Off The Beaten Track

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Take-off to the Airport...Route 757

Posted by csalem83 on April 2, 2017 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (0)

It is 2017 and Off The Beaten Track is back! When I did the 145 in October 2015 and took a break, I expected it to be the usual four months. I did not expect it to last eighteen months! However real life often has a habit of getting in the way and after going through changes and upheaval, I am now able to start doing updates to Off The Beaten Track once more in 2017.


There have been a number of developments to the Dublin Bus network during those eighteen months. We had to say goodbye to a route, hello to the return of former route numbers and get used to changes introduced on other routes. We also had to welcome a few new routes during that timeframe and 2017 on this website is starting with a look at one of those new routes.


In June 2016 Dublin Bus started operating route 757 between the southside of Dublin city and Dublin Airport. Being part of the Airlink brand, this is a commercially-operated route and not part of the Public Service Obligation network in the capital. After the economic crash of nearly a decade ago, Ireland and Dublin has being undergoing a few years of recovery. This is most evident at Dublin Airport where records are being broken on a regular basis. With this increase in traffic Dublin Bus decided to expand its Airlink offering. The 747 that runs between Dublin Airport and Heuston Station went from every 15 minutes to every 10 minutes and was given longer operating hours. To supplement it the 757 was also introduced it.


The 757 follows the 747 from Dublin Airport to the docklands via Terminal 2 and the Dublin Port Tunnel. From there the routes diverge with the 747 continuing along the quays, while the 757 uses Sheriff Street outbound and Mayor Street inbound as it travels from/to Guild Street. The route then crosses the River Liffey (near the Convention Centre) over the Samuel Beckett Bridge. This is a relatively new bridge over the river, having opened in December 2009. From there the bus passes the offices of Twitter on Cardiff Lane and the Bord Gais Energy Theatre on Macken Street before turning onto Pearse Street. It is at this point the 757 gets relatively interesting. Inbound the route continues along Pearse Street and turns left onto Westland Row at Pearse Railway Station. Outbound, the bus turns left from Westland Row onto Pearse Street before taking a tight right under the railway bridge into Mark Street. At the end of Mark Street it turns onto Townsend Street before joining Pearse Street. This is an unusual manoeuver and the 757 is the only bus route that uses Mark Street. Inbound from Westland Row the bus reaches Merrion Square via Lincoln Place while in opposite direction it uses Clare Street. From Merrion Square it passes through St. Stephen’s Green and Earlsfort Terrace. Inbound the route reaches the terminus via Adelaide Road and Camden Street while outbound it uses Hatch Street between Charlotte Way and Earlsfort Terrace. The terminus on Charlotte Way is near the Harcourt stop on Luas Green Line, itself built outside the former Harcourt Street Railway Station.


The route serves several key parts of the city, including the Central Business District, as well as many hotels. It connects in with the railway line as well as both Luas lines. Furthermore, it serves a number of leisure and entertainment locations. Overall it is a good and useful addition to the network.


When the route commenced, along with the increase in frequency on the 747, there were not enough Airlink VGs to operate it. This resulted in Harristown transferring a number of theirs to Summerhill, after they had been upgraded and repainted for Airlink duty. As a result, almost half of the VG fleet is now dedicated to Airlink, with VG 27 to 50 all in Summerhill.


The routing is quite different in places depending on which direction you are going, but I would recommend the outbound service, just to experience Mark Street. On the 25th March 2017, I travelled on Summerhill’s VG 29.

For the page on route 757, click here

For an overview of route 757, click here


Beyond Dublin...Route 145

Posted by csalem83 on November 8, 2015 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

A journey undertaken on Dublin Bus route 145 on the 31st October 2015.


And so 2015 comes to an end for live updates on Off The Beaten Track. In 2014 the final trip was taken on the premier route in Dublin, route 46A, and it is very hard to top that. The 145 though comes pretty close. It has length, variety, is twenty years old this year with an interesting history, and more importantly goes beyond County Dublin. Surely that is the definition of Off The Beaten Track?!


The current route started at the same time as the 46A in 2010 during the Network Direct changes, although its alteration was slightly less than that of the 46As. It moved terminus in the City Centre from Mountjoy Square to Heuston Station. This move was designed to replace route 92 which ran from Heuston Station to Wilton Terrace. The new bit of routing for the 145 was along the quays from O’Connell Bridge to Heuston. Apart from that the rest of the route remained unchanged. From D’Olier Street the 145 follows the 46A to Foxrock Church, passing through Donnybrook and serving the Stillorgan Road. From Foxrock Church it continues south along the Bray Road (which is a continuation of the N11 which the route has travelled on from St. Stephen’s Green), passing Cornelscourt, Cabinteely and Cherrywood. Just south of the latter place it turns off the N11 at Loughlinstown Hospital and heads for Shankill Village along the Dublin Road. As it enters the village it crosses over the former Harcourt Street Railway Line. The route continues south through Shankill, along the Dublin Road and passes Shanganagh and Woodbrook, before entering the town of Bray. At Old Connaught Avenue in Bray the route passes from County Dublin to County Wicklow. After crossing the River Dargle, the route 145 travels along Bray Main Street. In the past some services detoured off to serve Bray Railway Station, but now that diversion is gone. At the site of the former Town Hall the 145 joins Killarney Road. After travelling a short distance along it, it turns onto Killarney Road and then onto Herbert Road. After passing Ardmore Studios (where Penny Dreadful was being filmed when I did the 145) the route rejoins Killarney Road after serving Kilbride Lane. At Springfield Cemetery the 145 passes the former terminus of the 45A in Ballywaltrim, but continues on a short distance to South Cross where the 145 now terminates in Ballywaltrim. In total the route is approximately 30 kilometres long.


