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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Bus Stop: 1938

Bus Stop: 1938

One of a half-dozen bus-related photos I got at a flea market about 20 years ago. This is somewhere in the Essex County, New Jersey area and is dated July 31, 1938 on the back. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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Public Service

Coincidentally in the foreground of the Aussie's Google street view is a PSE&G van. Public Service Electric & Gas is part of the same organization as Public Service Coordinated Transport once was.

Grade Crossing

The railroad crossing at grade in the 1938 image was the Erie Railroad's Orange branch, which eventually became part of Norfolk Southern. The right-of-way is now shared with the Bloomfield extension of the Newark City Subway light rail line.

740 minus 9

leebon is oh, so close. The buses are 1936 Yellow Coach Series 4 Model 731s. Four series of Model 731s were built in 1935-36, all powered by a 450ci GM 6-cylinder engine, and three more series (Series 5, 5A, and 6) of the same look continued on in the Model 732 from 1936-39—the Series 5A and 6 powered by a 529ci engine.

The operator is Public Service Coordinated Transport of New Jersey, and the logo on the front of the bus can be seen in the 1940 ad for a Yellow Coach Model TDE 4001 (Transit, Diesel Electric) below.

Have to love the socks and shoes on the fellow standing in the doorway holding the newspaper.

It's nice to meet another historic bus fan (leebon that is, not the fellow with the socks).

It's a Light Rail Line

The photo is rich in details: That guy with the apron and the spiffy shoes & socks is a tavern keeper. One can make out parts of T-A-V-E on the folded awning. What self-respecting tavern of that era would not have a Bell System pay telephone? Note also the round cover in the sidewalk close to the buildings. It's a coal chute to the basement.

Why everyone seems sort of "intense" is a good question to ponder. There's no military draft at the date of this photo, so they are not "seeing off" draftees. On the other hand, they might well be "seeing off" volunteer enlistees. The trouble with that theory is that some of the women have luggage!

That RR is currently a Light Rail line known as "Newark City Subway", as it originates in a tunnel below Newark Penn Station and follows a subterranean right-of-way until it gets out of the heart of the City of Newark.

There is an obvious "dogleg" in the street in the photo. There are two doglegs in Franklin St, Belleville, NJ one of each side of the crossing! Our "Aussie" Shorpy Sleuth may indeed be correct that it is #80 Franklin. The other possibility is about #94 Franklin, looking the other way. There's a storefront with an inset doorway at about that address.

Aussie finds location in 1 minute

80 Franklin St
Belleville, New Jersey

Grade Crossing

I can't offhand think where a RR grade crossing would be in Essex County. The Lackawanna was all bridges.

I've seen that style of bus running in Summit, but that's Union Country.

Natty dresser

the guy in white stepping out from the shop on the left; he looks like a fish out of water.

Charter Buses

You can see on the middle bus that it's designated charter rather than a destination. I suspect these folks are going to some sort of event rather than boarding the bus to go shopping or to work.


For what I wonder. Was there something happening in the town on that day. Wonderful picture full of intent on the peoples faces.

Yellow Coaches?

Very interesting pic. If Mr. Debold has more of buses I hope he can post them. I'm a historic bus fan and those buses look like NYC Yellow Coach model 740s. Several NYC transit lines used them. Yellow later became GM Truck & Coach Div.

What's happening?

A fascinating and vaguely disconcerting photograph. Everyone whose face is visible seems concerned, almost alarmed, about something.

"If we stand here long enough"

"Marilyn's bound to show up eventually"

Where were they going?

This is my favorite kind of picture, because it shows a moment in the lives of a group of people. I wonder where those getting on the bus were going, that day, and what the rest were doing, too. In this case, I wonder what they were doing, three years later, when they heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor, who served in the military, and what sacrifices were made by others, who remained at home.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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