QUICK-PIC: Kerry Schoolbus [15Sep2013]

beBS9

When the Free School Transport Scheme was introduced by the Irish Government in 1968, a fleet of 800 dedicated schoolbuses (the SS class) were built. However when these came up for end-of-life replacement in the 1990s, there was insufficient funds to purchase new dedicated schoolbuses, and so cascaded service buses were used instead.

In 2007, Bus Eireann purchased a smaller number of dedicated build schoolbuses as a trial, one of which is this BMC vehicle, BS9, seen here in Kilgarven, Co. Kerry.

QUICK-PIC: North Cork Commuter [23Aug2013]

Bus Eireann route 245 is a key commuter service linking Cork with the prosperous farming towns in the north of the county.

VDL/Berhhof coach LC28 is seen this afternoon approaching Fermoy on the old N8 road, now downgraded to the R639 as intercity traffic uses the adjacent M8 motorway.

This particular journey runs as far as Fermoy only, with others continuing on to Mitchelstown.

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MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC – Bank Holiday Leopard (Ireland, 1994)

AllAboutBuses invites you to banish the Monday morning back-to-work blues with a spot of time travel . .

This week we travel back to Ireland of June 1994 – the Bank Holiday Monday to be precise – where we find an aged Leopard still in front-line service.

1994-M147

Co. Wexford, June 1994, and CIE bodied Leyland Leopard M147 is working on the high profile Dublin to Rosslare Harbour Expressway service.  The location is Ferns town, on the N11.

M147 is one of 213 such vehicles which entered service in the early 1970s, and at the time of this photo was more than 20 years old, but still regularly working frontline services such as this one.

 

QUICK-PIC (Cork) Route 208. (29July2013)

Cork city route 208 is mainly operated by newer Wright Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B9TL double decks, but occasionally sees older buses.

DD17 is a 2004 Volvo B7TL with East Lancs bodywork, originally used on services in the North East corridor between Dublin, Drogheda and Dundalk. It was transferred south more recently as the company realised that it’s previous policy of single- decking all Cork routes had been a mistake.

DD17 is seen here in the west if the city, turning from Curraheen Road onto Hawkes Road. Bright sunlight is making the destination – 208 Lotabeg – difficult to read.

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End of the line for Ardcath service

Last Stop - the last bus to Ardcath pauses in the tiny village as the regular driver leaves, and a spare driver prepares to return the bus to headquarters at Broadstone

END OF THE LINE FOR VETERAN SERVICE

The tiny rural village of Ardcath lost its bus service to Dublin at the weekend as phase 1 of Bus Eireann’s cost-cutting plan took effect, eliminating dozens of lightly loaded rural routes around the Republic, and cutting frequencies on others.

The 102 service from Dublin to Garristown and Ardcath, which ran for the last time on Saturday 27th February 2010 was one of the longest running bus routes in the country, dating back to at least the 1920s, and possibly earlier according to locals

Operated after 1945 by CIE’s provincial department (which later became Bus Eireann) the service was at one time so popular that on Saturdays a double-decker from the Dublin City Services fleet (later Dublin Bus) would cover the route as far as Oldtown. This practice continued until the early 1980s.

In recent years passenger numbers declined drastically as car use increased, to the point that when the final journey operated on Feb 27th, the sole passengers for the entire trip were CBW reporter Gabriel Conway and a transport historian from north Co. Dublin.

The driver for the last trip had been marked in on the route for the past 7 months, since the previous driver “Paddy” had retired after 35 years service. Normally the bus is outstationed in the area, so an extra driver was brought on the trip to allow SC202 to be returned to Broadstone.

Bus Eireann confirm Limerick cuts

 

BUS EIREANN has confirmed that 27 buses are to be cut from its fleet at Limerick as part of the cutbacks due to take effect next month.

Although still under negociation with the unions, a spokesman for the company has confirmed to the Limerick leader the scale of the proposed fleet cutback in the city.

See full Limerick Leader article for details

New interchange approved for Limerick

 

A MODERN two-storey bus station is to built at Parnell Street within two years which will bring the terminus “up to the 21st century” according to a report in The Limerick Leader.
An Bord Pleanala has granted planning permission for the €5.5million redevelopment of Colbert Station, which was was originally refused by Limerick City Council.
According to the Limerick Leader article, the plans will see a new bus station built at the current car parking area to the side of the existing station building. New car parking facilities will be developed where the bus bays are currently.

A landscape garden is planned for the carpark at the front of the station. An internal walkway will also connect the rail and bus station, providing greater ease of access for passengers.

Review: Bus Eireann’s new commuter coaches

LD208, one of Bus Eireann's new luxury double-deck commuter coaches, seen at Cavan Bus Station

LD208, one of Bus Eireann's new luxury double-deck commuter coaches, seen at Cavan Bus Station

Over the last few months Bus Eireann has been taking delivery of a fleet of 32 high specification double-deck commuter coaches, designed to provide extra capacity and comfort on medium-distance comuter runs to Dublin from counties Cavan and Meath. The buses, built by Berkhof on DAF chassis, are to three-axldesign to maximise capacity, and indeed seat more on the upper deck alone than the conventional single-deck coaches they are replacing.

