(UK, News) New Volvo Coaches For Lochs and Glens [10July2013]



VOLVO PRESS RELEASE: New Volvos for Lochs and Glens


Scottish-based coach holiday specialists, Lochs and Glens have taken delivery of eight new Volvo B13R, 14 metre, tri-axle, Jonckheere bodied coaches as part of an ongoing upgrade to their all Volvo fleet.


The Gartocharn registered company operates 16 coaches in total, all of which are specified on the proven Volvo chassis. “Lochs and Glens has always been a traditional Volvo operator,” explained Transport Manager, Steve Nicols.


“Five of the new vehicles are being operated by us, the remaining three are in our livery and are working on our holiday programme, but are actually owned and operated by Leeming Bar based Procters Coaches,” he explained.


“Obviously we’ve had Volvo B13Rs before so we knew what we were getting. The key factors for us in determining vehicle selection were fuel economy, reliability and engine power,” he continued. “We need the extra torque up here in Scotland, because the vehicles are regularly travelling over steep terrain to reach any one of our seven idyllic hotel locations.


“The Jonckheere bodywork also played a part in our decision. The styling combined with the Volvo chassis really does give us the complete package.”


Lochs and Glens new 57 seater vehicles are specified with Volvo’s fuel efficient, 13-litre, diesel engine rated at 460hp, coupled to the Volvo I-Shift gearbox. Each of the eight new coaches feature an eye-catching light Ivory paintwork and includes the company’s logo on the livery.


An ergonomic driving position, with easy-reach controls, adjustable driver’s seat and steering wheel means the B13R is a popular choice with drivers and makes it ideal for long journeys, such as those undertaken on the Lochs and Glens holiday tour programme.


The Volvo B13R is equally suited to the needs of its passengers with carpet throughout, three-point safety belts, leather headrests, two TV screens, CD & DVD capability, as well as an on-board toilet. Additional features on the vehicles include a fridge, hoover and CCTV system.


“We deal with the Volvo Bus dealership North and Scotland at Cardonald,” continued Steve Nicols, “they’ve been a good support to us and of course we’ve traditionally worked with Volvo Bus Regional Sales Manager, Duncan Crosby.


“I was sorry to hear Duncan would be changing position within the Volvo Group as I enjoyed working with him, however we’re now working with another top Volvo Coach Sales Manager in James Hyde and we’ve already put in another order ready for next year.”

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!

New Volvos for Ballincollig

Volvo Bus)

Ballincollig Coaches new Volvo B7R coaches (photo: Volvo Bus)


Ballincollig Coaches of Co Cork have just taken delivery of two Volvo B7R Sunsundeguis.

Purchased as part of a programme of fleet modernisation, the new coaches will be used for touring throughout Ireland and also into Scotland.

The family run firm had not bought Volvo for some years but were impressed by the B7R/ Sunsundegui combination. “It’s very stylish looking so helps to create the right impression; it’s very comfortable; and there’s great luggage space – all of which is perfect for our requirements,” explained Managing Director, Donal O’Callaghan. “Add to that the fact that the Euro/Sterling rate is so favourable to us at the moment, there was no excuse not to buy!”

Specified with Volvo’s D7C 7.1 litre common rail fuel injection engine rated at 290hp, combined with a ZF six-speed gearbox, the 53 seat coaches feature full double glazing, air conditioning, DVD player and reversing camera.

Ballincollig plan to use them on incoming tours which make up a large part of their business. “We shall be very busy over the next few months, particularly with French and American students requiring sightseeing tours, and these coaches really are ideal for the task,” said Donal.

Established 20 years ago, Ballincollig’s 15-strong fleet ranges from six seaters to full size executive coaches. The company runs its own programme of two to three day short breaks and seven to ten day tours. In addition, a variety of specialist breaks are arranged for incoming tourists, ranging from historic sightseeting and pilgrimage tours to short breaks for fishing, golf, gardening and art enthusiasts.

ONE IN TWELVE – Morning Glory

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.

We’re kicking off with a double, featuring both Bus Eireann and Dublin bus, with a pair of early morning shots.

Bus Eireann VC39 heads into the sunrise on the first scheduled departure from Macroom.

Bus Eireann VC39 heads into the sunrise on the first scheduled departure from Macroom.