Up until January 2015 the 145 terminated even further south on N11 at Kilmacanogue. However due to running time issues on the 145, and the subsequent delays this brought about, it was decided that the 45A and the 145 would swap termini. As the former route operates every 30 mins and the latter every 10 minutes, the 45A terminus in Ballywaltrim was not large enough to accommodate the buses on the 145, which is why the new terminus at South Cross was created. In response to concerns from residents of Kilmacanogue, a 145 departure to the city still operates from there in the mornings. During college term, a number of departures operate from UCD Belfield to Kilmacanogue in the evenings.


As mentioned earlier, the route is twenty years old this year, starting in December 1995. However the 1995 route was very different to the 2015 route. It was created as part of a revision of Bray local services, which also saw the 184 and 185 replace the 84A and 85 respectively. These routes, along with the 146, were part of the Localink network and were operated by minibuses. The 145 operated from Palermo (not the Italian one) to Kilmacanogue. The routing from the Dublin Road (where it exited Palermo) to Kilmacanogue is the same as now, except it visited the railway station where all the local routes met up. This situation continued until 2004 when one of the biggest extensions to a bus route took place and it was extended north by over 20 kilometres to Mountjoy Square in Dublin City Centre. The new route 145 (originally planned to be numbered 45B) was inaugurated with Volvo Olympian buses and was a high frequency route from the start, bringing extra capacity to the Stillorgan QBC. At the time I was attending UCD and when the route started students who would be waiting for a 46A into the city would be confused by this new route 145 and decide not to use it. That did not last long and the 145 became a very popular route. The bus types also changed with the Olympians being replaced by AVs and AXs before EVs settled down on it from late 2007 on. The 2010 change to the route was one of the more successful Network Direct alterations, and it was a very smart move sending the route down along the River Liffey to Heuston Station. It provided a high frequency connection between the station and the city all day and offered an alternative to the Luas tram. In fact the change was so successful that the buses could not cope with demand. Donnybrook Garage had to start allocating some of their VT triaxles from the 46A to the 145. With only twenty VTs in the depot there was not enough to share between the two routes and as a result VTs 21-35 had to transfer over from Phibsborough to Donnybrook. The EVs continued to work the route in between the VTs. Up until the Olympians were withdrawn in 2012 they occasionally appeared on extras in the peak periods.

When I travelled along the route in October 2015 the EVs and VTs were still in evidence on the route, as well as the occasional AV and AX. A new class of bus was also present in the form of the dual-door SG. The first batch of this class had been delivered in 2014 and Donnybrook had allocated theirs to routes 7 and 8. When the second batch was delivered in 2015, Donnybrook started to allocate theirs to the 145. This was part of an NTA initiative to put dual-door buses on cross-city routes. The 46A was also rumoured to get them but that has not happened yet.

It is worth noting that the 145 is actually split between two garages, or more accurately one garage and one sub-garage. The main garage is Donnybrook but some buses are out-based in Bray.


The 145 is certainly an interesting route to travel on. Starting from one of the main railway termini in Dublin and travelling along the River Liffey, it then heads out of the city along the N11, before passing through Shankill and along the leafy road into Bray. From Shankill through the outer areas of Bray the route provides views of the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains. The sight of tri-axle double-deckers along the southern part of the route is also quite different when one normally associates the Envire 500 with the skyscrapers of Hong Kong. It is long way from Bray to Hong Kong!


For the page on route 145, click here

For an overview of the original and current route 145, click here

For the page on route 92, click here


And with that the live updates for 2015 have come to an end. Our journey began this year on the 83 in Kimmage and ended in Bray on the 145, with many other parts of the city, and beyond, visited in between. There will be a few more updates of old routes between now and February 2016, so keep checking back to the website.

And I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the other bus enthusiasts who have helped with some of the route details throughout the year. It is very much appreciated.


Shopping Toll...Routes 76 & 76A

Posted by csalem83 on October 12, 2015 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Journeys undertaken on Dublin Bus routes 76 and 76A on the 8th October 2015.

As we approach the end of the year and come towards the end of "live" updates for this website, I realised we had not visited Tallaght this year. As it is a prime bus area this was an oversight that could not stand. The question was what route should be covered? Having done two routes I had not done before in the previous update, I felt that theme should continue, but that results in most routes to Tallaght. One route in particular did catch my attention as it was a bit different, it revisited a number of areas previously covered, and it threw in a derivative for free. It was also a route I had come close to covering on previous occasions. So with everything agreed upon, at the end of September and the start of October I set out to cover route 76, and its occasional derivative, route 76A.

