MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC: Twilight VanHool (Cork, 1980)

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 1980, when CIE’s fleet of 238 VanHool MacArdle bodied AN68 Atlanteans were still reasonably new, and in the original as-delivered “tan” livery.

D706

It’s late in the evening of a summer’s day in 1980, and the setting sun is about as far west as it gets, with the front of our southbound bus being just a degree or two away from deep shadow. This light serves of accentuate the boxlike nature of the body, with panel joins clearly visible.

D706 is five years old at this point, one of a batch delivered to Cork in 1975 to clear out the ramaining halfcab Leyland Titan PD2s (a type which continued in service with CIE in Dublin until 76 (the PD2s) and 1982 (PD3s).

At this stage, the majority of VanHools, based in Dublin, had been modified with a bar across the front upper deck windows, but the Cork ones, for the most part, never got this.

The route number display is somewhat interesting, considering that this is a one-piece rather than three-track number blind – the space between the 7 and the A is very noticable.

Cork buses at this time made use of only a single destination blind, with English-only final destination in large lettering.  The lower “via blind” was always blanked out with black paint or masking.

The 7A route, the northern half of which still survives today, went to Skehard on the southside, and was equally frequent to the main 7 service.

QUICK-PIC: North Cork Commuter [23Aug2013]

Bus Eireann route 245 is a key commuter service linking Cork with the prosperous farming towns in the north of the county.

VDL/Berhhof coach LC28 is seen this afternoon approaching Fermoy on the old N8 road, now downgraded to the R639 as intercity traffic uses the adjacent M8 motorway.

This particular journey runs as far as Fermoy only, with others continuing on to Mitchelstown.

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QUICK-PIC (Cork) Route 208. (29July2013)

Cork city route 208 is mainly operated by newer Wright Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B9TL double decks, but occasionally sees older buses.

DD17 is a 2004 Volvo B7TL with East Lancs bodywork, originally used on services in the North East corridor between Dublin, Drogheda and Dundalk. It was transferred south more recently as the company realised that it’s previous policy of single- decking all Cork routes had been a mistake.

DD17 is seen here in the west if the city, turning from Curraheen Road onto Hawkes Road. Bright sunlight is making the destination – 208 Lotabeg – difficult to read.

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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 – 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 – New Old Bus

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 Cork KC with a surprisingly young registration.

As always, you can click on this picture for the fullsize version.

KC169 was the last of the 848 K-family buses to enter service

KC169 was the last of the 848 K-family buses to enter service

The entry into service of the very last of the K-family of buses, GAC city bus KC169, did not happen until 1992, by which time the bus itself was 7 years old. Originally delivered with a UZG registration, the KC gained a 1992 plate on finally entering service, following years stored and cannabalised at Capwell depot.

Sadly, the modern registration did not prevent KC169 from being withdrawn along with the rest of Cork’s KCs at the start of this decade.

KC169 was a regular on the 14 in Cork for a long time, and it is seen thus employed on a wet Wednesday afternoon in Patrick Street.

ONE IN TWELVE – Echo Echo

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’s picture shows one of the most colourful overall advert buses of recent years.

Click on any picture for the fullsize version.

It's long, it's pink, and it's right up your street!

It's long, it's pink, and it's right up your street!

Over the years, there have been many overall advert buses in the CIE fleets, some very bland, others amazingly colourful.

Cork’s DA5 is one that really sticks in my memory, advertising that famous Cork evening newspaper, the Echo.

I’m not sure exactly when I took this photo – I suspect it was around 1999.

The DA’s are now long gone from city service in Cork, having had an unusually short life for a Bus Eireann single-deck type.

ONE IN TWELVE – Double KR

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 have a double-feature, with pictures of two consecutive KR/KS type buses remaining in public service in 2002, in very different settings.

Click on any picture for the fullsize version.

KR205 at Cork on January 3rd 2002

KR205 at Cork on January 3rd 2002

Above: Cork’s KR205 survived to work in the euro-currency era, and is seen here loading for the Ballincollig service at Parnell Place on a cold January evening.