Above: Sometimes the best shots are the spur of the moment ones. Sometime around 2002, I was heading back from Kerry to Dublin very early in the morning, and passed through Macroom just as the first morning service to Cork was departing. A few miles out the road, I saw a passenger waiting at the roadside where there was a reasonable pull-in, and figured it would be a good opportunity to get an “action shot” of a Bus Eireann coach out in the countryside, mid route. Now that the VCs are gradually vanishing from service work, I’m glad I got this shot when I had the opportunity.

Dublin Bus AV92 working early morning 14 trips before Coastal Tour duties

Dublin Bus AV92 working early morning 14 trips before Coastal Tour duties

When the Coastal Tour was introduced, one of the two tours buses was scheduled to work a couple of round trips on the 14/A before taking up duty on the tour. The bus would work one of the early 14As from Ballinteer, and back, managing to get in another citybound journey at the end of the morning peak, before parking up in the Great Strand Street compound until needed for tours.

By 2001 AV92 was one of the regular buses on the service.

This link was broken when the routes were changed in 2005, and there is no longer a regular scheduled tourbus working.

Minister disputes Patton Flyer claims

Comments in Dail by Transport Minister claim operator applied for licence in 2007, not 2006

Patton Flyer links Dalkey to Dublin Airport

Patton Flyer links Dalkey to Dublin Airport

Further interesting information has emerged in the long-running saga of the Patton Flyer coach service in Dublin, which the Department of Transport says is being run without a licence.

The service, which links Dalkey and Blackrock to Dublin Airport via the Eastlink and the Port Tunnel runs hourly and is seen to be carrying healthy loadings. DoT officials say they reported the operator to the Gardai in August 2007 for operating without a licence, though what action has been taken as a result is unclear.

Back in March, we reported on claims that a very long delay in dealing with a licence application had forced the coach company to start the service without a licence. According to the operator, they had submitted an application in 2006, without reply.

Now recent comments on the record of the Dail (Irish parliment) by Transport Minister Noel Dempsey seem to dispute this version of events, as according to the Minister the operator only applied for the licence in early 2007.

Below is the full text of the minister’s Dail response when questioned.

Apart from the date of the application, this answer is interesting in that it confirms that the reason for the licence not being granted is, as long suspected, the prior application for a licence by Aircoach, whose Greystone to Dublin Airport service only meets the Patton Flyer along part of the route.

 23. Deputy Seán Barrett asked the Minister for Transport  if he will grant a licence to a bus service (details supplied) to operate a scheduled bus service between Dalkey and intermediary points such as Glasthule, Dún Laoghaire and Monkstown with Dublin Airport which are not served by an alternative bus operator; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32450/08]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Noel Dempsey): My Department received an application on the 20 February 2007 from the operator to whom the Deputy refers, for a licence to operate bus passenger services between Dalkey and Dublin Airport. At that time, my Department had on hands a prior application for bus services on a similar route, and in accordance with administrative procedures, applications were dealt with in date order. That prior application was finalised in December 2007 and a licence has issued to that operator for the provision of bus passenger services between Greystones and Dublin Airport.

In the case of the service referred to by the Deputy, on the 16 July 2007 my Department was made aware that the operator concerned had commenced the operation of an unlicensed bus passenger service between Dalkey and Dublin Airport. My Department immediately contacted that company and advised that failure to cease the operation of the service in respect of which a licence had not been issued under the Road Transport Act 1932, is an offence under section 7 of that Act. It is also a prerequisite before the making of an offer of a licence that in accordance with road traffic and safety legislation the applicant provides my Department with Garda approvals for all proposed bus stops along the route and holds a Road Passenger transport Operations Licence.

While there is a strong passenger demand for a service between Dalkey and Dublin Airport, my Department would only be prepared to make an offer of a licence to Patton Flyer if that company demonstrates that it would be prepared to operate in conformity with the law.

New Volvos for Mannings of Limerick

Mannings 9700 Prestige Plus. (photo by Volvo Bus)

Mannings 9700 Prestige Plus. (photo by Volvo Bus)


Irish operator, Mannings Coaches, has just taken delivery of two new Volvos – a B12B with Jonckheere bodywork and a tri-axle Volvo 9700 Prestige Plus – both firsts for the Limerick based company.

Managing Director, Tommy Manning, had been looking for additional vehicles to handle his luxury touring work – both incoming touring work throughout Ireland and trips to English Premier League football matches on behalf of Celtic Horizon Tours.

“We already have a B12M with Jonckheere bodywork and found that the Volvo/Jonckheere combination was popular with both drivers and passengers,” he explained. “We’d heard excellent reports of the B12B, so decided to give it a try this time.”