The current routes 76 and 76A started in April 2012 through the Network Direct changes in West Dublin. The current terminus in Tallaght is located at The Square Shopping Centre, and it is one it does not share with any other route. After leaving The Square the bus makes its way around Belgard Square, passing the road entrance to Tallaght Hospital, before joining Belgard Road. The route then heads north along the Belgard Road, crossing the Luas Red Line at Cookstown/Kingswood near the Belgard Luas stop. The route continues on along the Belgard Road as far as Newlands Cross. Up until November 2014 this was a major crossroads for the Belgard Road and the N7 Naas Road, and was well known for traffic delays. However in November 2014 the junction was replaced with a fly-over and the 76 now passes under the N7 as it joins Fonthill Road South. The 76 enters Clondalkin Village along New Road before performing a complicated manoeuvre around the centre of the village to reach Ninth Lock Road. Heading northbound the bus has to go: New Road - Main Street - Tower Road. Southbound it goes: Tower Road - Orchard Lane - Main Street - New Road. Travelling along Ninth Lock Road the 76 crosses New Nangor Road (and route 151), the Grand Canal and the Dublin - Cork railway line. It then turns onto Neilstown Road (picking up route 40) and travels the length of that to Coldcut Road, passing through Neilstown and Rowlagh. Travelling along the Coldcut Road it heads for Ballyfermot but halfway down it turns off and does a loop into the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre before rejoining the Coldcut Road and crossing the M50 motorway. The route enters Ballyfermot along the Ballyfermot Road and whereas the 79/A turned south on Kylemore Road, the 76/A turns north and travels to its northern end in Chapelizod, passing under the Chapelizod By-Pass. At Chapelizod there is a curious terminus situation as the bus heads along the Lucan Road, but at its western end the Lucan Road is one-way, for traffic entering Chapelizod. Therefore at the end of the village there is a turning circle where the outbound lane turns back into the inbound lane. This turning circle is mainly used by just the 76.

The 76A follows the same route as the 76 but as it approaches Chapelizod it turns off the Kylemore Road and onto the Chapelizod By-Pass. It continues down the road that becomes the N4 to Palmerstown, but at the junction with the M50 it turns off and joins the motorway. This junction is beside the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre so the 76A takes the long way to get from there to the junction. The route then heads north and crosses the River Liffey over the Westlink Bridge. On the northside of this was the infamous M50 toll booths which caused endless delayys, but are now gone and replaced by electronic tolling. After passing under the Castleknock Road ( and routes 37 and 38 ) the bus comes off the M50 at the Blanchardstown exit and passes through Blanchardstown Village. It then terminates at Blanchardstown Shopping Centre. It is worth pinting out that the southbound 76A serves Chapelizod as it has to pass the 76 terminus to reach the Kylemore Road.

The 76 runs seven days a week on approximately a half-hour frequency. The 76A on the other hand only has three return workings in the peaks, Monday - Friday. It is not the only bus route that connects Liffey Valley and Blanchardstown, the 239 also fulfills that role, but takes a different routing and is slightly more frequent.

The 76 is one of the older orbital routes in Dublin, first starting in the early 1980s. Its first terminus was in Old Bawn in Tallaght but when The Square opened in October 1990 it was diverted to also serve this shopping centre which was the largest in Dublin. Now the four largest shopping centres in Dublin are Dundrum, Tallaght, Blanchardstown and Liffey Valley. As can be seen the 76 and 76A serve two/three of them which ring the western side of the city. The first 76A also started in 1990 with the opening of The Square connected it to Blanchardstown. In the mid-1990s another route was created in the form of the 76B which terminated on the Old Lucan Road. When Network Direct came along in 2012 the original plan saw the removal of the 76A but the three departures a day in both directions were retained.

The two routes are worth doing, as orbital routes are always a bit different. If only one route could be travelled on I would highly recommend the 76A. It covers all of the 76 but also has the added bonus of great views over the River Liffey from the Westlink bridge. It is a view unmatched. There is also the novelty of travelling on the M50 on a Dublin Bus route. Only other place this can be done is through the Dublin Port Tunnel and that is not quite the same as travelling over the Westlink.

Both routes are operated from Conyngham Road. On the day I travelled on AV 298 on route 76 and AV 406 on route 76A.

For my page on routes 76 and 76A, click here

For an overview of both routes, with historical photographs, click here 

Just one more update to go for 2015!

Parks and Orchard...Routes 79 & 79A

Posted by csalem83 on September 21, 2015 at 3:45 AM Comments comments (0)

A journey undertaken on Dublin Bus route 79A on the 14th September 2015 and on route 79 on the 15th September 2015.

At the conclusion of my last 'On The Beaten Track' update I said I would be returning to Off The Beaten Track and covering a route I had never travelled on before. There were a number of options I considered but in the end I got a bit greedy and did a "two for one" by choosing the 79 and the 79A. Both routes had been at the back of my mind to do for some time (they were nearly the final update of 2015) but now felt like a good time to do them. There were a number of reasons for this. Firstly they serve Ballyfermot, an area neglected on this site. The previous route I covered that served here was the 18 but I missed most of the area through the gap in my photographs between Old Lucan Road and Kylemore Road. Secondly the two routes don't just serve the main road in Ballyfermot but also detour through the housing estates around it, and in some respects this is the natural habitat of the urban bus network. Finally these two routes were due to be altered through Network Direct, and although it has not happened yet, it could so over the coming years, so it was timely to do it now. Of course, these routes do meet my original criteria in that I had never travelled on either of them before, in my life.

