In 1958, a GM coach — model TDH 4512 — was purchased by what was then known as the Sacramento (Calif.) Transit Authority. In the 1970s, it shuttled students about the University of California, Davis, campus, and in 1997 it was acquired by the Pacific Bus Museum (PBM). Now after years of dormancy, this 45-passenger coach is rolling once again.
Headquartered in Sacramento, the PBM is a nonprofit mobile museum of more than 20 coaches, some of which date back to the 1930s. When the nearby town of Fremont needed a way to shuttle passengers from the historic Niles Canyon Railway stop to the Niles antique shopping district, “we threw our hat into the ring,” says PBM President Ron Medaglia.
After $9,000 worth of repairs and sprucing up — new flooring, tires and batteries, re-chromed bumpers and fresh paint — the 1958 coach began its Sunday-only service on Feb. 19. The bus route is only three-quarters of mile one way, but without the shuttle, passengers might be tempted to cross the Union Pacific Railroad tracks that run parallel to those of the historic train instead of taking the walkway under the tracks.
Operated by Concord, Calif.-based American Stage Tours, the half-century-old coach complements the historic railway and the Niles shopping district, which boasts antique shops and a silent-film museum.
“Few people realize that, before Hollywood, Niles was the center of film production,” says American Stage Tours’ Ronald Gonsalves. “Scenes of heroines tied to railroad tracks were shot in Niles Canyon.”
The coach is also available for charters, with part of the proceeds going to further restoration and repairs.
For more information, contact the museum at email@example.com. HEIDI NYE