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'NIAGARA FRONTIER'S NEW LOOK MACKS'

 
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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: Tue Apr 07, 2009 2:28 pm    Post subject: 'NIAGARA FRONTIER'S NEW LOOK MACKS' Reply with quote

Pictured below is fleet number 6325 - a 1959 Mack Model 'Improved' C-49-DT, and one of 60 (6300 to 6359) delivered to the Niagara Frontier Transit System of Buffalo, New York in that year.

What adds the label 'Imporoved' to this order of buses is the 'New Look' front end which was designed and originally fabricated by NFT engineers and subsequently licensed for use by Mack.

While the design was refreshing and was used on all Mack transit buses built in 1959 and 1960, it was hardly enough to quell competition from GM and was the last offering by the company as a bus manufacturer.

The history of public transit in Buffalo reaches far back to the beginning of the twentieth century with street cars and, eventually to buses operated by the International Railway Company (IRC) and, in fact, was the largest pre-war Mack customer.

However, IRC filed for bankruptcy in the late forties and its assests were tranferred to the newly formed Niagara Frontier Transit Company (NFT) in 1950 and all street car services were officially terminated on July 1st. of that year.

Later municipal takeover changed the official name to Niagara Frontier Transit Metro System.

Credits are contained within photo.

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, NY



Last edited by Mr. Linsky on Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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HwyHaulier




Joined: 16 Dec 2007
Posts: 932
Location: Harford County, MD

PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr "L" -

Many Thanks! Great to see the recollection of this group of excellent Macks!

IMHO, this fine effort came at the wrong time in the "Long Wave" buying cycle. I'll submit the market wasn't all that good for new coach buys.
Mack, White and ACF-Brill simply couldn't wait it out! GM T&C had the strength and capacity to cover nearly all new orders available...

...............Vern...........
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ripta42
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:03 am    Post subject: Re: 'NIAGARA FRONTIER'S NEW LOOK MACKS' Reply with quote

Mr. Linsky wrote:
While the design was refreshing and was used on all Mack transit buses built in 1959 and 1960, it was hardly enough to quell competition from GM and was the last offering by the company as a bus manufacturer.


Not all; MUNI's 1959 Macks retained the "old look" front.
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Dieseljim
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Location: Perry, NY

PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:22 am    Post subject: NFT New Look Macks Reply with quote

I rode on both styles of Macks while they were in service as well as the equivalent General Motors models and recall some of the 6300s still being in service as late as 1979 a that is about when I remember riding one on the 19-Bailey Avenue line. The Macks seemed quiet as compared to the GM's and rode nice, too. Too bad today's junk won't hold up as well as these buses did.
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RailBus63
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:41 am    Post subject: Re: NFT New Look Macks Reply with quote

Dieseljim wrote:
I rode on both styles of Macks while they were in service as well as the equivalent General Motors models and recall some of the 6300s still being in service as late as 1979 a that is about when I remember riding one on the 19-Bailey Avenue line. The Macks seemed quiet as compared to the GM's and rode nice, too. Too bad today's junk won't hold up as well as these buses did.


Except that in numerous cities, 'today's junk' is lasting 15 to 20 years with proper maintenance.
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HwyHaulier




Joined: 16 Dec 2007
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Location: Harford County, MD

PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:24 pm    Post subject: Re: NFT New Look Macks Reply with quote

RailBus63 wrote:
...Except that in numerous cities, 'today's junk' is lasting 15 to 20 years with proper maintenance...


Ah! And, there's the rub! To paraphrase, "You can lead them to the garage, but you can't make them fix it!"

Similar, lackadaisical, "do it tomorrow" on upkeep and repair is what went a long way to bring down the old Rock Island Railroad...

.................Vern.................
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Dieseljim
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:11 pm    Post subject: Re: NFT New Look Macks Reply with quote

That is how long they are supposed to last.
RailBus63 wrote:
Dieseljim wrote:
I rode on both styles of Macks while they were in service as well as the equivalent General Motors models and recall some of the 6300s still being in service as late as 1979 a that is about when I remember riding one on the 19-Bailey Avenue line. The Macks seemed quiet as compared to the GM's and rode nice, too. Too bad today's junk won't hold up as well as these buses did.


Except that in numerous cities, 'today's junk' is lasting 15 to 20 years with proper maintenance.
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HwyHaulier




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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr "L" - All -

I'll guess few recall this, as how many could have ridden on GMC coaches of the era, and contemporary Mack coaches? If my recollections aren't failing,
seems to me the Mack (with its design motors) did run a bit more quietly than comparable GMC product...

