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'CUBAN NOSTALGIA'

 
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Mr. Linsky
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Joined: 16 Apr 2007
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Location: BRENTWOOD, CA. - WOODMERE, N.Y.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:33 am    Post subject: 'CUBAN NOSTALGIA' Reply with quote

Long before the Cuban Missile Crisis and the subsequent trade embargo by the United States, the transit buses that trundled the streets of Havana were very recognizable to us.

In this July 1948 image we see fleet number 2055 - a 1947 GM Model TDH 3207 and one of five delivered to Omnibus Aliados De La Habana in October of that year.

Apparently, these buses were very well received because not three years later 108 1950 Model TGH 3101's arrived on the property.

Omnibus Aliados was a cooperative very much like the Independent Bus Operators Association (IBOA) of Northern New Jersey in which each bus was owned by its driver (the # 79 that appears on the front and side of the coach is the owner's badge number - a sample of a Cooperative Omnibus Aliados (COA) badge is also shown below).

Their next large order of GM buses came in the fifties in the form of TDH 4512's which were subsequently converted to railroad coaches.

Photos borrowed for educational purposes only.

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, New York


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Q65A



Age: 59
Joined: 17 Apr 2007
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Location: Central NJ

PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice find, Mr. L!
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Mr. Linsky
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Joined: 16 Apr 2007
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Location: BRENTWOOD, CA. - WOODMERE, N.Y.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A correction to my above Cuban bus report;

The number '2055' just above the front wheel represents the owner/driver's badge number and not a fleet number.

The number '79' appearing both under the windshield and on the side represents the route number and not the badge.

There were several bus depots around Havana with the number 32 and 79 routes sharing one facility.

Regards,

Mr. 'L'
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timecruncher



Age: 66
Joined: 23 Dec 2008
Posts: 456
Location: Louisville, Kentucky

PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nifty find, indeed! Lots of old look GM coaches went to Mexico and South America when retired here in the early seventies as transit authorities filled their garages with new AM Generals, Flxibles and a few GM New Look coaches! Never knew that Cuba ever bought any new. Then too, 1948 was the same year Louisville Railway Company received 50 new TDH4507 units, two years before the timecruncher was born!

timecruncher
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Mr. Linsky
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Location: BRENTWOOD, CA. - WOODMERE, N.Y.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very little is known about the attachment other than to say that it was taken in Cuba and probably after the beginning of the U.S. trade embargo.

The bus, which appears to have been a circa 1950 GM PD 4102 (as can be noted by the full 'silverside' treatment), has an appendage at the rear reminiscent of the 'bustle' found on Dwight Austin's famous Utility Coaches of the thirties.

Whatever equipment was contained within the enclosure obviously generated heat as can be detected by the chimney projecting from the top of the unit which might lead one to believe that the bus was re-engined.

Cuban mechanics, at a loss for spare parts, found it necessary to improvise and they were pretty good at it although never winning awards for their 'Rube Goldberg' like designs!

Photo courtesy of Dreamstime.

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, New York

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Mr. Linsky
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Location: BRENTWOOD, CA. - WOODMERE, N.Y.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had heard tell that the Cuban government did manage to sneak in some GM New Look buses in the sixties and seventies which were supposedly used and obtained through Canadian sources but I had never seen evidence of that until now.

Here, abandoned in the historic center of Old Havana, is what was left of one such specimen.

I guess it just broke down for the last time and was left on the spot to die - a sad commentary!

Photo courtesy of the Bernstein Gallery.

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, New York

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Mr. Linsky
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Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 5071
Location: BRENTWOOD, CA. - WOODMERE, N.Y.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More nostalgia from pre Castro Cuba.

Seen in the Vedado District of Havana (circa early fifties) on Calle San Lazazo with the University of Havana in the background are a potpourri of buses in local transit service.

Most are of Leyland Royal Tiger origin but there is no mistaking the four of Pontiac Michigan heritage that dot the image in the form of GM TDH 3612's

Records show that 521 3612's and 54 3714's were shipped to the island and were apparently well received because the mid fifties saw a delivery of 218 TDH 4512's which certainly must have made a very impressive looking fleet.

