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Motor Bus Society
By Van C. Wilkins and Eli Bail
(Digitally scanned from Motor Coach Age, Volume 29, Number 3, March 1987)
The Bamberger Railroad, creation of one of Utah's pioneer coal mine operators, Simon Bamberger, connected the states two major cities. The Bamberger would prove to be one of the country's most successful electric interurban railways due to its good track, relatively high-speed entrances to its populous terminals of Salt Lake City and Ogden, as well as significant on-line traffic sources.
Simon Bamberger was born in Darmstadt, Germany in 1845 and emigrated to the United States as a young man. He moved west and became involved in hotel and mining ventures around Salt Lake. In January 1891 he was instrumental in the formation of the Great Salt Lake & Hot Springs Railway. The steam railroads (notably the Union Pacific) were oriented to through freight and Bamberger wanted a line that would be responsive to local needs.
Construction pushed northward from Salt Lake City, in 1892 the line reached Bountiful, 1894 Centerville and by 1895 Farmington. Construction was stopped due to financial problems and the railroad was reorganized as the Salt Lake & Ogden Railway on October 25, 1896. A large amusement park built at Lagoon, north of Farmington, became a significant traffic generator; Kaysville was reached in 1903, Layton in 1904 and Sunset in 1905. Finally in 1908 the line reached 31st Street in Ogden. The original intent was to build through Weber (pronounced Wee-ber) Canyon to Coalville leaving Ogden on a branch line. The idea was abandonned in 1907 due to the financial situation. The first passenger train ran between Salt Lake City and Ogden on August 5, 1908 and electric operation began on May 29, 1910. The electric trains proved so popular that the Union Pacific added steam powered "Flyers" to compete.
Simon Bamberger became Governor of Utah in 1916 and served until 1920. His son Julian became president of the railway when an older son who had been groomed to take that job passed away. Over the years, the railway had become popularly known as the "Bamberger Road" and on August 14, 1917 its name was officially changed to the Bamberger Electric Railway. Two more tragedies would soon touch Simon Bamberger's railroad. On May 7, 1918 the Ogden carhouse burned destroying 21 cars and in 1923, floods washed out the roadbed at Rosedale, Becks, Centerville and Lagoon. On a more positive note, that same year saw construction of a modern station across from Temple Square in conjunction with the Salt Lake & Utah, an interurban which ran from Salt Lake City south to Payson.
The elder Bamberger died in Salt Lake City on October 6, 1926, two months after the railway received its first bus certificate from the Utah commission. The basic purpose was to stave off competition and a single trip per day was operated starting in September using two new Yellow Coach model Y parlor cars. Passengers preferred the interurbans and winter patronage was so sparse that the PUC permitted service to be suspended on December 25. The buses were temporarily put into the barn.
The Bamberger Transportation Co. was formed the following year as a subsidiary to hold the bus rights and a new certificate was issued allowing resumption of bus service on May 15, 1927. Service was restricted over the ten miles between Salt Lake City and Centerville to protect the suburban buses of the Utah Light & Traction Co. (MCA January 1987). When the UL&T line was cut back to Bountiful in 1932, local service was permitted beyond that point and in May 1938 when the UL&T line was again cut back, the balance of the restriction was removed between Bountiful and 16th North & Beck Streets in Salt Lake City.
As a result of the depression, the railway went into receivership in 1933. The road's president, Julian Bamberger became a co-receiver along with Lehman V. Bower of Chicago; I. M. Bamberger was the treasurer.
At that time the Bamberger owned 84 freight cars, 4 locomotives, 29 passenger cars, 2 express cars, one work car and the two Yellow Coach buses. The newest passenger car had been purchased in 1916. This caused the management to visit several interurban lines across the country looking for equipment to modernize the Bamberger. The result was the purchase of five almost-new streamlined lightweight interurbans from the Fonda, Johnstown & Gloversville Railroad in New York during 1939. In July, the road was reorganized as the Bamberger Railroad.
March of 1940 saw the delivery of the Bamberger's third bus, a Yellow Coach PG-2504 Cruiserette. Utah charter rights were obtained from the PUC in October of 1940 and nationwide charter rights from the ICC in March, 1942. These incidental rights would prove to be the company's most important assets in later years. Certificated routes at that time were from Salt Lake City to Ogden via US 91, a parallel route via Alternate US 91, and an alternate entry into Ogden via US 91 and Utah Highway 38.
