The Culmerville Russellton
& Cheswick Transit Company (CR&C) began operations in 1912 with a single route
from Culmerville to Cheswick. The CR&C was one of 3 companies that served the area and
was the earliest startup and the PSC certified operation in 1915. The original owners of
this company were unclear but it is known that A.J. Norris was one of the main principals
in the company. A branch of Culmerville-Cheswick line was added from Walter Chapel to
Glassmere in 1922.
A second company to serve the
Culmerville area was the Culmerville Auto Transit Company (CATC) and was formed by J.M.
Stanley and G.R. Burdick. The CATC received PSC certification in 1916 although it is
believed to have operated earlier. Service consisted of 2 routes between Culmerville to
Sharpsburg via Little Pine Creek Road (later re-named Saxonburg Blvd.) and Bakerstown via
third company to serve the area was the Tarentum Auto Transit Company (TATC) which was
formed in 1914 and had a single line between Culmerville and Tarentum. It is unclear if
the TATC went out of business and the line acquired or if it was bought out by the CATC
but the former TATC route was operated under the CATC name by 1923.
1937, the CR&C route structure was basically a local operation with extensions being
made to both of its lines to New Kensington. The PSC imposed restrictions against local
riding in favor of the Harmony Short Line on both of the 1937 extensions although
restrictions are not indicated for any duplicate service areas between the CR&C and
the CATC during at this time.
CATC route structure was more commuter type by 1932 when the Sharpsburg line was made a
direct route into Pittsburgh from Etna on Saxonburg Blvd. This line was restricted from
local passengers from Etna to Pittsburgh in favor of the Harmony Short Line. A second
Pittsburgh line was added later on Middle Road as an extension of the Bakerstown route but
there is no record as to its date of extension to Pittsburgh. These routes were
implemented as the public wanted more convenient travel to Pittsburgh as the job market
was moving to the Downtown area due to the decline of the coal industry in the region.
CR&C and CATC did not operate in direct competition of each other and there were no
restrictions on local passengers between the 2 companies until 1953 when the CR&C
added an alternate routing via Curtisville which the PSC restricted in favor of the CATC
as the CATC already had a route established in the area. The restrictions were placed in
areas of expansion to protect the transit company already serving the expansion areas.
were the bus of choice of both the CR&C and the CATC between the 1920's and 1930's.
Both companies had at least 6 Whites in service during this time period. The 1940's and
1950's saw the Beaver Coach becoming the bus of choice in both companies although there
were other makes thrown in primarily after 1950. GM's became the dominate make of coach
after 1958 with many being second hand units.
CATC was the larger of the 2 companies until the smaller CR&C negotiated the purchase
of the CATC in 1958. J.H. Norris, son of J.W. Norris, was the sole owner of the CR&C
at this time and negotiated the purchase of the CATC. The CATC buses were renumbered into
the CR&C fleet and the CATC name disappeared into the history books. The former CATC
employees were retained and all the employees of the new CR&C worked under 2 separate
next item of note was in 1961 when the Harmony Short Lines ceased operations and the
CR&C added a third Pittsburgh line on Mt. Royal Blvd. This line was heavily restricted
by the PUC as the rights to the abandoned Harmony route serving Pittsburgh to Butler was
purchased by Lincoln Coach Lines. All CR&C service that ran on PA State Route 8 was
restricted from local service in favor of Lincoln Coach but the route was still the
heaviest hauling route for the CR&C due to its running slightly off the original
Harmony line to serve additional areas which were not restricted. 1961 also saw the
purchase of 11 ex-Harmony buses to run the service as well as its additional lines.
CR&C had excellent maintenance on its fleet and reliable service on its routes. At
the time of the PAT takeover, 35 buses were acquired, all in good operating shape with the
oldest 2 being 1945 models. The last new buses purchased by the CR&C were 2 1963 GMC
school buses for school service which it operated in addition to the regular fixed route
service. Some used equipment was purchased between 1958 and 1963 as well, including 2
TDH5104's from Green Bus Lines of New York City in 1963 which put the CR&C in the
spotlight as one of the few operations to run a 40 foot transit bus in Pittsburgh.
the 3 companies that formed the CR&C as it was at the end, all original routes
remained with only one new route being added in 1961. The majority of the route mileage
for the CR&C consisted basically of extensions of the original lines.