(History) 10 Years Of “Fleet Standard” [26Aug2013]

10 years ago the 1000+ vehicles in the Dublin Bus fleet were in a mish-mash of liveries – Blue & Cream “Core” livery for many services, White, Blue & Orange “City Swift” for QBC services, Red & Yellow “City Imp” for smaller buses . . and with no real demarcation of liveries to different types of service . . a mess.

And then, on the 7th of August 2003, AllAboutBuses.com was first to publish pictures of the arrival of AV76 back from the paint shops in a trial colour scheme that, when adopted three months later, we christened “Fleet Standard”

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The first bus in the new livery – AV76 has just arrived into Donnybrook, and is having its advert grips refitted.


After inspection AV76 was returned to the painting contractor for a slight alteration to the upper shade of blue, which was made fractionally darker.


Two days later, 9th August 2003, and AV76 is on the road for the first time in the new colour scheme.

After a couple of other colours were tried (on AV84) the yellow and blue combination seen here was adopted as the new fleet standard, and from December of 2003 repaints commenced into the new colours (AV134 being the second bus into the livery) , with new deliveries arriving in fleet standard from 2004 onwards.

Over the next three years of the repaint cycle, all the other liveries were swept away, with the sole exception of the white “Wedding Bus” specials.


(Dublin) Donnybrook’s New GTs on 11 & 54A [25Aug2013]

Donnybrook Garage has taken delivery of the first twenty of the eighty Volvo B9TL / Wright Gemini buses on order for Dublin Bus this year.  Further deliveries are now in progress to Ringsend.

Here we see some of the Donnybrook batch in action on routes 11 and 54A.




Above: GT88 seen from the front and rear in Suffolk Street, Dublin, on Saturday 24 August 2013.

The buses are built to Wright’s Gemini II specification, however Dublin Bus has requested that they have the older style of Gemini I front panelling for commonality of spares with their earlier Wright deckers.

Route 11 switched over to GT operation from Friday 23rd August.


Above: GT84 is seen at Fortfield Drive, near Kimmage, heading outbound.

Originally the 54A was a cross-city route and came south just as far as this point, however over the years it has lost its northside section, while being continually extended to the south, the extensions allowing it to remain viable while the main 54 service was discontinued.


GT82 is seen at the same spot, heading inbound.

The buses are the first in the fleet to carry the new Irish style of registration with a three digit year prefix rather than two – so instead of being 13-D, these buses are 132-D to signify that they were delivered in the second half of the year.

As of 2009, the company no longer pays for registration numbers to coincide with fleet numbers.

MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC (Dublin, 1981) – CIE Atlanteans

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

This week we visit the early 1980s, when CIE’s Leyland Atlanteans were looking down at heel


By the early 1980s most of CIE’s 602-strong fleet of PDR1 Atlanteans had been repainted into the drab “tan” or orange livery that the newer VanHool bodied AN68s had arrived in. While undoubtedly more simple and inexpensicve than the previous cream & navy livery, it did nothing for the look of the fleet, and tended to fade rapidly, and show dirt and scuffs much more obviously.

1968 delivery D235 is seen here at Earlsfort Terrace heading south on route 20B, back in the days when the service was cross-city and ran to Bulfin Road on the South/West side, a routing long since abandoned by this route, and now served by the hourly 68A service.

D235, a native of Summerhill Depot,  is missing its CIE crest on the lower front, and carries a mismatched blind set – with terminal blinds in both upper and lower boxes, and no via points. Previously, the fleet had Irish language via points in the upper box, and final destination in English in the lower. During the late 70s and early 80s this was changed to bilingual final destination in the upper box, with English via point in the lower. D235 has received the new upper blind, but not the lower one, and so is using “AN LAR”  (City Centre) final destination blind as a makeshift via point.


AS a bonus, we have a second classic shot today.  I wouldn’t normally include one as blurred as this, however it is appropriate this week for a very specific reason.

