MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC: Destination: Refreshment (Dublin 1979)

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 1979 in Dublin.

D826

Heineken had a very eye-catching and cleverly designed advertising campaign running on CIE buses at the end of the 1970s – wrapped around the destination display of double-deckers with the strapline “Destination: Refreshment”

The bus displaying it here is D826, one of the final batch of VanHool MacArdle bodied Leyland Atlantean AN68s delivered to CIE in 1977/78, following a gap in production as the Spa Road plant built double-deckers for South Yorkshire and A1 Motor Services.

These last Dublin-built buses differed from the earlier VanHools in having a revised lower frontal section made of fibreglass, and also originally sported the more modern square VanHool badge. Over the years they gradually lost these features, and ended up identical to the bulk of the VanHool fleet, which had been delivered between 1974 and 1976.

D826 is seen here heading inbound on the south quays (in the days before the traffic flow was reversed) and with a hopelessly mis-set destination display, the top blind being halfway between the outbound route 25 and 37 displays, and the lower displaying “via City Centre” which would be more commonly used on cross city routes – “via Chapelizod” would have been more appropriate for the 25.

 

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MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC: Twilight VanHool (Cork, 1980)

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 1980, when CIE’s fleet of 238 VanHool MacArdle bodied AN68 Atlanteans were still reasonably new, and in the original as-delivered “tan” livery.

D706

It’s late in the evening of a summer’s day in 1980, and the setting sun is about as far west as it gets, with the front of our southbound bus being just a degree or two away from deep shadow. This light serves of accentuate the boxlike nature of the body, with panel joins clearly visible.

D706 is five years old at this point, one of a batch delivered to Cork in 1975 to clear out the ramaining halfcab Leyland Titan PD2s (a type which continued in service with CIE in Dublin until 76 (the PD2s) and 1982 (PD3s).

At this stage, the majority of VanHools, based in Dublin, had been modified with a bar across the front upper deck windows, but the Cork ones, for the most part, never got this.

The route number display is somewhat interesting, considering that this is a one-piece rather than three-track number blind – the space between the 7 and the A is very noticable.

Cork buses at this time made use of only a single destination blind, with English-only final destination in large lettering.  The lower “via blind” was always blanked out with black paint or masking.

The 7A route, the northern half of which still survives today, went to Skehard on the southside, and was equally frequent to the main 7 service.

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

D235

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.

D81

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.

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?

LUAS update (Cherrywood extension)

An update on the LUAS Green Line extension to Cherrywood in South County Dublin.

You can click on any photo to see the fullsize version.

Above is the new bridgework just put in place on the Brewery Road roundabout at Sandyford.

While we’re at it, let’s have a look at Brewery Road as it is now, compared to 28 years ago.

The upper of the two photos above shows the view at the top end of Brewery Road, looking towards the roundabout. Below is the exact same view taken in 1980 – note that despite the dramatic changes, the trees on the lefthand side have survived.

The lower photo shows how rural Brewery Road was in the early 1980s. The bus is a CIE bodied Leyland Atlantean “standard D”  (D396) of the type typical to the 86 route at the time (although this individual vehicle would more normally have been found on the 48A).

In those days the 86 still ran all day at a roughly half-hourly frequency, from Cabinteely to College Street.

The photo was not taken in the summer months – buses carrying the Mother’s Pride advert always had it replaced by an advert for Nimble “for summer slimness” in mid May, with Mother’s Pride returning in September.

Back to today, the above picture shows the extensive works on Ballyogan Road, the LUAS will run on the righthand side of the picture, while the greatly improved road will be on the left.

Glenamuck Road, seen from the bottom of the hill (i.e. the M50 is behind us) looking up towards the railway bridge. This road remains closed while the new bridge for LUAS is put in place, and the road itself is being totally transformed from narrow and twisty with no verge or footpath, to a much wider road with paths and cycle lanes.

Officially, Glenamuck Road is supposed to reopen to traffic on May 1st 2008, but I am not wholly convinced that the work can be finished in time. Here we see the new LUAS bridge which the road will run over.

Above the bridge, looking towards Carrickmines Cross, we can get an idea what the new road will look like when finished.

At Cherrywood, the major road crossing has now been put in place.

The end of the line, at Cherrywood Business Park, will see the elevated station named as Bride’s Glen.

Finglas Forays over the years

With Finglas bus services in the news, the need to get some up to date shots prompted me to look back through my collection to remember previous visits.Below are a selection of pictures and commentary from last Sunday, as well as my forays to Finglas 5, 8 and 26 years ago.

2008

20080323-rv550.jpg

Whatever happens in the Irish bus world usually makes it into Coach & Bus Week (CBW) magazine the following Wednesday, and more often than not I have to get a photo to accompany the copy.

