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Union Pacific Buses

Index For This Page

This page was last updated on November 9, 2016.

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(This is a work in progress; research continues.)

Overview

(The intent of this information is to provide context for Union Pacific's bus operations in Utah.)

Union Pacific Railroad formed its Union Pacific Stages bus subsidiary in 1927 to operate buses between Pendleton, Oregon, and Walla Walla, Washington, and within a year, between Portland and Pendleton.

Union Pacific's bus routes continued to grow to become a system of highway routes that paralleled and complemented its rail lines all the way from Omaha to the West Coast. By the end of 1929, Union Pacific Stages alone owned over 200 buses, without including the fleets of the Utah Parks Co. and Union Pacific Stage Co., which served as a bus connection service at East Los Angeles. ("Buses of the Union Pacific," Motor Coach Age, March-April 1991)

Research has found that UP's creation of The Streamliner in 1933-1934 was in direct response to the rapid growth of Greyhound Lines and other competing bus routes in the West. UP and C&NW tried to keep up with their Union Pacific Stages and Interstate Transit Lines bus companies, but the political winds were changing.

Design work of The Streamliner (M-10000) started in May 1933, and the little train first ran in February 1934. The second Streamliner entered service in October 1934, but was removed from service immediately pending numerous design changes. The revised second train entered service in May 1935. But by then the passenger market was changing, with the support of Congress and the highway special interests.

In February 1932, Pickwick Corporation of Los Angeles declared bankruptcy. At the time Pickwick was the largest intercity bus company in the United States. Beginning in 1927-1928, Pickwick had expanded, by way of public highways, from Portland to Los Angeles, and San Diego, and from Los Angeles to El Paso, and from El Paso to Kansas City and St. Louis. Many of the routes were operated in cooperation with Greyhound as a separate company known as Pickwick-Greyhound, which failed at the same time as Pickwick. The Depression had forced people to simply stop traveling, and Pickwick's failure was a direct result. The railroads were larger corporations and were able to spread the pain out across their larger organizations.

On February 9, 1932, Union Pacific Stages, as a subsidiary of Union Pacific Railroad, purchased the routes of Pickwick-Greyhound Lines, Inc. between Denver and Salt Lake City, and between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.

Greyhound learned an important lesson about expanding too rapidly, especially through agreements with companies that could fail all too easily. By 1934, economic recovery was building very slowly, and the passenger business was also coming back, slowly. The public wanted local and convenient transportation services. Automobiles at the time were not really suited for long-distance travel, so going by bus over local highways was a solution that the public wanted, and made their wishes known to their political representatives, as did the monied special interests at the time.

Railroads were not seen as part of the solution, especially during the congressional hearings that were held. The result was that the railroads were shut out completely with the passage in August 1935 of the Motor Carrier Act of 1935, which amended the Interstate Commerce Act and gave the federal ICC the power to regulate the interstate transportation of passengers carried by motor carriers.

The Motor Carrier Act of 1935 prevented the railroads from operating bus routes that did not parallel their train routes. Also, they were prevented from expanding their existing routes. These changes forced Union Pacific to start designing larger Streamliner trains, instead of operating a fleet of smaller Streamliner trains along more routes. Imagine, if you will, a fleet of three-car Streamliner trains operating along all the mainlines and larger branchlines across the Union Pacific system, connecting with railroad-owned buses, taking passengers where ever they wanted to go. The Motor Carrier Act of 1935 put an end to those plans.

In 1943 the two bus companies, Interstate Transit Lines and Union Pacific Stages, began operating under the name Overland Greyhound Lines, with Union Pacific retaining its partial ownership. In 1952 the railroad sold its remaining interest to Greyhound.

Overland Greyhound Lines, based in Omaha, Nebraska, was formed in 1952 by combining the interests and routes of Union Pacific Stages and Interstate Transit Lines. Union Pacific Stages had been the highway-coach subsidiary of Union Pacific Railroad, and Interstate Transit Lines, was a highway-coach subsidiary jointly owned by the Union Pacific and Chicago & North Western Railway.