Below: Sister vehicle KR206 was also still in public service in 2002, seen here in the much more rural surroundings of the Beara peninsula, working the 282 Castletownbere to Kenmare service.

KR206 on route 282 near Barrack Cross, Co. Kerry.

KR206 on route 282 near Barrack Cross, Co. Kerry.

New Volvos for Ballincollig

Volvo Bus)

Ballincollig Coaches new Volvo B7R coaches (photo: Volvo Bus)

PRESS RELEASE

Ballincollig Coaches of Co Cork have just taken delivery of two Volvo B7R Sunsundeguis.

Purchased as part of a programme of fleet modernisation, the new coaches will be used for touring throughout Ireland and also into Scotland.

The family run firm had not bought Volvo for some years but were impressed by the B7R/ Sunsundegui combination. “It’s very stylish looking so helps to create the right impression; it’s very comfortable; and there’s great luggage space – all of which is perfect for our requirements,” explained Managing Director, Donal O’Callaghan. “Add to that the fact that the Euro/Sterling rate is so favourable to us at the moment, there was no excuse not to buy!”

Specified with Volvo’s D7C 7.1 litre common rail fuel injection engine rated at 290hp, combined with a ZF six-speed gearbox, the 53 seat coaches feature full double glazing, air conditioning, DVD player and reversing camera.

Ballincollig plan to use them on incoming tours which make up a large part of their business. “We shall be very busy over the next few months, particularly with French and American students requiring sightseeing tours, and these coaches really are ideal for the task,” said Donal.

Established 20 years ago, Ballincollig’s 15-strong fleet ranges from six seaters to full size executive coaches. The company runs its own programme of two to three day short breaks and seven to ten day tours. In addition, a variety of specialist breaks are arranged for incoming tourists, ranging from historic sightseeting and pilgrimage tours to short breaks for fishing, golf, gardening and art enthusiasts.

Southwest photos

Coaches & Buses in West Cork and Kerry in July 2008, including Bus Eireann, private operators, rural transport scheme and island operations. All photos by Gabriel Conway

VC116 parked in scenic surroundings on the Beara peninsula

VC116 parked in scenic surroundings on the Beara peninsula

The Beara peninsula is one of the lesser-known treasures of Ireland, just as pretty but far less spoilt than the nearby Ring of Kerry. The Cork/Kerry border runs along the middle of the peninsula, with the western end being wholly in West Cork.

For such a remote area, it is well served by public transport, with Bus Eireann services on both sides of the peninsula, a long established private operator on the Cork side, and a well-developed network of rural transport services that reach right to the end, and even out to the largest island off Castletownbere.

The photo above, taken on the southern side, on the road from Glengarriff to Castletownbere, shows Bus Eireann VC116 parked around 4-5km west of Glengarriff. There is often a schoolbus parked at this location, though I suspect that VC116 has been working a regular service.

In the background can be seen Bantry Bay and the Sheeps Head.

VC116 a few miles south of Glengarriff

VC116 a few miles south of Glengarriff

A closer view of VC116 – the VCs are the mainstay of many services in the area, though they are being slowly cascaded to schools work now.

New SC235 departs Killarney Bus Station on the 270 to Kenmare

New SC235 departs Killarney Bus Station on the 270 to Kenmare

Over the many years that I have visited Kenmare, I have seen generations of buses come and go on the Kenmare/Killarney service (these days numbered 270).

In the mid 70s Leyland Leopard E14 was the main bus, with E69 sometimes doing duty as a backup. In the late 70s and early 80s, C27 was the only bus on this service for a long time, until replaced by new KR97 in 1985. This was to be the last new bus that the route received for many a year, as a succession of midlife coaches followed when the KR was eventually relegated to schools. There was a PL for a while in the late 90s, and then VC60 became a regular, up until about a year ago, following which a variety of VCs have been used, with VC109 appearing often.