Both routes are similar to the 25A and 25B (previously covered on this site) in that they run together for a lot of their routings, but take minor deviations at certain points along the way. The city centre terminus is on Aston Quay, and outbound they run along the south bank of the River Liffey to Heuston Station. Inbound from Heuston they do a more complicated route in that they run along the north quays to Grattan Bridge where they cross the river. They then reach Aston Quay via Parliament Street, Dame Street and Westmoreland Street. Continuing outbound the routes climb up St. John's Road beside the Heuston Station as far as Con Colbert Road. The 79 turns onto the South Circular Road and goes past Kilmainham Jail and travels through Inchicore along Sarsfield Road (where it picks up route 40 which also serves Ballyfermot) where it passes through a tight bridge under the railway line. The 79A stays on Con Colbert Road and rejoins the 79 on Sarsfield Road after the railway bridge. Shortly after this merging, the routes turn off Sarsfield Road and into the housing estates at Landen Road. On the opposite side of Sarsfield Road is an area called "The Ranch" which was also served by a route 79 up until 1941 (The current 79 started in 1949). After negotiating the roundabout on Landen Road/Lally Road, the two routes join the long, straight Decies Road, passing Markievicz Park, before rejoining Landen Road. The routes then meet the 18 on Kylemore Road and then enter Ballyfermot Village along Ballyfermot Road. After passing through the main shopping area the routes divert off the main road again and join Clifden Road. Halfway down Clifden Road it is possible to see the 79 terminus at Spiddal Park, but to reach there the bus takes a near "d" shaped route along Raheen Road, Cherry Orchard Avenue, Blakditch Road and Oranmore Road. The 79A also takes the same route along Raheen Road and Cherry Orchard Avenue (passing the site of the old railway station on the latter) but instead of turning onto Blackditch Road it continues on Cherry Orchard Avenue to Barnville Green and Barnville Walk. The route then joins Park West Avenue, passing the new railway station and terminates in the Parkwest Business Park. The terminus is close to the M50 but the route remains within it.

The 79A is a much more recent route than the 79. It started in 2005 and is another product of the "Celtic Tiger" era. The area around Parkwest developed during this time and not only did new businesses appear there but also new apartments and housing. Throughout the day the 79 and 79A both operate between every twenty and thirty minutes, giving the core section a nominal ten to fifteen minute frequency, which is pretty decent for the areas it serves. The 27A which I covered recently serves similar housing areas, but only operates every thirty minutes, so the 79/A timetable is quite good. They are the main routes that serve Ballyfermot housing estates, while the main route through the centre of the area is the 40, which also operates on a frequency of every ten to twelve minutes throughout the day, so you shouldn't have to wait long for a bus in Ballyfermot.

Originally under Network Direct it was proposed to merge the 79/A with the 27B (the latter a route already covered on this website). The rouring would have been from Parkwest to City Centre via Spiddal Park and Heuston. It would then continue on along the current 27B as far as Coolock Lane. In my update on the 27B there is a photograph of the terminus built for this new route 79. This combined route was suggested five years ago but it has still not happened. Current rumours suggest that the 27B may be extended to Heuston Station and not merged with the 79/A. I find it best to believe changes in Dublin Bus when they actually happen as there are always many different rumours going around. If the new 79 did happen, it would restore an all day bus connection between Heuston and Connolly stations, something that was lost when the Luas tram system started. The Overview page contains a link to the 2010 Dublin Bus proposal for the new 79.

The two routes are operated by Conyngham Road Garage. For many years now they have operated by a mixture of AVs and EVs. Their former sister-routes 78 and 78A were usually home to the RVs, so the 79 did better in that regard. But now that the 78/A have become the 40, they have started to receive brand new SG types, as well as GTs. When I travelled on the routes I got EV 55 on the 79A and AV 265 on the 79.

Normally I would recommend a route I covered, and these routes are somewhat interesting. However, I feel a health warning may be required for these two. The 79 and 79A probably feature the most on the Dublin Bus disruption page, with the routes being cut back due ot anti-social behaviour. If you do want to travel on them it is probably best to carefully chose when to do so. Having said that, I experienced no problems on the two mornings I was out on the routes, although it was raining for one of them.

For the page on routes 79 and 79A, click here

For an overview of both routes, click here

For the page on route 27B, click here

Beaumont to Beaumont...Route 14

Posted by csalem83 on August 24, 2015 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)

A journey undertaken on Dublin Bus route 14 on the 22nd August 2015.

For the second update in a row we are going On The Beaten Track by revisiting a route already covered. In this case it is route 14 which runs from Ardlea Road to Dundrum. When I did this route in 2013 I sort of skipped an important part of it, the loop around Ballinteer. This was a bit unforgivable since the main purpose of the 14 is to serve Ballinteer! This purpose of this revisit was to rectify that omission. 