Competing railroad-bus service in Salt Lake City was provided by Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad. In 1926 D&RGW formed its bus subsidiary Denver-Colorado Springs-Pueblo Motor Way. In 1927 D&RGW formed bus subsidiary Rio Grande Motor Way. In 1935 D&RGW formed bus subsidiary Denver-Salt Lake-Pacific Stages. In 1936 Rio Grande Motor Way joined Trailways, which was sold in 1948 to Continental Trailways, part of the Transcontinental Bus System.

From Union Pacific, The Rebirth, 1894-1969, by Maury Klein

[page 267] The Union Pacific, proclaimed the Deseret News, was entering "on a new phase of its history as one of the country's great transportation agencies by paralleling its railroad lines with bus service." By 1931 the company had taken off passenger trains totaling nearly 2.3 million miles a year. It was running 10,216 miles of bus line and had created a new subsidiary, Union Pacific Stages of California, to handle the lines radiating from the new depot at East Los Angeles. In addition, the Utah Parks Company operated sixty-five buses linking the railhead at Cedar City, Utah, to several nearby national parks. (Klein notes: Deseret news, July 31, 1929; Railway Age, Volume 87, pages 322, 1534, Volume 88, pages 534, 1298, 1544, Volume 89, pages 212, 421, Volume 91, pages 296-298; Wall Street Journal, March 22 and May 8, 1930; UP Executive Committee minutes, July 8, 1930)

Union Pacific Stages, Inc.

July 1, 1927
Union Pacific commenced operation of its own bus service between Portland and Pendleton. Union Pacific Stages was incorporated in Oregon on March 14, 1927. On May 1 it took over operation of the Pendleton-Walla Walla bus. A full one-half ownership of Union Pacific Stages was held by Oregon Short Line, a subsidiary of Union Pacific, operating between southwestern Wyoming, at Granger, and northeastern Oregon at Huntington. The other half was held by the OSL general manager, and by qualifying shareholders who were residents of Oregon.

April-May 1929
Union Pacific Stages purchased the interests of several bus operators of routes along the Boise-Spokane corridor in eastern Washington and Oregon, and western Idaho, including Blue Mountain Transportation Co. and Interstate Coach Co. Union Pacific Stages also began operating a route between The Dalles and Bend, Oregon. The direct competitor for most of these routes, including Portland to Pendleton, was Columbia Gorge Motor Coach Co., owned by Motor Transit Corporation of Chicago, the parent company of Greyhound Lines. ("Buses of the Union Pacific," Motor Coach Age, March-April 1991)

May 1, 1929
A separate general manager was named for Union Pacific Stages, marking a change that ended the activity of OSL officers dividing their time between managing their railroad and their bus company. ("Buses of the Union Pacific," Motor Coach Age, March-April 1991)

May 9, 1929
"Spokane -- Union Pacific Stages, Inc., acquired a through route to Boise, Idaho, to save eighty-three miles under rail lines with the acquisition yesterday of the 200-mile motor bus line between Grangeville and Weiser, Idaho. Mumford and Brown were paid $25,000 for the line." "The purchase, B. T. Peyton, general manager of the Union Pacific lines, said, was in line with the policy of the railroad to parallel its rail lines with motor stages." (Salt Lake Telegram, May 10, 1929)

June 1929
Interstate Coach Co., owned by Union Pacific Stages but operated as a separate company, began operating a direct Portland-Spokane route, by way of Pasco. ("Buses of the Union Pacific," Motor Coach Age, March-April 1991)

(This Interstate Coach Co. should not be confused with Interstate Transit Lines, another of UP's bus companies.)

June 19, 1929
Union Pacific Stages applied to the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to operate buses through southern Idaho, between Weiser and the Idaho-Utah line, "in cooperation with the railroad whose line it would parallel and act as a feeder." The application was protested by Columbia Gorge Motor Coach Co., stating that their company was financially capable of providing whatever service needed by the public, and that they were connected financially "with large eastern and transcontinental stage lines." Columbia Gorge had been operating on the route since March 1, 1929, and would likely be priority on the route under the provisions of Idaho's newly enacted Motor Transportation Act. Idaho passed its Motor Transportation Act on March 2, 1929, governing motor stage lines and trucks lines. (Salt Lake Telegram, June 19, 1929; Idaho Falls Post, March 2, 1929)

