952 purchase of Service Stages, from Birmingham to Atlanta, GA.

As early as 1945, Southeastern Greyhound Lines had made application to buy Crescent but the ICC turned down the application because it would have given Southeastern Greyhound almost total control in the region.  Crescent was clearly for sale, but there was no Trailways carrier ready and willing to buy it until Moore stepped up in 1952.  The acquisition became effective December 1st, 1953.

Transcontinental's second purchase came in 1954 when they bought Trailways member Central Bus Lines of Nashville, TN.Central was a combination of two companies, Consolidated Bus Lines of Smithville, TN which had begun in 1926 and Central Bus Lines of Cookeville, begun in 1934 to operate between Cookeville and Crossville.  Both companies had common owners, the Evins family.  In 1937 Cherokee Motor Coach of Chattanooga giving entrée into that city from both Cookeville and Crossville and extending the line east to Kingston.

In 1946 a route into Knoxville was obtained and for the first time, Central had connections with a Trailways carrier on the east, Smoky Mountain Stages.and Central joined the association, operating as Central Trailways.

On March 1, 1954, Continental Southern Lines acquired Central Trailways and it was renamed Continental Tennessee Lines.  In 1956 Tennessee Coach Co. joined Trailways and Continental Tennessee began to coordinate service with Tennessee Coach between Nashville and Knoxville although they operated via separate routes.

After an offer of $3 million in stock for American Buslines by Greyhound was turned down in 1951, Transcontinental offered a stock swap which was approved by 90% of American Buslines' shareholders in 1953.  The majority interest in American was owned by The Chicago Corp. who held most of ABL's long term debt.  Other shareholders included General American Aerocoach and Phillips with 10% each.  After the stock trade, ABL filed for reorganization under the bankruptcy laws.

Transcontinental never had much cash to spare and so American was reorganized in 1957 with the old stock in ABL declared worthless and two new classes of stock issued.  Continental Southern, wholly owned by Transcontinental since 1949 and always a successful and profitable operation, bought the biggest block of the stock, close to a 50% interest. Most of the balance was bought by Trammel Crowe of Transportation Properties in Little Rock, who had a hand in funding Moore's Arkansas Motor Coaches and who later purchased The Chicago Corp.'s (A. C. Allyn) interest in Transcontinental, giving them 18% interest in Transcontinental.

The plan was approved by the ICC in late 1958 and the reorganization of American ended on September 22, 1958, with ABL's drivers still on strike.

Meanwhile, in mid-1959, Transcontinental made the decision to split off the following routes of ABL:  Continental Tennessee bought the Memphis to Chattanooga route which raised working capital for ABL;   Also on December 6, 1958, Midwest Buslines took over the Memphis to Kansas City operation of ABL.  ABL's union (ATU) protested on the basis that the action was strike breaking but it went through anyway.

In 1959, ABL's drivers settled with American's new owner, Transcontinental for less money then they were making when they struck 18 months before and M. E. Moore was finally in New York City.


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Installment Twelve

Transcontinental Bus System -The 1960's

Moore's expansion during the 60's would find him swallowing the biggest bus lines (revenue wise) yet, but 1960 found him acquiring Midwest Bus Lines.

Just like Transcontinental had used Continental Southern Lines to purchase American Buslines in late 1958, now Transcontinental used American to purchase Midwest, which had been the Original Missouri Pacific Trailways. American financed the purchase by selling its routes from Denver to Rapids City and Billings to D.C.S.P. Motorway for $406,000, and its 33% interest in D.S.L.P. Stages for $477,000 and the issuance of additional shares of ABL stock which were purchased by Continental Southern for $170,000.

In 1964, Moore reached agreement to purchase the bulk of the Trailways carriers operating on the east coast, however final approval from the ICC and DoJ wouldn't come until 1966. The carriers involved were Trailways of New England, Safeway Trails, Virginia Stage Lines and its 33% share of Tennessee Trailways, Queen City Coach Co. and its share of Smoky Mountain Stages, Carolina Scenic Stages, Coastal Stages Corp., Gray Line of Charleston, Fort Bragg Coach Co., Georgia-Florida Trailways, and Southeastern Motor Lines. The majority of the transaction involved trading Transcontinental stock to the principals of the various companies, chiefly, Claude Jessup, Marvin Walsh, and the Love family.

