Quick-Pic: Hydrogen trial buses arrive in RoI [04Jan2021]

The three Hydrogen-electric powered double-deck bus intended for Bus Eireann have arrived in the Republic, and are currently at a dealer compound for inspection prior to delivery to the operator.

Numbered HWD1-3, the buses will be used in service on route 103 between Dublin and Ashbourne / Ratoath.

The vehicles carry the new standard Transport For Ireland (TFI) livery of green and yellow, which will roll out on new vehicles across all PSO (Public-service operation) supported operators on new deliveries, as well as on Euro-6 compliant buses in existing fleets.

Inspection, testing and training will be needed before these buses can enter service, and with current COVID restrictions this may take longer than usual.

Ireland’s National transport Authority are also taking delivery of low-emission plug-in hybrid ADL double-deckers, also due to start entering service soon – an initial batch of 100 (split 74/26 between Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann) with a follow-on order for 180 later in the year.

The NTA have also invited tenders for a framework allowing supply of up to 600 zero emission battery-electric double-decks over the next five years.

Above and below: HWD1-3 the hydrogen-electric buses awaiting inspection in Dublin, seen in the new TFI livery.

Hydrogen-electric powered double-deck bus in Dublin.

End of the line for Ardcath service

Last Stop - the last bus to Ardcath pauses in the tiny village as the regular driver leaves, and a spare driver prepares to return the bus to headquarters at Broadstone

END OF THE LINE FOR VETERAN SERVICE

The tiny rural village of Ardcath lost its bus service to Dublin at the weekend as phase 1 of Bus Eireann’s cost-cutting plan took effect, eliminating dozens of lightly loaded rural routes around the Republic, and cutting frequencies on others.

The 102 service from Dublin to Garristown and Ardcath, which ran for the last time on Saturday 27th February 2010 was one of the longest running bus routes in the country, dating back to at least the 1920s, and possibly earlier according to locals

Operated after 1945 by CIE’s provincial department (which later became Bus Eireann) the service was at one time so popular that on Saturdays a double-decker from the Dublin City Services fleet (later Dublin Bus) would cover the route as far as Oldtown. This practice continued until the early 1980s.

In recent years passenger numbers declined drastically as car use increased, to the point that when the final journey operated on Feb 27th, the sole passengers for the entire trip were CBW reporter Gabriel Conway and a transport historian from north Co. Dublin.

The driver for the last trip had been marked in on the route for the past 7 months, since the previous driver “Paddy” had retired after 35 years service. Normally the bus is outstationed in the area, so an extra driver was brought on the trip to allow SC202 to be returned to Broadstone.

Bus Eireann confirm Limerick cuts

 

BUS EIREANN has confirmed that 27 buses are to be cut from its fleet at Limerick as part of the cutbacks due to take effect next month.

Although still under negociation with the unions, a spokesman for the company has confirmed to the Limerick leader the scale of the proposed fleet cutback in the city.

See full Limerick Leader article for details

New interchange approved for Limerick

 

A MODERN two-storey bus station is to built at Parnell Street within two years which will bring the terminus “up to the 21st century” according to a report in The Limerick Leader.
An Bord Pleanala has granted planning permission for the €5.5million redevelopment of Colbert Station, which was was originally refused by Limerick City Council.
According to the Limerick Leader article, the plans will see a new bus station built at the current car parking area to the side of the existing station building. New car parking facilities will be developed where the bus bays are currently.

A landscape garden is planned for the carpark at the front of the station. An internal walkway will also connect the rail and bus station, providing greater ease of access for passengers.

Review: Bus Eireann’s new commuter coaches

LD208, one of Bus Eireann's new luxury double-deck commuter coaches, seen at Cavan Bus Station

LD208, one of Bus Eireann's new luxury double-deck commuter coaches, seen at Cavan Bus Station

Over the last few months Bus Eireann has been taking delivery of a fleet of 32 high specification double-deck commuter coaches, designed to provide extra capacity and comfort on medium-distance comuter runs to Dublin from counties Cavan and Meath. The buses, built by Berkhof on DAF chassis, are to three-axldesign to maximise capacity, and indeed seat more on the upper deck alone than the conventional single-deck coaches they are replacing.

But what are they like from the passenger point of view? Our editor took the 4 hour round trip to Cavan to experience the new coaches at work.

Visually, they are very stylish, and make an impression both in terms of design and sheer size. Bus Eireann have wisely decided to steer away from using them as mobile advertising hoardings as with traditional double-deckers, thus allowing the space between decks to be used to show off the company branding to maximum advantage.

The upper deck is bright and airy, with comfortable seating, and fully belted.  Overhead racks are provided throughout.

The upper deck is bright and airy, with comfortable seating, and fully belted. Overhead racks are provided throughout.

The front seats not only feature the best views, but you get cup-holders and the dash is designed for extra legroom

The front seats not only feature the best views, but you get cup-holders and the dash is designed for extra legroom

The seating is comfortable, even on a journey of more than 2 hours, and the belts are easy to use, and accomodate the largest of passengers without feeling cramped.

The front seat give you the real “King of the Road” experience, and unlike many double-deckers, do not suffer from limited legroom, as a special recess has been designed under the dash to give extra stretching room. The safety bar is well positioned below the eyeline, and is padded, and there are even cup-holder recesses in the dash. All the seats feature controls for recline angle, though unusually my front seat seemed to have some sort of built in vibrating bottom massager linked to the braking system – which made sudden stops a very interesting experience, though I am not sure that this is exactly what the manufacturer intended!