Donnybrook Garage will this week start putting into service a batch of new Volvo B9TL/Wright Gemini buses numbered GT81-100, and this reminds me of the very similar batch of Atlanteans which were at the depot from 1967 to 1983, numbered D81-106.  These buses entered service on the 15/A/B routes in 1967, but moved to the 11 group a few years later, where they stayed for many years, until replacement by Bombardier deckers in 1981/2.  Coincidently, the new GTs, 81-100 are also for the 11 route, one of those rare synchronicities of allocation linking past and present which happen from time to time.

Above we see D81, early in 1980, and having strayed off the 11 and onto the 64A service, another long-vanished operation. Again, the CIE crest is missing from the front, but this bus retains its original fibreglass front panel, more attractive than the plain metal lower front which gradually replaced them as they became damaged.  This bus has the older style blinds, with Irish via points and English final destination in the bottom, though in this case the via points, which translate as Ballsbridge / Mount Merrion, are incorrectly set for the 64, rather than the 64A, which ran via Leeson Street rather than Ballsbridge.

I think the location of this photo is Moorehampton Road in Donnybrook, but I am not certain.

When GT81 enters service in the next few days, I will add a photo here.

(Dublin) Soon To Be Sold [29June2013]


With a further 80 new double-deckers due to arrive into the fleet from mid-July 2013, Dublin Bus will be making further inroads into the originally 648 strong fleet of ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TLs.  A handful were sold last year after the final Olympians were culled, but this year will see a cull of more than 60 members of the AV class, being taken from those 00-registered vehicles which have not had LED destination indicators refitted, and retain the older, harder to read dot matrix displays.

Donnybrook will be the first garage to get new buses, so the days are numbered for AV137, see here at the Ticknock terminus of route 114 on Saturday 29th June 2013.

Contrast this picture to that of the terminus of London route 114 a couple of posts earlier – the Dublin version is somewhat more scenic!buses

ONE IN TWELVE – First New Buses

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

Click on the pictures for full-size versions.

RV328 on its first day in service in 1997

RV328 on its first day in service in 1997

RV329 minutes after delivery to Donnybrook Garage

RV329 minutes after delivery to Donnybrook Garage

When this site was started in November 1996, the very last of the RAs were just entering service.

The first new batch of buses that I got to report online were the 1997 RVs, starting with the delivery of RV326-330 to Donnybrook.

I was living in London at the time, but a visit to Dublin to update pictures happened to coincide with the arrival of the Donnybrook RVs.

Now the site is 12 years old, and those first new buses it covered are gone from the fleet.

ONE IN TWELVE – Instant Mods

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

Click on the picture for the full-size version.

Brand new RVs at Donnybrook in 1999

Brand new RVs at Donnybrook in 1999

The delivery of the final order for 195 RVs in 1999 included the first “euro” additional buses, and a lot of the later 500s were stored for periods of time before entering service. At the same time, a change in specification came into effect – following successful trials of a DMD display on RV460 earlier in the year, it was decided that all future buses would be so equipped.

No specific instruction was given to Alexander about how the destination window should look, so they produced these vehicles with a smaller destination glass, correctly sized for the DMD display, as used for many UK operators who specified DMDs.

However, on delivery, it was felt by Dublin Bus that these smaller destination boxes looked “ugly” and an immediate instructions were issued to Alexander to revert to the original sized window, with the DMD centred within it. After a very short period, those vehicles already delivered with the small destination glass were dispatched to Louth Commercials for modifications to make them look like the others.

The top photo shows some of the RV580s stored new in Donnybrook.

RV565 was one of a number of buses which ran in service with the smaller window for a short period in 1999.

RV565 was one of a number of buses which ran in service with the smaller window for a short period in 1999.

RV585 when new.

RV585 when new.

ONE IN TWELVE – Second Time Round

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.

Click on the picture to open the fullsize version.

Bright bus on a dark morning - RH41 with Mortons

Bright bus on a dark morning - RH41 with Mortons

Today’s picture is one of those “lucky shots” that happens from time to time (if you remember to bring your camera with you everywhere).

