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.

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.

Belarmine Buses

Belarmine, close to Stepaside has finally got a decent all-day bus service with the arrival of the Dublin Bus 47 route, linking in with the frequent Stillorgan QBC.

AV328 seen at the terminus deep within the Belarmine estate. The service is operated as a fully lowfloor route with Volvo B7TL ALX400s.

AV328 seen at the terminus deep within the Belarmine estate. The service is operated as a fully lowfloor route with Volvo B7TL ALX400s.

RV585 arriving on the evening direct service from Dublin city - route 117.

RV585 arriving on the evening direct service from Dublin city - route 117.

Stops in Belarmine have been correctly dressed with the new timetables, and planning permission for shelters is being sought.

Stops in Belarmine have been correctly dressed with the new timetables, and planning permission for shelters is being sought.

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

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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.

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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

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 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.

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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

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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

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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.

Not quite the shot at Ticknock

Sometimes despite a lot of preparation, the photo you plan eludes you.

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Dublin Bus Volvo Olympian RV414 at Ticknock (click on any photo for fullsize version)

The bus is climbing Simon’s Ridge, having just left the 114 terminus in the development below, and is headed for the coastal village of Blackrock, where it meets with the DART rail service. Like the 102 on the northside, this is an official “DART feeder route” so through bus/rail tickets can be bought from the driver.

Just a few years ago, the only service that passed anywhere close to this spot was the infrequent single-deck 44B on its way to the mountain communities of Barnacullia and Glencullen. Now, as the city rapidly spreads up into the foothills of the Dublin Mountains, more regular bus services have followed.

This spot affords a fine view across the city below, and of Dublin Bay, and I’d wanted for a while to get a shot of a bus here with the city as backdrop.

It didn’t quite work out as I planned though, for reasons discussed below, and this view is to fuzzy and not exactly the one I wanted, though it is passable I suppose.

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When I positioned mself by the roadside to get the picture, I noticed that from my position, the 114 terminus was visible in the development down below. I would therefore easily be able to see when the bus was on its way up, and I grabbed a shot of it from afar with the city behind, as a csort of “bus in landscape” picture. Behind the apartments is the M50, though invisible here, and further back, and to the right of the picture, you can see a long way along Ballinteer Road, down as far as the junction of Ballinteer Avenue. In fact, at times I could see the buses turning from one to the other, so in theory it would be possible to have both a 14 and a 114 in the same shot, despite the fact that the two routes never meet!

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Here the bus is just pulling away from the terminus to come up to me, and I’ve included this shot because the red lorry above it nicely illustrates the position of the M50 motorway.

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Sometimes it just happens that no matter how long you wait, or how much you plan, something will ruin your shot. There had been no traffic for 10 minutes, but just as the bus hove into view, I could hear a car coming up behind me, and I knew that unless I went early, it would block the picture at exactly the wrong moment.

I had wanted the bus to be further towards me, just a little past the stop, so I would get both the city and the bay in the background. But I had to shoot early, and hope I could rescue the picture by cropping it in, which is what I did in the end, to produce the top shot of this page. Bit of a compromise though, as when you are cropping in to a more distant object, it is not as clear, and it also wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be.

Never mind, I shall come again one day and get a better picture, and if I’m lucky enough with sunlight I can use a faster exposure and have a slightly sharper image too.

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.

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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!