Squawking Raven News
Historical Yellow Buses Return to Yellowstone National Park's Original North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana
The Yellow Bus history is an interesting tale. The White Model 706 Tour bus was developed specifically for sightseeing in the National Park System of the U.S.A. In 1935 four manufacturing companies agreed to participate in product evaluations at Yosemite National Park to determine the best vehicle for touring in western national parks. Although the transition from horse drawn to engine powered coaches had already occured, there was no standard for seating capacity or power requirements. Early passenger vehicles were either underpowered or did not carry enough passengers. The vehicles were loaded with sandbags to simulate passanger weight and driven throughout Yosemite National Park. With its longer wheelbase and powerful 318 cubic inch 6 cylinder engine, the White Model 706 outperformed the other entries.
The styling of the White model 706 did not go unnoticed. Renowned industrial designer, Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky was responsible for the radiator cowling and grill. The coach was the product of the Bender Body Company.
Yellowstone ordered 27 of the Model 706's for the 1936 season and by 1940 there were 98 Model 706's at Yellowstone. The older Yellowstone fleet was gradually phased out. The Model 706's were used through the mid 1960's when they were sold. The Skagway Streetcar Company of Alaska assembled a fleet of eight units, which were used until 2001, and then sold to Yellowstone National Park for restoration, exhibition and limited tour duty.
Glacier National Park purchased 35 of the Model 706's between 1936 and 1940. They were used in Glacier except for 1943-1946 due to World War II. In 1989 the fleet was upgraded to include power steering and automatic transmission. In 1999 the entire fleet was temporarily removed from service because of chassis metal fatigue. The Reds, as they were called in Glacier (the Yellowstone buses were painted yellow), were retrofitted with entirely new running gear, completely refubished, and returned to service for the 2002 season. The current fleet of 33 units can operate on either propane or gasoline. One unit was never modernized and is stored at the East Glacier, Montana garage facility. The tour guide drivers have come to be called "Gear Jammers" or "Jammers", reminiscent of the time when the original gear boxes, requiring double clutching could often be heard as they were jammed into gear.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS - GARDINER, MT 6/1 - 6/2/07 - COME JOIN THE FUN!:
Enchilada Dinner with Guest Speaker, Bruce Austin, Historian at the Gardiner Community Center. 6 PM
The Yellow Buses' Arrival Parade via Hwy 89 South into Gardiner. 1 PM
Formal Dedication Ceremony at Roosevelt Arch where Yellowstone and Xanterra officials will host the celebration. 1:45 PM
Art and Craft Fair. Montana Artists and Crafters showcase their talents at the Arch Park. 10 AM - 4 PM
Arch Park Auction. The Gardiner Chamber of Commerce will sponsor an auction at the Arch Park. Local artists and businesses will be represented.
Bus Rides! 2:30 PM. Be the first to ride the buses! Rides will be offered throughout the afternoon. Donations accepted. Also purchase a raffle ticket for a One-of-a-Kind Yellows Bus Ride at 6PM.
Food and Music at the Arch Park. 11AM until. Barbecue and more. Donations accepted.
Join the Gardiner community for Lots of Fun and Adventure for the entire family!
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