Distant Relation [April 2013]


I came across this MAN sightseeing bus in Berlin in April 2013.

Any bets this bodywork was designed by FFG Hamburg? Or at least influenced by them!


Dublin’s Last Olympians


As of the 10th December 2012, just 2 of the once 640 strong Olympian fleet remain in active service with Dublin Bus, and both are expected to be withdrawn within days.

RV560, the last one at Summerhill is seen at Swords Main Street at 18:57 this evening, working the 18:00 route 41C departure from Dublin.

Click on picture for larger version.


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 we go back to 2003 when the AD-class ruled the Bray area with a picture of a somewhat unusual destination display.

Click on any picture for the fullsize version.

Donnybrook's AD33 going to . . where?

Donnybrook's AD33 going to . . where?

Today’s picture was taken on February 1st 2003, at Bray Station, which was at that time home to a number of services operated by the AD-class DAF SB220 / Alexander Setanta single-decks.

AD33 is seen here about to depart southwards on the 184, which basically follows the more westerly of the former branches of the original 84 service, linking Bray and Greystones with Delgany and Newtownmountkennedy.

In the days when these towns were served by the 84 itself, some buses terminated at Delgany, and only one bus a week went as far as Newtownmountkennedy, most turning around at Willow Grove, a location a little to the west of the current N11, about halfway between Delgany and Kilpedder.

Willow Grove is no longer accessible as a terminus following recent junction changes on the N11, but back in 2003 it was still served by some workings.

The destination being displayed on AD33 “Wow Grove” is not a misprint – the destination blind has actually folded in on itself in such a way as to be unnoticable were it not for the strange spellings that result! (more visible if you click for the fullsize photo).

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!

New Bus Stop Database for Dublin Bus


Dublin Bus Goes Live with New Bus Stop System based on eSpatial’s iSMART®
June 27, 2008

Company: eSpatial
Industry: Local Government, GIS Software Products, Geospatial Technology
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland, June 27th, eSpatial, a global enterprise geospatial software and technology company today announced that Dublin Bus, the major public transport provider in the greater Dublin Area, Ireland, has gone live with a new Bus Stop Database system based on the eSpatial iSMART® product suite. The transport company will use the system internally for the data capture, analysis, storage and maintenance of bus-stop information.

Built using eSpatial’s award winning iSMART® technology, the new Bus Stop System (BSS) modernises the processing of bus stop information (information that was previously held in disparate spreadsheets and databases) and enables selected personnel to capture and update of associated bus stop data, bus route information and journey patterns In addition to reference information held in text form, the system holds photographs, GPS co-ordinates and relevant documents associated with Dublin bus stops. The mapping component, based on iSMART, enables users to capture, view and query data in a seamless manner, all from a standard web browser. A planned AVL (Automatic Vehicle Location) system will also utilise the information contained within the database.

This is a server centric, integrated system in a standard non-proprietary environment; having a single instance of all attribute, mapping and data stored in an Oracle Database. BSS is built using Oracle 10g Application Server and Oracle 10g. Oracle provides the capability to store spatial data is increasingly becoming the de facto standard for spatial data storage within the GIS industry. eSpatial is at the forefront of delivering sophisticated and powerful applications on this platform.

John Caulfield, Solutions Director, Oracle Ireland said “iSMART, together with the Oracle database, offers Dublin Bus a low cost, multi-user, web application including viewing, editing, analysis and management of its data and we’re delighted to see the Dublin Bus Mapping Solution go live.”

Donal Keating, Dublin Bus Manager Operations Support, “Dublin Bus is excited about the new Bus Stop System built by eSpatial, a global GIS software and technology company, headquartered here in Dublin. We’re particularly pleased with the asset management capabilities this system provides us with, in addition, as everything is now web-based, there is excellent return on investment.”

Philip O’Doherty, eSpatial CEO added, “We’re proud to deliver this solution to Dublin Bus and the capabilities in this application further establishes eSpatial as a market leader in providing on-line mapping and location applications that support and integrate with real-world internal and external business systems.”

About eSpatial
eSpatial is a global software and consulting company specializing in GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and Location Services. eSpatial leverages ten years of Oracle Spatial experience to deliver sophisticated and powerful web applications. We have a consistent track record of cost-effective solutions that deliver significant return on investment for our customers. iSMART®, our award winning software suite, is the most comprehensive solution to complement Oracle’s Spatial technology platform and is fast becoming the first choice for Oracle Spatial. eSpatial enables customers to realize the potential in on-line mapping and location applications that support and integrate with real-world internal and external business systems. We have a global partner and customer-base that is growing rapidly. This is testament to our commitment to flexibility and responsiveness in ensuring faster time to market for enterprise grade system deployment.