Off The Beaten Track

Click here to edit subtitle


view:  full / summary

An Actual Cross-City Route...Route 15

Posted by csalem83 on June 13, 2015 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

A journey undertaken on Dublin Bus route 15 in June 2015

So at long, long last Off The Beaten Track tackles route 15. Back in 2013, the year the website started, routes 15A and 15B were tackled. It was then the intention of doing the main route from which they derived. That did not happen but a promise was made to do it in 2014, and it should come as no surprise to learn that did not happen either. But finally in 2015 this goal has been achieved. After all there is no better year to do the 15 than in 2015.

The 15 is one of the more important routes in Dublin history. It can trace its origins back to 1872 and the very first tram line to open in the city. That route operated from Dublin City Centre to Rathgar before it was extended to Terenure. Over time the tram service gained the route number 15 and in 1948 the electric tram service was replaced by buses. However by 1964 the 15 was a shadow of its former self as it had been replaced by the 15A and 15B in terms of importance. The route disappeared for a time before it was brought back on an infrequent basis to serve Scholarstown. It then started to regain its importance and increased its frequency. The route was operated by Ringsend and it had a number of terminii in the City Centre. The two I associate with it are College Street and Eden Quay (the latter was its final City Centre terminus). It was a common route to find Olympians on although other types could appear. My first trip on an AV was on the 15 from College Street to Kildare Street. However at the start of the 21st Century, most of the RAs and RVs parked on Eden Quay belonged to the 15 group of routes.

In December 2011 Network Direct made its presence felt on the 15. The proposals saw it merge with the 74 and 128. These two routes were some of the newest in Dublin and were about four years old at this point. The combined route was given the number 15, although the original proposal saw it numbered 128. The route ran from Clongriffin (on the northern edge of the city) to Stocking Avenue (on the southern edge of the city at the foot of the Dublin Mountains). It was a true cross-city route as it ran from edge to edge. Along the way it served Clare Hall, Malahide Road, Fairview, Rathmines, Rathgar, Terenure, Templeogue and Knocklyon. Initially in the City Centre it went the following way: Amiens Street, George's Quay, Burgh Quay, Hawkins Street and College Street. When the Rosie Hackett Bridge opened it was able to go: Amiens Street, Custom House Quay, Eden Quay (bringing the route back to its former haunts), Rosie Hackett Bridge, Hawkins Street. Currently due to Luas Cross-City works it now has to use Burgh Quay and D'Olier Street after crossing the Rosie Hackett Bridge. The original terminus of the route on the southside was with the 15B on Stocking Avenue. However, due to space constraints on the road it was decided to move the terminus back one stop to Ballycullen Road where the bus lanes provided ample space to park buses between departures.

The current route is a high-frequency one that operates every 10 minutes for most of the day. Through merging the 15, 74 and 128 the route is now operated from two garages: Ringsend and Harristown. When this combined route was created the RVs became much less common on it as it became a low-floor route. Most of them which remained migrated to the 15A and 15B. However, Ringsend did manage to keep one RV on the route most days and the 11:30 from Clongriffin became a popular service with bus enthusiasts. It lasted on this until quite near the end of RVs in Ringsend Garage. A panel was even added to the destination blind to show "Clongriffin". Today the route is mostly operated by AVs and AXs but VGs and GTs can appear, along with the rare EV and SG. On the 12th June 2015 I travelled on Harristown's AX 504 on the 10:50 departure from Clongriffin.

The route is well worth doing. At either end there are monuments to the Celtic Tiger in the form of the incomplete develpoments in Clongriffin and Knocklyon. In fact, at the entrance to the Clongriffin development the route passes the infamous Priory Hall development which in some ways represents all that went wrong during the boom years. In between the route passes through the different phases of Dublin's development going back in time from Coolock and Artaine to Fairview and Rathmines, before moving forward in time again around Templeogue and Scholarstown. The route also takes from the northern edge of the city to the southern edge, where one goes from near the sea to the mountains, so on the 15 one really gets to understand the geography of the city. And at the southern terminus one can return to the city via the 15B and at the northern terminus one has access to the DART network. Along the way the route interacts with many other Dublin Bus routes, too many to list here, although from D'Olier Street to Camden Street there is a nice sequential coincidence where the 14, 15 and 16 all run together.

So there it is folks! At last the 15 has been covered on the website. The question is, what route is next?!

For the page on route 15, click here

For an overview of route 15, click here

For the page on route 128, click here

Direct to Blanchardstown...Routes 39 and 39A

Posted by csalem83 on May 24, 2015 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)

A journey undertaken on Dublin Bus routes 39 and 39A in April and May 2015.


The Off The Beaten Track updates for 2015 started with route 83 which was the first bus route converted to City Imp back in 1992. It was also the last of the former City Imp routes that are still active to be covered by this website. Subsequent to the 83, the 13 and 25A were covered and these routes represent remnants of a previous Dublin Bus idea from the 1990s: City Swift.


