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Rialto Reboot...Route 17

Posted by csalem83 on August 17, 2015 at 11:00 AM

A journey undertaken on Dublin Bus route 17 on the 15th August 2015.


This update is more "On The Beaten Track" than "Off The Beaten Track" since the route 17 was covered before on this website. However, just like how I had to reboot the feature on route 9 last year due to defficiences, the same is true for the 17 this year. My first trips on the route in 2010 and 2013 barely provided any sort of flavour of this orbital route which serves many communities in south Dublin. This new feature has four times more photographs than the 2013 feature and is therefore a much more fitting tribute to this route than my previous efforts.


The current route can trace its origins back to 1970, when on the 14th June CIE commenced a service from Crumlin to Seapoint via Blackrock. This route ran on Sundays until the 13th September, and was designed to bring people from these areas to the seaside. It was given the number 17 which had last been used on short route 16s between Whitehall and Rathfarnham but this stopped route in the early 1960s. Although it started as a summer only service, the route 17 soon became an permanent member of the route network in Dublin. The route back then is prety much the same as the route now, except the current routing starts in Rialto.


So how does the current 17 get from Rialto to Blackrock? The Rialto terminus is on the South Circular Road and uses a roundabout by the shops to reverse direction. It shares the road between Rialto and the Crumlin Road with the 68/A and 122. It joins the Crumlin Road in Dolphin's Barn and heads west, crossing the Grand Canal. It then turns off and joins Sundrive Road. The southern end of Sundrive Road is served by the 18 and 83, but the 17 has the northern end to itself. Heading for Blackrock, the 17 goes on a bit of a mystery tour to reach the Bangor Circle, as it uses Clogher Road, Kildare Road (also used by the 150) and Bangor Road. If one looks at the Bangor Cirlce as a clock, it then enters via the 12, passes through the 3 and 6, and exits at the 9. The bus heading for Rialto enters via the 9 position and exits at the 3 having passed through the 12. If that is not confusing enough, on the part of the circle shared by both routings, there is a bus stop but it is only used by the bus heading for Blackrock. It is all quite simple, I suppose...

The route enters Crumlin via Armagh Road (the original 1970 terminus) and St. Agnes Park. On that short stretch it shares the road with the 83 and the 18, the latter being another orbital route on the south side of the city. The 17 then rejoins the 150 route along St. Agnes Road as far as Kimmage Road West, where the 17 joins the 9, and further down the road the 15A. At the Kimmage Cross Road the 9 leaves the 17, but it continues on to Terenure with the 15A. In Terenure Village it loses the 15A but gains the 16 as it heads for Rathfarnham. At Bushy Park Road the 15B also joins the 16 and 17 but at Rathfarnham Village, it branches off to Ballyroan. The 61 and 75 joins in and on Grange Road the 16 leaves all three routes. The 17, 61 and 75 run together along Nutgrove Avenue but at Nutgrove Shopping Centre the 75 branches off and the 161 joins in. The routes pass through Churchtown and head for Dundrum along the Churchtown Road. The 161 terminates in Dundrum but the 17 and 61 pass under the Luas bridge and continue along the Dundrum Road, picking up the 44 on the way. On Bird Avenue the 17 branches off, joining the 142 as both routes head for Clonskeagh. The 142 terminates in UCD via the Clonskeagh Road, but the 17 goes in the opposite direction along Roebuck Road (briefly with the 11), Foster's Avenue and enters UCD Belfield through Owenstown Park. It is the only route to enter UCD through this entrance. In the peaks the road is closed to traffic to stop cars using the university as a shortcut. In the past this meant the route continued along Fosters Avenue, turned onto Stillorgan Road, entered UCD and returned upon itself to Stillorgan Road to continue on to Blackrock. In recent times a bus gate has been installed on the Owenstown Park road to allow the 17 to avoid the long detour. The bus approaches the gate, the bollard lowers, the bus enters, the rear bollard rises and then the second bollard descendes. Much more efficient than the previous arrangement. After exiting UCD and travelling along the Stillorgan Road the bus turns onto Mount Merrion Avenue and travels along it to the Rock Road before entering Blackrock and terminating at Bath Place beside the DART Station.


It is a relatively long route that serves many communities and connects with many bus routes. There are also some nice numerical sequences along the route. In the Kimmage area the 17 runs with the 18. Around Terenure it picks up the 15A, and the 9 used to be the 19A. Between Terenure and Rathfarnham the road is served by the 15B, 16 and 17, and in Churchtown it briefly meets the 14. The stretch along Nutgrove Avenue was also served by the 16A for many years. In fact the one route it never meets in the sequence is the 17A!


The route as I remember it (which is not a lot) in the late 1980s/early 1990s was mostly operated by KC single-deckers. In more recent times it was home to the Volvo Olympian RV Class, and was one of the few Donnybrook routes where one was guaranteed to find them towards their end in 2012. This is why a lot of my photographs of Donnybrook RVs are taken on the 17. On my 2010 trip I travelled on an RV. They were then replaced by the AV Class, bringing low-floor buses to the route for the first time, and again in 2013 I travelled on an AV along the route. But when the SG Class arrived to Donnybrook in 2014, they displaced the GT Class from the 7. These buses migrated to the 44, 45A and the 17. These buses are dual-door like the RVs, but not the AVs, so is one of the more consistent dual-door routes of Dublin Bus. The 15A/B and 83 would be other examples of this. However just because a bus has two doors this does not mean that both are always used. On the day I travelled on GT 3.


The route is one well worth experiencing as orbital routes also provide a great overview of the city.  To experience the bus gate in UCD, one must travel in the peaks as the road is open to all traffic during the day.


For the page on my 2015 trip on the route 17, click here

For the page on my 2010 and 2013 trips, click here

For an overview of the route, with some older photographs, click here


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