Specified with Volvo’s DH12E engine rated at 420hp coupled to the I-Shift gearbox, the new vehicle features full climate control, toilet, TV/DVD player and hot and cold drinks facilities.

Also built on the B12B chassis, the Volvo 9700 Prestige Plus provides optimum comfort along with Volvo reliability from bumper to bumper. The 13 metre coach features the same 12 litre engine, though rated at 460hp, and I-Shift gearbox combination.

The interior’s theatre-style design concept, with its sloping floor and large tinted side windows, enables excellent vision for all passengers. All 50 seats have integral three point seat belts and the ventilation system has high capacity, good air distribution with individually adjustable air-circulation outlet vents for each seat.

Other features include a demountable toilet/washroom, servery, GPS Navigation for both driver and passenger viewing, and Volvo’s Sound and Vision package comprising radio, CD and DVD complete with two TFT monitors and sub woofer speakers.

Tommy Manning explained, “We knew that the 9700 would be perfect for touring, whilst the tri-axle model provides us with extra passenger and luggage capacity yet can still cope with the weight restrictions in England, which is where much of our work takes place.

“With a tour programme as busy as ours, reliability and passenger comfort are equally crucial. We’ve had high expectations of both these new coaches from talking to colleagues in the industry and our experience indicates that they are living up to it!”

A family business with over 40 years’ experience, Mannings Coaches handle a wide range of work including day trips, touring holidays, golfing breaks, airport transfer, schools and corporate work.

B7R for O’Connors of Cork

O'Connors new Volvo B7R - photo by Volvo Bus

O'Connors new Volvo B7R - photo by Volvo Bus


O’Connors Coach Hire of Bandon, Co Cork, have just taken delivery of a new Volvo B7R Sideral 10.

The majority of O’Connors’12 strong fleet is Volvo and the operator was keen to try out the newest addition to the range. Cormac O’Connor explained, “We were in the market for a midi-coach, and I personally prefer the coach-built style to a minibus. So when we saw that Volvo were introducing the B7R Sideral 10 we were very interested, particularly as we already have a couple of full size Sunsundegui bodied B7Rs in our fleet. They’re extremely popular with our passengers and we find them very economical to run.”

The 10.3m B7R Sideral 10 is based on the B7R chassis, which is renowned for its versatility, dependability and good economy, as well as excellent ride and drive qualities. Available exclusively with the striking Sunsundegui body, it has been designed for applications where a full sized coach may not be necessary, but where on-board comfort and luggage capacity are still vital.

Specified with Volvo’s Euro 4 compliant 7 litre engine – rated at 290hp – featuring common rail technology and metered fuel injection, coupled to a ZF six speed automatic gearbox, the driveline combination offers excellent fuel economy and driveability.

The restyled Sideral 2000 body boasts full climate control, 43 seats – all with three point belts, a multimedia system, incorporating 15” LCD monitor, GPS navigation system and MP3, RDS radio, CD/DVD player and Bluetooth hands free mobile phone installation, and an ergonomic, comfortable driver’s environment.

The new vehicle is now being used for private hire throughout Ireland and O’Connors are delighted, but not surprised, that it is living up to expectation. “Of course, one of the main factors in our decision was simply that it is a Volvo,” said Cormac O’Connor. “For us, that means reliability, good availability of spare parts and excellent servicing from McCarthy Commercials of Cork.”

Southwest photos

Coaches & Buses in West Cork and Kerry in July 2008, including Bus Eireann, private operators, rural transport scheme and island operations. All photos by Gabriel Conway

VC116 parked in scenic surroundings on the Beara peninsula

VC116 parked in scenic surroundings on the Beara peninsula

The Beara peninsula is one of the lesser-known treasures of Ireland, just as pretty but far less spoilt than the nearby Ring of Kerry. The Cork/Kerry border runs along the middle of the peninsula, with the western end being wholly in West Cork.

For such a remote area, it is well served by public transport, with Bus Eireann services on both sides of the peninsula, a long established private operator on the Cork side, and a well-developed network of rural transport services that reach right to the end, and even out to the largest island off Castletownbere.

The photo above, taken on the southern side, on the road from Glengarriff to Castletownbere, shows Bus Eireann VC116 parked around 4-5km west of Glengarriff. There is often a schoolbus parked at this location, though I suspect that VC116 has been working a regular service.

