MOTOR BUS SOCIETY

FALL 2002 CONVENTION


Chicago was the location of the Motor Bus Society semi annual convention in Fall, 2002. During the four days October 11-14, tours were provided of transit systems in Chicago and northern Illinois and neighboring Wisconsin. The convention headquarters was the AmeriSuites hotel on Higgins Road, near O'Hare Airport. During each of the four days, the bus tours departed from the hotel.

October 11 - Two motor coaches were furnished by Coach USA/Keeshin Charter Service for the trip to Kenosha and Racine and Milwaukee. The first stop was in Kenosha at the garage, followed by the transit center and the streetcar line. The buses and the streetcar line have been previously been covered here. But one treat was that all five streetcars had been pulled out of the carhouse, waiting to be photographed. After Kenosha was Racine, whose buses had also been previously covered here. But construction in downtown has forced the bus system to establish a temporary central transit center, several blocks northwest of downtown Racine. Then the tour continued to Milwaukee, whose buses had also been previously covered here. Included was a tour of the Milwaukee County Transit System's central shops, followed by a stop at the transit terminal east of downtown Milwaukee.

October 12 - Two motor coaches were furnished, one each from Colonial Coach and Pioneer Coach. The two companies are reportedly owned by two brothers, and the buses were painted identically. This tour would cover various points in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. De Kalb is the home of Northern Illinois University and the Huskie Bus Line, providing a campus bus service. Stops were made at the campus transfer point and at the garage, to photograph some of the interesting Huskie Line transit buses. The next city was Rockford, first stopping at the base for Rockford Coach Lines, formerly Peoria Rockford Bus Co. Then it was the downtown transit center and bus garage for the Rockford Mass Transit District, where examples of four different bus models were lined up for photography. Included was a garage tour. The next two stops were for the Beloit Transit System, at the abandoned Beloit Mall, and for the Janesville Transit System, at the downtown transit center. At each location, four buses arrived, made their timed transfers, and left. The final stop was the Illinois Railway Museum. Previously covered here was the museum's collection of preserved CTA Trolleybuses.

October 13 - Two Gillig Phantom buses were furnished by the village of Downers Grove, normally used on its commuter shuttle routes, operated independently from Pace. Stops included tours of the Pace West Division, and the Downers Grove municipal garage, where the Gilligs are based. Tours were provided. After departing Downers Grove, stops were made at Midway Airport, 79th St. and Western Ave., and Jefferson Park, where the visiting bus fans from all over North America could observe and photograph CTA and Pace buses.

October 14 - The two Downers Grove Gilligs were used again for tours of the CTA North Park Garage, and the South Shops. After a lunch stop near the CTA Archer Garage, the final stop was Kedzie Garage, where the CTA stores its historical buses. Brought outside the garage were preserved buses dating from the 1950's and 1960's, previously covered here.