But what are they like from the passenger point of view? Our editor took the 4 hour round trip to Cavan to experience the new coaches at work.

Visually, they are very stylish, and make an impression both in terms of design and sheer size. Bus Eireann have wisely decided to steer away from using them as mobile advertising hoardings as with traditional double-deckers, thus allowing the space between decks to be used to show off the company branding to maximum advantage.

The upper deck is bright and airy, with comfortable seating, and fully belted.  Overhead racks are provided throughout.

The upper deck is bright and airy, with comfortable seating, and fully belted. Overhead racks are provided throughout.

The front seats not only feature the best views, but you get cup-holders and the dash is designed for extra legroom

The front seats not only feature the best views, but you get cup-holders and the dash is designed for extra legroom

The seating is comfortable, even on a journey of more than 2 hours, and the belts are easy to use, and accomodate the largest of passengers without feeling cramped.

The front seat give you the real “King of the Road” experience, and unlike many double-deckers, do not suffer from limited legroom, as a special recess has been designed under the dash to give extra stretching room. The safety bar is well positioned below the eyeline, and is padded, and there are even cup-holder recesses in the dash. All the seats feature controls for recline angle, though unusually my front seat seemed to have some sort of built in vibrating bottom massager linked to the braking system – which made sudden stops a very interesting experience, though I am not sure that this is exactly what the manufacturer intended!

Being a double-decker, even the non-front seats gave a vasty enhanced view compared to the blurry hedgerows that is all that can be seen during a normal coach journey. Being able to see over the hedges and across the countryside is no small advantage, and makes a longer journey much more enjoyable. I know that Bus Eireann think in terms of capacity when buying these vehicles, but they should also consider the vastly enhanced journey experience that comes from greater vision for the passenger, and consider introducing these vehicles on a wider range of services.

Climate-wise, the coach was warm as toast, with cool air available via individual blowers if required. The noise level was very quiet, with the engine almost inaudible upstairs.

The vehicle also seemed very nippy, and had no difficulty keeping up with the other traffic on the N3, and will doubtless benefit from the abolition of the speed restriction on double-deck coaches that comes into effect from February 1st 2009.

All in all, a very positive experience, 10 out of 10 for style, 9 out of 10 for comfort, and the only thing missing is wifi.

More please!

More please!

ONE IN TWELVE – Old and full of Blarney

To celebrate the 12th anniversary of the founding of the site, every day during November I’ll be bringing you one of my favourite photos from the past 12 years.

To see these pictures in all their glory, click on the picture for the full-size version.

Cork's second-last KD seen at Parnell Place

Cork's second-last KD seen at Parnell Place

KD182 spent its final days on the Blarney route

KD182 spent its final days on the Blarney route.

The end of the Bombardier’General Motors double-decks saw the end of double-deck operation in Cork, after more than 60 years (though the decker is now making a return to the city).

I’m trying to remember if it was the end of 1996 or 1997 that the majority of the Cork KDs were withdrawn, but in any case, two remained in service for another few months after all the others had gone. The very last was KD184, but it is the second-last we are looking at here, with photos taken of KD182 in its last week on the road, when it was still proving useful to shift the heavy crowds on the Blarney run.

Staff at Capwell told me they pleaded with the Dublin-based management to be allowed to retain double-deckers for routes such as this one, but to no avail.

At the outer terminus. KD182 is looking a bit worse for wear at the end of its life.

At the outer terminus. KD182 is looking a bit worse for wear at the end of its life.

The KCs which took over the route showed some signs of wear. A driver watches as KC148 sets off for Blarney.

The KCs which took over the route showed some signs of wear. A driver watches as KC148 sets off for Blarney.

ONE IN TWELVE – MD42

MD42 just off the old N8 in Co. Tipperary

MD42 just off the old N8 in Co. Tipperary

This photo was one of the very earliest to appear on this site back in 1996, being used to illustrate the typical Bus Eireann school operation of the time. the scene is indeed very typical, complete with rusting corrugated iron roof on the building to the right.

The location is a small side road about halfway between Cahir and Mitchelstown along the N8 (the main road is just behind the car that you can see in the photo). The MD lasted there for a number of years, and later KCS188 was to be found close to this location, but I’m not sure what, if anything, is there now.

ONE IN TWELVE – Getting High

To celebrate the 12th anniversary of the founding of the site, every day during November I’ll be bringing you one of my favourite photos from the past 12 years.

Today’s picture is best appreciated in full size (click on the photo to view the full version).

PD12 takes the high road in Co. Kerry

PD21 takes the high road in Co. Kerry

I know we have already featured Bus Eireann’s 282 service in this series, but I had to include this picture also, as it is one of my absolute favourites. This is a shot where the bus is a smaller part of the bigger picture, by design.

Shot from a grassy knoll on the side of the R573 road, it shows PD21 at the top of the mountain pass between Laragh and Barrack Cross in Co. Kerry. The 282 serves this location all year round, as a Friday-only service, with extra services in summer.

PD21 was the replacement for the KS types which held on until 2002 on this route, but it only lasted a year, and the service has been VC operated ever since.