In the background can be seen Bantry Bay and the Sheeps Head.

VC116 a few miles south of Glengarriff

VC116 a few miles south of Glengarriff

A closer view of VC116 – the VCs are the mainstay of many services in the area, though they are being slowly cascaded to schools work now.

New SC235 departs Killarney Bus Station on the 270 to Kenmare

New SC235 departs Killarney Bus Station on the 270 to Kenmare

Over the many years that I have visited Kenmare, I have seen generations of buses come and go on the Kenmare/Killarney service (these days numbered 270).

In the mid 70s Leyland Leopard E14 was the main bus, with E69 sometimes doing duty as a backup. In the late 70s and early 80s, C27 was the only bus on this service for a long time, until replaced by new KR97 in 1985. This was to be the last new bus that the route received for many a year, as a succession of midlife coaches followed when the KR was eventually relegated to schools. There was a PL for a while in the late 90s, and then VC60 became a regular, up until about a year ago, following which a variety of VCs have been used, with VC109 appearing often.

SC235 is the first brand new vehicle I’ve seen on the route since 1985, and is seen here departing from Killarney Bus Station for Kenmare (irish: Nedin) on an early morning journey.

VC86 waits at Killarney

VC86 waits at Killarney

Also at Killarney, VC86 waits to take up duty on the 040 express service linking Tralee and Killarney with Cork and Waterford.

Spot the door - SP104 parked at Killarney

Spot the door - SP104 parked at Killarney

Also fairly new, SP104 is seen here at the part of Killarney Bus Station closest to the Outlet Centre. These coaches are very sleek looking, and have the most flush fitting doors of any I have seen.

SP108 in the coach parking area near Killarney Station

SP108 in the coach parking area near Killarney Station

Sister vehicle SP108 seen in the coach parking area near the bus station.

Bernard Kavanagh's 06-KK-2534 in Brendan Tours livery

Bernard Kavanagh's 06-KK-2534 in Brendan Tours livery

A variety of independent operators coaches can be seen at Killarney throughout the year, and there is almost always several varieties of Kavanaghs on display!

Galvins VanHool 05-C-7085 heads into Killarney town centre

Galvins VanHool 05-C-7085 heads into Killarney town centre

Galvins of Dunmanway are often seen around Killarney on tour work.

VC28 at The Square in Castletownbere, about to work to Kenmare

VC28 at The Square in Castletownbere, about to work to Kenmare

Back to the Beara peninsula, and VC28 is seen at The Square in Castletownbere, ready for the 1100 departure to Kenmare on route 282. This is a magnificant trip, which involves crossing the mountains to the nothern side of the peninsula and into Co. Kerry, with some spectacular scenery and narrow roads. In the summer, two round trips a day are operated Monday to Saturday, while in winter months a shorter version runs once a week from Ardgroom to Kenmare.

VC28 arrives at Kenmare where VC109 is about to head for Killarney

VC28 arrives at Kenmare where VC109 is about to head for Killarney

An hour an a half later, VC28 has arrived in Kenmare and dropped off its passengers, some of whom will continue on to Killarney on VC109 on the 270.

The buses are seen at the top of the main street in Kenmare, where a dedicated Bus Eireann stop is in place. CIE and Bus Eireann buses have used the main street as a stopping point for almost 50 years, however a local politician has launched a campaign to have the bus stop moved to a different part of town, in order to make 5 further car parking spaces available in the main street.  This despite the fact that the new location would involve considerable disruption for the bus services, forcing them to navigate the one-way system twice for some departures, and would be less convienient for the passengers.

VC109 at the disputed stop in Main Street, Kenmare

VC109 at the disputed stop in Main Street, Kenmare

During the summer, two buses are needed for the 270, so VC109 is working the service as well as SC235 – it will be interesting to see which one is retained for the one-bus winter timetable!

The early afternoon departure that the VC is about to work takes connecting passengers from both the 282 Castletownbere service, and the West Cork 252 route, formerly the 044 expressway.

VP331 arrives at Kenmare on the West Cork 252 service

VP331 arrives at Kenmare on the West Cork 252 service

Since the late 1970s there has been a summer-only service from Cork through Bantry and Glengarriff to Kenmare, until this year always running on to Killarney.

Originally an Expressway service, recently numbered 044, it has this year been downgraded to a stage service, numbered 252, and does not run beyond Kenmare.

