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David Millhouser
December 2, 2022
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The 2022 Historic Bus Festival 

The Historic Bus Fest drew more than 430 enthusiasts, bus industry veterans, and retirees to the Starr Tours facility in Trenton, New Jersey on Saturday, September 17, 2022. This annual event, produced by the Friends of The New Jersey Transportation Heritage Center, is a showcase for restored transit and highway coaches. 

The bus memorabilia marketplace. 
The marketplace was set up in two service bays next to the Starr Tours facility. 
Lots to see at the memorabilia marketplace!
All you could ever need or want was for sale.

In addition to dozens of buses, ranging in age from a mid-1950s GM PD-4104 to a brand new 45’ Irizar demonstrator, one of the most popular features of the gathering is a marketplace for historic bus industry memorabilia and artifacts. Old trade magazines, posters, schedules, brochures, and badges mixed with both antique and brand-new model buses. 

Far left is the new Irizar I6 Demonstrator Coach. 
Buses owned by members of The New Jersey Transportation Heritage Center. The two buses in the foreground are Flaxible Transit.
Another view of those buses owned by members of the New Jersey Transportation and Heritage Center. 

There were 29 of the Friends of The New Jersey Transportation Heritage Center’s historic fleet on display, as well as at least 20 “visiting” coaches. A large part of the evolution of bus design from WWII to the present was on display.

Chris Johnson’s conversion of a 45’ Eagle 15 is nearing completion.

Chris Johnson’s 45’ Eagle motorhome is an interesting story… He’s brought the coach to several gatherings over the past few years. Like many conversions, it takes a lot of time to get things right when you work a regular job too. It’s fun, and instructive, to watch Chris’s progress from event to event.

Jeff Silver of Iconic Replicas - Awesome Diecasts attended his converted MCI motorhome. 
This shows his display in front of the bus. 

Folks traveled from as far away as the Midwest, New England, and the Southeast. Jeff Silver of Iconic Replicas drove his converted MCI from Florida and used it as the backdrop for his display of “Awesome Diecast” models. 

Description and specifications on a rare MCI G4100.
MCI G4100 owned by AACA Museum/Museum of Bus Transportation originally owned and operated by Trans Bridge Lines and donated to the museum. 

Perhaps the rarest coach present was an MCI G4100. Formerly operated by Trans-Bridge Lines out of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in “Platinum Service”, it’s one of only 25 built. Living in retirement at the Museum of Bus Transportation in Hershey, Pennsylvania, this was a welcome opportunity to stretch its legs.

There are several historic bus gatherings each summer, literally spread all over the US. Each has its’ own unique tone (a subtle hint that if you love bus history, you might want to hit as many of them as possible). 

A closer look at the new driver. 
A company’s clever solution to a driver shortage.

Bus Fest’s special flavor is its ability to draw lots of people who are, or were, serving in the bus industry… a very knowledgeable crowd. Wandering through the yard, you could learn a lot, and hear all sorts of fascinating (and sometimes true) stories. 

For more information on the Friends of The New Jersey Transportation Heritage Center, their mission, and future events, check out their website at www.friendsnjthc.org.

Article written by David Millhouser

Dave Millhouser started driving buses cross-country for a non-profit Christian organization called “Young Life” as a summer job in 1965. They carried high school kids from the East Coast to ranches in Colorado in a fleet that consisted of three 1947 Brills, a 1947 Aerocoach, and a 1937 Brill. Their fleet grew to 23 buses and traveled all 48 contiguous states and much of Canada.

When Young Life dropped their bus program, Dave ended up selling parts for Hausman Bus Sales. In 1978 Dave was hired by Eagle International to sell motorcoaches and spent the next 30 years doing that… 13 years with Eagle, as well as stints with MCI, Setra, and Van Hool. His first sale was an Eagle shell for a motorhome, and his career ended selling double-decker Van Hools.

Dave had a side career in underwater photography/writing, and Bus and Motorcoach News asked him to do a regular column in 2006. Millhouser.net is an effort to make those columns available to bus people.

If you find value in them, feel free to use them at no charge. Dave would ask that you consider a donation to the AACA Museum aacamuseum.org in Hershey, Pennsylvania. They recently merged with the Museum of Bus Transportation, and maintain a fleet of 40 historic coaches, lots of bus memorabilia, and hundreds of antique automobiles.

If you are anywhere near Hershey… Dave says, “You will love it.”

In May of 2015, the Editor of Bus & Motorcoach News called Dave a Bad Example for Motorcoach Drivers… his proudest accomplishment to date. Read the columns and you’ll see why.

Click here to reach Dave by email: davemillhouser@icloud.com
Click here to visit his website: https://www.millhouser.net/

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