The City Swift concept was simple – frequent services along certain corridors through the city. In fact its slogan Direch - Ar Fud Na Cathrach translated as “Directly – All Over The City”. Starting in 1993 the routes converted to City Swift were 13, 25A, 27, 40, 41, 46A, 51B, 77 and 78A. But the one that started it all was the 39 and that is the basis of this route feature.


The 39 was numerically the first bus route operated by the Dublin United Tramway Company but was not the first bus route operated by them. It started in 1926 and connected Dublin City Centre with Blanchardstown. Shortly afterwards the 39A was inaugurated and was an extension of the 39 to Clonsilla. Over time the 39A was reduced in frequency and the 39 was extended to Clonsilla. This was part of the growth of the Blanchardstown area in the 1970s and 1980s as Dublin city expanded. The 6th June 1993 was when the route underwent its biggest shake-up. The 39A was abolished and the new City Swift brand was introduced. The concept was a major development in the history of Dublin Bus. The City Swift brand was introduced throughout the route with bus stops painted blue instead of the standard green. New shelters were installed, also in blue with orange seats, and at certain points “enhanced” shelters were put in which included phone boxes. Also all the shelters had their location at each end so people knew exactly where they were. The most exciting part of the concept was the replacement of the double-decker buses (usually Bombardier KDs) with new single-deckers (initially Ps and later ADs). These new buses also received a striking new livery of white/blue/orange/grey which was greatly different from the standard two-tone green. Finally the 39 timetable was overhauled and buses ran for most of the day at a 6 minute frequency.


City Swift was part of the overhaul of the network by Bob Montgomery that had started with City Imp. He believed smaller buses at higher frequencies would attract more business and as discussed previously it did. In fact it was so successful that over time City Imp went from minibuses to midi-buses before the brand was dropped, and City Swift from single-deckers to double-deckers. The initial 39 ran to Clonsilla (beside the railway station) via Blanchardstown and later was extended the short distance to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Clonsilla. Later in the 1990s and early 2000s the 39A was introduced to the area as well as a 39B.


The next major shake-up to the 39 and 39A was in October 2010 under Network Direct. The 39A became the main route of the group and was given a 10 minute frequency while the 39 was relegated to a 30 minute frequency. This was quite a reduction from a bus every 6 minutes. Both routes terminated in Ongar, which was one of the Celtic-Tiger developments in West Dublin. In fact parts of the estate are built right up to the Dublin/Meath county boundary so the 39 and 39A are one of the few bus routes that get close to the edge of County Dublin without going beyond it. The other reason why the changes of October 2010 are noteworthy is that the 39A replaced the 10 on the southside to UCD Belfield. The 38s, 39 and 70 also took over from the 10 on Baggot Street bringing an enhanced bus service to that area but the 39A replaced it all the way from O’Connell Bridge to UCD Belfield. Generations of UCD students grew up with the 10, but from 2010 a new generation started to form a relationship with the 39A. I managed to straddle both routes.


The current routes both start in Ongar and do a loop around Ongar Village. This is nearly a full loop as the terminus is close to the roundabout on the Ongar Distributor Road where the routes split. There is a bus stop on the latter road where one can stand and wait for a 39A and see the buses at the terminus, it just takes them about ten minutes to get from the terminus to that bus stop. At the roundabout the routes split and the 39A uses the Ongar Distributor Road to directly reach Shelerin Road. The 39 heads for St. Joseph’s Hospital and Clonsilla Railway Station uses Clonsilla Road to reach Shelerin Road. Both routes join up to loop around Hartstown and Huntstown before reaching the Blanchardstown Shopping Centre. The 39A leaves the centre and heads for Dublin along the N3 Navan Road. The 39 heads south from the centre towards Coolmine and serves Blanchardstown Village before also joining the N3 at the M50 interchange. Both routes then travel along the Navan Road, briefly serving Navan Road Parkway Railway Station and Ashtown before reaching Cabra. They then reach the North Quays via Old Cabra Road, Prussia Street and Stoneybatter. After passing through the City Centre the routes serve Baggot Street and Waterloo Road. The 39 turns off Waterloo Road onto Burlington Road where it terminates along with the 38s and 70, near the Grand Canal. On the other side of the canal is the 37 terminus. The 39A continues on through Donnybrook before reaching the terminus at UCD Belfield.


The routes are operated by Phibsborough Garage and due to their popularity often feature the tri-axle VT class, although any of the other classes can appear on it. On the days I was out photographing the routes I did see members of the AV, AX, DT, GT and VT classes. The only one missing from the Phibsborough fleet was an SG. Not only did I see a few AVs but I managed to see the oldest active AV in the Dublin Bus fleet – AV 26. I also managed to travel on the third oldest on the 39A – AV 48. Both of these buses do not have long left with Dublin Bus.