Due to its limited extent, the Office of Defense Transportation ordered curtailment of the Bamberger bus service for the duration during 1942. The three buses were accordingly sold to a company in El Paso, Texas for military transportation service. A tremendous volume of business was handled by the interurban between the war-related installations along the line and the terminal cities. Bus service was restored in 1946 using five new Yellow Coach PD-2903 buses and as though to affirm this latest effort, five more were added during the next year.
By 1948 fifteen bus runs each way were scheduled daily between the terminal cities, compared with 11 trains. Seven new TDM-4509 buses in two orders arrived during 1952 signalling an intent to further expand the bus service. A disasterous fire in the North Salt Lake shops on March 11, 1952 precipitated the final decision. Damage was estimated at $200,000 and the rail maintenance equipment lost to the fire could not be replaced at any cost.
A new schedule issued on March 30 eliminated 9 northbound and 8 southbound rail runs leaving 3 weekday-only round trips. As a result of passenger complaints, the PUC ordered the railroad to increase rail service to five round trips daily by April 27. On that date, the road added four round trips plus a trip to Lagoon and return. A fire destroyed the Ogden substation in June, 1952 and the line applied to the PUC to abandon all passenger service.
At a subsequent hearing the rail freight service, which by that time was primarily dieselized, was said to be profitable. Rail passenger operations on the other hand, had lost almost $30,000 and the bus service an additional $10,000. On the basis that an all-bus system might be profitable, the abandonment of rail passenger service was approved and the last run was made on September 6, 1952. At this time the railroad became a freight-only diesel shortline.
No longer interested in passenger operations, Julian Bamberger sought a buyer for his bus line. While Salt Lake City Lines showed no interest at that time, general manager Dale Barratt indicated a personal interest in acquiring the operation. Sale of the Bamberger Transportation Co. to Barratt along with its 17 buses was agreed to on July 3, 1953 and at that time the name of the company was changed to Lake Shore Motor Coach Lines, Inc.
The PUC approved the transaction in August and the ICC followed in January 1954. Barratt maintained his interest in Lake Shore even after he left Salt Lake City to succeed former associate Skip Pratt as president of NCL-controlled Baltimore Transit Co. His associate Bill Wilson stayed on to manage Lake Shore. Lake Shore received package express rights in 1956 replacing those kept by the railroad. Pickup and delivery of packages within the city limits of Ogden and Salt Lake City as well as along the route was now allowed. Julian Bamberger sold the railroad to Texas interests in that year and in 1959, the main line between Hill Field and North Salt Lake was abandoned leaving the terminal trackage to the Union Pacific and the Denver & Rio Grande Western.
Dale Barratt left Baltimore in February, 1961 to become president of the Eastern Mass. Street Railway, still retaining ownership of Lake Shore. Finally in 1965, he sold the property to Salt Lake City Lines. Lake Shore offices and garage were in a leased building in Salt Lake City and it was soon determined that the entire Lake Shore fleet could be housed in the City Lines garage on East Fifth South. Another benefit of consolidation was that City Lines equipment was immediately available to Lake Shore during busy charter seasons. Before long, all management, operating and maintenace functions were merged with Salt Lake City Lines. The line operation was, however, kept separate. Lake Shore equipment during this period was augmented by new and used GM suburbans and cruisers including new PD-4104 and PD-4106 buses for charter service.
Lake Shore service in the mid-1960's was characterized by 10 to 12 round trips between Salt Lake City and Ogden via Highways 91 and 106, several via Hill Field, or via North Roy and West Ogden. Six commuter trips were run from Salt Lake City to intermediate points between Hill Field and Farmington. Six additional runs turned at Centerville, half using the alternate Upper Road route via Orchard Drive and 4th East. Some trips still terminated at the Greyhound depot on West South Temple, but most morning inbound trips and evening outbound trips were extended along Main Street in downtown Salt Lake City.
Dale Barratt would become general manager of the Southern California Rapid Transit District in October 1966, but stayed on as a director of Eastern Mass and president of its subsidiary, Union Street Railway. Barratt left SCRTD in the midst of controversy during the summer of 1968 and found the city of Salt Lake and National City Lines looking for a buyer for Salt Lake City Lines. Barratt immediately began negotiations and on August 28, 1968, Union Street Railway bought Salt Lake City Lines and its subsidiary, Lake Shore Motor Coach, from National City Lines.
