Friday, October 28, 2011

I've Got One Track Vehicle, Who Has...?

We were out driving last weekend and went through a small Montana town.  I saw this unusual vehicle and stopped and took a few pictures.   After looking at it, I made some educated guesses as to it's age, origin and purpose.

First off it has tracks in the back.  Round windows.  Looks like a metal exterior.  You can still see the tow rope.  It looks like it may have sat in this spot for awhile.  The yellow color suggests it might have been used in Yellowstone National Park.

I guessed that it was probably built late 40's early 50's.  There was no visible name.  Because of the tracks I figured it was an early snow coach.

When I got home I began to do some research given what I had observed and what inferences I could make.

  • The back tracks told me travel on snow
  • round windows - portholes - early years maybe company that made planes or ships
  • front looks like could have had round tires but that didn't work with the tracks
  • metal exterior probably 50's some earlier vehicles have wooden exteriors.
  • Yellow paint -  color of Yellowstone National Park vehicles
With this information I tried searching to see if I could find pictures of similar vehicles.  I found out that it is probably a Bombardier snow coach.  Yellowstone did use them, as did Glacier National Park.  They were built in Canada and were used as school buses, ambulances, many doctors used them.  The biggest buyer was the military.  Bombardier also made planes. In some models the front was designed to use skis in winter.   The skis could be replaced with tires for summer use.  I don't know if the tracks were taken off in the summer or not.

My curiosity was still unsatisfied so I made some calls to the little town to see what I could find out.  One lady I talked to said her cousin would be able to answer my questions and she would have her call me back.  So now I wait and see how close I came.  Nothing like a little mystery to solve.


  1. Great to hear about your curiosity and your quest. I think I saw something about these on PBS when they were doing some of those pieces on national parks. They used them also for tourists trips I 'think' I remember. Interesting that you found one there.

  2. I thought I might take this piece and share my thinking out-loud process. And use it as an introduction to research. I think using pictures & visual literacy makes for great scaffolding.

    This vehicle just spoke to me. I want to know its story.


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