The 39 and 39A are both routes worth exploring within Dublin Bus, though the 39 is probably slightly more interesting. It takes a more traditional routing serving Blanchardstown Village and Clonsilla. It also more closely parallels the Dublin – Sligo railway line than the 39A. Their combined terminus at Ongar is close to Hansfield Station on the M3 Parkway line, one of the newest station on the Irish railway network.


For the page on routes 39 and 39A, click here

For an overview of routes 39 and 39A, click here


For the page on route 10 click here


From A to B in Lucan...Routes 25A & 25B

Posted by csalem83 on April 16, 2015 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (0)

A journey undertaken on the 25A on the 13th April 2015 and the 25B on the 14th April 2015.


This update could have the subtitle “How to travel on two Conyngham Road routes without travelling on a Conyngham Road bus” but more on that later.


The last update covered the 13 which terminated at Grange Castle. This route is operated by Conyngham Road and Harristown and its predecessors (13 & 51B) were both City Swift routes. A short distance north of Grange Castle, across the Grand Canal, one finds another former City Swift route, and one operated by Conyngham Road, the 25A. And with the 25A one gets the 25B so it seemed a good choice to cover next as I could kill two birds with one stone. It had one final attraction for me: in 2014 I covered the 25 which also terminates in Lucan, but the 25A terminates in a very different Lucan.


To understand this one must examine the routing of the 25A/B and how it has evolved. Like the 25, they start in Merrion Square and run together to Heuston Station. The 25 then turns north over the River Liffey and runs to Palmerston via Chapelizod. The 25A/B stays on the southside and uses the Chapelizod By-Pass to reach Palmerston where they combine again. Together they travel along the N4, crossing the M50 and passing the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre. At the Ballyowen Slip Road the routes divide again. The 25 heads for Lucan Village and its terminus at Dodsboro. The 25A/B heads south along the Ballyowen Road to “The Penny Hill” pub, and then along Castle Road, Newland’s Road and Foxborough. At Balgaddy Road the routes divide. The 25B continues straight on to Griffeen Avenue and Haydens Lane. The 25A serves Griffeen Road and Esker Road before briefly joining up the 25B again after Hayden’s Lane to reach the Lock Road. The 25A heads north a short distance to terminate at the Lucan Shopping Centre, or as it appears on the destination scroll “Lucan (Esker Church)”. The 25B travels south along the Lock Road before entering Adamstown and terminating at Admastown Railway Station.


As can be seen, the routes share little in common with the 25 but that has not always been the case. In January 1990, the 25A followed the 25 all the way to Lucan Village before turning off and travelling along Adamstown Road to terminate at the current terminus. By August 1990 the route was extended further south to serve Esker Road before terminating at Arthur Griffith Park. By 1997 the route had adopted a lot of its current routing. It came off the N4 at Ballyowen and served Castle Road and Newland’s Road before reaching Esker Road and terminating at Lucan Shopping Centre. By 2001 it was also serving Foxborough. All of these changes reflected the development of West Dublin in the 1990s and 2000s as new housing areas were created, all loosely referred to as Lucan, filling in the area between the M50 and Lucan. These large housing estates that were created put pressure on the bus services and this resulted in the 25A coming under the City Swift brand in 1996 with buses running every ten minutes throughout the day. Subsequently the route came under Super City Swift and was branded “Lucan Road 25A Flyer”. Currently things are a bit different. The 25A operates at a 10 minute frequency in the peaks in the direction of the flow and every 30 minutes throughout the rest of the day. The 25B operates to a similar frequency so therefore the core route section has a 5 minute frequency in the peak and a 15 minute frequency in the off-peak.


The 25B has a much shorter history. It started in 2010 under Network Direct and became the primary bus service for Adamstown. Previously that had been served by the 151, but as discussed before, that route was cut back to Foxborough under Network Direct, where it meets the 25A and 25B today. Under the 151 the residents of Adamstown got to travel to Dublin via Grange Castle, Clondalkin and Crumlin. Now they go via Liffey Valley and Palmerston. Journey times may be quicker but in terms of connectivity it was quite a radical change. It was also a change in terms of frequency as the original 151 ran much more frequently than the current 25B. Maybe if the Adamstown development expands and is completed to the designs of the original plans, the 25B may become a more frequent bus and the 151 may serve it again.


I suppose the subtitle should be explained. Due to the increase in departures in the peak, and the passenger demand, buses from Phibsborough Garage supplement those from Conyngham Road, including the tri-axle VTs. On the two days I travelled on the routes I managed, by chance, to travel on two Phibsborough buses. I will have to go back another day and travel on two Conyngham Road buses on the routes as I rarely use the services of that garage. I travelled on AV 372 and AX 575.


Both routes are worth doing just for the way they show the evolution of the city. They start in historic, Georgian Merrion Square and quickly reach the suburbs of West Dublin. Along the way you pass the expanded M50 motorway and the large shopping centre at Liffey Valley. The routes then pass through the large housing developments that started in the 1990s and finish at Adamstown which dates from the 2000s. It was designed as one of the new towns around Dublin, like Clongriffin, but as both were started during the Celtic Tiger they never reached their full potential due to the economic crash.


