Tourists to Montana’s Glacier National Park in the United States can again take in the scenery aboard one of the park’s 33 newly refurbished, open air antique “Red Bus” touring sedans recently returned to duty with help from Ford, the National Park Foundation, the National Park Service and concessioner Glacier Park Inc.

Ford completely renovated the Red Buses to run on cleaner-burning propane (a.k.a. liquid petroleum gas), with emissions 93% cleaner than those of the old buses.

Debuting in the 1930s, the elegant touring buses chugged across the Continental Divide, ferrying sightseers for six decades until 1999.

The announcement of the ‘Reds’ return was made at East Glacier Park Lodge near the park’s east entrance in early June.

Former drivers who served as tour guides, called ‘Jammers’, from as far back as 1936 welcomed back the renovated buses. The Jammers regaled passengers with all manner of park trivia: identifying wildflowers, explaining park geology, sharing legends of the Blackfeet Indians and leading impromptu hikes to hidden waterfalls.

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In the 1930s, the National Park Service developed a programme for touring sedans to provide transportation for visitors within national parks.

More than 500 vehicles were used in various Western national parks, including Grand Canyon and Yellowstone.

While the unique tour bus experience was replaced elsewhere, unwavering affection from the Glacier National Park community sustained the need to keep the Red Buses in top condition but, in 1999, they were finally forced into retirement.

In 2000, the National Park Foundation created the Proud Partners of America’s National Parks programme to enhance the park experience and increase awareness of how parks reflect Americans’ heritage.

The Red Buses became a project of one of its first partners – Ford.

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