The Buffalo and San Francisco Macks come to mind in framing this conjecture...

...............Vern...........
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Dieseljim
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 1:39 am    Post subject: Be Nice to See More Macks Restored To Operating Condition Reply with quote

It would be nice to see more Macks restored to operating condition not only for historical purposes' sake, but to show today's bus builders what a REAL bus was like and could be again.
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timecruncher



Age: 67
Joined: 23 Dec 2008
Posts: 456
Location: Louisville, Kentucky

PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay folks, lets not wax nostalgic too much...

Mack was a different bus, not a better bus. It was a sturdy vehicle, but there were design flaws that kept them from getting repeat business that was needed to keep building buses. Most properties that got them purchased them right after WWII when GM's factories were hit with multiple work stoppages. Mack was able to slip in and build buses while GM and the UAW played their little games, and lots of buses were delivered. After all, Mack had been a major bus builder in the years prior to the war, and had a vehicle preferred over Yellow Coach by far in the years before diesel engines became standard in the transit industry.

To be sure, there were a handful of properties around the country that had a burr up their behind for GM, but as I read all of the accolades here about the Mack product, I recall the C41-DTs that both Louisville and CN&C (northern KY) and Cincinnati Transit owned.

Underpowered -- couldn't pull the hills in northern KY and Cincinnati, so they had to be kept on "water level" routes;

Engines tended to self-destruct (sounds like the DD50 engines?). Both CN&C and Louisville re-engined all of their C41s with Detroit 6-71 engines and Spicer two-speed transmissions. Made 'em sound like a GM coach except that the Mack engine compartment gave the engines a 'tinny' resonance winding up! Product support apparently wasn't there.

Simply put, private transit could not afford to have buses down and not be able to get parts, so many migrated away from Mack, White and Twin and purchased more and more GM coaches over the years.

In the last years of private ownership, it is notable that some of the properties that preferred Mack went to Flxible for transit buses (after the Justice Department pimp-slapped GM for not selling engines and transmissions to outside bus builders and after Twin had been taken over by Flxible). The early Flxibles were in every way a cheap imitation of a real bus, but did the job and were less costly than the GM product -- important in the mid and late sixties when there wasn't much in the way of $$ available for bus replacement in the private industry.

I have yet to find any really good photos of Louisville's Macks, although I know they came in a simplified paint scheme and many were repainted into the more complicated color scheme that Louisville Railway Company adopted in the late forties. LTC owned 50 of the C41s, and they stayed mostly at Southern Division, running Second Street, Sixth Street and Bardstown Road routes. A few got transferred to the Western Division in the early 'sixties and could be found on Hill Street and occasionally Oak Street. They were not particularly well-liked by operators due to the lack of heat in Winter. The last ones disappeared after the arrival of the first group of 26 new-look GM coaches in 1961, along with a like number of gasoline Whites.

timecruncher
Old and grey-haired and cranky!
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HwyHaulier




Joined: 16 Dec 2007
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Location: Harford County, MD

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

timecruncher -

I enjoyed reading your objective assessment of the new bus market in the post WWII era. Another issue in it was the even more
widespread acceptance of Diesels as preferred power plants.

Return to builder civilian production, late 1945 into 1946, touched off a frenzy of demand and new orders. Little wonder numerous
builders secured business. Pressure on the buyers heightened by the startling impacts of inflation during 1944 thru 1948, when US
Dollar lost half its nominal value.

Another result, of course, large new buys could not be reasonably expected until fifteen to twenty years later. The smaller builders
couldn't weather it...

Equipment sidenote. White Motor had a good product with its 1150-D variants, in my estimation. With it, Cummins Diesel power
plants. Capital Transit, Washington had a large number, and purchased ca. 1952...

......................Vern.............
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timecruncher



Age: 67
Joined: 23 Dec 2008
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Location: Louisville, Kentucky

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Louisville's Whites came in 1947 to replace streetcars on the very busy 4th Street line. They purchased 75 big Model 798 units with gas engines. I recall riding on them. LTC had lots of problems with the transmissions and, of course, they got about 3 gallons to the mile and becamse costly dinosaurs by the early fifties.

Trivia -- Mack postwar transit coaches had one big taillight on the right side rear and a small one on the left side. Does anybody have any idea what the reason was for this anomaly? Never could figure it out myself...

timecruncher
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