MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC – Shades Of Blue (Dublin and London, 1999)

 

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 sometime around 1999, with pictures from both Dublin and London, themed around blue . .

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At the end of 1997 Dublin Bus introduced a new livery of blue, orage and cream for it’s “core” fleet, thoses vehicles not in CitySwift or other special liveries.  The earliest single-deckers to be treated had a more simple version of the livery than the one eventually standardised on.

Above: One of Donnybrook’s AD-class DAF SB220/Alexander buses (possibly AD67) is seen on O’Connell Bridge in the early version of the livery, sometime around 1999.

Below: around the same time, in London, Arriva‘s new “aquamarine & stone” colour scheme was replacing the old two-tone green used by London & Country.   Route 85, from Kingston to Putney Bridge received new Northern Counties bodied DAF double-decks (DFD class?) replacing a fleet of impressively long Volvo B10M/East Lancs deckers, and bringing the new corporate colours close to the central area.

Before long, a policy change would banish non-red liveries from the TFL network, so this photo of R205CKD represents a fairly short period of time when these colours were seen in this location.

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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 – The Lowfloor Trials of 1999

As part of our series of older photos celebrating this site’s 12 years of operation, today we present a series of photos of the vehicles involved in the Dublin Bus lowfloor double-decker trials of 1999.

6 buses were operated to gain experience of the 3 types available at the time – the Volvo B7TL (which was the eventual choice, though not with the President body), the Dennis Trident II, and the DAF DB250LF.

One of two Volvo B7TL / Plaxton President buses, seen at Donnybrook

One of two Volvo B7TL / Plaxton President buses, seen at Donnybrook

The President was the nicest body, in my opinion, and it is a pity that it was not favoured when the company eventually ordered their own Volvos.

The President was the nicest body, in my opinion, and it is a pity that it was not favoured when the company eventually ordered their own Volvos.

The second Volvo/President was based at Phibsboro

The second Volvo/President was based at Phibsboro

The Dennis Trident with ALX400 body was not chosen at the time, but did eventually win a small order

The Dennis Trident with ALX400 body was not chosen at the time, but did eventually win a small order

Arriva London DAFs DLA124/125 were loaned to Dublin for the trials

Arriva London DAFs DLA124/125 were loaned to Dublin for the trials

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.