MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC: Destination: Refreshment (Dublin 1979)

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 1979 in Dublin.

D826

Heineken had a very eye-catching and cleverly designed advertising campaign running on CIE buses at the end of the 1970s – wrapped around the destination display of double-deckers with the strapline “Destination: Refreshment”

The bus displaying it here is D826, one of the final batch of VanHool MacArdle bodied Leyland Atlantean AN68s delivered to CIE in 1977/78, following a gap in production as the Spa Road plant built double-deckers for South Yorkshire and A1 Motor Services.

These last Dublin-built buses differed from the earlier VanHools in having a revised lower frontal section made of fibreglass, and also originally sported the more modern square VanHool badge. Over the years they gradually lost these features, and ended up identical to the bulk of the VanHool fleet, which had been delivered between 1974 and 1976.

D826 is seen here heading inbound on the south quays (in the days before the traffic flow was reversed) and with a hopelessly mis-set destination display, the top blind being halfway between the outbound route 25 and 37 displays, and the lower displaying “via City Centre” which would be more commonly used on cross city routes – “via Chapelizod” would have been more appropriate for the 25.

 

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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.

ONE IN TWELVE – VanHool Tours

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.

Click on any picture for the fullsize version.

D635 in tour bus guise

D635 in tour bus guise

During the early years of this site, when I ran it while living in the UK, I would usually visit Dublin twice a year or so to get fresh photos and see what was happening on the scene. No such visit was complete without a ride on the city tour, which gave me the opportunity to travel on the VanHools of my youth, which were by the mid 90s gone from normal service.

Of all the buses used on the tour service, my favourites were D635 and DF760, both of which I had known from new in the mid 1970s. 760 had been allocated to my “home” garage, Donnybrook, and although it didn’t work my local routes, I still considered it one of “my ” buses.

I had even stronger memories of D635 however, as despite being a Summerhill bus, it was allocated to a route which came very close to home – so close in fact, that it could be seen from a vantage point at the top of the tall pine tree which grew in our back garden. I had been given a telescope for Christmas one year, and discovered that by climbing to the top of the tree, I could just see the 16As turning round at the Bottle Tower through a gap between the houses. I spent several happy afternoons up the tree watching the buses through the telescope, until complaints from the neighbours to my parents brought a quick end to the practice – they were not so sure it was buses I was watching (though in all innocence, it was! )

When not up a tree, I would often wander over to the Bottle Tower junction, where all the local routes – 14, 14A, 16A, 17, 47A and 61 could be watched together. D635 was a regular on the 16A, and stood out because it was out of sequence from the rest of the route’s allocation, which consisted of D665-669, and 673-699.

The odd ones out were 634, 635 and 644 which had somehow escaped being allocated to Clontarf (through 634/5 were to be sent there in an allocation tidying excercise in 1980).

D635 had a brief spell in Donnybrook in the early 90s, thus becoming one of a small number of buses which would have worked the Churchtown area as both a 14/A and a 16A.

I was pleased to come across it surviving on tours in the late 1990s, and even more pleased that it eventually survived all the others in the system as a tree-lopper to become both the last VanHool owned by Dublin Bus, and the last two-tone green vehicle in the fleet at the time of it’s eventual disposal in February 2003.

Even that is not the end of the story for D635, which has survived in private hands in tree-lopping format, and is currently undergoing renovation to become a special event vehicle.

Given my childhood method of observing the new VanHools on the 16A, it is somewhat appropriate that this bus became a tree-lopper – perhaps there is a message there somewhere?