SC235 is the first brand new vehicle I’ve seen on the route since 1985, and is seen here departing from Killarney Bus Station for Kenmare (irish: Nedin) on an early morning journey.

VC86 waits at Killarney

VC86 waits at Killarney

Also at Killarney, VC86 waits to take up duty on the 040 express service linking Tralee and Killarney with Cork and Waterford.

Spot the door - SP104 parked at Killarney

Spot the door - SP104 parked at Killarney

Also fairly new, SP104 is seen here at the part of Killarney Bus Station closest to the Outlet Centre. These coaches are very sleek looking, and have the most flush fitting doors of any I have seen.

SP108 in the coach parking area near Killarney Station

SP108 in the coach parking area near Killarney Station

Sister vehicle SP108 seen in the coach parking area near the bus station.

Bernard Kavanagh's 06-KK-2534 in Brendan Tours livery

Bernard Kavanagh's 06-KK-2534 in Brendan Tours livery

A variety of independent operators coaches can be seen at Killarney throughout the year, and there is almost always several varieties of Kavanaghs on display!

Galvins VanHool 05-C-7085 heads into Killarney town centre

Galvins VanHool 05-C-7085 heads into Killarney town centre

Galvins of Dunmanway are often seen around Killarney on tour work.

VC28 at The Square in Castletownbere, about to work to Kenmare

VC28 at The Square in Castletownbere, about to work to Kenmare

Back to the Beara peninsula, and VC28 is seen at The Square in Castletownbere, ready for the 1100 departure to Kenmare on route 282. This is a magnificant trip, which involves crossing the mountains to the nothern side of the peninsula and into Co. Kerry, with some spectacular scenery and narrow roads. In the summer, two round trips a day are operated Monday to Saturday, while in winter months a shorter version runs once a week from Ardgroom to Kenmare.

VC28 arrives at Kenmare where VC109 is about to head for Killarney

VC28 arrives at Kenmare where VC109 is about to head for Killarney

An hour an a half later, VC28 has arrived in Kenmare and dropped off its passengers, some of whom will continue on to Killarney on VC109 on the 270.

The buses are seen at the top of the main street in Kenmare, where a dedicated Bus Eireann stop is in place. CIE and Bus Eireann buses have used the main street as a stopping point for almost 50 years, however a local politician has launched a campaign to have the bus stop moved to a different part of town, in order to make 5 further car parking spaces available in the main street.  This despite the fact that the new location would involve considerable disruption for the bus services, forcing them to navigate the one-way system twice for some departures, and would be less convienient for the passengers.

VC109 at the disputed stop in Main Street, Kenmare

VC109 at the disputed stop in Main Street, Kenmare

During the summer, two buses are needed for the 270, so VC109 is working the service as well as SC235 – it will be interesting to see which one is retained for the one-bus winter timetable!

The early afternoon departure that the VC is about to work takes connecting passengers from both the 282 Castletownbere service, and the West Cork 252 route, formerly the 044 expressway.

VP331 arrives at Kenmare on the West Cork 252 service

VP331 arrives at Kenmare on the West Cork 252 service

Since the late 1970s there has been a summer-only service from Cork through Bantry and Glengarriff to Kenmare, until this year always running on to Killarney.

Originally an Expressway service, recently numbered 044, it has this year been downgraded to a stage service, numbered 252, and does not run beyond Kenmare.

When started in the 70s, the route used to take the scenic Molls Gap road to Killarney, though in recent years it has used the quicker Kilgarvan routing. It remains one of the few services in Ireland to operate through a hand-carved mountain tunnell, between Glengarriff and Kenmare.

Buckleys 06-KY-3289 at Kenmare

Buckleys 06-KY-3289 at Kenmare

Buckleys is an operation connected with Kerry Coaches of Killarney. One of their luxury minicoaches is seen here at the triangle in Kenmare.

78-KY-676 a well-preserved Leyland conversion

78-KY-676 a well-preserved Leyland conversion

Here is an interesting and very well-preserved import to these shores. Possibly a former postbus from the UK, this Leyland vehicle now seems to be used as a private camper van, and was in Kenmare for the fleadh weekend at the end of july.

