1920 Pickwick logo

Pickwick Lines Nite Coach service made its debut at the Pacific Southwest Exposition in Long Beach, Calif., during the summer of 1928. Movie legend Clara Bow was pictured with one of the glistening new coast-to-coast coaches and that picture ran in newspapers nationwide, all heralding the arrival of luxury coast-to-coast bus service.

An excerpt from the Aug. 14, 1928, Madison Wisconsin Capital Times reads: “Newest Motor Coach Is Veritable Hotel on Wheels Has Dining Rooms, Berths and Balcony. $30,000 Vehicle Will Be Used On San Diego, ‘Frisco Trip.”

Blueprints of the monstrous bus show a central walkway down the middle of the bus, halfway between the upper and lower levels. This made it easier to slip down into or step up into the sleeping berths. The driver was situated above the motor, almost eight feet above the roadway. The steward had a small kitchen prep area at the front of the bus that served meals to the 28 guests upon request. Each delivered to your stateroom which incidentally featured running water and electric lighting. Each coach was equipped with two lavatories, too.

This black and white photo postcard was taken on Kersey Coates Drive here in Kansas City. The drive is now part of the western part of the downtown loop. The description of the card reads: “First Motor Bus Compartment Sleeper, The Pickwick Nite Coach is a beautiful streamlined vehicle with 28 air cushioned chairs by day and 28 comfortable berths by night. Hot meals prepared and served on board. Two lavatories, Crew of 3, pilot, steward and porter. In successful use over Pickwick-Greyhound and affiliated lines. Pickwick-Greyhound Lines, General Offices, Railway Exchange Building, Kansas City, Missouri.”

Pickwick Lines operated out of the Pickwick Hotel downtown that doubled as the Santa Fe Trailways Stage Lines Depot. References and information for this column were researched on Coachbilt.com, a comprehensive website archiving buses and motor coaches back to their introduction in the late 1800s.

1909 Wren pat 1 1910 Pickwick Theater SD 1918 Pickwick stage SD 1920 Pickwick logo 1922 Pickwick 100 1922 Pickwick stage 01 1925 PA Model Z 1925 Pickwick buffet 1926 PA Pickwick ob-buf1 1926 PA Pickwick ob-buffe 1927 Austin pat 02 1927 PA Pickwick ob-buf0 1927 PA Pickwick ob-buf1 1927 PA Pickwick ob-buffe 1927 Pickwick Observation-Buffet Coach 1928 Austin pat 01 1928 Pickwick NC 00 1928 Pickwick NC 01 1928 Pickwick NC ad 1928 Pickwick NC ad2 1928 Pickwick NC int 1928 Pickwick Nite Coach Bus 1928 Pickwick Nite Coach 1928_Austin_pat_03 1929 Austin pat 02 1929 Austin pat 06 1929 Pickwick Bach LA 1929 Pickwick NC 01 1929 Pickwick NC ad 1929 Pickwick NC LAX 1929 Pickwick NC PCF 1930 Austin pat 01 1930 Austin pat 02 1930 Pickwick ad 1930 Pickwick Duplex 00 1930 Pickwick Duplex 01 1930 Pickwick Duplex 02 1930 Pickwick Duplex 04 1930 Pickwick Duplex 05 1930 Pickwick Duplex Parlor Coach  PICKWICKDUPLEX1 1930 YC Pickwick 01 1930 YC Pickwick 02 1931 Austin pat 01 1931 Austin pat 02 1931 KTM Morgan Barnes le 1932 Pickwick ad 1932 Pickwick Motor Coach Columbia Pacific-201 Nite Coach 1933 Pickwick 'Nite Coach' GAL 7PH 131 NITECOACH 1933 Pickwick Nite Coach PICKWICK S208 SANTAFE 1933 Yellow Coach Nite Coach 1933_Pickwick_NC_05 1935 Hubley Pickwick 01 1935 Kenton Pickwick 01 1935 Kenton Pickwick 02 1935 Kenton Pickwick 03 1935 KTV Pickwick 01 1935 KTV Pickwick 02 2002 Pickwick NC 123 2005 Pickwick NC 123 249011-1000-0 795091_1_l 28721875_1_m ANORTHSHORE500_zps3e9eee63 Pickwick Double decker Trans Continental Bus Plane Service Pickwick Duplex GREYHOUNDPICKWICKSTAGES Pickwick Nite Coach Bus