Flxible Bus No. 55 in the Pacific Bus MuseumThe Utah Parks Company, a subsidiary of Union Pacific Railroad, operated restaurants, lodging, and bus tours in Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon and Cedar Breaks parks from 1923 to 1973. Operating as a concessionaire of the National Park Service, the company operated from its base in Cedar City, UT. The company bus tours connected with Union Pacific trains there and offered a loop tour of the parks and monuments in this region.
The Flxible Company, Loudonville, OH, built Bus No. 50 for Utah Parks Company in 1955 as part of an order for three of the new Flxible Visicoach model 218-FA1-55s.
It came equipped with 24 reclining seats and a five-passenger rear divan. A six-cylinder Fageol (Hercules) gasoline engine, mated to a four-speed mechanical transmission, powered the vehicle, which measures 33-feet and is 96-inches wide.
The popular Flxibles were ideal for transports requiring a smaller capacity coach and were well suited for traversing the scenic, winding roads in many parks and wilderness areas.
Bus No. 50 eventually turned up in Glacier National Park Transportation Inc., where it ran as No. 77 until 1987 alongside two other Utah Parks Flxibles
Transportation Insurance Brokers (TIB) bought Bus No. 77 from the private party who had purchased the three Flxibles from the Glacier operator in 1989.
TIB intended to show it at bus and motorcoach trade shows, feeling their preservation of a historical vehicle was a visible way to promote the company and give back to the bus community. ABC Bus Sales painted it for TIB, and Sardo Bus and
Coach Upholstery refurbished the seats. TIB flat-bedded the old bus to many shows.
Richard Twining, an avid bus enthusiast and past president of the Pacific Bus Museum, acquired the coach from Transportation Insurance Brokers in the early 1990s, adding it to his historic bus collection. He donated the Flxible to the museum in 1996, along with five more of his historic buses, shortly before his untimely death.
Twining knew he was terminally ill at the time and wanted to ensure No. 77 a good home. PBM humbly accepted all six buses and now include them as part of the permanent collection of restored historic buses.
In need of mechanical attention at the time, museum volunteers have since restored the Flxible to operating condition and frequently take it around to events throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.