When an operating subsidy was negotiated with Salt Lake County, it was determined that Lake Shore would have to be sold, since it operated outside the county. Under the terms of the agreement, SLCL had to divest itself of Lake Shore, and financial and physical separation of the two properties was ordered on September 10, 1968. After evaluation of several offers, Lake Shore was sold to the Cook Transportation Co. of Logan on May 9, 1969.
Cook Transportation Company
J. Vernon Cook started in the bus business during the summer of 1943 running between Logan and the Logan-Cache Airport. By 1947 he was operating as Fastway Lines from Salt Lake City via Logan to Lewiston in competition with Union Pacific Stages and the Utah-Idaho Central (between Ogden and Lewiston). Cook traded his Salt Lake City-Logan-Lewiston rights to the Burlington Transportation Co. on February 25, 1948, for the former U-IC rights between Logan and Wellsville via Utah Highway 101, and the Logan city service. Along with the rights came four former U-IC buses.
Burlington changed the nature of the former Fastway line by operating it as a feeder to its transcontinental route. This caused the loss of most of the on-line business leading Burlington to return the Fastway rights to Cook for the sum of one dollar on October 23, 1950. Cook followed up by purchasing the former U-IC rights between Logan and Preston on February 2, 1951.
In January, 1949, Cook had taken over contract bus service from Garland County to the Ogden defense installations from Grant S. Nielsen. These rights later passed to Moss Transportation of Ogden. Cook continued in the contract work bus business by running from various Cache County points to the Ogden area installations and to the Thiokol Chemical Corporation near Brighamn City. Cook's fleet was not large during those years, amounting to seven buses in 1960 growing to nine by 1965.
Vern Cook reorganized as Cook Transportation Company, Inc. on March 28, 1969 and made a bid to purchase Lake Shore Motor Coach from Salt Lake City Lines. The effort was successful and Cook took over Lake Shore on May 9, 1969 operating it as "The Lake Shore Line". A number of the newer Lake Shore buses were soon sold (perhaps to recoup part of the purchase price), and replaced with five TDH-5103 buses purchased from the Southern California Rapid Transit District.
In an effort to bring the operating costs more in line with revenue, a new schedule was issued eliminating three round trips between Salt Lake City and Ogden on weekdays and reducing Sunday service from six trips to four. At the same time, all trips began to operate into downtown Salt Lake City via South Temple and Main to Fourth South, instead of only selected trips on Weekdays. Certain peak hour runs even bypassed the Greyhound depot, previously a stop on all schedules.
Vernon Cook, a long-time resident of Logan, found that operation of the larger Lake Shore system from that distance was not practical. Not wishing to move to Ogden or Salt Lake City, he enlisted the aid of John Yeaman (owner of Ogden Bus Lines and its subsidiaries) and Harry Hardman (owner of Utah Valley Transit). Yeaman was to operate a portion of the Lake Shore service from Ogden, and Hardman a portion from Salt Lake City, each using Lake Shore equipment. The arrangement proved less than satisfactory and it ended with Vern Cook selling Lake Shore to Yeaman on February 24, 1970.
Cook continued his line and charter operations from Logan, leasing the Logan service to the city in June, 1971. Circumstances would, however, soon provide him with another opportunity for involvement in the operations of Lake Shore Motor Coach.
Utah-Idaho Central Railroad
The Utah-Idaho Central Railroad was the longest of Utah's interurbans, extending northward from Ogden through Logan and the Cache Valley to Preston in southern Idaho. It was controlled by the Eccles interests, comprised of the Eccles, Browning and Scowcroft families, which controlled a significant portion of Utah's commerce, including Amalgamated Sugar and the First Security Bank.
The Ogden, Logan & Idaho Railway was an outgrowth of the city systems in Ogden and Logan. It began with the electrification of the steam dummy line between Ogden and Hot Springs and its extension to Brigham in 1907. The segment from Logan to Smithfield opened in 1912 and was extended north to Preston and south to Wellsville in 1915. The last gap in the line was closed in that year as Wellsville and Brigham were connected via the abandoned Utah Northern grade across the Collinton Divide. Through service began on October 14, 1915 and on January 1, 1918, the name was changed to the Utah-Idaho Central Railway.