The current route 14 started on the 7th August 2011 through the merging of a number of other routes: 14, 14A, 20B and 48A. The current northside terminus is on Ardlea Road, or to be more accurate Maryfield Drive, just off Ardlea Road. The 20B had Ardlea Road on the bus destinations and the new 14 followed suit. Just to add to the confusion the Real Time Passenger Information screens on the roadside show the 14 as going to Beaumont. The route travels along Skelly's Lane after departing the terminus and on the Beaumont Road joins up with the 16. Coincidentally the 16 also goes to Ballinteer but a different part to that served by the 14. Dublin Bus must feel that Beaumont and Ballinteer require good connections. At Collins Avenue the 16 turns towards Whitehall while the 14 heads for Donnycarney where it joins the Malahide Road. It then works its way into the City Centre through Fairview and continues on to Rathmines. Initially it went via Earlsfort Terrace and Adelaide Road but due to the Luas Cross City works it now goes via Dame Street and Camden Street. After passing through Rathmines it continues on to Rathgar before joining Orwell Road. From Donnycarney to Rathgar the 14 runs in tandem with the 15 (From College Street it picks up the 15A and 15B). After turning onto Orwell Road, it briefly runs with the 15B as far as Zion Road, before it continues on on its own along Orwell Road, crossing the River Dodder before turning onto Braemor Park (which is in Dublin 14). After joining Braemor Road the route enters Churchtown. It heads for Ballinteer along Beaumont Avenue (many kilometers from the Beaumont the bus departed from on the northside) and Barton Road East. Along the latter it passes Meadow Grove which was once the terminus of the 14A. The route then joins Broadford Road and picks up the 75 for the run to Dundrum, and enters Ballinteer at the junction with Stonemason's Way. This was formerly the terminus of the 14 and 14A and just after the junction was the terminus of the 48A. After passing through Ballinteer the route reaches Wyckham Way after traversing Ballinteer Avenue. It then turns onto Ballinteer Road to reach Dundrum. On Main Street in Dundrum the route loses the 75 but gains the 44 as it heads for the terminus beside the Dundrum Luas Station. And here it completes its journey across the city.

The current route as already mentioned is made up of components of a number of other routes. The northside leg from Eden Quay to Ardlea Road is the old 20B, while the southside leg is for the most part the old 14, but not the original 14. The original 14 tram went as far as Dartry and that is where the buses continued to serve when they took over. As the route was extended to Churchtown and Meadowgrove Park, it became the 14A while the 14 was introduced to Braemor Road via Rathgar. In 1995 both routes were extended to Marley Court Road/Broadford Road and thus started serving Ballinteer. In the mid-2000s the two routes were further extended to Dundrum along the route the current 14 takes. THe stretch from Broadford Road to Dundrum was also served by the 48A which went on to the City Centre via Milltown and Ranelagh. Under Network Direct this route was abolished due to the duplication with the 14, and the 61 was introduced to replace it between Dundrum and the City Centre.

The 20B was those numbering oddities for it was on its own for a while towards the end, with their being no 20 and 20A.

As it is a cross-city route, the 14 has a number of functions. It connects people in Beaumont and Collins Avenue with the City Centre. It provides extra capacity along the Malahide Road, and also brings people to the shopping centre in Artane near its northern terminus. On the southside it provides extra capacity on the Rathmines/Rathgar corridor and is the main bus route to Churchtown, although the 61 also serves part of it. From Churchtown/Ballinteer its primamry purpose is to connect people in those areas with the amenities in Dundrum. It is not the main, nor direct, bus route that connects Dundrum with the City Centre. The 44, and the 61, provide a much quicker connection between the two, although the Luas is even faster.

The old 20B was operated by Summerhill Garage, while the 14, 14A and 48A were operated by Donnybrook. The 20B was mainly home to AV 110-115, while the Donnybrook routes for many years were home to Olympians. The new 14 is operated by both garages and started with ALX 400s. However in 2015 the National Transport Authority produced a list of routes that had to be operated by dual-door buses and the 14 was one of them. Summerhill moved their GTs from the 33 to the 14, while Donnybrook used GTs from the 7 freed up by the arrival of the SGs. The route is now wholly operated by the GTs, though on those precious rare occassions other buses do appear.

The route is worth doing from Dundrum, heading north, because between Ballinteer and Churchtown there are some nice panormaic views of the city to be had. It is also a more enjoyable journey into the city from Ballinteer compared to the 16. 

This initial entry covers the 14, and the overview page covers the 14 and 14A. At a future date an overview page will be added detailing the 20B and 48A.

For the page on the 2015 coverage of route 14, click here

For an overview page of routes 14 and 14A, with many older shots of both routes, click here

Rialto Reboot...Route 17

Posted by csalem83 on August 17, 2015 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)

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

Let's Go Round Again...Route 8

Posted by csalem83 on August 6, 2015 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

A journey undertaken on Dublin Bus route 8 on the 5th August 2015.