For the page on both routes, click here

For an overview of both routes, with some older photographs, click here


Friday 13th and Route 13

Posted by csalem83 on March 30, 2015 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (0)

A journey undertaken on Dublin Bus route 13 in March 2015.

The previous update covered route 83 which runs from Kimmage to Harristown. However, I had no photograph of the route at Harristown in the update so I had to head out there to get one. I also decided that it was time to do the final route that terminates in Harristown, the 13, and therefore I would not have to go back out there for any more updates. This was quite the incentive as it is a bit of a walk from the city centre.

The current 13 was created under Network Direct and came into existence on the 2nd Octonber 2011 following the merging of the 13, 13A, 51B and 51C. The current route runs from Harristown to Grange Castle. On the northside it covers the old 13 and 13A and runs from Harristown to the City Centre via Poppintree, Ballymun, Griffith Avenue and Drumcondra. The old 13 used Whitworth Road between Drumcondra and Glasnevin, whereas the current route follows the old 13A through Drumcondra and Griffith Avenue. This is the only bus route to use a substantial part of Griffith Avenue although the 123 terminates on it at the east end and the 83 passes by its western extremity. The 13 shares the Ballymun Road at various points with the 4, 9, 11, and 17A (routes already covered on this website) and was once the main bus route to Ballymun, but the more direct 4 has taken over that position.

On the southside the route runs from City Centre to Grange Castle via Kilmainham, Inchicore, Naas Road, Clondalkin Village, and Bawnogue replacing the 51B and 51C. Between the Grand Canal and Red Cow the bus route parallels the Luas Red Line which took some business from the bus routes as it is faster between those two points. At the Long Mile Road/Naas Road Junction the 13 crosses the 151, a route it meets again on the other side of Clondalkin at two points on the New Nangor Road before running together into Grange Castle. The 151 continues through to Foxborough. The 151 is a quicker route to the New Nangor Road and Grange Castle from the City Centre than the 13 and is now the only all-day connection to the 51 group of routes which were synonymous with the Clondalkin area. Peak-time Xpresso routes 51D and 51X are the only routes left to use the 51 number.

The current 13 in some ways symbolises the old and new Ireland. At either end it passes through developments from the Celtic Tiger. Harristown depot is at one end, and it was proposed a decade ago to build another depot in Grange Castle, a busines park home to high-tech industries. The economic collapse meant it was not feasible to build the depot. The route passes through what is considered working class areas of Dublin: Clondalkin, Inchicore and Ballymun. The latter was home to several high-rise blocks of flats which were demolished and replaced with new houses during a regeneration that has taken place over the last twenty years. Clondalkin saw many new houses built around it during the 1990s and the Luas line itself was opened in 2001. On the other hand Inchicore and Drumcondra are much older parts of Dublin with narrow streets and red brick houses. This route certainly does not go through the posher parts of Dublin and does unfortunately have a bit of a reputation. Unfortunately it regularly appears on the news page of the Dublin Bus site where it is announced it has been pulled from certain parts of the route due to anti-social beahviour. I am happy to say I experienced no problems on the two days I did the routes, even though one of them was Friday the 13th!

When I started this site some people said I would never do certain routes due to their reputations and this was one of those routes. But I have done it and just need to do the 220 to complete the bus routes of Ballymun. For Clondalkin I need to do a few more (68, 69 and 76) but another one of the Network Direct cross-city routes has been completed. Just the 15, 27 and 40 left to do. Watch this space...

For the page on Dublin Bus route 13, click here

For an overview of routes 13 and 13A, click here

For an overview of routes 51B and 51C, click here

Around the Tolka Estate...Routes 83 & 83A

Posted by csalem83 on March 3, 2015 at 5:20 AM Comments comments (0)

A journey undertaken on Dublin Bus route 83 on the 2nd March 2015.

In 2013 I started this website with the former route 19 and 19A and then set out to cover its successors. I started with the 9 and the 68A and back then I said I would do the 83 to conclude that review. And I intended to do that in 2013 and 2014 but never got around to it. The second day I went out for this website was the 21st February 2013 and as my first trip in 2015 was to be on the 21st February, it felt more than appropriate to do the 83 and the 83A.

The 83 is a route I am not overly familiar with, even though it has been around for a long time. In the 1980s the route was in decline in terms of passenger numbers and in 1992 it was relaunched as the first City Imp route. Small red/yellow minibuses replaced the double-deckers and frequencies were increased. In parts of Kimmage "Hail and Ride" was introduced where people could flag down a bus away from a bus stop. The concept was a success and revived the route. Other City Imp routes appeared around the city such as the 120, 121, 122, 123, 134, 130, 150, 155. The 83 was the only route not to gain the 1 prefix. Due to its success the City imp brand was phased out and double-deckers reappeared on most routes. In 2003 the 83 was merged with the northside 134 and in 2004 the route was transferred to the new garage in Harristown.