The line shared the Ogden station with the Bamberger Electric but never achieved that road's success despite connecting schedules. Service was soon cut back and by 1926 the U-IC was in receivership. On November 5, 1926, the property was sold by the receivers, renamed the Utah-Idaho Central Railroad and reorganized so that control was shared with the majority bondholders, the Singleton interests of St. Louis.
In order to forestall possible competition, the U-IC began bus service between Ogden and Preston on August 5, 1924. Two small Fageols operated the route which paralleled the rail line except between Brigham and Wellsville where the road via Mantua cut 16 miles off the trip. City streetcars in Logan were replaced by two model AB Macks in 1926. The buses proved more economical to operate and three small Superiors were added in 1935 and 1936.
Expenses were barely covered in 1938, but several small Crown intercity coaches were bought for the interurban line, and at least one Yellow Coach model 733 and (in 1940) a TG-2101 were bought for the Logan city service. The situation grew worse since most passenger traffic was along the road and 90 percent of the rail passenger revenue was from school service; freight revenue had also declined due to a coal strike. In 1945, the deficit was $245,000.
Two Yellow Coach PD-3302 buses which arrived in August, 1945 would prove to be U-IC's last new buses; rail passenger service was reduced to one round trip daily. The remainder of the service was provided by the buses, which by then were operating in competition with Union Pacific Stages and Fastway Lines. Both had been granted rights by the PUC to carry passengers between points north of Ogden to and from Salt Lake City due to the U-IC's inability to carry the wartime traffic.
With operating deficits mounting, the U-IC again entered receivership in December, 1946 and the last interurban ran in February, 1947. The buses continued to operate while the sale of highway rights to the Burlington Transportation Company was being negotiated. Burlington took over the routes under temporary authority from the ICC on March 31, 1947 and operated them under lease until June when the sale was approved. At that time six buses along with the operating rights between Ogden and Preston, a Lewiston-Franklin-Preston short turn and the altenate route between Brigham and Logan were transferred to Burlington.
The city of Ogden is 37 miles north of Salt Lake City at the confluence of the Weber and Ogden Rivers. The town was named for Peter Skene Ogden, representative of the Hudson's Bay Company, who trapped in the area during the 1820's. Fifteen years later the Mexican government granted to trader and trapper Miles Goodyear, "all the land between the mountain and the lake". Goodyear's log cabin, the first in Utah, still stands in Ogden's Tabernacle Square. Brigham Young led a group from Salt Lake City to Ogden in 1850 to lay out the city and it was legally incorporated in 1861. The event that was most important to Ogden's commerce took place on May 10, 1869 when the golden spike uniting the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads was driven at Promontory Summit west of town.
Ogden is the center of a fine outdoor recreational area and is the focus of the regional railroad and livestock industries. Its largest employer is, however, the Federal government. The regional Internal Revenue Service center is located here, and it, along with the Supply Depot to the north and Hill Air Force Base to the south, are the main employment centers.
Public transit in Ogden began in 1884 with the horsecars of the Ogden City Railway. The lines were electrified by the Ogden Electric Railway Co. but they did not fare well. The Ogden Rapid Transit Co. was formed in May, 1900 to acquire OER, which at the time had only two cars left in operation. ORT put the local lines in first class condition and began construction of interurban lines into the surrounding country. The company succeeded in beating the Bamberger to a choice route in Ogden Canyon despite the fact that Simon Bamberger owned a large resort hotel there.
In 1914 the Eccles interests merged ORT and the Logan Rapid Transit Co. into the newly formed Ogden Logan and Idaho Railway, later to become the Utah-Idaho Central Railroad. At the time of the merger ORT was operating seven local lines in Ogden as well as 33 miles of suburban and interurban trackage. Local service was also operated in the town of Brigham.
On January 1, 1920 the city lines in Ogden and the canyon line were taken over by a new Eccles firm, the Utah Rapid Transit Company. Nineteen single-truck Birney cars bought the year before would provide streetcar service until the end of operations. Ogden's first bus service was authorized in October 1928 and was started early the next year using two Pierce-Arrow buses with Buffalo bodies. The ORT car lines continued to run until December 1935 when the Birneys were replaced by 14 Superior-bodied buses on various makes of truck chassis. Three similar buses were delivered the next year.
