End of an era for Bombardier snow coaches in Yellowstone National Park…

1960s-era Bombardier snow coaches, stopped at warming hut at Madison Junction on our way to Old Faithful, a few years ago.

A few years ago, we boarded a 1963-model Bombardier snow coach in West Yellowstone for a beautiful ride into the Old Faithful area and a three day stay at Old Faithful Snow Lodge. Admittedly, these 50-year-old vehicles had their quirks, were noisy and expensive to maintain.

But, these old machines made you feel like a pioneering tourist, entering the park long before it achieved today’s success in attracting tourists from all over the world, approaching five million strong each year.

Today, those old Bombardier coaches, with engines long ago replaced by 350 Chevy blocks, are being phased out and replaced by modern snow machines. The Bombardier coaches are still used in the Old Faithful area for day tours – but we’re told their days are numbered.

The modern coaches are either Ford and GM vans, admittedly with creature comforts, their wheels pulled off and over-the-snow treads added as replacements. They are quieter, require less maintenance – but, the old allure is gone.

New Ford snow coaches are part of modern fleet of vans replacing the old Bombardier snow coaches. Comfy, modern but not very historic...!

Progress marches on, I guess.

Watch for my blog later this week, and the print version in the Thursday, Feb. 18 Stockton Record, for my feature on our recent trip to Yellowstone National Park, always glorious, and particularly so in the dead of winter!

Read more from Tim Viall’s travel blog, follow him on Facebook or Twitter; or, email him at tviall@msn.com. Happy travels in your world!

 

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