Currently the route runs from Harristown Garage, along with the 4 and 13 though it heads west rather than east. After crossing the M50 it passes Charlestown Shopping Centre and joins up with the 9 as far as Sycamore Road. It runs further down Sycamore Road than the 9 before joining Ballygall Road West. It then heads for Glasnevin along Glasanaon Road and Old FInglas Road before passing the National Botanical Gardens. It briefly rejoins the 9 in Phibsborough before heading for the quays on its own along Church Street. From College Street it follows the original 83 to Rathmines. One recent change has been the introduction in January 2015 of the contraflow bus lane on Camden Street, removing the Harcourt Street loop. In Rathmines it meets up with the 18 and follows it most of the way to Kimmage. The 83 terminates on Stannaway Avenue, just a short walk away from Kimmage Road West and the 9. 

One of the standout features of the 83 is the 83A. The residents of the Tolka Estate were not happy losing the direct 19 and the less than 500m walk to the 83 was too much for them. In response to pressure from them, Dublin Bus introduced the 83A in 2012. This is one 83 an hour that diverts into the estate in both directions, travelling down some tight roads to serve about three bus stops. The 83A is the one concession Dublin Bus gave in response to the campaign to restore the 19 and 19A. If there was one reason to travel on the 83 it would be to experience this peculiar diversion on the 83A.

Up until 2011 the route was solely operated with Olympians. The last time I travelled on the 83 on the northside was about ten years ago and I got an Olympian then. In fact most journies I have taken on the 83 have been between Rathmines and the City Centre and I truly did not know where it went on the extremities. Once or twice on my walk I did take a wrong turn and get lost. Since 2011 the route has been low-floored operated. Initially it was with EVs and VGs but in more recent times it has been home to the GTs and SGs. Unusually, when I travelled on the route it was on VG 24 although all of my pictures are of GTs. The final routes I did in 2014 were GTs and SGs and my first route of 2015 is a GT one. I do intende this year on doing some more routes that are not GT or SG operated but that may be a bit difficult as the NTA and Dublin Bus are currently reallocating those buses to different routes.

So on a final note I have at last completed the 83 and all of the routes that have replaced the 19 and 19A. Admittedly I did not go out to Harristown on the 83 but instead I did the Sunday Only version of the route from Charlestown but I do intend on getting a Harristown shot at some point this year. There is one on the Overview page. And so the 2015 season has begun and Off The Beaten Track is back to live updates once more....

For the page on routes 83 and 83A, click here

For an overview of routes 83 and 83A, click here

For the page on route 9, click here

For the page on routes 19 and 19A, click here

For the page on route 18, click here

For the page on route 68A, click here

2014...An Update

Posted by csalem83 on December 6, 2014 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

I didn't intend for the 37 to be the last update for Off The Beaten Track this year but it has worked out that way. There will be no more 'live' updates of routes until February when the light starts to improve once more and decent photography is possible. There will be one or two 'historic' updates between now and then though. At the end of last year I also listed a few routes I would cover this year and as I did not do half of them I won't make any perdictions for next year, except to say the 15 will be done!


Two updates to routes I did this year are required.


First up is the 44. I started 2014 on this route and back in February Larkhill was the terminus. That changed in September when the route was extended to DCU (Mon-Fri). GT 98 is seen departing DCU on the 5th December 2014:


Second update is in relation to the 27B. When I covered this route in June the inbound terminus was on Marlborough Street, while outbound it started on Eden Quay. In August. Eden Quay became the terminus in both directions, with the buses using the new Rosie Hackett Bridge and O'Connell Bridge to turn around. It also started serving Connolly Station. AX 455 is seen on Rosie Hackett Bridge on the 5th December 2014:


My page on the 44 can be found here:


My page on the 27B can be found here:


I didn't cover as many routes this year as I did last year but I think the ones I did provided some interest and variety. Although there are only 160 of them in the fleet, the GT-Class did seem to dominate the routes I did in 2014: 7, 9, 29A, 37, 49, 104, and 151.

However, we did also get to see VTs on the 26 and 46A; AVs and AXs on the 27B, 44, 25, 26, 59, 120, 122 and 123; EVs and VGs on the 123; and a WV on the 59.

This year was also the year of demonstrator buses in the form of DM 1 on the 9 and DM 2 on the 151.

Finally, in September the latest bus type entered service with Dublin Bus - the SG. And these featured on the 29A and 37.


Highlight of the year was the 123, which was a spur of the moment decision that provided great photographs.

Lowlight of the year was the 151, which I just found a boring route.

And most pleasent surprise of the year was the 46A which intimidated me to a certain degree but the results were worth it.


All the routes mentioned above can be found here:


I would also like to thank finnyus this year who was kind enough to tweet about my website on occasion which brought it to a wider audience. Be sure to check out his transport photos here:


Finally, thank you to everyone who took time to visit the site this year. Something like this takes a lot of time and effort and always gratifying when people take time out to look at the fruit of my labours. Be sure to keep an eye out for the historical updates and see you all in 2015!