Interstate Transit Lines

July 1, 1929
Union Pacific purchased control of Interstate Transit Lines, which had started in 1923 with a single route between Omaha and Nebraska City. Interstate Transit Lines continued to grow and by 1929 had become the largest bus operator in the central states, operating as far west as Grand Island, as far north as Minneapolis-St. Paul, and as far south as Kansas City. On the same day, Union Pacific purchased Queen City Coach Lines centered at Beatrice, and the local routes of Cornhusker Stage Lines system, centered around Hastings. The local Cornhusker lines in Nebraska had been part of the Yelloway system of independent operators, operating along routes between Chicago and Denver. In 1928 the independent cross-country routes were purchased by American Motor Transportation Co., a subsidiary of Motor Transit Corp., the parent company of Greyhound Lines, and in 1929, Greyhound Lines began operating over these routes. Union Pacific's purchase of Interstate Transit Lines was in direct response to the rapid growth of Greyhound Lines.

On this same day, July 1, 1929, Union Pacific sold a one-third interest in Interstate Transit Lines to C&NW (the agreement was dated October 24, 1929, but was made retroactive).

Consolidation

August 1929
"Gem State Transit Co., which like Interstate Coach Co. had been acquired but not merged, bought Pocatello-Montpelier and Pocatello-West Yellowstone routes from Beehive Stages in August 1929." ("Buses of the Union Pacific," Motor Coach Age, March-April 1991)

September 1, 1929
Union Pacific Stages, combined with the routes of Gem State, commenced operating a direct Portland-Salt Lake City route, four months after competitor Columbia Gorge Motor Coach Co. had begun operating a similar route. ("Buses of the Union Pacific," Motor Coach Age, March-April 1991)

A newspaper ad dated September 25, 1929 showed Gem State Transit Co. as a subsidiary of Union Pacific Stages, Inc. The accompanying route map showed routes between Salt Lake City and Portland, with routes to Yakima and Spokane branching off at Boise and The Dalles. (Salt Lake Telegram, September 25, 1929)

October 27, 1929
The combined Union Pacific Stages and Interstate Transit Lines, along with Chicago & North Western Stages in Iowa and Illinois, began the operation of a direct Chicago-Los Angeles bus route, using the same Overland Route name as the two roads' paralleling rail service. The route was Chicago-Omaha-Denver-Cheyenne-Salt Lake-Los Angeles.

August 1930
The Interstate Commerce Commission refused Union Pacific's request to dismiss its complaint against the Pickwick-Greyhound combination. The complaint by Pickwick asserted that Union Pacific was discriminating in interstate commerce by providing both rail service and bus service to the same markets. "The right of railroads to operate bus service in connection with their own rail service is the primary issue. A bill pending before congress proposed to settle the question by giving railroads such power." (Salt Lake Telegram, August 15, 1930)

September 1, 1931
The route followed by Union Pacific Stages between Chicago and Los Angeles was by way of U. S. 30 South through Weber and Echo canyons to Ogden and then on to Salt Lake City. On September 1, 1931, the route was changed and buses turned south at Echo to travel along the newly completed U. S. 189, through Coalville and Silver Creek Canyon, then along U. S. 40, from its junction near Park City, into Salt Lake City. A new bus route was put in place to provide service between Coalville and Ogden, leaving Coalville at 7 a.m. and returning at 5:15 p.m. The change did not affect existing local bus service between Coalville and Salt Lake City because Union Pacific Stages did not yet have intrastate permission in Utah. (Morgan County News, September 3, 1931)

In rapid succession in the years 1929 through 1933, the routes of Interstate Transit Lines grew throughout the midwest, between Chicago and Denver, Chicago and Kansas City, and Chicago and Sioux Falls. Greyhound Lines also grew just as rapidly, including routes between Chicago and Los Angeles. In February 1932, Pickwick Corporation of Los Angeles declared bankruptcy. At the time Pickwick was the largest intercity bus company in the United States. Beginning in 1927-1928, Pickwick had expanded from Portland to Los Angeles, and San Diego, and from Los Angeles to El Paso, and from El Paso to Kansas City and St. Louis. Many of the routes were operated in cooperation with Greyhound as a separate company known as Pickwick-Greyhound, which failed at the same time as Pickwick.