SP18 overnights at Kenmare

SP18 overnights at Kenmare

SP18 seems to be a regular overnight visitor to Kenmare, on CIE touring work.

A pair of minibuses belonging to O'Donoghues of Castletownbere

A pair of minibuses belonging to O'Donoghues of Castletownbere

Back to Castletownbere, and here we see the very long established private operator O’Donoghues, who operate bus services from Castletownbere to Bantry and Cork. Their base is right in the centre of the town, at the main square.

The ferry to Bere Island

The ferry to Bere Island

A few miles off Castletownbere in Bantry Bay lies Bere Island, which is connected to the mainland by two car-ferry services, one of which leaves from the centre of town.

The ferries are very small, and have room for just six cars. The trip out to the island is well worth the time, although reversing down the slipway and up the ramp onto the ferry can be nerve-wracking, particularly when it is at an angle as seen here!

There Bere Island ferry can carry 6 cars - or 1 truck!

There Bere Island ferry can carry 6 cars - or 1 truck!

Trucks are also carried to and from the island, though only one at a time. And buses too, as I was to find out when I arrived out on Bere Island . .

Rural Transport Scheme bus at Bere Island harbour.

Rural Transport Scheme bus at Bere Island harbour.

A Ford Transit minibus of the Bantry Rural Transport scheme is seen at the harbour on Bere Island. Because of the way it was parked against a wall, the only possible front shot was this one, from the ferry slipway with zoom lens!

Bantry Rural Transport provide services on and from the island.

Bantry Rural Transport provide services on and from the island.

The minibus provides transport both on and off the island, with regular services being operated to and from Castletownbere via the ferry, and a twice-weekly evening service to Bantry. This is just one of a network of buses operated by West Cork Rural Transport, with government funding, covering the areas of the Beara and Sheeps Head peninsulas that Bus Eireann do not reach.

Bere Island itself is delightful, with few cars, quiet roads, and a huge amount to see. The size of Manhatten island, it is somewhat less densely populated, though you will find two pubs, a great coffee shop and a resturant as well as other facilities alongside the quiet hill walks and miles of empty laneways.

Butlers choose Volvo/Sunsundegui for first fullsize coach

From the Volvo Bus delivery files: Butlers Buses of Cork have just taken delivery of their first full sized coach – a Volvo B7R with Sunsundegui bodywork. The new coach marks an exciting departure for Butlers who, until now, have only run vehicles with a maximum capacity of 30.

“Our business is mainly private hire with a good mix of contract hire, school services and touring. We were increasingly receiving requests to accommodate larger groups”, explained Managing Director Ian Butler. “We wanted to be able to do that without splitting groups over two vehicles or contracting out, but at the same time we were conscious that investing in a full sized coach was a big step for us and we wanted to make sure we got it right.

“We approached Volvo because they have such a good name in the industry.  We’ve seen plenty of B7Rs in action and knew that operators were happy with them. We also really liked the look of the Sunsundegui body and felt it created the right impression. And when a colleague in the industry took me on a test drive of his own B7R Sunsundegui, I knew it was the coach for us. What’s more, the favourable exchange rate between the euro and sterling meant now was a great time to buy”

Specified with Volvo’s D7C 7.1 litre, 290hp common rail fuel injection engine, coupled to the ZF six speed gearbox, the 12m B7R has 53 seats plus courier seat, double glazing and full air-conditioning. It will be used for a range of work from airport, ferry and train transfers to scenic/golf tours and private hire.

“We’ve already had a great response from customers keen to take advantage of the larger capacity,” added Ian Butler, “and we have plenty of advance bookings for the new coach. I’m now keen to get it out on the road so it can start earning its keep!”

Family run Butlers was established 41 years ago by Ian’s father. Their modern fleet provides a range of services from local coach hire to touring throughout Ireland and into Europe.