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)

 

 

 

 

 

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 . .

kd80

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.

ONE IN TWELVE – The Last Double-deckers in Limerick

We’re in to the last two days of our ONE IN TWELVE FEATURE for November, celebrating 12 years of this website.

Watch out for double updates on Saturday and Sunday, with evening as well as morning updates as we head towards the end of the month.

Later on Saturday we will have our double-deck clearout, but for now, back to the very birth of this site, which was just after the last deckers were withdrawn from Limerick’s streets.

I've just disembarked from KD193, after travelling on a double-decker in Limerick for the last ever time in December 1995

KD193 survived the end of double-deck operation in Limerick and was transferred to Cork. Here it is seen in Limerick city centre operating the busy route 8 at Christmas 1995.

KD50 spent its entire life in Limerick, and retained its original offset reg plate until the very end. Also in the picture are KE3 and DVH4.

Bombardier KD50 spent its entire life in Limerick, and retained its original offset reg plate until the very end. Also in the picture are KE3 and DVH4.

ONE IN TWELVE – Old and full of Blarney

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.

To see these pictures in all their glory, click on the picture for the full-size version.

Cork's second-last KD seen at Parnell Place

Cork's second-last KD seen at Parnell Place

KD182 spent its final days on the Blarney route

KD182 spent its final days on the Blarney route.

The end of the Bombardier’General Motors double-decks saw the end of double-deck operation in Cork, after more than 60 years (though the decker is now making a return to the city).

I’m trying to remember if it was the end of 1996 or 1997 that the majority of the Cork KDs were withdrawn, but in any case, two remained in service for another few months after all the others had gone. The very last was KD184, but it is the second-last we are looking at here, with photos taken of KD182 in its last week on the road, when it was still proving useful to shift the heavy crowds on the Blarney run.

Staff at Capwell told me they pleaded with the Dublin-based management to be allowed to retain double-deckers for routes such as this one, but to no avail.

At the outer terminus. KD182 is looking a bit worse for wear at the end of its life.

At the outer terminus. KD182 is looking a bit worse for wear at the end of its life.

The KCs which took over the route showed some signs of wear. A driver watches as KC148 sets off for Blarney.

The KCs which took over the route showed some signs of wear. A driver watches as KC148 sets off for Blarney.

ONE IN TWELVE – Lost Location

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 look at a picture taken 11 years ago which can never be recreated – not only is the bus long gone, but the location itself has vanished forever.

Click on any picture for the fullsize version.

Bombardier KD105 parked on the now vanished ramp up to Connolly Station.

Bombardier KD105 parked on the now vanished ramp up to Connolly Station

When this site first started back in 1996, virtually the entire fleet of 366 Bombardier/GM double-deckers were still in service with Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann, and the first 4 years or so of the site recorded their steady decline and eventual scrapping.

This picture, taken in 1997, shows a typical Dublin KD – Clontarf’s KD105 – in the two-tone green livery in which they ran all of their lives, the only modification being the introduction of a thin orange band and logo when Dublin Bus devolved from CIE.

This picture, taken on a wet Friday in May, reminds me of how useful the ramp up to Connolly Station was as a location for layovers. Behind the KD are a couple of Bus Eireann vehicles, including a VC which would probably still be in service today. The location no longer exists – the ramp was levelled and removed in 2002 to make way for the new LUAS Red Line tramway station which opened in 2004.

KD105 is here resting on duty 3/27B – it had been delivered new to Clontarf in February 1982, and was one of the batch which replaced the last open platform Leyland PD3 buses at that garage.