Early in 1936, the bondholders, led by the First Savings Bank of Ogden, forced the Utah Rapid Transit Co. into receivership. URT general manager P. H. Mulcahy was appointed receiver by the court. Perhaps more important was a permanent injunction secured by the company preventing the city from establishing a competitive municipal bus system. At the close of 1936 all the assets of URT were sold to the newly-formed Ogden Transit Company, incorporated by the Eccles interests to continue transit operations in the city. Three Yellow Coach 733 buses were added to the fleet during 1937 and two more in 1939; by the end of that year 20 buses were being operated over seventeen-and-a-half miles of route.
Ogden Transit prospered during World War II since the city was surrounded by key defense installations. Almost 40 buses were acquired during the war years divided almost equally between small Yellow Coaches and Ford Transits.
Ogden, typical of Utah towns, is laid out with extremely wide streets providing unusually good parking and by 1950, had an extremely high ratio of automobile registrations per person. This plus the fact that Ogden had wound down to a peacetime economy spelled financial difficulty for Ogden Transit, which had not scaled back its operations accordingly. After a strike in 1951, an application was submitted to the Utah Commission to abandon the service as unprofitable. After considerable legal wrangling, the petition was granted effective May 19, 1952. In the light of the injunction against municipal operation and not anxious to leave a town of 57,000 without public transit, city officials sought a new operator for the system.
Into this situation came John Yeaman and Eugene R. Boswell, partners in the Yeaman Transit Company operating in Boone and Marshalltown, Iowa. The partners, having been successful in applying their operating methods in the midwest were looking for a larger property on which to apply them. After assessing the Ogden situation they presented a planned program of changes to the city for a more economical operation.
Franchise negotiations with the city of Ogden went smoothly, at least partly due to dissatisfaction with the Eccles ownership. However, as the final details of the agreement were being ironed out, Timothy J. Manning, of National City Lines fame, made an offer to purchase the outstanding capital stock of Ogden Transit Company. Negotiations ceased while the tender was evaluated and the city worried about having to pull back its franchise offer.
After 48 hours, Rex Bachman of Ogden Transit notified the partners that Manning's offer could not be validated and shortly thereafter, a twenty-year franchise was awarded by the city of Ogden to John Yeaman and Gene Boswell. The newly organized Ogden Bus Lines took over the operation of the Ogden Transit Co. from Landy Norris and J. Rex Bachman on May 20, 1952, ending 52 years of transit operations in the Ogden area by the Eccles interests.
The new owners started with 31 buses, 29 Fords and Transits from the former owners and two TGH-2708 GMs brought in from Iowa. The former owners kept the five newest buses (also TGH-2708) but succeeded in selling only two; the remaining three stayed in storage for some time until they were sold to Ogden Bus Lines. The partners declined to take over the ancient carbarn along with its $7,500 annual heating bill, choosing to lease the U-IC storage bays for a year until the business office and garage could be combined under one roof in a leased cinder block building. Both maintenance and administration were scaled down to a more realistic level and plans were made to decrease daily mileage and to raise fares and drivers' pay as well.
There were five city routes, four operating on 20-minute headways and the fifth (West Ogden) hourly. Tripper service to the surrounding defense installations was cut with four scheduled out-of-city runs to the Supply Depot from Washington Terrace, South Ogden, Grand View Acres and 25th & Fillmore replacing 14 previously operated runs. A further step toward producing more revenue was the receipt of charter rights on March 4, 1952.
The requested route rescheduling and realignment was approved and instituted on August 15, 1953. The daily mileage was cut from 2800 to 2200 by cutting one run from each route by extending headways from 20 to 30 minutes. Sunday service was eliminated except for the strong Washington Blvd. line which provided half the system revenue. The routes were simultaneously rearranged with Route 4 cut back to the Union Depot; its Wall Street service south to 36th Street appended to Route 2, and Route 1 extended to cover the Washington Terrace Loop. Route 3 was rearranged to cover most of the South Ogden loop vacated by Route 1. The new lines were as follows:
- 1. Washington Boulevard
- 2. 25th-21st-South Wall
- 3. 23rd-29th Streets
- 4. 27th Street-Depot
- 5. West Ogden-El Rancho
The requested fare raise (to 15-cents) was granted on October 5, 1953. Weekly cut-rate coupons were tried for a while but were soon discarded. It is a credit to the management that this fare was maintained for eleven years without substantial decrease in service on the major lines.
