Austin was one of the East Pittsburgh lines that
existed primarily to serve the needs of Westinghouse workers and their families. It began
operation under Theodore Niehl on August 12, 1919 as rush-hour only service between East Pittsburgh
and Linhart and an extension to Universal where it served a cement plant.
The line was operated
by relatives after Theodore Niehl's death in 1926. The company was
reorganized and named the Niehl Transportation Company and operated under
this name from 1926 through 1938. No change in service is believed to have
occurred from the company reorganization.
McKeesport Transit Company purchased the company, three buses and the
charter rights owned by the Niehl Transportation Company in 1938. The line
was then merged into the McKeesport Transit structure. The route was not an
overly profitable run and McKeesport placed the line up for sale.
On April 1, 1951, George and Glenn Austin purchased the rights to the
route, along with 3 ex-McKeesport Transit Ford Transit coaches. The company
formed by the Austin's was the Austin Motor Coach Company and they ran the
route with hourly service with additional trips at shift changes at the
Universal Cement Plant.
The purchase of the line from McKeesport Transit seems to have included the
original charter rights as well and Austin had two well worn parlor coaches
at the end. School buses were also in the line up but currently we are
unable to verify if Austin held school contracts. The school buses were
periodically used for regular transit service.
Much of Austin's equipment was used with only 2 new vehicles ever
purchased. The first was a 1951 GM TGH3101 and the second was an
International school bus purchased in 1961. The numbering scheme Austin used
made little sense with the original buses numbered 1,3 and 5 followed by
Austin's equipment was in rather poor shape and only 3 buses were
acquired by PAT. The buses
that were acquired didn't last much past 1965.