Two years after the take over on the east coast, M. E. Moore reached agreement with Holiday Inns of America in Memphis to buy Transcontinental Bus System. Holiday Inns had visions of red and cream buses pulling up in front of Holiday Inns coast to coast every night. It took about a year for that bubble to burst and they spent the next ten years trying to unload the bus company.

In early 1979, M. E. Moore had put together the financing necessary to buy back his bus line and he sent his lawyer, Charlie Webb up to Holiday Inns in Memphis to make the offer. He called Moore from Memphis and reported that they wouldn't even let him beyond the reception desk. He didn't realize that they were finalizing a deal with an investment banker in Pittsburgh named Henry Hillman who was buying the Trailways, Inc. as Holiday Inns had renamed it and Hillman had a fellow named James Kerrigan who was going to run it for him.


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Here's an alphabetical listing of the companies which M. E. Moore purchased over 30 years as he built the second largest bus company in the United States along with a potpourri of some of their more interesting buses,,,,

American Buslines

Arkansas Motor Coaches, Ltd.

Atlantic Stages

Bayshore Motor Coaches

Bowen Motor Coach

Cannon Ball Stage Lines

Carolina Scenic Stages

Central Bus Lines - TN

Coastal Stages Corp.

Continental Panhandle Lines - 50%

Crescent Stages

Dixie-Sunshine Motor Coaches

Denver-Colorado Springs-Pueblo Motorway

Denver-Salt Lake-Pacific Stages

Ft. Bragg Coach Co.

Georgia-Florida Coaches

Gibson Lines

Gray Line of Charleston

Midwest Buslines

Muscatine, Davenport & Clinton Bus Co.

Queen City Coach Co.

Randolph Field Bus Co.

Rio Grande Motorway

Safeway Trails

Santa Fe Trail Transportation Co.

Service Coach Line - 33%

Smoky Mountain Stages

Southeastern Motor Lines

Southern Kansas Greyhound Lines - 50%

Southern Bus Lines of Louisiana

Southern Stages - GA

Texas-New Mexico & Oklahoma Coaches - 40%

Trailways of New England

Union Bus Lines

Valley Transit Co. - NM

Virginia Stage Lines

West Coast Buslines

Winter Garden Bus Co.

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Installment Thirteen

NTBS paint schemes

Several messages have talked about an interest in the various paint schemes used on NTBS member's buses since 1936.  There really aren't as many variants as one would think until you get to the present date and now there doesn't seem to be any cohesion, but then that's not all that surprising is it?

The colors began as "cream and crimson" and continued up through the late 40's and early 50's when a white roof began to appear.

The original scheme was more or less a standard paint scheme for the motor forward cars, then with the original cars with the motor in the rear you had the art deco design that copied what Greyhound was doing.  That kind of morphed into the design on the Virginia bus in the picture although there was a reverse version of that scheme switching the red and cream around.

About this time they began to use a red stripe on the roof with the name Trailways written in cream letters.

The last of the buses with the red and cream with a white roof were the 4103's, the early 4104's and the Flxible Vistaliners as shown in the pic of the deluxe 4103.  After that, for a few years, the scheme was just red and white.

Even though Moore in Dallas had moved to red and white, for some reason with the Eagles he went back to using cream, however no one else in the association did.

About 1957 the changed the roof stripe to a wing shape and in 1963 they did away with the hobo style of lettering and went to a block italic in all caps,  Moore's Eagles were still the only buses with cream on them. Colonial, Capital, deluxe and I&S were the only others to have cream on their Eagles but they were running cars that also said "Continental Trailways" on them too.

Then in the mid-70's, with the Holiday Inns ownership, Continental changed the paint design to what became known as the hockey stick and the cream died on their buses too.  There's a good example of it in Bob Redden's shot of 25101 at Lake Tahoe.


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Followup Question:

{Greg said]

> Maybe this is a little off the subject. But one thing I've noticed down through the times is even they had different colors, the Eagle 01's and early 05's had uniform lettering. The slanted block letters in all caps. It didn't matter if it was a NTBS member, independent company or even a private coach. If it was an Eagle they all the same lettering.

*LOL* That's because Bus & Car only had that style metal letters made. Matter of fact, the first sale to an outside customer was Jefferson Lines in 1965 and at that time Bus & Car didn't have the whole alphabet, just "Continental Trailways," which left Jefferson hurting for J and F, so their Eagles came with no name.

Speaking of private coaches, Eagles have always been the coach of choice among entertainers. And back in the 60's and 70's they had their names written across the side of bus, inside the lightning bolt with the same letters as the Trailways buses. I say written but they looked they attached as opposed to painted.