When started in the 70s, the route used to take the scenic Molls Gap road to Killarney, though in recent years it has used the quicker Kilgarvan routing. It remains one of the few services in Ireland to operate through a hand-carved mountain tunnell, between Glengarriff and Kenmare.

Buckleys 06-KY-3289 at Kenmare

Buckleys 06-KY-3289 at Kenmare

Buckleys is an operation connected with Kerry Coaches of Killarney. One of their luxury minicoaches is seen here at the triangle in Kenmare.

78-KY-676 a well-preserved Leyland conversion

78-KY-676 a well-preserved Leyland conversion

Here is an interesting and very well-preserved import to these shores. Possibly a former postbus from the UK, this Leyland vehicle now seems to be used as a private camper van, and was in Kenmare for the fleadh weekend at the end of july.

SP18 overnights at Kenmare

SP18 overnights at Kenmare

SP18 seems to be a regular overnight visitor to Kenmare, on CIE touring work.

A pair of minibuses belonging to O'Donoghues of Castletownbere

A pair of minibuses belonging to O'Donoghues of Castletownbere

Back to Castletownbere, and here we see the very long established private operator O’Donoghues, who operate bus services from Castletownbere to Bantry and Cork. Their base is right in the centre of the town, at the main square.

The ferry to Bere Island

The ferry to Bere Island

A few miles off Castletownbere in Bantry Bay lies Bere Island, which is connected to the mainland by two car-ferry services, one of which leaves from the centre of town.

The ferries are very small, and have room for just six cars. The trip out to the island is well worth the time, although reversing down the slipway and up the ramp onto the ferry can be nerve-wracking, particularly when it is at an angle as seen here!

There Bere Island ferry can carry 6 cars - or 1 truck!

There Bere Island ferry can carry 6 cars - or 1 truck!

Trucks are also carried to and from the island, though only one at a time. And buses too, as I was to find out when I arrived out on Bere Island . .

Rural Transport Scheme bus at Bere Island harbour.

Rural Transport Scheme bus at Bere Island harbour.

A Ford Transit minibus of the Bantry Rural Transport scheme is seen at the harbour on Bere Island. Because of the way it was parked against a wall, the only possible front shot was this one, from the ferry slipway with zoom lens!

Bantry Rural Transport provide services on and from the island.

Bantry Rural Transport provide services on and from the island.

The minibus provides transport both on and off the island, with regular services being operated to and from Castletownbere via the ferry, and a twice-weekly evening service to Bantry. This is just one of a network of buses operated by West Cork Rural Transport, with government funding, covering the areas of the Beara and Sheeps Head peninsulas that Bus Eireann do not reach.

Bere Island itself is delightful, with few cars, quiet roads, and a huge amount to see. The size of Manhatten island, it is somewhat less densely populated, though you will find two pubs, a great coffee shop and a resturant as well as other facilities alongside the quiet hill walks and miles of empty laneways.

New Volvos for Rover

Rover's new Volvo B7R / Sunsudegui  (photo by Volvo Bus)

Rover's new Volvo B7R / Sunsudegui (photo by Volvo Bus)


Irish operator, Rover Coaches, has just taken delivery of two new Volvos – a 9700 Prestige Plus and a B7R Sunsundegui Sideral 10. Whilst Rover Coaches has been a Volvo customer for a number of years, these coaches are both ‘firsts’ for the Mullingar based operator.

“We’ve admired the 9700 since its launch and were particularly keen on the fact that it is 100% Volvo throughout,” explained John Farrell of Rover Coaches. “We were planning to buy one in any case but when the exchange rate between Euro and Sterling made this kind of luxury such excellent value, we just had to invest.”

Specified with Volvo’s DH12E 12 litre engine – rated at 420hp – coupled to the I-Shift gearbox, the 12.2 metre Volvo 9700 Prestige Plus certainly provides luxury. The vehicle’s theatre-style, gently sloping floor and large tinted windows provide excellent viewing for all 49 passengers. And with full climate control, toilet, servery and Volvo’s Sound and Vision entertainment package – which includes first class monitors and high quality sound system, every comfort for luxury travel is guaranteed.

The vehicle will be used for corporate work throughout Ireland as well as incoming tours on behalf of a number of holiday operators.

In contrast with this full size coach, Rover Coaches’ new B7R Sideral 10 will deliver the same Volvo quality in a midi coach format. At 10.3m, the exclusively Sunsundegui bodied coach has been designed for applications where a full-sized coach is not required.