Being a double-decker, even the non-front seats gave a vasty enhanced view compared to the blurry hedgerows that is all that can be seen during a normal coach journey. Being able to see over the hedges and across the countryside is no small advantage, and makes a longer journey much more enjoyable. I know that Bus Eireann think in terms of capacity when buying these vehicles, but they should also consider the vastly enhanced journey experience that comes from greater vision for the passenger, and consider introducing these vehicles on a wider range of services.

Climate-wise, the coach was warm as toast, with cool air available via individual blowers if required. The noise level was very quiet, with the engine almost inaudible upstairs.

The vehicle also seemed very nippy, and had no difficulty keeping up with the other traffic on the N3, and will doubtless benefit from the abolition of the speed restriction on double-deck coaches that comes into effect from February 1st 2009.

All in all, a very positive experience, 10 out of 10 for style, 9 out of 10 for comfort, and the only thing missing is wifi.

More please!

More please!

ONE IN TWELVE – Early Days Header

Side by Side - Dublin Bus & Bus Eireann

Side by Side - Dublin Bus & Bus Eireann

There is nothing particularly special about this photo, but I saved it for the end of the ONE IN TWELVE feature as it perfectly represents how things were back at the time when this site was founded in 1996. Indeed, although not the very first picture seen on the site, it was one of our earliest header images, and was on the main “index page” of the site for a number of years in the late 90s, chosen because it showed the two main operators, Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann, side by side.

KC34 is seen departing Busarus on the Airlink 747 service, while an unidentified PL loads up on the Dundalk service. Busarus was not as crowded in those days, and all Bus Eireann routes still operated from inside the station, or outside the back doors in store Street.

It’s been a very enjoyable journey this last month, bringing back the memories of the last 12 years, and though it has been hard to stick to the daily schedule, we managed it.

Thanks to all who have supported this site during the first 12 years of its operation, we continue with business as usual in December, and hope to be here for another 12 years.

Thank you and Goodnight

Gabriel

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 – Mixed Single Decks

The time is near.

There are only 3 days left of our special November feature looking back at the first 12 years of this site.

There are too many great photos left.

It’s time for our end of line clearout – today it is single-deck shots.

Everything Must Go! You can click on any photo to see the fullsize version.

The launch of the AW-class artics in 2001 was on route 90/90A - an unidentified AW is seen at Aston Quay in the first week

The launch of the AW-class artics in 2001 was on route 90/90A - an unidentified AW is seen at Aston Quay in the first week

AD19 was one of a very few of the class to go into the green livery.

AD19 was one of a very few of the class to go into the green livery.

Before the Setras, Aircoach had some very plain Volvos

Before the Setras, Aircoach had some very plain Volvos

One of the original batch of dual-door darts, DP2 in Cork on a foggy morning in January 2002

One of the original batch of dual-door Darts, DP3 in Cork on a foggy morning in January 2002

KC138 at the Alexandra Road 53A terminus in July 2000

KC138 at the Alexandra Road 53A terminus in July 2000

TE15 on a local commuter service at Cork

TE15 on a local commuter service at Cork

ONE IN TWELVE – Distant Relatives

To celebrate the 12th birthday of this site, every day during November 2008 we are showing one or more old photos from the period 1996 to date.

A normal Dublin scene in the AD-era . . . or is it?
A normal Dublin scene in the AD-era . . . or is it?

At first glance this O’Connell Street scene from 1999 looks fairly normal, a couple of Dublin Bus AD-types passing in the city centre.

Look closer however, you you will see that this is a rare meeting of the AD on the left with its country cousin, Cork’s DA-class. (Both are Alexander Setanta bodied DAF SB220 citybuses, but the eagle-eyed will spot some slight differences between the two types)

AD41 and DA9 are seen outside Dublin Bus HQ in O’Connell Street.

As a bonus, below is another DAF SB220 odd shot – P40 seen on loan to Bus Eireann, working a short on route 126 in 1998.

P40 as Naas Express (this size only)

P40 as Naas Express (this size only)

ONE IN TWELVE – A Thousand Words

To celebrate the 12th anniversary of the founding of the site, every day during November I’ll be bringing you my choice of photos from the past 12 years

Click on the picture for the full-size version.

KC5 in Cork, summer 2000.

KC5 in Cork, summer 2000.

I could write a long article about how lowfloor accessible buses make life easier for so many more people than just wheelchair users, but I reckon this picture says it better!

No matter how much you love old buses, and I loved the KDs and KCs, you have to admit that a modern lowfloor bus is easier when you have two armfuls of shopping bags, or are on the high side of 60!

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 – MD42

MD42 just off the old N8 in Co. Tipperary

MD42 just off the old N8 in Co. Tipperary

This photo was one of the very earliest to appear on this site back in 1996, being used to illustrate the typical Bus Eireann school operation of the time. the scene is indeed very typical, complete with rusting corrugated iron roof on the building to the right.

The location is a small side road about halfway between Cahir and Mitchelstown along the N8 (the main road is just behind the car that you can see in the photo). The MD lasted there for a number of years, and later KCS188 was to be found close to this location, but I’m not sure what, if anything, is there now.