It was soon discovered that the inherited Ford Transits were not adequate for the operating conditions in Ogden. They could not climb the grades up to the benches north and east of town while carrying a full load. On heavy school trips, the students had to walk the block where the grade was steepest in order for the bus to make it up the hill. The heaters proved inadequate to cope with the Utah winters causing further passenger complaints. The Fords were soon replaced by more of the small GM gas buses which had served the partners so well in the midwest.
Over the next few years, the Ogden management acquired two locally-based operators for their contract and charter rights operating them as subsidiaries. Both had been started by local cab companies. The first was Wasatch Motors, originally a wartime contract carrier of workers between Ogden and the defense-related facilities to the south along Utah Highways 84 and 91: Hill Field, the Naval Supply Depot at Clearfield and the Arsenal. The firm, originally a partnership of the Robinson, Anderson and Moffatt families, passed to Dale Barrett, Gerald Swarthout and Bill Wilson on November 30, 1953, and was subsequently bought by Boswell and Yeaman on February 19, 1954. With the purchase came 22 buses and intrastate charter rights from all Weber County points.
The second acquisition was the Moss Transportation Co. which had been started by George Moss in 1952. It was incorporated in May 1954 to provide contract service from the Garland area to Hill Field and the other defense installations in and around Ogden along Highways 84 and 91. The name of the company was changed by Gene Boswell to Metro Transportation, Inc. at the time of its purchase on July 28, 1954.
When the Thiokol Chemical Corporation, a large producer of solid-propellant rocket motors located north of Brigham City put its contract service up for bid, Metro was the winner. Authority for service from Weber and Box Elder counties was accordingly issued on July 10, 1959 and service was started using pre-owned GM Cruiserettes from Swanson Bus Lines of South Dakota. They proved too small and were soon replaced by two new SDM-4501 buses and several PD-3751 coaches formerly used by Miami's Tropical Coach Lines in service to Hialeah Race Track.
Three new TDH-4512 GMs bought in 1958 and 1959 for the city service became the mainstay of the heavy Washington Boulevard line. By June 1961, the lines had once again been rearranged. In the northern part of town the El Rancho leg of line 5 was cut back to Twelfth Street and rerouted into the newly developed Simoron Park area. The northern end of line 1 was extended in a large loop returning to Washington Blvd. along Seventh St. A new service, Ron Clare Express, was added to line 5 making limited stops along Washington Blvd. out to 1100 North. Neither new line 5 service was to prove successful and the entire route, including the West Ogden segment was given up in the mid-1960's.
Route 4 was given up entirely by June 1961 with the 25th St. leg of line 2 rerouted to serve Ogden High School and St. Benedict's Hospital. The eastern loop of line 3 was, in turn, expanded to cover some of the territory formerly served by line 2. At the same time, the southern end of line 3 was extended, looping through Weber College.
By 1965, Metro contract service had resolved itself into two lines; Ogden-Brigham City-Thiokol, and Tremonton -Brigham City-Hill Field. The Wasatch Motors rights were still operated between Ogden and Hill Field. During the next year, four TDM-4507 suburbans were acquired from the Atomic Energy Commission at Arco, Idaho for these services. The Thiokol runs were quite profitable during the years of three shift operation as each bus made three trips per day carrying workers in both directions. As production relaxed to two shifts, service was cut back extensively.
Gene Boswell withdrew from the partnership in 1966 and moved to northern California. John Yeaman bought out Boswell's interest and assigned 12 percent of his holdings to his new partner, his wife. Ogden had grown to a city of almost 70,000 by this time and local transit had fared much as it had elsewhere with ridership declining in typical fashion. Used buses continued to be acquired for the industrial services with the most prominent being a group of 11 TDM-4515 suburbans from Western Greyhound Lines' San Francisco commute region.
Ogden bus Lines and its subsidiaries were pressed to insure that all equipment was in service on May 10, 1969 when national attention was focused on Promontory Point for the Golden Spike centennial celebration. In one of the largest movements in Utah bus history, some 100 charter coaches provided by several companies brought upwards of 9,000 people to Promontory Summit 30 miles northwest of Ogden. There they witnessed a reenactment of the driving of the Golden Spike which completed the transcontinental railroad in 1869. Other operators providng buses were Salt Lake City Lines, Gray Line of Salt Lake City, The Lake Shore Line, Greyhound and Continental Trailways.
