A trawl through my photo archive for some oddities and interesting shots of the 2000-2003 batches of AVs in Dublin. (The AVs are Volvo B7TL with Alexander ALX400 bodywork)
NOTE: With the exception of the above shot, where the original is of poor quality, clicking on any picture in this article will bring you to a full-size version.
The above is included despite the poor quality because it illustrated my very first encounter with the AV class, when the first couple of buses had just arrived at Phibsboro Garage in July/August 2000.
AV1 is seen over the pits at Phibsboro, beside one of the remaining fleet of Bombardier KDs which would shortly be replaced by the new buses. Over the next couple of days AV3 could be seen out on the streets driver training, but it was not until September 1st 2000 that the first AV entered service – AV6 at Ringsend, the first trip being on the 65.
AV1-5 were “additional” buses for fleet expansion, allocated to Broadstone, and so stayed off the road pending the introduction of service improvements later in the year.
Above: AV1 has been a bit of a wanderer, and following a spell on euro duties at Broadstone it was moved across to Clontarf, where it mingled with other AVs on most of that depot’s routes.
This photo, taken on April 21st 2002 shows it in Abbey Street about to depart for Malahide. If you look closely in the picture, you can see that AV1 has a small digital display unit at the front of the upper deck, visible through the front windows. AV1 later moved to Ringsend, to tidy up the numbers, and give Ringsend a complete run of AV1-21.
Above: Phibsboro’s AV50 loading up on festival shuttle duty, in the days when the shuttles used to leave from O’Connell Street. The picture is taken in summer 2001, and the festival was Witnness (these days known as Oxegen).
Above: AV108 was an out of sequence allocation to Donnybrook, seen here in 2001 in Dun Laoghaire. It left Donnybrook after a fairly short stay, and is now based at Harristown.
Above: anyone remember The Christmas Bus? Few AVs have been in allover advert colours, and this one only lasted a month, as a “Happy Christmas” greeting from Dublin Bus to its customers. AV136 is seen in December 2003 at Ranelagh.
AV173 was another odd allocation, later tidied up. Seen here at the old 46A terminus in Fleet Street, being overtaken by RA222, also in City Swift livery.
Above: this more modern shot is included to illustrate AV178, the first of the type to be lost by fire. This picture in O’Connell Street was taken just 3 months before its unfortunate demise.
AV185 brings us to the end of the 2000 order, and is seen here brand new at Broadstone, in storage pending the introduction of extra service on the Blanchardstown corridor.
Above: I guess you could call this the arse-end of O’Connell Street (!).
The 2001 batch of AVs was very small compared to the 2000 order, comprising AV186-229 – a mere 44 buses (there was an additional 12 WVs also). A slightly revised body style was introduced, with slanted window and overhang, introduced at the request of drivers, who found the large vertical window on the original AVs too prone to internal reflections at night, particularly when driving in less well-lit areas.
As a workaround on the first 185 AVs, they were sometimes driven at night with nearside interior lighting switched off.
The picture shows AV193, new into service in the tail end of 2001.
Above: new AV222, close to Christmas 2001, entered service without a Dublin Bus logo on the front, and looked slightly odd as a result. In the background, one of the VanHool D tourbuses can be seen – these survived in service until spring 2002.
Above: not an oddity, but a first day in service, and so worthy of inclusion. Clontarf received the first of the 2002 batch of AVs in April 2002, mostly for the 27, though they strayed a lot to other routes. AV236 is gleaming and perfect at Talbot Street.
Above: summer 2003 saw an interesting oddity, with route 123 converted to fully double-deck operation for a couple of weeks to release the WV single-decks to act as shuttle buses for the Special Olympics.
The buses used were brand new AVs being delivered at the time, which went to Broadstone and worked the 123 prior to going to their intended depots. AV292 would become a Conyngham Road bus, which was fitting in a way, as Conyngham Road had operated the predecessor route 23 back in its double-deck heyday. This shot is taken on the 22nd of June 2003, at the Bulfin Road junction.
Above: a little while later on the same day, and one of my favourite shots, as brand new AV301 works the 123 at Suir Road. The landscape here with houses and railings had changed little since the days when I used to pass this way regularly in the 1970s, on my way to and from a summer holiday job. In those days blue & cream double-decks on the 23, either D281-288 or often RA class halfcabs, would always be encountered at this stretch of road. Seeing a blue & cream double-deck again at that spot really brought back the memories.
After a couple of weeks, AV301 moved to Phibsboro and the 123 reverted to WV operation.
More from the AV files in the future!
In my opinion the AV class where the best bus that entered the Dublin Bus fleet over the years, and now some of them are reaching the 10 year old mark and still looking really well, particulary the Donnybrook allocation. After a visit to the garage recently, i thought the 10 year old AVs look just as good as the recently delivered EVs, fair play to the Donnybrook drivers and maintenance staff for looking after these buses, this shows that with the right people involved the buses can and will last for some time yet. Fair play to the Donnybrook staff!
I agree Sean. The Donnybrook AV69-92 are great buses. AV72 is just truly outstandingly fast! I love the loud ones to.