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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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).
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.