Mortons commuter services (which later became Circle Line) almost always used buses bought new or ex-demo for it’s services, and in recent years it was rare to see anything older than 1999.

However, Mortons did own a former Dublin Bus RH-type Olympian for a short period around 2003, and this was used from time to time on the CL services. One very gloomy winters morning I managed to capture it in Nassau Street. RH41 was formerly a Donnybrook bus, and is now open-topped and working for Cronin’s in Cork.

Below: bonus pic of RH41 in April 2002, shortly before being withdrawn.

29th April 2002 - RH41 at Donnybrook

29th April 2002 - RH41 at Donnybrook

ONE IN TWELVE – VanHool Tours

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.

Click on any picture for the fullsize version.

D635 in tour bus guise

D635 in tour bus guise

During the early years of this site, when I ran it while living in the UK, I would usually visit Dublin twice a year or so to get fresh photos and see what was happening on the scene. No such visit was complete without a ride on the city tour, which gave me the opportunity to travel on the VanHools of my youth, which were by the mid 90s gone from normal service.

Of all the buses used on the tour service, my favourites were D635 and DF760, both of which I had known from new in the mid 1970s. 760 had been allocated to my “home” garage, Donnybrook, and although it didn’t work my local routes, I still considered it one of “my ” buses.

I had even stronger memories of D635 however, as despite being a Summerhill bus, it was allocated to a route which came very close to home – so close in fact, that it could be seen from a vantage point at the top of the tall pine tree which grew in our back garden. I had been given a telescope for Christmas one year, and discovered that by climbing to the top of the tree, I could just see the 16As turning round at the Bottle Tower through a gap between the houses. I spent several happy afternoons up the tree watching the buses through the telescope, until complaints from the neighbours to my parents brought a quick end to the practice – they were not so sure it was buses I was watching (though in all innocence, it was! )

When not up a tree, I would often wander over to the Bottle Tower junction, where all the local routes – 14, 14A, 16A, 17, 47A and 61 could be watched together. D635 was a regular on the 16A, and stood out because it was out of sequence from the rest of the route’s allocation, which consisted of D665-669, and 673-699.

The odd ones out were 634, 635 and 644 which had somehow escaped being allocated to Clontarf (through 634/5 were to be sent there in an allocation tidying excercise in 1980).

D635 had a brief spell in Donnybrook in the early 90s, thus becoming one of a small number of buses which would have worked the Churchtown area as both a 14/A and a 16A.

I was pleased to come across it surviving on tours in the late 1990s, and even more pleased that it eventually survived all the others in the system as a tree-lopper to become both the last VanHool owned by Dublin Bus, and the last two-tone green vehicle in the fleet at the time of it’s eventual disposal in February 2003.

Even that is not the end of the story for D635, which has survived in private hands in tree-lopping format, and is currently undergoing renovation to become a special event vehicle.

Given my childhood method of observing the new VanHools on the 16A, it is somewhat appropriate that this bus became a tree-lopper – perhaps there is a message there somewhere?

ONE IN TWELVE – Fresh Cream

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 takes us back to 2001 to remind ourselves how good the old blue & cream “core” livery could look when freshly painted.

RA248 about to turn onto Matt Talbot Bridge

RA248 about to turn onto Matt Talbot Bridge

I was always very fond of the blue & cream livery which I felt looked well not only when freshly painted, but also stayed good looking over the years inbetween repaints.

This picture of RA248 fresh from a midlife repaint shows how much nicer a freshly painted bus could look without the usual adframes.

RA248 spent a lot of its life in Phibsboro, but moved to Donnybrook for a while when it’s position as a potential tourbus was usurped by RA260, which had suffered upper-deck damage in a malicious fire at Dun Laoghaire. RA260 was repaired by conversion to open-top, and 248 came across to Donnybrook as a replacement.

Belfield morning shots

Some shots taken at the main bus station at UCD Belfield in the morning peak, Friday 17th October 2008.

