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Noble J. Dick Lines - Mon Valley Bus Co.

Acquired by PAT on June 26, 1964

The Noble J. Dick Lines roots were with the jitney operations in Clairton in 1918. The jitneys ran from Clairton to McKeesport to connect the city to the Pittsburgh Railways (PRCo) and West Penn Railways trolley lines. Clairton did have a trolley line of its own called the Clairton Street Railway which was a wholly owned subsidiary of PRCo. This line never connected to the PRCo trackage and the frequent use of jitneys ruled out any plans to make a connection. The Clairton Street Railway ceased operations in 1926. The jitney operators formed an operating association in 1924 by pooling their certificates which allowed for more reliable and frequent service.

One of the jitney operators, James Nixon, started his own local bus line named the Clairton City Bus around 1923 to serve two new residential areas being developed in Clairton and nearby Wilson. This operation ran until 1928 when the jitney association formed a corporation named the Mon Valley Bus Company and bought the Clairton City Bus operation including its 5 White buses from Nixon shortly after its formation.

The first new route for the Mon Valley Bus Company was the McKeesport - Glassport - Clairton - Elizabeth run. This new run was made possible to the granting of rights to operate on the then new Wilson - Glassport bridge and the Elizabeth bridge. At this point in time also, jitney operations were discontinued and service was operated by bus.

Another company in the mix at this time was the operation of Fred Stuhlmiller. His bus line operated between Clairton and the Brentwood loop starting around 1926. A second line, which was a shuttle from Large to Elizabeth, started about a year later. In 1930, this line became officially known as the Clairton Bus Lines. Service direct from Clairton to Downtown Pittsburgh started in 1931.

A second line from Clairton to Pittsburgh was authorized for the Mon Valley Bus Company in 1932 by the PA Public Service Commission but it is not known if this service ever ran. The routing was to be from Clairton to Bettis Field in Dravosburg and then to Pittsburgh. The first Pittsburgh service for the Mon Valley Bus Company that was actually documented to have run commenced in 1938 when the Mon Valley Bus Company instituted a route from Clairton to Pittsburgh via State Route 885.

The year 1936 saw 3 new routes being instituted by the Mon Valley Bus Company. The Glassport - Elizabeth line, Elizabeth - Blaine Hill line and the Elizabeth - Sutersville line. All three of these routes were in a sense one route as they were handled by one bus and using Elizabeth as a hub.

Clairton Bus Lines started another route to Pittsburgh in 1938, following the same general direction as the original line. The only difference is that the original line followed Old Clairton Rd. and the new line followed the recently opened multi-laned Clairton Blvd (PA Rt 51). Although similar in routing, the new route was faster for outlying residents.

Additional lines for the Clairton Bus Lines were in Pleasant Hills, about halfway between Brentwood and Clairton. These 2 lines came about from doing school bus work for the community which enabled it to become established in the area. Rights were given to the Clairton Bus Lines to operate a loop route in the community as well as a longer route that originated in Gill Hall, went through Pleasant Hills and then out Streets Run Road to Stilley Road and then back to Route 51 into Downtown Pittsburgh. This line, combined with the loop service closely resembles the current PAT 46H Pleasant Hills routing of today.

The Mon Valley Bus Company also had a line to Pleasant Hills from McKeesport. Additional lines from Pleasant Hills, McKeesport and Clairton to the Irvin Works were instituted as well during shift changes at the mill.

The Mon Valley Bus Company purchased the Clairton Bus Lines in 1943. Service remained basically unchanged in the new company structure until 1946 when service reductions started taking place. This was due mainly to the increase in private automobile ownership and rising costs of operation. In this end, Mon Valley sold off its recent purchase to Noble J. Dick, who was in the construction business, in 1947. The former Clairton Bus Lines routes were now operated under the name of the Noble J. Dick Lines.

The purchase of 14 new GM TDH3610 coaches as well as extending the Elizabeth - Large shuttle into Pittsburgh were the first items of business for the new bus company. The Mon Valley Bus Company went out of business in 1948 and the Noble J. Dick Lines purchased the local routes, Clairton - Pittsburgh route and the assets of the failed company. The former Mon Valley routes were retained and operated under old name. What is interesting here is that both the Noble J. Dick Lines buses and the Mon Valley Bus Company buses (under Dick's ownership) used the same paint livery and lettering. The only difference between the buses were the small certificate lettering on the side of the buses.

Another company that ran in the Elizabeth area was a small operation known as the Rockwell Motor Coach Lines. This company ran 1 line, as well as an alternate routing. This operation started in 1948 and ran a former Mon Valley Bus Company route from McKeesport to Elizabeth, which Dick did not originally take over. It has been mentioned that this line was also being operated, without certification, from 1946 until Rockwell received the certification. This line was acquired by the Mon Valley subsidiary of Noble J. Dick Lines in 1949.

Another acquisition by Noble J. Dick was that of the Westside Motor Transit Co of Charleroi in 1950. This company was originally part of Penn Transit when under City Coach ownership but always retained its own identity. Westside continued to retain its own corporate identity even after Dick's purchase. Some coaches were transferred over to the main Dick operation to run on the Mon Valley Bus Company routes before the company was again sold in 1957.

During the 50's and up through 1963, Pittsburgh Railways Co (PRCo) was slowly abandoning various streetcar lines in the McKeesport area. As this was occurring, The Mon Valley Bus Company applied for and was granted open door access for the area. As these Mon Valley routes were not going to Pittsburgh, direct competition was not seen as a problem and special transfer arrangements were made between the 2 companies so that local passengers could transfer to PRCo bus routes headed for Pittsburgh.

At the time of PAT's takeover, The combined operations of Noble J. Dick Lines and Mon Valley Bus Company had 9 routes. The garage was not taken over or used by PAT as Noble J. Dick continued to use the garage for his construction business after the takeover.

Acquired Equipment (with PAT number if re-numbered)
Noble J. Dick / Mon Valley Number Make Model Year PAT Number
6 GM TDH3610 1948 886
8-9 GM TDH3610 1948 887-888
11 GM TDH3610 1948 889
50-52 GM TDH3610 1948 891-893
54-60 GM TDH3612 1951 734-739,726
61 GM TDH3612 1950 727
62 GM TDH3612 1950 -
63-66 GM TDH3612 1950 728-730,740
67-69 GM TDH3612 1951 731-733
70-71 GM TD3206 1946 780-781
72 GM TDH3207 1948 785
73-75 GM TDH3207 1948 782-784
77 Yellow TG3606 1942 850
79-80 GM TDH4512 1953 322, 319
82 GM TDH4512 1956 320
83 GM TDH4512 1957 321
84 GM TDH4512 1956 323
205 GM TDH3610 1948 890

Note: N.J. Dick Coach 62 was not renumbered.

Routes (shown with PAT numbers)
46G Pittsburgh - Clairton or Elizabeth via Rt. 51
48G Pittsburgh - Clairton or Elizabeth via Rt. 51
46H Pittsburgh - Pleasant Hills
51E Pittsburgh - Clairton via Rt 885 or Irvin Works
50A Colonial Village - Wilson Newtown
50B McKeesport - Glassport - Clairton
50C McKeesport - Dravosburg - West Elizabeth - Monongahela
50D McKeesport - Glassport - Elizabeth
50E McKeesport or Clairton - Irvin Works
50F Clairton - South Park
50G McKeesport - Riverview Circle
50H Elizabeth - Blaine Hill
50J McKeesport - South Park

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This page was updated on June 25, 2008

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