Off The Beaten Track

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Parks and Orchard...Routes 79 & 79A

Posted by csalem83 on September 21, 2015 at 3:45 AM

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

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