February 9, 1932
Union Pacific Stages, a subsidiary of Union Pacific Railroad, purchased the routes of Pickwick-Greyhound Lines, Inc. between Denver and Salt Lake City, and between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles, it was announced "Tuesday." The purchase included Pickwick equipment, garages and present depots in Denver, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. (Salt Lake Telegram, February 9, 1932; "Tuesday" was February 9).

In the liquidation that followed Pickwick's failure, Union Pacific Stages acquired Pickwick-Greyhound's branches in Southern California, and Interstate Transit Lines acquired Pickwick's routes in Illinois. More importantly, Interstate Transit Lines also acquired Pickwick's routes between Denver, Cheyenne and Salt Lake City, and in Arizona and Nevada. Pickwick's failure essentially left Union Pacific with little or no competition for most of its Union Pacific Stages routes, and Interstate Transit Lines routes.

In 1931, Union Pacific Stages had acquired three competing routes between Portland and Salt Lake City, and into the Idaho panhandle operated by Columbia Gorge Motor Coach Co., controlled by Greyhound. These routes became available as Greyhound reorganized itself by retreating from the Pacific Northwest, as the overall economy during the early years of the Depression.

In early 1932, Union Pacific Stages and Interstate Transit Lines were placed under a common General Manager, further consolidating the control of Union Pacific Railroad over is paralleling bus routes. Over the years after it was organized in 1929, stock ownership of Interstate Transit Lines had changed as additional stock was issued to pay for improvements and equipment. By June 1933, ownership of Interstate Transit Lines was 71 percent Union Pacific and 29 percent Chicago & North Western. By the end of December 1935, Union Pacific Railroad had taken full control of Union Pacific Stages, removing the interest that its subsidiary Oregon Short Line had since the bus company was created in 1927.

Growth Stops

August 9, 1935
The U. S. Congress passed the Motor Carrier Act of 1935, which amended the Interstate Commerce Act and gave the federal ICC the power to regulate the interstate transportation of passengers carried by motor carriers, as well as their property, for safety purposes. The regulation of carriers and bus routes within a single state, known as intrastate commerce, remained with the individual states. Section 213 of the act provided that railroads could not merge with or control motor carriers. It became unlawful for "a carrier by railroad, express, or water to consolidate, or merge with, or acquire control of, any motor carrier or to purchase, lease, or contract to operate its properties, or any part thereof." Existing purchases, leases, or contracts that predated August 1935 were allowed to remain in place. The result was that Union Pacific was allowed to retain its control and ownership of Union Pacific Stages and Interstate Transit Lines, but they could not expand their routes in any way, except along routes parallel to and already served by railroad lines.

(Read the Public Law -- 49 Stat. 543)

December 2, 1936
Union Pacific Stages and Interstate Transit Lines received a building permit to build a bus terminal garage at 143 North Second West Street in Salt Lake City, at a reported cost of $125,000. (Salt Lake Telegram, December 2, 1936) (on the west side of today's 300 West Street, at mid block, as of mid 2014, the site is a vacant lot; shown on Sanborn Fire Insurance map, 1950, sheet 053.)

July 1, 1942
Union Pacific Stages was granted authority by the Utah Public Service Commission to haul interstate passengers between Salt Lake City, Ogden and the Utah-Idaho line. This change combined the authority previously held by Gem State Transit Co. and by Columbia Gorge Motor Coach Co. (Salt Lake Telegram, July 1, 1942, "Wednesday")

November 5, 1943
Union Pacific sold to the Greyhound Corp. a one-third interest in Interstate Transit Lines; UP retained 51 percent, and C&NW retained its 15.67 per cent. At the same time, Union Pacific sold a one-third interest in its wholly-owned Union Pacific Stages to Greyhound. ("Buses of the Union Pacific," Motor Coach Age, March-April 1991)