BTW; some of these paired window GM's were converted to rail passenger cars in their second lives in the tropics.

620 early fifties Leyland Royal Tigers were operated for Autobuses Modernos SA. while the GM equipment was exclusive to competing Omnibus Aliados De La Habana.

Photo credit within frame.

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, New York



Last edited by Mr. Linsky on Sat Mar 08, 2014 2:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MaBSTOA 15



Age: 63
Joined: 27 Feb 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like to clarify some information regarding buses in Cuba.
First, the Cooperativa de Omnibus Aliados (COA) {Allied Omnibus Cooperative} was Cuba?s largest bus concern. They offered service in the capital, Havana, as well as in some of the other major cities and had several routes that acted as suburban and/or intercity routes. But Havana was their main sphere of operation. Each route was a company unto itself but acting as a cooperative for salaries, transfers, etc. Buses were owned in some cases by drivers, conductors, stock holders, etc.

Prior to 1949 all buses were Cuban built bodies on American truck chassis. Most had cab-over-engines and these were principally Diamond T chassis

Beginning in 1949, American built transit buses were purchased by COA and to a lesser degree some Cuban built buses continued to be purchased specially by the less important and less profitable lines.
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MaBSTOA 15



Age: 63
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This brings us to the TDH 3207 posted above. First, fleet numbers were assigned to individual routes, therefore, #2055 was the fleet number and had nothing to do with the owners badge, etc. The number 79 was the route number. This bus has a non-standard paint scheme and eventually would be repainted into the cooperatives colors: silver roof, window and skirt dark green and cream body. Also, the GM Final Vehicle Record for this model shows serial #s 359-363 purchased by COA and of interest is that part of the optional equipment is: ? #10155, N. Y. type drivers guard rail? Looking at the photo (I have it) with a magnifying glass you can clearly see the horizontal driver?s stanchion.

Prior to the Castro takeover, routes 32 and 79 did not share the same facilities, each had their own garages.

Secondly, COA, after 1949 bought brand new GMs, TGH 3101, TDH 3612, TDH 3714, and TDH 4512. As well as AeroCoach P371 for their intercity routes.
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MaBSTOA 15



Age: 63
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Because of the transit style rear end, this is more of a PD-4101 than a 4103. No 4102 arrived in Cuba. Omnibus La Cubana had 5 4101s brand new with full silversding. The silversiding on this particular bus seems to be an amalgamation of the original and newer sections, specially round the wheel-housing since originally the wheelhousing siding was rounded and not horizontal as it appears here. The front door, at least the door only, could have come from a PD-3704 or 4103.
The rear end? Perhaps housing a non-GM engine straight in?
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MaBSTOA 15



Age: 63
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The other Havana bus company was Autobuses Modernos, S.A. (S.A. is Spanish for corporation) replaced the streetcars in 1950 with ACF-Brill C-31, C-36, and C-44. They also had the only production run of AeroCoach, 92 out of 100 T-361 transit buses. Drivers were trained aboard 10 Ford Transit buses, possibly ex Miami Beach Railway. The remainder of the fleet, 620 buses, were Leyland Royal Tiger (chassis-and only 572 actually arrived) with Saunders Roe bodies and one Leyland double decker.
Interesting note, one Leyland (identical to the Cuban order) was acquired by Miami Transit as a possible replacement for the fleet. Nothing came of this and the whereabouts of this bus is unknown, possibly sold to Cuba. In 1958-1959 Autobuses Modernos was renamed Omnibus Metropolitanos and they acquired 201 Leyland-MCW Olympics. These had a very springy ride and had semi-automatic transmissions.
By the way, all buses in Havana either COA and/or Autobuses/Omnibus were two man operations.
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MaBSTOA 15



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BTW, the sixth bus on line and the one at the top of the hill making a left trun towards the camera were Cuban built bodies on American chassis, most likely, Diamond T
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