This update is a case of deja vu. A few weeks ago, route 15 was covered on this website. It was the first tram route in the city. The last tram route to operate in Dublin was the 8. In July 1949 the last tram ran and the buses took over. Fifty-two years later, in July 2001, Dublin Bus abolished the route 8. However a case taken in the European courts by an Irish politician saw the 8 reinstated in December 2005. Then two weeks ago, in July 2015, Dublin Bus published proposals to change bus routes in the Dun Laoghaire/Sallynoggin/Dalkey area. One of those proposals is to abolish the 8...again. (Another route planned to get the chop is the 111, which was covered a month ago)

With the route under threat and with its historical importance, I set out to record it, starting on July 31st and finishing on the 5th August 2015. After all, July is the most important month in the history of the 8 (The full tram route was electrified in July 1896!). But more history later. First up: the current route. Starting in Mountjoy Square in follows the 7 to Monkstown, passing through Ballsbridge and Blackrock on the way. From there it diverts off the 7 route and travels along Carrickbrennan Road before turning onto Mounttown Road Upper. Going in the opposite direction at the junction, one comes across the terminus of the 4. The route briefly meets the 46A/63/75 on Mounttown Road Lower before turning onto Glenageary Road Upper. The bit on Mounttown Road Lower is interesting as the outbound 8 serves the same bus stop as the inbound 46A and the inbound 8 serves the same stop as the outbound 46A. Not confusing at all. Passing through the Sallynoggin Roundabout the 8 intersects the 7, before continuing on to Avondale Roundabout. It crosses the 59 here and joins Barnhill Road before turning onto Castle Park Road. It briefly runs with the 59 here as far as St. Catherine's Road, but the 59 continues down Castle Park Road to Ulverton Road. Again it joins the 59 here as it runs along Ulverton Road to the terminus at the square in Dalkey. 

The current route the 8 takes is not the same as its historical one. This one started with its revival in 2005. The original 8 followed the 7 through Dun Laoghaire and continued on to Dalkey through Sandycove. In fact originally, back in the mists of time, the 7 (and 7A) began as short workings on the 8 and the 8 was the main route to Dun Laoghaire. In the 1981 timetable, for example, there were 84 departures on the 8 (M-F) while the 7 had 36. By 1994 the situation was 39 departures on the 8 and 83 on the 7. The June 2001 timetable (a month before the 8 was withdrawn) has 36 departures on the 8 and 78 on the 7. Today the situation is 7 departures from Dublin and 9 from Dalkey on the 8, and 74 on the 7. One could say the student has replaced the master. Another difference between 1981 and now is that the last departure from Dalkey every night was 00:10 while today it is 18:40. The major difference between the two though is that now the 8 only runs Monday - Friday.

The day I travelled on the 8 I do not believe the passenger number on board every got above 10. Four of us disembarked in Dalkey. Part of the issue is that bus departs Mountjoy Square at the same time as a 7, so the buses run together for a lot of the journey. One can understand why the route is being removed, especially since the important link between Dalkey and Dun Laoghaire is provided by the more frequent 59. Some of the morning inbound departures on the 8 might do well during school term and the 7D will probably be altered to cater for this demand if the 8 is fully removed. Certain roads will lose their all day bus service if the 8 is removed and bus stops will fall out of use. Although on Castle Park Road there is one stop that does not feature on the Dublin Bus RTPI system, but does appear on the NTA one. Maybe it is a sign of things to come.

The 8 is a route that should be done by bus enthusiasts due to the historical significance of the route number. Nowadays it is a bit of an oddity in the Dublin Bus route network, and as it faces an uncertain future, one shouldn't delay in travelling on it. If the end does come, I will be sure to travel on the last one.

For my page on the 8, click here

For an overview of the route, with some older bus photographs (including KD 1 and KD 2, and buses in all-over advert liveries), click here

For my page on route 7, which has more photographs of the route between Mountjoy Square and Monkstown, click here

Around Edenmore...Route 27A

Posted by csalem83 on July 30, 2015 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

A journey undertaken on Dublin Bus route 27A on the 28th July 2015.


It has taken a while, but finally a Clontarf route has been covered for 2015. It turns out though that it was well worth the wait as the 27A is possibly the most fascinating route that I have covered for the website so far.


The current 27A began in September 2011 as part of Network Direct and was mostly a like for like replacement for the 42B. The current routing starts in Eden Quay and works its way out to Artane through North Strand, Fairview and the Malahide Road. At the Artane Roundabout the 27A turns off and heads east along Gracepark Road. The 27B also turns off at this roundabout but heads west along Ardlea Road on its way to Harristown. After Gracepark Road the 27A travels along McAuley Road alongside the park. It then turns onto McAuley Drive and reaches the second McAuley Park! Here the outbound 27A serves two sides of this square while the inbound 27A serves the other sides. However, the outbound has a bus stop on each side it serves while the inbound only has one bus stop, on one side of the square. After travelling along Ribh Road the bus joins Harmonstown Road, near Harmonstown DART Station, and crosses the Santry River as it heads for Edenmore. After briefly joining Springdale Road it turns off to serve Edenmore Green, Grove and Park before rejoining Springdale Road. The route then heads for Tonlegee Road via Tonlegee Avenue. Outbound between Springdale Road and Tonlegee Avenue the 27A uses Glenfarne Road and Tonlegee Drive. Inbound it uses Glenwood Road. After briefly travelling Tonlegee Road (where it meets the 17A) the 27A turns onto Millbrook Road before reaching the terminus on Blunden Drive. It is a route with many twists and turns that serves many residential roads. It can be quite interesting to see double-deck buses making their way down these roads.


I had never travelled on the 27A prior to this trip and have no memory of ever travelling on the 42B, or the other routes that have contributed to the genealogy of the 27A: 28, 42A and 101. It was only after I completed the trip and was doing some research on the route did I realise I travelled through Edenmore four years ago on the 104, at the time when the route was terminating on Ardlea Road. Of course, as discussed in the 104 feature, that routing did not last very long and I only did it once.