Blanchardstown, The Long Way Round...Route 37

Posted by csalem83 on November 9, 2014 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (0)

A journey undertaken on Dublin Bus route 37 on the 30th September 2014.

Although my page on the 29A was the first one to feature the new SG class, I actually set out on one on the 37 first. It just took a month to finish the feature on the 37, and in some ways that epitomises the route.

The current 37 was a product of the Network Direct changes that were implemented on the 31st October 2010 (exactly four years before most of the pictures in this feature were taken). However the 37 had a troubled birth. The original plan was to terminate the Navan Road routes on Wilton Terrace but that got delayed. Instead the buses showed Baggot Street as the destination, but it was in reality Burlington Road/Mews. The 37 finally made the transition to Wilton Terrace in April 2013. Therefore, the route only serves Baggot Street in one direction, and Leeson Street in the other. For years the route served Castleknock and Carpenterstown, but Network Direct proposed to take the route to Blanchardstown Shopping Centre. It finally reached there in April 2011. But now in 2014 the route has settled down.

As far as Stoneybatter the route follows the other Navan Road bus routes, but from there it heads for Blackhorse Avenue, eschewing the Navan Road. Within Stoneybatter it takes a split routing: outbound Prussia Street, inbound Aughrim Street. The latter is aligned with Blackhorse Avenue but two narrow for buses to serve in both directions. Along Blackhorse Avenue it passes the Dunard Estate, once served by the route 172, but it was withdrawn over five years ago. The 37 turns off Blackhorse Avenue for a brief run down the Navan Road as far as the Ashtown Roundabout where it heads back to Blackhorse Avenue and heads for Castleknock. All along Blackhorse Avenue on one side is the Phoenix Park. At Castleknock the route is joined briefly by the 38s but after the village the 37 turns off and heads for Carpenterstown. Near Coolmine Station the 239 joins up with the 37 but going in the opposite direction. At a bus stop where the 37 is heading for Blanchardstown, the 239 is heading for Liffey Valley. At a stop where the 37 is heading for Dublin, the 239 is heading for Blanchardstown. Carpenterstown was the terminus for the 37 for many years, but now it continues through and travels along the Porterstown Road before reaching Blanchardstown Shopping Centre.

The 37 is a scenic route, and as it takes the 'back roads' to get to Blanchardstown provides a lot of variety. It is certainly not a route to take if one is in a hurry to get to Blanchardstown as I learned two years ago. That was my first real experience of the route, as it is not one I am overly familiar with. I was in a dash across the city to photo some RVs in their final days and hopped onto a 37. I learned that day to stick to the 39A, or even the 39. But if one is not in a rush, the 37 is well worth doing.

On the day I travelled on SG 14 of Phibsborough Garage.

The page on the 37 can be found here

An Overview page with older pictures, can be found here

The Big One...Route 46A

Posted by csalem83 on November 1, 2014 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

A journey undertaken on Dublin Bus route 46A on the 25th October 2014.

On the 30th October 2010, Dublin lost one of its most famous bus route: the number 10. It was a bus route thousands of people were familiar with for it served University College Dublin on the southside and the Phoenix Park on the northside. When it was removed through Network Direct it was replaced by the 39A on the bit from the city centre to UCD. The 39A is not a very note-worthy route, nor one of celebrity. However, on the northside the 10 was replaced by THE most famous bus route in Dublin: the number 46A.

The 46A runs from Dun Laoghaire to the City Centre via Foxrock Church, the Stillorgan Road and Donnybrook. Prior to September 2010 it terminated in Mountjoy Square, now home to the 7. It was then extended to the Phoenix Park via Phibsborough in anticipation of the withdrawal of the 10 in October 2010. In the 1990s, the terminus I remember for the 46A was in Fleet Street, just on the southbank of the River Liffey. This is now used by the 47 and the 150. On its journey to Dun Laoghaire the route would turn off the Stillorgan Road and pass through Stillorgan Village. As the bus had to cross traffic in both directions, this increased journey times. Over time, certain peak-time journies were taken out of Stillorgan until we reach the situation now were no 46A serves the village. The only bus route from the city centre that goes into the village now is the 47 which operates once an hour.  This quite a change as the 46A Monday-Friday runs at a 7-8 minute interval. However it is only a short walk from the Stillorgan Shopping Centre to the 46A bus stop on the Stillorgan Road.

Part of the reason for these changes was the introduction in the 1990s of the Stillorgan Quality Bus Network. This saw bus lanes put in place for the 46A from Leeson Street to Foxrock Church and beyond, which gave the buses a much clearer run along the congested roads, and reduced journey times too. It was also operated at high frequencies. It was the first of the QBCs in the city, and arguably the most succesful. This success was defined in the mid-2000s when Dublin Bus bought twenty Enviro 500 triaxles from Alexander Dennis. These buses made quite a presence on the streets of Dublin as they were vehicles more commonly found in Hong Kong. Indeed, no other European capital operates them. The buses proved their worth on the 46A and two years later fifty more of the type were delivered for outher routes within Dublin Bus. Some of them even spent time on the 10, so the people along the North Circular Road were already used to them when the 46A arrived.