During 1969 John Yeaman became involved in the operation of The Lake Shore Line for Vernon Cook. The arrangement proved to be unworkable and Yeaman acquired Lake Shore Motor Coach Lines, Inc. (still the legal corporate name) from the Cook Transportation Co., Inc. on February 24, 1970. The sale included the Lake Shore equipment which continued to operate in its white and orange paint.
At the time of sale, Lake Shore operated 11 round trips on its 37-mile Salt Lake City-Ogden route plus additional short-turn commuter trips. Lake Shore did not thrive under the Yeaman ownership. Most of the first line equipment was used for charter and contract operations and in 1970 five TDH-3501 buses and two PD-4104 coaches were leased from County Transit Lines (former partner Gene Boswell's operation in Walnut Creek, California) to operate most of Lake Shore schedules. Sunday service was eliminated entirely and Saturday as well as weekday service further cut back on May 17, 1971.
When John Yeaman died unexpectedly in January 1972, his combined holdings in Ogden Bus Lines, Metro Transportation, Wasatch Motors and Lake Shore comprised the second largest bus operation in Utah. The Bank of Utah as trustee for the estate, took over the holdings and appointed Gary Peterson manager of Ogden Bus Lines. Harry Hardman operated the charter certificate for the heirs on a commission basis.
Meanwhile, Lake Shore service reliability deteriorated to the point where it became the subject of frequent articles in the newspapers of both cities. Service eventually ended amid a barrage of passenger complaints and suits about buses with no heat in the middle of winter, breakdowns without relief buses, and other passenger agonies.
Finally, on August 1, 1974, the Utah Transit Authority bought up the remains of the Ogden-based companies for the sum of $195,000. With the purchase came 39 Ogden, Metro, Wasatch and Lake Shore buses and promises of new lines in Ogden as well as 90-minute Monday-through Saturday headways. After the UTA replaced most of the line equipment with its own buses, only the well-worn fleet of GMs used in industrial service remained, the last vestige of John Yeaman's once grand enterprise.
Salt Lake & Utah Railroad
The Salt Lake & Utah was incorporated in 1912 by W. C. Orem of Boston, builder of several western mining railroads. The route ran south along the west side of Salt Lake City via Riverton and Jordan Narrows into the Utah Valley. The railroad was completed as far as Provo on Utah Lake in 1913 and started operation with three Hall-Scott gasoline railcars. The road was electrified in July and a local line along Academy Avenue in Provo was started in October using three used streetcars from the Utah Light & Traction Co.
Construction pushed on to Springville in 1915, to Spanish Fork in January 1916 and to Payson, 67 miles south of Salt Lake City, in May. The interurban was moderately profitable, operating hourly service at first, then two-hourly in the mid-1920's. Rail service was reduced to four round trips supplimented by bus service in June 1930. The bus line was subsequently sold and rail service restored. By the late 1930's business had dipped and the road passed to G. S. Eccles and W. C. Browning, owners of the Utah-Idaho Central, at a foreclosure sale in 1938.
In order to forestall competition, the new owners immediately applied for rights to run buses between Salt Lake City and Payson, and within Provo. Interurban bus operation started in January 1939 using two 27-passenger Superiors on Ford chassis (see photo on page 7 of the February 1986 MCA). Local service in Provo was started in April 1940. A small Crown was added in 1941, and two Ford conventionals with Wayne bodies in 1944. A Ford Transit was also acquired in that year, presumably for the Provo city service.
The Eccles management made no attempt to improve the condition of the property during the war and the company entered bankruptcy in December 1945. At that time local rights between Salt Lake City and Payson passed to the Rio Grande Motorway. This highway subsidiary of the Denver & Rio Grande Western had been operating buses and trucks on this route since 1929 in replacement of some Silver City and Marysvale branch trains. At least five SL&U buses were included in the transaction. The line passed to Continental Rocky Mountain Lines with the sale of RGMW to Transcontinental Bus System (Continental Trailways) in 1948.
