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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.