All photos can be seen fullsize by clicking on them

Bus Eireann Scania/Irizar SC263

Bus Eireann Scania/Irizar SC263

AV25 has arrived in as a 70B

AV25 has arrived in as a 70B

Route 17 is still Olympian operated. RV443 is seen heading for Blackrock

Route 17 is still Olympian operated. RV443 is seen heading for Blackrock

AV43 has arrived into Belfield as a euro-duty 25X

AV43 has arrived into Belfield as a euro-duty 25X

 . . . and departs for town as a 46A

. . . and departs for town as a 46A

AV303 on duty 10/10 with another 10 behind it. Note the contrasting James Bond ads.

AV303 on duty 10/10 with another 10 behind it. Note the contrasting James Bond ads.

RA farewell tour

The RA-class Volvo Olympian / Alexander (Cummins powered) double-decker has bowed out of service with Dublin Bus, leaving just over 300 similar but Volvo powered RV class still in service.

Enthusiasts enjoyed a fine sendoff for the RA class, organised by Dublin Bus drivers Tony, Barry and Kevin, thanks also due to the management of Donnybrook depot for retaining the last two servicable examples until the weekend for us.

The buses RA302 and RA305 carried enthusiasts over the 46A and 14 routes, joined by trainer RA176, the first RA, and originally also a Donnybrook bus.

RA305, 302 and 176 at Dundrum LUAS station, which was the ideal location for group photos.

RA305, 302 and 176 at Dundrum LUAS station, which was the ideal location for group photos.

Lineup at Dundrum.

Lineup at Dundrum.

Trainer RA176, the first of the class, was guest of honour on the run!

Trainer RA176, the first of the class, was guest of honour on the run!

The new order - AX613, one of the buses whose transfer to Donnybrook brought about the end of the RAs, overtakes at the old 14 terminus on Braemor road

The new order - AX613, one of the buses whose transfer to Donnybrook brought about the end of the RAs, overtakes at the old 14 terminus on Braemor road

The RAs at Dun Laoghaire 46A terminus, showing the blinds custom-made for the occasion.

The RAs at Dun Laoghaire 46A terminus, showing the blinds custom-made for the occasion.

AV file

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!

AV7Xs repaint cycle

As Donnybrook’s early AVs go through their third repaint cycle, AllAboutBuses presents some “then and now” photos.


At Donnybrook Garage today, AV74 is undergoing body refurbishment as preperation for its slot in the regular three year repaint cycle. (click on any picture for fullsize version).

All panels are indspected and any damaged ones replaced, as well as any neccessary structural work or internal refurbishment. Delivered in October 2000 as part of the batch AV69-92 to Donnybrook, this is the third time through the cycle for this bus – first done in 2003, it just missed the start of the new livery programme, and was done again in 2005 to get into the new colours, now being due again.


AV71, done a couple of weeks ago, shows how the finished product looks after respray. This time round, although the colours stay the same, the new corporate branding is being applied, ditching the italitcs in favour of a cleaner, bolder look.


It doesn’t seem like 5 years ago that I took this shot of AV73 at Donnybrook, finished preperation and waiting to be driven to the contractor for it’s first cycle respray.


AV77 above, just back from its first respray in summer 2003, showing how smart the original “core” blue and cream looked.


At the same time that this batch of Donnybrook AVs were getting their first repaints, Dublin Bus were coming to move to a new corporate colour scheme, to replace the then existing Core, CitySwift and City Imp liveries.

Thirty one different variations had been designed on paper and rejected, but the thirty-second design looked promising, and AV76, which happened to be in for respray, was to be the bus which would get it in trial version.

It is seen above on its first day on the road in the new colours. Although it looks unremarkable now, its arrival at the time evoked a lot of comment and interest. There were to be a couple of other trial liveries, and AV76 itself went back to the painter to have the shade of light blue changed slightly, so it was 3 months before any other buses got the new “fleet standard” colours, and in the meantime more new buses (AV331-362) had been delivered in blue & cream and CitySwift liveries.

When full repaints to the new scheme commenced, Donnybrook’s AV134 was the first routine repaint, while RV412 was the first Olympian to wear the new colours.