November 30, 1943
"Chicago -- Through purchase of stock from Union Pacific Railroad, the Greyhound Corporation, parent company of the Greyhound Bus Lines, has acquired substantial minority interests in Interstate Transit Lines and Union Pacific Stages." "Future operations will be carried on under the name of Overland Greyhound Lines, although there will be no change in the control or management of either Interstate Transit Lines or Union Pacific Stages, which have their headquarters in Omaha." According to an announcement made "today" [Nov. 30] by C. E. Wickham, president of Greyhound, "Our investments in them will not affect the management, operations, or service in any way, since the Union Pacific Railroad will continue to be in complete control." "Principle motorbus operations of Interstate Transit Lines are from Chicago to Los Angeles through Omaha, Cheyenne and Salt Lake City and Union Pacific Stages' routes extend from Salt Lake City to Spokane and Portland." (Parowan Times, December 3, 1943)

December 1, 1943
Overland Greyhound Lines began operation of both Interstate Transit Lines and Union Pacific Stages, using the Greyhound color scheme and emblem. ("Buses of the Union Pacific," Motor Coach Age, March-April 1991)

December 23, 1943
"Public Notice" "In the future, Union Pacific Stages, Chicago & Northwestern Stages, and Interstate Transit Lines will be known as Overland Greyhound Lines." "Under the new name -- Overland Greyhound -- unified identity will be given to the three companies which for the past 14 years have carried more traffic over the historic Overland route between Chicago and the West Coast than any other bus system." (Salt Lake Telegram, December 23, 1943)

January 15, 1949
Overland Greyhound Lines opened its new Salt Lake City terminal on January 15, 1949. The bus company had purchased the old interurban terminal from the Bamberger Railroad and was reported as spending $400,000 to completely remodel the interior and exterior of the building. (Deseret News, January 11, 1949)

The following description in 1949 comes from Ira Swett's book, Interurbans of Utah:

Overland Greyhound Lines spent more than $400,000 in remodeling the Terminal. The Terminal encompasses a complete shopping center, a Post House restaurant seating 128, barber shop, tailor shop, drug store and news stand. The Terminal is air-conditioned and the interior has been modernized using a blue-stone composite material. Expensive rest rooms finished in tile and equipped with showers are located in the basement. The remodeled Terminal is able to serve a passenger load of more than a million persons annually, with 16 busses and two electric trains able to load simultaneously. About 200 buses daily moved through the Terminal in 1949.

The new bus concourse occupied the site of the two southernmost tracks and was at a much higher level. Two tracks remained for trains and were in use up until abandonment of rail passenger service. The subsequent sale of Bamberger's bus subsidiary removed the last physical evidence of the two Interurban companies from public view. The northern most track has been kept to deliver coal and freight to the building.

January 1949
Overland Greyhound purchased and modernized the former Salt Lake Rail and Bus Terminal in downtown Salt Lake City.

(Read more about the Salt Lake City bus terminal)

October 1, 1952
Greyhound Corp. acquired the balance of the shares of Interstate Transit Lines and Union Pacific Stages for cash and stock. Both companies were liquidated and succeeded by Overland Greyhound Lines, now a division of the corporation and not just an operating name. In 1956 its routes and buses were divided between Western and Northland Greyhound Lines as part of a consolidation of divisions. ("Buses of the Union Pacific," Motor Coach Age, March-April 1991)

GREYHOUND BUS COMPANIES -- Overland Greyhound Lines (OGL) - incorporated 1952, acquiring Union Pacific Stages and Interstate Transit Lines. Interstate Transit Lines had been incorporated in 1921, and was acquired in 1929 by Union Pacific Railroad and Chicago & North Western Railroad as a joint bus subsidiary. And Union Pacific Stages had been formed in formed in 1927 as a bus subsidiary of Union Pacific Railroad. In 1932, Interstate Transit Lines and Union Pacific Stages acquired most of the routes operated by Pickwick-Greyhound Lines (PIG). Pickwick-Greyhound Lines had been formed in 1928 as a company jointly owned by Pickwick Stages and Greyhound, and was dissolved in 1933. Many of the Pickwick-Greyhound routes had been acquired in 1929 from Yelloway (YEL), which had been formed in 1925 as a group of independent operators to operate a transcontinental bus system. But competing service was introduced in 1929 by Interstate Transit Lines. In 1943, both Interstate Transit Lines and Union Pacific Stages began operating under name Overland Greyhound Lines. Consolidated 1956 into Northland Greyhound Lines, consolidated 1957 into Central Division of Greyhound. (Chicagorailfan.com)

Union Pacific Stage Co.