The demise of the SL&U left Provo without any city bus service and in the late fall of 1952, the city and the Chamber of Commerce invited Gene Boswell and John Yeaman to fill the gap. A trial line between Orem, Brigham Young University and downtown Provo was started using Ford Transits not needed in their Ogden operation. The line was not to prove successful despite a small subsidy from BYU and was given up after six months.
Utah Valley Transit
Harry Hardman operated a filling station in Heber in the early 1950's when be began operating a contract work bus using the name Mt.. Timp Transportation, from the Heber Valley to the U. S. Steel Geneva Plant near Provo. A second line, owned by a local cab company in Provo, operated from Santaquin, at the southern end of the county, to the steel plant. When the company foundered, Hardman bought it, and with the industrial operation came the city service in Provo, the then-current successor to the Salt Lake & Utah local line.
The industrial service was first operated using school buses with deluxe seats, but Hardman soon acquired several ex-Trailways PDA-3704 coaches as well as two PDA-4101 coaches from Jordan Bus Lines. By 1965, Utah Valley Transit owned ten buses including several used PD-4104 coaches for charter service. In 1969, Hardman operated a portion of the Lake Shore service for Vernon Cook until its sale to John Yeaman. He again became involved after Yeaman's death in 1972 by operating the Lake Shore charter certificate for the estate.
While it was not practical to compete with the UTA for the Salt Lake City - Ogden line business, the charter rights had considerable value to Hardman and Cook, and they applied to purchase Lake Shore from John Yeaman's estate. The application was granted and the Lake Shore equipment was divided between Utah Valley Transit and Cook Transportation. The buses remained in Lake Shore livery and, in fact, one Sunday run each week was made over the combined rights from Logan to Salt Lake City to hold the regular route authority. Charter service was once again handled from both ends of the line with Cook handling business originating in the north, and Hardman in the south.
Over the years the original Heber work bus was discontinued, but the Utah County bus ran until early 1977 when it too was given up. Today, Utah Valley Transit continues to operate as a charter carrier in its own right with a modern thirty-bus fleet including several brand new MC-9 coaches.
Provo City Lines
In the early 1970's Hardman was operating two routes in Provo that converged downtown at University & Center. Both routes were operated with one bus, a used TDH-3714. Later a TGH-3501, Hardman's first new bus, handled the city lines with the TDH-3714 as standby. Business was terrible and Hardman was ready to give up after finding that the Provo City Corporation would not provide a subsidy.
Students from Brigham Young University drove the city bus (and made up most of Utah Valley Transit's drivers) and they did not want to see their jobs end. University Mall in nearby Orem had just opened and they asked Hardman to revise the route to run from downtown Provo through the University to the Mall. This became the only successful transit route in Provo's history. The new route ran hourly from 6 am to 9 pm Monday through Saturday with many of the students driving for one or two hours between classes. One bus could still operate the service.
The fare was 25-cents and a special multiple ride ticket was available. The route averaged 400-500 passengers per day and at times a bus had to be pulled out of service due to the farebox vault filling up to the point of jamming. The bus would be replaced or someone from the shop would meet the bus at the end of the line and change fareboxes.
Quite often on Saturdays the run would have to be doubled and this was usually done with the other city bus, but after an accident involving the 3741 and the 3501 occurred, a Utah Valley Transit PD-4104 with a farebox bolted into the front stepwell was pressed into service. The accident forced Hardman to buy a second TDH-3714 from Marlin Christianson, operator of an industrial service from Lehi (at the north end of Utah County) to Geneva Steel.
Larger equipment was needed and when two TDH-4517 transits were found at a retirement community in Florida, Hardman drove to West Palm Beach with a friend, repaired the two buses and drove them back to Utah with his pickup truck trailing behind. The two 4517 buses provided the needed passenger capacity and they finished out Provo City Lines service which by 1979 was operated under contract to the Timpanogos Transit Authority. Residents of Utah County voted to become part of the UTA service area in 1984 and today, city service as well as service between Provo and Salt Lake City, is provided by that agency.
Walter R. Jones, The University of Utah; Cecil O. Sharp, II, Salt Lake City Library; Stanley F. X. Worris; Swett's Interurbans of Utah used as a base; Gene Boswell; Kingland Hobein, Jr.: Robert A. Burrowes; Van Wilkins; Allen Copeland; Ed Buckley; Gerald Squier; George Howell; Eli Bail; and John P. Hoschek.