The current 27 family is an odd one, like most families I suppose. The main route runs from Clare Hall to Jobstown and is operated by both Clontarf and Ringsend garages. When it was introduced in 2011 it originally terminated at Edenmore but this did not last long. The 27A is operated by Clontarf Garage solely and goes to Blunden Drive while the 27B is operated by Harristown Garage and runs to there from the City Centre via Beumont Hospital and Santry. The three routes only run together from Artane Roundabout and the City Centre. Other routes share more road-space with the 27 than its derivatives and in some respects they have a loose connection to the route. However, in the past that was not always the case. Taking the 1994 timetable for example, the original 27A went from the City Centre to Beaumont Hospital via Fairview, Artane and Coolock. The 27B went from the City Centre to Castletimon via Fairview, Artane, and Kilmore. Finally the 27 went from the City Centre to Coolock via Fairview and Artane. So the 27 and its derivatives covered the west side of the Malahide Road, while the 28 and the derivatives of the 42 (42A, 42B & 42C) covered the eastern side. Changes in the network have resulted in the current odd situation. The original 27A was removed in 1996 when the 27 went to City Swift. The current route introduced in 2011 was called the 27A because it was to be interworked with the new 27 but that never happened. Perhaps it should have been given a different number, like 28? This would have created a nice sequence with northern routes going clockwise being 27, 28 and 29 (if the 29A had been successfully renumbered).


The 27A is really fascinating bus route and everyone should really experience it. It goes through a part of Dublin that other routes do not so is pretty unique and I cannot think of any other route that is similar to it. Due to the geography of the area, it is possible to stand at the bus stop in McAuley Park and see the bus across the river valley exiting Edenmore. It really is the oddest route.


The update today covers the current 27A and the Overview Page looks at the 27A, 28 and 101. At a future date I will add a page on the 42A, 42B and 42C.


On the day I travelled on Clontarf Garage’s AV 285, one of three buses required to operate the route.



For the page on Dublin Bus route 27A, click here

For an overview of routes 27A, 28 and 101, click here


From Abbey to Manor...Routes 41 & 41C

Posted by csalem83 on July 6, 2015 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

A journey undertaken on Dublin Bus route 41C on the 25th June 2015 and route 41 on the 2nd July 2015.

A bit of time travel involved with this update as it was done before the 111 but is going live after that one. But then the latter was a much smaller and easier route to cover. Continuing with the time travel theme, a few weeks ago I covered the 39 and 39A. The 39 was the route first converted to the revolutionary City Swift brand back in 1993. It introduced a new concept in bus travel to the people of Dublin that then began to spread to other routes such as the 13 and 46A already covered on this website. The 41 though was the final route to be converted to City Swift on the 14th June 1998 and was the death knell to the brand.

City Swift was predicated on the idea of buses running at high frequency along Quality Bus Corridors from the suburbs into the city. The 39 operated at 6 minute frequency all day. Not all of the routes were this good; the 13 operated approximately every ten minutes. The 41 had to be converted to City Swift along with the 41B and 41C to give decent frequency along the route but at certain times during the day that still meant a bus every fifteen minutes. The 41 on its own averaged a bus every twenty minutes (but it was not that regular in the timetable), while the 41C had a bus every forty minutes. The 41B had five departures all day and all of these routes were branded City Swift. The other issue along the Swords Corridor was the lack of QBC along most of the route. Bus lanes were added piecemeal but congestion was still an issue. One notable bottlekneck was at the "Cat and Cage" pub in Drumcondra and that is only being addressed now in 2015. The final issue with the 41 and 41C was that they only ran a combined routing from the south of Swords so parts of the town did not experience anything close to City Swift level of service.

So what are the routes? The 41 traces its origins back to the DUTC and started in 1926. Trams did not go beyong Whitehall so a bus route was introduced to serve the large town in north County Dublin (It is also now the main town in Fingal). When the airport opened near Cloghran the 41 became one of the bus routes to serve it. The 41C started in 1981 to serve the large housing area at the southern end of Swords called River Valley. When it started the 41C reached River Valley from Dublin via Dublin Road in Swords. Since the 1980s the two routes have evolved. For a while Glasmore on the north side of Swords was the terminus of the 41 before Swords Manor took over. Today the routings for the 41 and 41C is as follows:

Both start at Lower Abbey Street in Dublin and run north along Gardiner Street to Drumcondra and Santry. The 41 still serves Dublin Airport while the 41C by-passes it. Both routes meet up again at Cloghran and run together as far as Airside. From there the 41C diverts away to serve Boroimhe and River Valley. It then enters Swords at Dublin Road and serves Main Street. It continues along North Street before turning onto Balheary Road. It then serves the housing areas of Glen Ellen and Applewood before reaching St. Cronan's Avenue. The 41 runs from Airside along the R132 before entering Swords along Malahide Road. It too serves Main Strete before turning off to run along Balheary Road. It then joins the 41C on St. Cronan's Avenue. Both routes run along that road before joing Brackenstown Road and terminating at Swords Manor. This is also the terminus of the Swords Express.

Combined both routes provide a ten minute frequency from Swords Manor and then again just after Dublin Airport. The 41 is the more direct route to Swords (apart from the Airport diversion) while the 41C serves most of the housing areas around the town, and provides a more local service. However both routes have an uncertain future as the National Transport Authority is proposing Bus Rapit Transit system to Swords and this would no doubt take some business from the 41s. No doubt some sort of revision of these routes will take place but what form that will take is unknown at this time.