February 1927
Union Pacific Stage Co. was organized to operate bus service to Death Valley in California. The company was to make use of buses owned by Utah Parks Co. (organized by UP in 1925) during the winter, which was the off-season for tourism in the national parks of Utah and northern Arizona. The service was shut down after the 1929-1930 season due to declining customers, which were never very high in the first place. ("Streamliners of the Highways", The Streamliner, UPHS, Vol. 17 No. 2, Spring 2003)

In 1928, Union Pacific's subsidiary company, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad, applied to discontinue its rail passenger service to East San Pedro, California. The railroad was allowed to substitute bus service for the once-daily branchline railroad service, with the restriction that no passengers were handled for any stations other than East Los Angeles and East San Pedro. At the same time, additional bus routes were established between East Los Angeles and Glendale, and between East Los Angeles and Anaheim, each replacing similar branchline passenger rail service. In late 1928, a new depot was completed at East Los Angeles, seven miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

"Union Pacific Stage Co. was also incorporated in Nevada and Utah at that time in order to provide railroad connection services. In Nevada this consisted of baggage and express carriage from Las Vegas to McCarran Field; no passengers were carried as far as is known. The Utah service replaced a mixed train and operated between Salt Lake City and Garfield to carry workers in a copper mine to and from their jobs. Four buses are known to have been leased from Interstate, and both the Utah and Nevada operations were abandoned by 1948."

May 1, 1929
"Service commenced on May 15, 1929, with five buses serving the three routes. Three more buses were added to the fleet during the first summer, and sedans were borrowed from Utah Parks Co. as needed. About 2,000 passengers a month were reported using the bus service by 1931." ("Streamliners of the Highways", The Streamliner, UPHS, Vol. 17 No. 2, Spring 2003)

Service was started with eight buses purchased in 1929. Three of the buses were built by Yellow Coach Co. The other buses were from other manufacturers, including two from Fageol, and one each from White, Mack and ACF.

1949
"Union Pacific Stage Co. replaced its fleet of buses in May 1949 with 10 new GM PDA-4101s having 32 seats and a large walk-in baggage room at the rear. After 1955, and the opening of Disneyland, the Anaheim route became the mainstay of the service through the declining years of intercity rail travel, ending with the inauguration of Amtrak on May 2, 1971." ("Streamliners of the Highways", The Streamliner, UPHS, Vol. 17 No. 2, Spring 2003)

April 1949
Union Pacific Railroad received 10 GM PDA4101 Parlor Coaches (diesel-fueled, air-conditioned, 41 seats), numbered as Union Pacific Railroad 21-30, GM serials 133596-133605.

According to its September 30, 1951 public timetable, Union Pacific Stage Co. operated:

Four bus routes between East Los Angeles and Glendale, by way of Pasadena.

Four bus routes between East Los Angeles and San Pedro, by way of Long Beach.

Four bus routes between East Los Angeles and Anaheim, by way of Whittier.

According to its September 30, 1951 public timetable, Union Pacific Stage Co. operated a single bus route between Las Vegas and Hoover Dam, and one bus route between Denver and Cheyenne.

The following partial obituary is from the May 29, 2008 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle. [Warren K. Miller] was one of the founding fathers of bus operations in California along with Bill Billings, Arthur Lloyd and Brian Thompson who started Sequoia Stage Lines and then became Eastshore Lines. (Trailways Bus Driver Yahoo Group, May 29, 2008)

Mr. Miller/Eastshore also bought the very last GM H8H-649 (serial #233) in 1980. This was Eastshore #340; but, alas, it was not saved and restored. He also co-founded (with Alec Allen of Amador Stage Lines, Sacramento, CA) American Pacific Stage Co. in 1972. This was the successor to Union Pacific Stage Co. which provided bus connections with the Union Pacific in Southern California until the advent of Amtrak. American Pacific began service with three GM PD-4101, acquired from Union Pacific Stage Co. American Pacific also provided bus connection service between San Francisco for Amtrak starting in 1973. (Trailways Bus Driver Yahoo Group, May 29, 2008; obituary for Warren K. Miller)

Utah Parks Co.