Given recent events in Finglas, including car hijackings on Patricks Day and occasional stoning of buses (the subject of the article) I was a little nervours about this assignment, especially given the circumstances of my last attempt to photograph in the location 5 years ago (see further below). So I took the car instead of the bus, and confined myself to failry mainstream locations, not too far off the beaten track.

Stopping first at Glasnevin Cemetary, after a few middling shots of buses heading to Finglas which were not displaying the destination, I got the picture above which would eventually accompany the article – ironically the only bus with “Finglas” mentioned on the display was actually heading inwards!

The bus is Volvo Olympian / Alexander RV550, new to Donnybrook Garage in 1999, and swapped over to Harristown in December 2005 as part of a cascade when the first triaxles arrived. It is on the 40A, and is picking up outside the main cemetary gates.

20080323-rv537.jpg

I wanted to get more shots closer to the Finglas area, and this one of RV537 was my first attempt. I was surprised to see it still on the 40s, as I expected it to have transferred to Ringsend by the weekend (part of another cascade – new triaxles into Phibsboro releasing older lowfloor buses to Harristown, pushing 9 year old RVs to Ringsend to replace 12 year old RAs).

Even in the short time that I stood on Tolka Valley Road to get this shot, I was subject to taunting from local youths and passing motorists, so I decided to quit while I was ahead and leave the area.

2003

20030802-rv547.jpg

 The source of my unease was an event five years earlier, when I had decided to take the newly extended/merged 83 to Finglas in the middle of the day on a Saturday, to get some shots around Finglas Village.

I had just stepped off the bus in the picture above, and photographed it to start my visit, when a group of local teenagers took exception to me, and started shouting insults and approaching in a threatening group. Within a minute of this picture I was having bottles and can thrown at me, in broad daylight close to the centre of the village.

This was something I had never encountered when photographing in any other area of Dublin.

20030802-av141.jpg

Discretion being the better part of valour, I legged it the short distance to the main road, where AV141 was just approaching as an inbound 40, and grabbed a quick shot before boarding and heading back into town.

2000

20000710-p26.jpg

In July 2000, when the above photo was taken, the Finglas QBC had just been launched (or relaunched).

The 40 was mainly P operated at the time, as these buses – Plaxton Verde bodied DAF SB220s – had been replaced on the 39 by higher capacity double-deckers.

This shot of P26 was taken on a quiet morning near Glasnevin – no trouble that day.

I liked the Ps, and was sad that they were withdrawn before their time, as single-decks went out of fashion in Dublin. They are a graceful looking bus, and can still be found at work as schoolbuses with Bus Eireann, mainly in the west.

1982

1982xxxx-d1.jpg

My favourite Finglas photo, even if it is badly clipped at one side. The time is late summer 1982, and Leyland Atlantean PDR1 D1 is in its last weeks of service, one of just a handful of single-door examples hanging on in service at the time.

D1 is a much photographed vehicle, and there are endless publicity shots of it gleaming new in 1966, but this is how it looked at the other end of its life, battered and torn after 16 years of service.One headlight missing, a hole in the roof dome, badly patched metal around the lower destination display, and mismatching window surrounds – one rubber in the style of the D400s, and one original. Some of the early Ds did get the rubber window aurrounds after serious accidents, but usually both were done, and D1 looked very odd with half a repair job.

The Transport Museum did think about obtaining D1 on withdrawal, but in the end went for the much more solid D44 instead.

I do recall that I travelled back into town on D1 that day, and that this was the very last time I saw it on the road – it was confirmed withdrawn just a few weeks later.

Lean On Me

Leaning

A bus for those who lean to the left

It’s a long time since I’ve seen a leaning bus at Donnybrook, so the sight of Volvo Olympian RV495 (see picture above – click for fullsize version) brought me back many years, to the days when I used to visit the depot as a teenage schoolboy on my bike.

There were a lot of leaners in those days, especially among the dwindling number of halfcab open platform buses (Leyland PD3s with CIE bodywork) which used to lean to the nearside due to the effects of constant weight of people on the platform, or the other wayif they had an extra sping fitted to counter the nearside lean.

Occasional Atlantean leanings would also be seen, but it was the arrival of the Bombardiers with their air-suspension which took it to an art form. They could lean left or right, or occasionally even backwards or forwards.

The picture above was taken this January 2008, and shows RV495 with a pronounced heel, and the RV to our left of it doesn’t look too straight either!

Below is a shot from the late 1970s, showing a less pronounced leaner, D271, normally a regular on my home 14/14A routes, but obviously having recently put in a stint on the lengthy 84.

jp1423a-d271-ra151.jpg

The picture shows just how poor the tan livery looked on the Atlanteans once it had faded – compare D271 to the RA on the right, which was not only 8 years older, but whose last respray had been at least two years prior to the Ds one.

Happy days those, when all I had to worry about was the end of the summer holidays, and the prospect of looking at photos of buses on a computer was pure science fiction!