Pretty quickly, Bus & Car had the full alphabet produced ending their problem with outside sales.


Installment Fourteen

Safeway Trails

There is often a great deal of confusion about the early use of the "Safeway" name in the National Trailways Bus System, mainly because there were two of them, Safeway Lines of Illinois, a founding member of NTBS and Safeway Trails, which while not connected to the former, did have a bizarre connection to the original... and that connection came through a man from Kansas, who with his colleagues owned 40% of Santa Fe Trail Transportation. Safeway Trails came into being and its first few years of existence centered not so much around buses but around a series of razzle-dazzle plays designed to keep Greenleaf's ownership in not only Safeway Trails, but Northern Trails and Eastern Trails a secret from the ICC, who opposed Greenleaf's ownership in the eastern carriers because of his connection to Santa Fe.

If I write book chapter and verse the story is almost impossible to follow... I barely can. Safeway Trails, Inc. was formed in 1937 by two Washington transportation lawyers, William A. Roberts and Charles B. McInnis and a man named Aaron Greenleaf who owned 40% of the bus operation associated with the Santa Fe Railroad, to succeed The Short Line of Pennsylvania on the New York City - Washington route which was approved in 1939. Mixed in was a failing company named Nevin Bus Lines, however Nevin's authority didn't pass over to Safeway.

Greenleaf had run afoul of the ICC when he had acquired an interest in a company called Northern Trails who had succeeded the original Safeway Lines of Illinois without ICC approval and his ownership interests were held secretly by a business associate of his from Kingman,Kansas, Glen W, Furguson. The other stockholders in Northern were Roberts, McInnis and Claude A. Jessup of Virginia Stage Lines. Greenleaf also had a majority interest in another company called Eastern Trails and there was an attempt to put all of these together. The ICC balked and refused, requiring the north south operation to be separate from the Northern Trails New York City - Chicago operation. The early turmoil in Safeway's ownership centered around Greenleaf. To cut to the chase, Roberts, McInnis and Jessup acting as a team were able to control the company and put together, in a series of deals, a plan to horse trade Greenleaf out of his Safeway ownership by giving up their interests in Northern Trails.

In 1942 the General Manager of Safeway, C. P. Schnebly sold his interests to Roberts, McInnis and Jessup with some going to Safeway's new General Manager, Marvin Walsh. On July 13, 1943, Jessup and his associates received permission to control Safeway, with Jessup holding the largest block of stock.

Safeway's offices were always in Washington, DC, it's terminal located at the corner of 12th and New York Avenue, NW and its original route was between Washington-Baltimore-Philadelphia-New York City, a franchise that would grow to be the most valuable in the country. In the late 40's Safeway also started minor branch lines from Baltimore to Lancaster via Conowingo, MD and Baltimore to Reading, PA via Oxford, PA. .Also initiated was local service to Ft. George Meade out of Washington and a commuter line from New York City to Carteret, NJ.

Safeway's history and fortunes then , don't stem so much from expansion but from management constantly taking advantage of and exploiting opportunity.

The earliest days were quite modest, six round trips a day between New York City and Washington, operating from New York's Dixie Bus Terminal using 29 passenger Buick powered Flxible Clippers. In 1945 larger equipment was needed and 37 passenger Aerocoaches were purchased and then in the late 40's the move to really heavy long distance equipment came with ACF Brill IC-41's. Safeway didn't move to GM equipment until 1952 with the purchase of three PD-4103's and then the first 4104's in 1954. Pushed by Continental to match equipment, in 1961 Safeway began to buy Eagles and the last GM's, 4106's, came in 1963. From then on, Safeway only purchased Eagles.

In December 1950, Safeway, American and Trailways of New England became the first long distance carriers to move into the brand new Port Authority Bus Terminal, leaving behind the inadequate terminal located in the basement of the Hotel Dixie. Operating out of the facility was expensive, but Marvin Walsh, Safeway's president, negotiated with the carriers south of Washington to give Safeway a differential to cover its additional expenses. In the mean time, over 188,000 commuters a day from New Jersey had direct access in the same terminal to long distance bus service. Safeway would be the only long distance carrier operating south out of the terminal until the early 1960's when New York City would finally be able to force Greyhound reluctantly into the Port Authority Terminal. By that time, Safeway had a commanding lead.

