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Glacier's red bus fleet to undergo rehabilitation

Work will occur each winter for several years


December 6, 2018

Press release

WEST GLACIER — Glacier National Park’s iconic White Motor Company Model 706 red buses will start getting extensive rehabilitation this year.

The buses were manufactured between 1936 and 1939, were painted the color of ripe mountain ash berries, and were originally purchased by the Glacier Park Transportation Company.

The rehabilitation will replace the current Ford engines with a Ford 6.2L V8 engine assisted by an electric hybrid system to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. The electric hybrid system will be powered by a battery bank that will charge when the vehicle decelerates including on downhill runs, which are frequent in the park.

The buses will be remounted on new Ford chassis retaining the existing 176-inch wheelbase, as they were with a previous restoration. Tire size will be expanded from 16 inches’ to 19.5 inches’ to approach what it was historically. The dashboard and gauges will be replaced with historic replicas. The buses will undergo refinishing including rust removal and painting using the historic mountain ash color at a later time.

The improvements will ensure that the fleet continues to operate in Glacier National Park for the foreseeable future, with improved safety and serviceability, while retaining the same visitor experience in the park that has existed for over 80 years.

The last time a rehabilitation occurred was 1999, donated by Ford Motor Company. This time, the National Park Service included the rehabilitation as a responsibility in the most recent concession contract that Xanterra Travel Collection was awarded in 2014. Xanterra Travel Collection has selected Legacy Classic Trucks, based in Driggs, Idaho, to do the rehabilitation.


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