Specified with Volvo’s 290hp 7 litre engine featuring common rail technology and metered fuel injection coupled to a ZF six speed automatic gearbox, the driveline combination offers excellent fuel economy and driveability.

The restyled Sideral 2000 body boasts full climate control, 43 seats – all with three point belts, a multimedia system, incorporating 15” LCD monitor, GPS navigation system and MP3, RDS radio, CD/DVD player and Bluetooth hands free mobile phone installation, and an ergonomic, comfortable driver’s environment
Rover Coaches will use the vehicle mainly for conference and corporate work, in addition to some touring. John explained, “Because of the amount of corporate work we handle, there is always a place for a midi coach in our fleet, so when we heard about the B7R Sideral 10, we were immediately interested.

“It’s a high specification coach, the build quality is excellent and the rear engine design gives us plenty of luggage capacity. Add to this the fact that we’ve always enjoyed a good relationship with Volvo and excellent service from Irish Commercials, and it means that we have every confidence that both new vehicles will prove valuable additions to our fleet.”

Volvo’s Regional Sales Manager, James Hyde added, “We’re delighted by Rover’s continued loyalty. By providing two very different vehicles, as we have done on this occasion, we have once again demonstrated our ability to listen to a customer’s requirements and provide the solution from our extensive range of high quality products.”

Bernard Kavanagh takes two B12Bs

Photo by Volvo Bus


Irish operator, Bernard Kavanagh & Sons has just taken delivery of two Volvo B12Bs with Jonckheere bodywork. Both coaches will be used for touring Ireland and the UK on behalf of holiday operator, Brendan Tours.

Specified with Volvo’s DH12E engine – rated at 420hp – coupled to the I-Shift gearbox, both are configured with just 49 seats and provide every comfort for touring holidays. Passengers also have the benefit of full climate control, toilet, CD/DVD player and hot and cold drinks facilities.

They are not the first B12Bs to join the fleet. “We purchased a B12B Jonckheere a couple of years ago for touring work and have been really pleased with its performance,” explained Bernard Kavanagh.

“The fuel consumption is good, we like the long warranty you get with Volvo and we enjoy great customer service from them – all excellent reasons for going back to Volvo when new vehicles were needed for this contract.”

“We’re delighted to be doing business with Bernard Kavanagh again,” added Volvo’s Regional Sales Manager, James Hyde. “We’re delighted his last purchase proved such a good performer and are confident that the latest additions to the fleet will match up to the high standards we have set!”

Based in Urlingford, Co Kilkenny, Bernard Kavanagh & Sons was established in 1945. Now with a fleet of 65 luxury touring coaches, the company serves nine major tour operators and provide bus and coach chartering within Ireland, to the U.K. and the European mainland.

Pics around the N18 / Shannon

An evening ramble out the N18/19 from Limerick to Shannon Airport.

I’ve been based in Limerick for the past few days, attending a work-related training course.

Surprisingly I have seen nothing of the Bus Eireann city fleet, despite the fact that I have to cross the city from Ennis Road to Raheen every morning – the particular route I taken has no local service, even though the N69 out of the city passes through many industrial areas.

So, bored in the hotel this evening, I decided to take a spin out the Ennis Road in the Shannon direction, to see what I could see.

An Ayats / DAF touring coach at Twomilebridge, parked in a roadside hotel.

Shannon Airport was empty at just after 7pm, and the sun was in any case very badly positioned for the main bus stops, so I didn’t wait around. I did however manage to snap this car=park shuttle bus, operated by a local independent under contract to the Airport Authority.

Another Solo – these are becoming quite popular in Ireland these days!

On my way back in, I called in to Bunratty, where the Castle & Folk Park are a big draw for coach parties.

In the car-park, a UK-based Setra on Globus tours sits beside Bus Eireann’s new SP119 which is in CIE Tours livery.

Rear/Side view of SP119, showing the new livery on this years CIE Tours deliveries.

Also at Bunratty was this Vanhool T915, operated by Cronins of Cork.

Flybus launched by Minister

Transport Minister Noel Dempsey has officially launched the new FlyBus service linking Tallaght with Dublin Airport.

(left to right: Tony McConn of Dualway, Paddy Kavanagh of Eirebus, and Transport Minister Noel Dempsey cutting the ribbon to launch the new coach link)

Two of the Republic’s best known independent operators teamed up today to launch a new jointly operated service providing a high quality coach link between south county Dublin and Dublin Airport.

