MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC: Full Load On Zion Road (Dublin, 1997)

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

This week we jump back in time to 1997, and a pair of shots encompassing both a route and a bus type that were soon to vanish.

KD232a

KD232b

The evening rush-hour is in full swing as the number 47 finally makes it to the head of a long queue of traffic on Zion Road, in south Dublin.  Traditionally a single-deck route, occasional double-deck workings started from the late 1970s, and become more common over the years. As the second of the two photos shows, the double-deck is clearly needed on this journey at least.

This is the original 47, the longstanding route through Rathmines, Rathgar and Rathfarnham and on to the Dublin mountains, with two distinct branches serving Whitechurch and Tibradden, or direct to Rockbrook.  In later years the branches were combined to form a circular service, so that a bus going out to Tibradden, as here, would return via Rockbrook and vice versa.

The 47, and it’s sibling the 47B were unusual in being “back-street routes” – eschewing the more direct main roads and serving a complicated network of small streets between Rathmines and Rathfarnham, of which Zion Road was the last, the bus here about to turn onto the main Rathfarnham Road.  The original 47A was unrelated, and went to Churchtown, but after that route was replaced by a rerouted 14, the 47A number was later used to distinguish anticlockwise trips on the new combined Rockbrook/Tibradden loop.

The revised 47/47A service in the late 1990s seems to have been doing well, as seen here, but even so it was axed around the turn of the milenium, with the replacement being a minibus service 161 which linked Rockbrook and Whitechurch to Nutgrove Shopping Centre, but did not at that time serve the old Tibradden terminus.  It did however restore service to a short section of route beyond Rockbrook which had been lost when the circular service was brought in.

Whitechurch Estate, which had blossomed out of green fields over the previous decade, was given extra service with a new infrequent 15C service, as well as as peak hour 116, which took a longwinded route via the Stillorgan QBC.

The next change took place as the gradual elimination of small minibuses forced the 161 to be worked by larger single-deckers, which were unable to turn at the Rockbrook terminus. After a confusing period when the 161 only served Rockbrook when a minibus was available, and curtailed to Whitechurch if operated by bigger buses, a new routing diverted the 161 away from the old Rockbrook terminus, and along part of the old circular route past Tibradden and down to Kilmashogue, which remains the current terminus – thus the original Tibradden terminus once more regained a service, while the original Rockbrook one lost out, though the buses do still come through the village proper (more a collection of cottages at a fork in the road than an actual village). The 161 eventually became wholly double-deck worked.

Meanwhile the 15C at Whitechurch had been replaced by an extension of the much more frequent 15B, but this only lasted a few years before further service changes diverted the 15B westwards to replace the short-lived 74A.

To replace the 15B at Whitechurch, new route 61 (which was also part replacing the 48A between Dundrum and the city) came to Whitechurch in 2012.  (a a result of which, there is now one part of nearby Grange Road which is served by four routes, numbered 16, 61, 116, 161 – must be a nightmare for the shortsighted).

Some journeys on the 61 are projected over the 161 out to Rockbrook/Tibradden/Kilmashogue, restoring a city centre connection to those places after a gap of more than 10 years.

Meanwhile the 161, which had originally turned round in Nutgrove Shopping Centre car park in the minibus days, eventually extended to Dundrum LUAS station, a far more sensible arrangement.

All of this is by way of explaining what happened to the travel arrangements of those people we can see on the 47 pictured above . . .

The bus is one of the famous and long-lived Bombardiers of CIE/Dublin Bus, of which the first prototype was delivered in 1979, and the final run in service took place in January 2001.  KD232 is the bus in question, delivered in 1982, and withdrawn sometime around 1998/9.

It should also be noted here that none of the above has any connection to the current route 47, which is a brand new service, and does not cover any of the same areas outside of the city centre (but whose short history is already complicated enough to be a story worth telling another day)

 

 

 

 

 

Wide Open Spaces on the 161

Work on extending the “Green Route” westwards has transformed Fortification Hill, a formerly notorious stretch of road between Whitechurch and Grange Road.

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Dublin Bus Volvo B7TL/ALX400 AV327 operating on route 161 passes along a new stretch of road on Fortification Hill, between Grange Road and Whitechurch. The bus is one of a trio of closed-top vehicles to wear the tours livery normally used by open-toppers – these 3 buses work normal service routes when not required foruse on the North Coast & South Coast tours. The livery itself is currently being replaced by a new two-tone metallic green treatment.

My previous posting about the Ticknock area and how much it has changed brought to mind another location nearby where a major transformation has just taken place – the small piece of windy twisty road linking Whitechurch with Grange Road, hemmed in between Grange Golf Club on one side, and St. Enda’s Park on the other, which rejoices in the rather military sounding name of “Fortification Hill”

This was always a terrifying piece of road, especially for bus-drivers, barely wide enough for two-way traffic, with high stone walls on both sides right at the edge of the road (no footpaths) and hilly blind corners. Passing a car and bus was bad enough, but when two buses or a bus and a truck met in opposite directions, progress could be inch by inch.

The major reconstruction that has just opened here took land from the Golf Club, and you would not recognise the stretch of road now – not only is it wide enough for two full traffic lanes, and two generous footpaths, but it has cycle lanes and even a buslane too!

Plus you can now see clearly from end to end.

The above picture is looking towards Grange Road, and the one below is looking down Fortification Hill towards Whitechurch, where the “Green Route” project has widened the to road onwards past Morton’s depot.

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