MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC: (Dublin, 1997) Bombardier KD80

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

This week’s classic takes us back to the 1990s . .


The Bombardier KD-type was the classic Irish double-decker of the 1980s, and radically different from anything that had been in the fleet before, or indeed, since.

Based on an integral design with General Motors Detroit Diesel engine, Allison transmission, and body built in Shannon by Bombardier, then much lesser known in European public transport circles than it is today, 366 of these buses ran on the streets of Dublin, Cork and Limerick (with occasional forays to Waterford and Galway) from May 1981 until December 2000.

KD80, delivered towards the end of 1981, is one of the first batch of Bombardiers allocated to Summerhill Garage, replacing elderly Leyland Titan PD3s dating from 1960, including by chance RA80, which itself had replaced a prewar TD type Titan R80 at the same depot two decades earlier.

KD80 stayed at Summerhill for all of its life, and worked the haevily used Airport routes 41/41A/41B as well as the lengthy 33 and the 20B, with less frequent outings on the cross-city 16/16A, which passed from Atlantean to Olympian operation without ever wholly embracing the KD type.

KD80 was withdrawn in the late 1990s, but Summerhill was to be the last depot to operate Bombardiers in regular service (from its later batches) in December 2000, on routes including the 20B.


MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC: (London 1978) Route 140 With RTs

To kick-start July we are launching a brand new feature, helping to banish those Monday morning blues while at the same time allowing us to showcase our extensive photo archive. Each Monday morning we’ll treat you to a trip back in time with our “Monday Morning Classic”

1978, possibly January, RT2076 from HD

January 1978 at Harrow,  RT2076 on route 140

For our first Monday Morning Classic we go back 35 years to 1978, when the once massive RT fleet of London Transport was down to just a handful of routes, and with a year left to go.

The 140, which in those days ran from Heathrow Airport all the way to Mill Hill Broadway (using the eastern end of what is now the 114 routing) was still RT operated until July 1978, when it went over to RMs. These two photos was taken in  early January of that year.

Taking an RT to Heathrow from Harrow was an excellent spin, especially the section through the tunnel approaching the airport. There was also a Sunday-only variation running via Cherry Lane Cemetery which added a couple of miles and some fast running sections to the route.

The destination displayed above is “Heathrow Airport Central” – in the days before Terminals 4 and 5 all flights could be accessed from the current T123 bus station, so terminal numbers were not needed on buses.

RT2076  (LYF14) seen in the photo above entered service in April 1951 from Thornton Heath garage, working on the lengthy 109 service from Croydon to Central London as well as the 190. It was transferred around the system a lot in its first two decades, eventually settling down in Harrow Weald (HD) in January 1967, where it remained for over a decade, finally being withdrawn from service in April 1978, just a couple of months before the 140 lost its RTs.

It survived as a trainer for a few months at Bexleyheath, and went for scrap in March 1979.

Below we see a rear view of RT4711 (NXP996)on the same route, and also taken in central Harrow, though the location has changed beyond recognition in recent years. I don’t have such a comprehensive history of this bus, but it also outlived most of the class, as by the time this picture was taken there were less than 200 of the once 4825 strong fleet still in service. The bus is looking quite grubby, as, although not seen in this shot, there was still a lot of slush around following an earlier snowfall.


The cold weather at the time is evidenced by how well wrapped up the people boarding the bus are – though perhaps this is just 1970s fashion!

Of the adverts on the bus, Portman Insurance is still going strong, but Colliver Fisher do not seem to be in the car business any more, but a firm of the same name (quite an unusual name) is still in business close to Harrow as an estate management company.

RT4711 is heading east on the 140, towards Mill Hill Broadway.