Vintage Video: Cole's Express, Bangor, Maine - 1971

Topic 19084 | Page 1

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The Highlight Reel's Comment
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(1971) Coles Express: Maine's Uncommon Carrier trucking film

Cole's Express was an LTL truck freight carrier started in 1917 and continued through 1997. This video, made on the 53rd anniversary of Cole's Express, talks about the company, it's people and nice video of trucks in operation, including the famous "Tank-Van".

Cole's Express was a Maine-based LTL company that started operations in 1917, founded by Albert J. "Allie" Cole. Like many other companies of the day, the service started with a horse pulling a wagon. They were eventually bought up by Roadway in the early 1990's, and folded into the Roadway Regional Group along with Viking Freight, Central Freight, and Spartan. In turn they were all merged into a national operation as Viking Freight, and Cole's Express as it's own entity ceased operations around 1997.

Eventually Viking was acquired by FedEx and, combined with American Freightways, became FedEx Freight in the early 2000's.

At the time, Cole's Express employed around 300 drivers. According the the video, Cole's Express was involved in some pretty eclectic freight types:

"Harold Sibley has driven for Cole's Express for nearly 25 years. He has hauled everything from aspirin to zebras the length and the breadth of the state of Maine.""

"Which means that Cole's Express serves not only the industrial customer, but the farmer, the fisherman, the store-keeper, and the housewife who lives on a country road and wants a parrot delivered with tender, loving, care."

And of course, as in most films, the silent boy's name is Billy. Tommy must not have been available that day.

The film also gives a brief overview of how freight was handled at the terminals long before our modern electronic communication capabilities. Watch carefully at around the 9:50 mark as the gentleman uses a telephone with a mysterious round dial on it's base.

The video leans heavily on the beauty and majesty of the State of Maine, the quality and pride of its people, it's importance to the economy through the goods and services it provides, and the significance of I-95, the major artery through the state from which most everything else is reached. And who knew that one of Maine's major contributions was potatoes?

Bonus Video: "Winter Of '31", song about Cole's Express

Winter of '31 about Cole's Express - Cole City Credits

These are the ending credits for the 1970 film about Cole City, the brand new Terminal and General Offices for Cole's Express, a Maine LTL truck freight carrier.

These days, Galen Cole, son of the Cole's Express founder and it's former President, manages the Cole Land Transportation Museum, dedicated to the curation of the various land transportation vehicles used in the state of Maine. It is located in Cole's home town of Bangor.

The museum also includes early motorcycles, mopeds, a few bicycles, snowplows and a snow roller, which are important for the Maine winters, farm tractors, a potato harvester, a horse-drawn hearse, a bus, trailers pulled by trucks, and delivery trucks of dairy products and ice. A special room includes a command car used in World War II, in which Galen Cole had been a young soldier.

The museum is also heavily involved in various causes for Maine's military combat veterans.

External Links:

Cole Land Transportation Museum

Wikipedia - Galen Cole

Daily Diesel Dose: Cole Express


A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.


Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.


Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier
The Highlight Reel's Comment
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Bonus Video #2: The Infamous Cole's Express Tank-Van

Coles Express Tank Van

Coles Express created a one of a kind "tank van" to avoid empty runs to rural areas of Maine.

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