Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Off topic: School buses

My 14-year-old son, Adam, was a school bus nerd long before he was a towboat nerd. His interest in school buses began long before kindergarten, I guess because he often went with his mother or me to take his older siblings to the bus stop or to go there to pick them up.

Through the years, we've become familiar with most of the conventional (C-type) and flatnose (D-type) bus models made by the three American school bus manufacturers: IC Corp. (International), Thomas Built (Freightliner) and Blue Bird. The second proudest moment in Adam's life was right after his kindergarten year, when the folks at Thomas Built learned of his love for the C2 model and invited him to tour their factory at High Point,. N.C., which ended with his being allowed to steer a C2 fresh off the factory floor around a parking lot. His proudest moment was steering the AEP towboat Hoosier State after its christening at Rising Sun, Indiana, in May 2010.

Yesterday, on the first day back from spring break, Adam's bus driver told him he had seen an unusual bus recently in Columbus, Ohio. The driver showed Adam a picture of it. It looked like a cross between the Thomas Built C2 model and the IC CE model.

The driver did some checking around the Internet and found it was made by a Canadian company called Lion in Montreal. Lion has some dealerships in the South and Midwest, but none close enough to our home in West Virginia that we would have known anything about it.

Will we see Lion buses around here? I don't know. Lion doesn't make flatnoses, and districts around here tend to buy both conventional and flatnoses from the same manufacturer, so maybe not. But I look forward to seeing one in person someday.

But probably not as much as Adam does.