So why does the 46A have a reputation? Well it serves some of the posh parts of Dublin: Donnybrook, Foxrock and Stillorgan. This seems to give it an air of exclusivity. It has the highest frequency of any route in the city with 8 buses an hour for most of the day Monday to Friday which 'reduces' to 6 buses an hour on a Saturday. Not only does it have such a hig frequency but it has the high capacity VTs operating on it. It is also claimed that the route gets all of the new buses. However I would argue against the 'myth' that has built up around the 46A. Taking the last point first, the VTs that operate on it are between 7 and 9 years old, which hardly make them very new. The most recent deliveries to Donnybrook have been the GT and SG classes. The former appear on the 7, 17, 44, and 45A. The latter appear on the 7. They occasionally appear on the 46A but are not the main allocation on the route. The timetable does have a very frequency but doesn't mean the reality always reflects that. On the day I went out to photograph the route I had to end things early because I waited thirty minutes between buses at one point and twenty minutes between buses at another. It does have a good frequency and high capacity buses but it needs both. The route is very popular, maybe not at all points but at certain stages. For example it passes UCD and does great business there. When I attended college you could always tell First Year students from the rest because the former used the 10 and the latter used the 46A as they knew it was quicker. But on the second day I went out to finish the route, buses were full from Stillorgan and nearly full from Foxrock. On the northside it does equally as well, bringing people to the Phoenix Park and the zoo there. 

I had wanted to do the 46A from when I started the website but its reputation and fame put me off slightly. There was added pressure to do the route justice and I wanted to show how visually interesting the route is. The anniversary of the passing of the 10 gave me the push to go out and do the 46A. If I didn't do it now I probably never would. And I am not afraid to admit I enjoyed my day on the 46A. It goes through some very nice parts of the city, with terminii that offer a lot, either a very large park or a seafront, both of which provide nice walks. It also provides one with a good run on a triaxle bus through a city, and cheaper to do then going to Hong Kong for the experience, or Glasgow. On the day I travelled on VT 12 which has gone through the NTA refurbishment scheme.

When it comes to the 46A, all I can do is borrow a phrase from a well-known sports brand - just do it!

The page on the 46A can be found here

An overview page of the 46A with older pictures can be found here

The page on the 10 can be found here

The page on the 47 can be found here

Newgrove?...Route 29A

Posted by csalem83 on October 17, 2014 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)

A journey undertaken on route 29A on the 14th November 2012 and 16th October 2014.

The 29A is a slightly unusual bus route. To begin with it is a derivative of a route that does not exist. There is no 29 in the Dublin Bus timetable so the 29A belongs to a rare breed that also includes routes like the 46A, 54A, and the 77A. Secondly its origins can be traced back to a route that was operated by the Great Northern Railway (Ireland) whereas the routes either side of it were former DUTC tram routes. It has gone from having some of the oldest buses on it six years ago, to the most modern buses today. Finally, the routing itself is quite curious.

It is operated by Clontarf Garage and therefore departs from Talbot Street along with most other routes served by that garage. That is a recent change. Up until August this year most Clontraf routes terminated on Marlborough Street and started on Abbey Street. But Luas Cross City works saw Marlborough Street dug up and terminating buses restored to Talbot Street. Although Abbey Street was starting point up until this yrear that was not always the case and seven years ago the 29A started on Eden Quay. The route heads out through North Strand and Fairview. When I did the 14 and the 27B, those routes headed north from Fairview along the Malahide Road, while the 130 continued east along the Clontarf Road. The 29A travels east beyond the Malahide Road along the Clontarf Road but turns north onto the Howth Road passing through Killester. As it approaches Raheny it throws up another curiosity by turning off into All Saints Park and does a little detour through the housing estate there before reaching the centre of Raheny village. It then heads for Donaghmede along the Raheny road, leaving behind the 31s and the 32 which had shared the Howth Road with it. After briefly meeting the 17A on Tonlegee Road it joins Grange Road and passes Donaghmede Shopping Centre. When I did the route in 2012 for the first time this was as far as I went. A couple of stops later was the terminus which was described on the destination as Newgrove.

Newgrove was one of those made up names by Dublin Bus which cannot be found on a map. In the era of the destination blind on buses in Dublin it was referred to as Newgrove Cross which was a loose description of the junction between Grange Road and the Hole in the Wall Road. As DMDs were slowly introduced in Dublin this became shortened to Newgrove. There is a Newgrove Estate near the junction but the bus did not go into it. Donaghmede would have been a more accurate destination for the 29A. However in November 2012, Network Direct came along and the route was sensibly extended to Baldoyle along Grange Road and given a clockface timetable. Around the same time, Clontarf allocated its new GT-class buses to the 29A. A few short years earlier the route was operated by ten year old RV Olympians.