When the New Jersey Turnpike opened in 1952 along with the Delaware Memorial Bridge allowing Philadelphia to be bypassed, Walsh immediately put Safeway schedules on the new road, taking advantage of the time savings of three hours and fifteen minutes. The new limited schedules covered the 227 mile route in five and three-quarter hours, a great savings over the previous nine hour trip. In 1957 Baltimore's Harbor Tunnel and connecting Thruway enabled Safeway's schedules to by-pass center city Baltimore cutting New York City-Washington times to four and a half hours coupled with the JFK Highway and Delaware Turnpike. With the advent of the 60's, Safeway was operating hourly service non-stop between Washington and New York, with additional hourly one-stop service via Baltimore.

In 1953, Safeway instituted Thru-Bus service with Carolina, Virginia and Trailways of New England between Raleigh and Boston, pooling equipment and eliminating the need to change buses

With the delivery of Safeway's lavatory equipped 4104's in 1957, Walsh instituted Royal Lounge Service and then expanded it to a concept called 5-Star Luxury Service which was instituted in the western U.S. Operated initially with 4104's and then 4106's, in 1963 Safeway upgraded with four, 40 passenger Golden Eagles for it's 5-Star runs. In 1969 the six new square look Golden Eagles were added. Safeway's 5-Star service operated until 1971 and was always very popular with its customers and profitable for the company both financially and from a public relations stand point.

During the 1950's, Safeway and all the Trailways carriers along the mid-Atlantic states got a tremendous boost as hundreds of thousands of black people migrated to the northeast corridor looking for economic opportunity as well as relief from segregation which was still the law in the south. Carriers like Carolina Scenic, Georgia-Florida, Service Coach, Queen City, Carolina and Virginia who in some measure had been locked out of the big trunk routes dominated by Greyhound for long haul traffic to Florida all of a sudden found their local routes spread all through their service area were collecting thousands of black passengers who were funneled through Washington and onto Safeway. While Safeway benefited from being force fed huge volumes of traffic, to Walsh's credit, Safeway took care of the business, doubling, if necessary, for one passenger. At the same time, Safeway cultivated their local on-line riders and if schedules were running late coming in from the south, a bus was started on time for the local riders.

Safeway really only had three acquisitions of any consequence over the years...

In 1957, Safeway and Virginia Stage Lines purchased Trailways of New England which was failing financially and whose routes extended north out of New York City into New England. Safeway and Virginia each held 50% interest..

Safeway totally acquired only one other bus company, Quaker City Bus Co., operating between Philadelphia and New York City and Philadelphia and Atlantic City plus a line serving Fort Dix and Maguire AFB in New Jersey. This became effective January 6, 1958. While Safeway already had service between Philadelphia and New York City, Quaker City was the dominant carrier in the commuter market with tremendous frequency. With the acquisition, Safeway received 6 ACF IC-41AD's, y Aerocoach P-372-MCA's, 6 PD-4103's and 9 PD-4104's. Safeway did not operate most of the equipment long for a number of reasons. All of Quaker City's buses had high density 45 passenger seating and with the exception of the last 3 PD-4104's, none of it was air conditioned or lavatory equipped. Safeway did not operate this type of equipment, even on commuter lines. After the Quaker City operation was folded into Safeway, a large park and ride lot was constructed at Exit-4 of the New Jersey Turnpike providing a traffic boost that required Safeway to instituted fifteen minute headways to New York City during rush hours.

Finally, in December 1964, Safeway also purchased the Lancaster-Reading-Allentown authority of Reading Transportation Co. but the authority was purchased alone, without equipment. The remaining Reading routes went to Edwards Lakes-to-Sea System (Philadelphia north into the coal country) also without buses and the remaining routes from Philadelphia to Pottsville and Harrisburg along with only the Reading 4104's went to Capitol Trailways.

The last momentous change for Safeway was the purchase of the company by M. E. Moore's Continental Trailways in the mid-60's. The decision was primarily made by Claude Jessup who controlled Trailways of New England, Safeway and Virginia With the new owners, Marvin stayed on to be Safeway's president under Continental's ownership until he retired in 1976. Claude Jessup served as Vice President of Continental's eastern division until he retired in 1974.

Route mile wise, Safeway was a very small company with a 227 mile long main line. Revenue wise and financially, the Washington-New York City line was the most valuable bus franchise in the US. Still is. The DC-NYC line was essentially the focus of ALL bus operations in the eastern US, for both Trailways and Greyhound.

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