Dualway Coaches and Eirebus have worked together to start the new Flybus service, which will provide an hourly link between Tallaght, Clondalkin, Liffey Valley and the Airport via the M50 motorway. The service runs from 4am to 9pm.

3 new Mercedes Plaxton minicoaches fitted with 29 reclining seats will provide capacity for up to 8000 passenger journeys a week, and plans are in hand to further develop the service, according to Dualway Coaches founder Tony McConn.

“We have an initial investment in the service of nearly one million euro and have created 10 jobs, and we may increase frequency and could create another 10 jobs by the end of the year”.
Officially launching the service, Transport Minister Noel Dempsey paid tribute to the two operators as showcasing the finest that the private sector can offer, and said he was proud to be associated with the launch.

“As politicians we like to be associated with excellence, and that’s one of the things that you can say about the two operators involved in this venture, Dualway have won numerous awards for excellence, they are a serious company, a family run company who know what they are doing, and Eirebus who have many many years experience operating coach services are another fine example of the private sector”

Kerry Coaches adds to young fleet

Killarney based Kerry Coaches continues fleet renewal and builds golfing brand.


(click on any picture for fullsize version)

The last 10 years has seen a significant change in the Irish coaching industry from using mainly midlife imports from the UK to a situation now where operators large and small now buy new most of the time.

More recently, there has been a considerable movement up the scale in quality terms to the more highly specified end of the market, with the corporate coaching market growing rapidly.

Killarney based Kerry Coaches are a good example of the new face of the industry, having worked hard to build up a good fleet of luxury coaches with a low age profile, usually adding between 4 and 7 new vehicles to the fleet each year. The operator is based in a modern depot on the outskirts of the town, and leverages the depot for extra income by providing overnight parking, refuelling and servicing facilities for the many coaches from operators around Europe who pass through Killarney in the tourist season.


The company caters for inbound tourism and hires with its own fleet, and also the corporate sector, and has been particularly successful in the golf tour market, where it has developed its “Jerry Quinlans Celtic Golf ” brand. Coaches used for this are highly specified, with full aircon, catering, entertainment systems, leather seats etc. Seen above is 08-KY-555, one of a couple of new VanHools bought for the golf tours this year.


In 2007 Kerry added significantly to their main fleet with a mix of Setras and Vanhools – three of the 07 Setras are seen above.

Like most of the operatorsw at the quality end of the spectrum, Kerry Coaches have enjoyed the boom years, but are confident that they can continue to do well despite uncertain times ahead by investing in their people, vehicles and delivering a quality product to the customer.

Long may they continue.

More ex-DB Olympians find home at Dualways

While visiting Dualway to file a report for CBW Magazine on new additions to their very fine coaching fleet, I unexpectedly came across some old friends from the Bus Atha Cliath fleet in exile.

Dualway has built up quite a fleet of former Dublin Bus RH types, but they are now acquiring some of the more modern RA (Volvo) Olympians now that these are being sold by Dublin Bus.


ex-RA273 – click for fullsize image

Former Clontarf bus RA273, which hung on in service on the 130 route until very recently, has already had its open-top conversion and repaint, and looks just about ready to go on the road.

Dualway do most of their own engineering work, and to a very high standard too.

Note the 3-bay-covered conversion – given the huge amount of rain we had last summer, you can’t blame the company for hedging their bets!


Former Donnybrook bus RA256 is next to get attention, and is seen here in the workshop at the assessment stage.


Sister vehicle RA257 is also acquired, and is currently stored in the depot pending refurbishment.


Dualway also has a growing fleet of purpose-built lowfloor accessible open-toppers, with another due to arrive shortly, but these were all out earning their keep while I was there.

The above shot shows one of Dualways covered-top lowfloor buses, and some of the Routemasters acquired for sightseeing work a couple of years ago – use of these tends to be seasonal, and for special events.


Finally, I musn’t forget to mention the coach I had come to see, a new 08-registered MarcoPolo/DAF which has just joined the coaching fleet. Dualway do a lot of private hire and some corporate coaching, and have built up a quality fleet of modern coaches, all bought new, over the last several years.

As well as sight-seeing and coaching, the firm operates local services in southwest Dublin, particularly around Tallaght and Rathcoole, and has lowfloor accessible single-deck buses as well as the double-decks.

All in all, a firm to watch, with nice mix of the modern and the classic, and setting the standards for the best in private operation.