DF839 - Van Hool Leyland Atlantean:
Van Hool Bodied DAF engined Leyland Atlantean AN68, DF839, is seen posing for photographs on Parnell Square East on the 7th March 2010.
The Leyland Atlantean brought about a new dawn in bus operations. Front-doored, rear engined its designed heralded the one-person operated double-decker bus, a significant and cost effective measure. 1960 saw the first Atlantean demonstration with CIE, however it was six years later before CIE's love affair with the half cab ended with delivery of the first Atlanteans. On the 29th November 1966, the first CIE Atlantean took to the streets in the form of D4 on Routes 19/A.
The Atlanteans were given the designation D-class. D1-602 were Leyland Atlantean PDR chassis (D1-244 PDR1/1 and D245-602 PDR1A/1) completed with a Metal Sections body. D603-840 were AN68s with Van Hool McArdle bodies. D1-218 were single door bodied, the remainder of the Atlanteans being dual door, following the pattern of many British bus operators who saw two doors as an effective way of speeding up loading and unloading, especially with a view towards one person operation. It is interesting to note that many of these PDR Atlanteans would be withdrawn prior to the first OPO double decker bus operating in Dublin in 1986.
DF839, is seen displaying 16A Beaumont at the 16A's terminus of Lower Rathfarnham on the 7th March 2010. Beaumont was the official terminus of the 16A from 1955 to 1985, at which point it was extended to share the Santry terminus of Route 16.
D839 was numerically the second last of the CIE Atlanteans, being delivered to Conyngham Road in early 1978, replacing RAs on Route 79. The Atlanteans proved mechanically unreliable, with customer support from British Leyland also proving to be a problem. Such problems would lead CIE to start producing their own bus chassis in the forms of the Bombardier KD, KE, KR ... classes in the 1980s. In order to alleviate the mechanical problems with the Atlanteans CIE underwent a programme of replacing some of the Leyland 600 (9.8 litre) and 680 (11.1 litre) engines with new DAF DK1160 (11.6 litre) engines derived from the original Leyland 680.
DF839 displaying Route 20B - Ardlea Road on Eden Quay on the 7th March 2010. The 20B along with the 16s would be the last home for DF839 prior to withdrawal.
D839 would receive one of these engines in the 80s, getting the designation DF839, F indicating the installation of a DAF engine. It would remain in Conyngham Road until the first quarter of 1991. Interestingly, prior to its departure from Conyngham Road it would receive another DAF engine, this time a used one from then withdrawn DF472.
A rear shot of DF839 showing the distinctive rear section of the Van Hool McArdle body. Notice the size of the rear windows, something not so achievable with the low floor doble deck chassis. In fact the first DAF DB250s that went into service in London had no rear window at all, though this proved unpopular. This large window makes the Van Hool D very bright in the lower deck rear.
It transferred to Phibsborough circa March 1991, operating a veriety of routes there. It would soldier on being one of the last Van Hool Atlanteans in service with Dublin Bus in Summerhill garage where it transferred to in the Summer of 1995. Its twilight days were spent operating on Routes 16/A/20B, upon which this author has many found memories. The delivery of RA249-55 to Summerhill finally ousted DF839, it being withdrawn and sold into preservation in November 1995. After numerous owners over the years, the bus is in pristine condition, and its great to see it trundling around the city streets once more.
DF839 operating Phibsborough Route 22A from Parnell Square to Drimnagh via Bangor Circle, seen on O'Connell Street on the 13th April 1994.
A fantastic video of DF839 is available on youtube through the Transport Enthusiasts Club of Ireland. It allows one to experience the sights and sounds of the DAF engined Atlantean, with internal and external panaromic shots of this excellent vehicle. The URL is as follows: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E93VzlEYGmM.