Utah Parks Company operated a fleet of ten GM PG2903 and PG2904 Parlor buses (Parlor, Gasoline-fueled, 29-seat, 3rd and 4th series)

Utah Parks Co. also owned 10 Flxible Clipper buses, built in 1946 and 1947.

The following comes from FlxibleOwners.org:

Inter-City Coaches: The Development of The Clippers

In 1936, it was decided that Flxible would concentrate on inter city coaches, and all its resources were devoted to developing a coach that would be outstanding in this field. In 1939, Flxible introduced its famous 29 passenger Clipper powered by a modified straight-eight Buick engine. Nearly 5,000 of these coaches were in operation at one time serving over 1,000 bus owners. Flxible Airporters were used successfully in limousine fleets in New York and Chicago as well as many other air terminals. Glass-roofed sightseeing Flxible coaches operated in many National Parks including Yosemite, Rocky Mountain and others. Famous resorts such as Sun Valley and Catalina Island used Flxible buses exclusively and many manufacturing and sales concerns used Flxibles as display coaches. Movie studios also maintained a fleet of Flxibles.

Flxible entered its "Golden Age" with introduction of the 1946 Clippers with Panoramic windshields and the dual headlight/fog light front end styling.

1937: Flxible Clipper introduced.

1946: Postwar Clipper design introduced (updated as Visicoach in 1950 and Starliner in 1957)

(Read more about Utah Parks Company; including its use of early buses to transport customers from Cedar City to the national parks in Utah and northern Arizona)

Sun Valley Stages Co.

Sun Valley Stages Co. was not a Union Pacific subsidiary like Union Pacific Stage Co., or Utah Parks Co. The Sun Valley resort was owned by UP, but not the bus company. Research has not yet found why the Sun Valley bus company used UP colors. Also, no documentation has yet been found that shows Union Pacific had in financial interest in Sun Valley Stages Co. Online newspapers indicate that Sun Valley Stages operated out of Twin Falls, Idaho, and also provided service to Boise, Idaho.

The Flxible production lists available online only show three Flxible Clipper buses for Sun Valley Stages, but an old UP calendar shows at least six. The extras may be one of the 10 Flxible Clippers sold to Utah Parks Co. The production lists only show the serial numbers, and the buyer, not the number the buyer put on the bus.

A classified ad in June 1949 was found that the Sun Valley company was for sale, and had seven buses, operated 450 miles of routes and had been in business for 17 years. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 19, 1949)

The Sun Valley Stages company was owned by J. L. Schwinn. He was apparently unsuccessful in his attempt to sell the company. In October 1949 he applied for authority to operate to Idaho Falls. He was also among five "stage" companies that applied to operate between Idaho Falls and the atomic development center at Arco in November 1949. They were still in business in May 1958, when they applied for a rate increase. In October 1961, they reduced their service between Twin Falls and Sun Valley from daily to four-days-per-week. They were allowed a rate increase in April 1965.

In December 1957, an apparently a different company with a very similar name was headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, and applied to extend their Phoenix-Las Vegas route to Reno.

Photos of Sun Valley Stages buses indicated that they were built by Flxible, and were Flxible Clipper buses, built in the 1940s (1944, 1946-1950). The spotting features for a bus from this era are the angled window posts, the curved windshield, and the twin headlights and fog lights.

(View a Union Pacific calendar from December 1958, showing six yellow and gray buses at Sun Valley ski resort)

(View a photo of Sun Valley bus no. 37, courtesy of Art Peterson)

Sources

"Streamliners of the Highways", The Streamliner, UPHS, Vol. 17 No. 2, Spring 2003

"Cedar City Branch And The Utah Parks Company", by Thornton Waite, The Streamliner, Vol. 12, No. 3, Summer 1998

"Buses of the Union Pacific," Motor Coach Age, March-April 1991 (Vol. 43, No. 3-4)

"Union Pacific Stage Co.", Motor Coach Age, September 1976 (Vol. 18, No. 9)

"Utah Parks Co.", Motor Coach Age, February 1970 (this issue has not yet been located)

Photos

Photo at Denver Public Library

More Information

Bus Data at UtahRails and on the web -- An index page with links to web pages for additional bus data, including VIN data

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