Schmude School Bus

Bryant Schmude
Growing up east of Pittsburgh, PA in the forgotten valley known as Dooker's Hollow-North Braddock remains in my own memories as a time lost with my youth. Like any body growing up, there were good times and bad times. The house that was my home for those early years of my life was at #708 O'Connell Blvd--directly under the 1939 built Dooker's Hollow Bridge which carries Bell Avenue high above between Bessemer Terrace and North Braddock.

When I started to attend grade school at Hartman El. School way up on Brition Avenue in North Braddock, there was no school bus sent down into the hollow just for me. So I came to use the Port Authority Transit (PAT) bus route known as the #65E N.Braddock-Swissvale.

The #65E bus was originally created as a run of the Dawson Bus Lines whose crude buses connected Braddock's B&O RR Station w/the upper reaches of North Braddock. The Dawson buses which dated back to the 1920's along with the similar system of the Burrelli Bus Lines were absorbed into the newly formed PATransit system after 1964.

So as a little kid, I came to learn to await the up hill run of the ole'65E coming up through Dooker's Hollow...and getting on--I would drop my 15-cents into the old metal and glass farebox. Sometimes, I would rush down the hill on the bus--at lunch time--and then back up to school on the next trip...Then back home later.

It was during these years that my own interest in mass transit took root. With a strange fondness for trolleys and buses, I came to know people like Bob Burrelli (a son of the original owner of the Burrelli Bus Lines) and Henry Markowski (of Stanton Heights) who slowly answered my questions and tought me things about the equipment. As a grade school kid, I used to get to turn the silver lever to hiss open the fold back front doors and change the route signs.

The deeper seeds of a lifelong interest in railways and mass transit were planted by these simple act of kindness. It is these seeds that later inspired the character of "MR.CONDUCTOR".
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