Fast forward to October 2014 and the route has undergone another change. The week I travelled on it was the same week the new SG class was introduced on the route, displacing one and two year old GTs. It was also the first time I travelled on the route since the Network Direct changes and the first time I got a bus to, rather than through, Baldoyle. If the Celtic Tiger economy had continued to roar and the development at Clongriffin had been completed the 29A would have been diverted through there, and on Longfield Road near the junction with Grange Road one can see a bus stop waiting to be served by the 29A. But until the road bridge over the railway in Clongriffin is eventually finished it will go unserved. The railway features largely in the 29A story, perhaps because it is a bus route started by a railway company. The route paralles the railway line thoughout and passes, or comes close to, the stations at Connolly, Clontarf Road, Killester, Raheny, Howth Junction, Clongriffin, Bayside and Sutton (although the latter two are about a ten minute walk from the route). It is because of this the route provides a strategic function when the railway line is shut for engineering works, or for any other reason.

The 29A is a route well worth doing. It goes through some scenic areas, takes interesting routings, and shows the contrast that is Dublin City. It is an often overlooked route. I myself having only travelled on it twice, and both times recorded here.

For the page on the 29A, click here

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

Pearse Street to Pearse Street...Route 7

Posted by csalem83 on August 24, 2014 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (0)

A journey undertaken on route 7 on the 7th August 2014.

When the website began I had a list of key routes that I wanted to cover. The 7 was on that list but I never got around to doing it in 2013. Recently I was looking at the last blog entry in 2013 and there I promised to do in 2014 routes 7, 8, 15, 102 and possibly 104. By the start of August this year I had only done the 104 and none of the others! It is not as if I had forgotten about the 7. A number of times I had considered doing it but something else would happen and I would either not go out to photograph buses or I would do another route. The 123 is a prime example of that, because that day I actually came into town to do the 7 but while having coffee in the morning I had a sudden impulse to the do the Summerhill route instead, and I am glad that I did for I was very happy with the results that day. However, things have now come full circle because I planned in August to do a Summerhill route but ended up doing the 7 instead. I just didn't think it would take me three weeks to finish it.

The route is operated by Donnybrook and transitioned from trams to buses in 1949. The 7 itself only lasted until 1951 but its derivative, the 7A continued on. In the 1980s the 7 returned and was the main bus route to Blackrcok and Dubn Laoghaire. Overtime it was extended to Sallynoggin, Loughlinstown and a few other places. Network Direct had little impact on the 7. It standardised the timetable with clockface departures. The terminus in the City Centre was moved to Mountjoy Square and three buses an hour operate to Loughlinstown. The fourth bus every hour goes to Cherrywood Business Park. Between the 4 and the 7, there are eight buses an hour to Blackrock along the Rock Road QBC during the week. Both routes also serve Monkstown, but different parts of it. One impact of Network Direct was that it removed the 7A from the Dublin Bus network.

The current routing of the 7 starts in Mountjoy Square and reaches Ballsbridge via Merrion Square. From there it passes through Blackrock, using the Main Street, which the 4 avoids. It then serves Monkstown and Dun Laoghaire. From there it passes along George's Street and climbs up Glenageary Road to reach Sallynoggin. It passes through Sallynoggin to get to Rochestown Avenue and passes along Churchview Road to get to Wyatville Road. From there it either goes to Loughlinstown Park or Cherrywood. In terms of usage it is really a route of two halves: City Centre - Dun Laoghaire and Dun Laoghaire - Loughlinstown. In the peak periods it is supplemented by the 111 between Dun Laoghaire and Loughlinstown. The route has a number of attractions along it such as the Aviva Stadium on Lansdowne Road and the RDS in Ballsbridge. Events in these places can see the additional services or buses on the 7. The 7 is unique in that it serves two different Pearse Streets: One in Sallynoggin, and one while operating inbound in City Centre.

The 7 holds the distinction of being the first route to go over to GT operation. A number of updates recently have focused on GT operated routes and the 9 regularly sees the last GT constructed, GT 160. The 7 often has GT 1 on it but sadly was not in evidence on the days I went out to record the route. There is a Summerhill connection to the route in that the first 3 GTs for Summerhill spent some time in Donnybrook and on the 7 prior to being allocated to their intended route, the 33. Prior to the arrival of the GTs the route was operated predominately by AXs. On the 7th August I travelled on GT 10. In the past the route had a variety of bus types on it but as can be seen in the Overview Page, it was a route that often saw All-Over Advertisements on its buses.

The 7 is a route well worth doing, going through some nice areas of the city and provides you with views over Dublin Bay and of the mountains.

The page on the 7 can be found here

An Overview page with older pictures of the 7 and 7A can be found here

The page on the 4 can be found here