The 41 and 41C are among the key routes in the city. They are the most northerly routes operated by Dublin Bus, apart from the 33s. Swords is one of the largest suburban towns around the capital and as mentioned is the main town in Fingal. (Funny enough the second main area of Fingal is Blanchardstown, home to the 39). The routes are operated by Summerhill Garage and I travelled on AV 271 on the 41C and AV 424 on the 41. Considering the length of the routes and the frequencies, they have the highest allocation of buses from that garage. However a few years ago extra departures were added and they are operated from Harriistown Garage. Normally it provides extras in the peaks, but this is the only group of routes where it does so all day. To sum up, the 41 and 41C are two of the most interesting routes in Dublin Bus and should be experienced. 

For the page on routes 41 and 41C, click here

For an overview page of both routes, click here

A Mini-Update For A Mini-Route (111)!

Posted by csalem83 on July 2, 2015 at 2:50 AM Comments comments (0)

A journey undertaken on Dublin Bus route 111 in July 2015.

I had planned on starting July with an update covering two other routes, but with the fine weather Ireland is currently experiencing and the bright mornings, I decided to do this mini-update instead on a more interesting route. Interesting is probably putting it a bid mildly and peculiar is probably more appropriate. In 2014 I covered the 59, another Dun Laoghaire local route, and found it a bit odd with the way it is routed to serve Dalkey and Killiney. The 111 though is the most bizarre of all the Dun Laoghaire routes. There is nothing unusual about the route it takes between Dun Laoghaire and Loughlinstown Park because it is exactly the same as the one the 7 takes. There is one mild difference and that is at the Dun Laoghaire terminus. Here the bus travels down Marine Road and uses a roundabout at Dun Laoghaire harbour to return back up Marine Road, starting at the first bus stop opposite the town hall, one also used by the 59. The 7 does not stop there (but does pass it) as it serves another bus stop near the railway station  on its way from Dublin. Apart from that little discrepency, the routes are identical through Dun Laoghaire, Glenageary, Sallynoggin and Ballybrack.

What makes the route even more strange is that it has a total of eleven departures a day (Monday - Friday only) split over a twelve hour period. It does three departures in the morning from Dun Laoghaire and another three in the afternoon. Its main purpose to provide some extra capacity along the corridor in the peaks. It can be somewhat useful in the morning as it departs Loughlinstown Park at 08:00, 09:00 and 10:00 when at the same time the 7 is departing from Cherrywood. In the evenings it gives people consistent departure times from Dun Laoghaire instead of having to guess when a 7 will arrive from Dublin. The route is operated by one driver who has a split-shift which gives him a five and a half hour break during the middle of the day. However, it was not always like this. The route started in the mid-1980s as a DART Feeder, one of a number of bus routes designed to tie in with the new electrified suburbun railway system. Passengers could buy through tickets on the bus to destinations along the railway line. The 111 operated all day on an approximately fifteen minute frequency. In the 2001 timetable, for example, it had sixty return trips a day (Monday - Friday) as well as a service on Saturdays. From the start of the new millenium these Feeders went into decline and started to be withdrawn or descoped. In 2009 during a network review designed to deal with the financial crisis, the 111 was cut back to the service we have today and stopped being a DART Feeder service.Many believed this was the death-knell for the 111 but it is still going today, even if it does seem to be on borrowed time.

So what is the attraction of the route to bus enthusiasts if it is just the same as the 7? The answer lies in the type of buses that appear on it. Due to its low status within the Donnybrook routes hierarchy it has never received the best buses and it is often a route where buses go to finish out their days. The most notable example of this in more recent times was the VL-Class withdrawn in 2009. These were the first proper low-floor buses bought by Dublin Bus in 1997/98 and initially were used on routes 2 and 3. As there was only five of them in the fleet they were non-standard and as more low-floor buses arrived their usefulness began to diminish. Towards the end they were used almost exclusively on the 111 as it did not require a high number of vehicles. Today it is generally home to a member of the WV-Class. There are currently three of these midi-buses still in service with Dublin Bus, out of a fleet of 52. All three are based in Donnybrook. One of them works on the 44B as no other bus type can work that route due to the nature of the roads. That route is guaranteed to be 100% WV operated whereas the 111 would probably come in at 90%. If only one bus is available it will go on the 44B, but if there are two then the second one will go on the 111. On the day I travelled on the route I was on WV 52 which is unlikely to appear on the 44B as it struggles on the hills. This was noticeable on the 111 where there are a few minor inclines. The three WVs left are the only single-deckers in the active Dublin Bus fleet. Dating from 2001 they are also amongst the oldest buses in the active fleet. Unlike the AVs from the same era, they are not being refurbished and have an uncertain future. Dublin Bus have put out a tender on a few occassions for new single-deckers and it can't be long before they accept an offer and the WVs will be gone. There can be quite a contrast to be experienced along the route at the moment with the WV on the 111 working in tandem with the 2014 SG-Class on the 7.

Now is as good as time as any to do the 111, otherwise you may regret it!

For the page on route 111, click here

For an overview with some older photographs, click here