WH1 - Wright Pulsar Gemini Hybrid Vehicle:
WH1 was the sole diesel-electric hybrid bus operated by Dublin Bus. It featured a Ford 2.4litre diesel engine and incorporated Siemens hybrid technology with lithium ion high-capacity batteries. See irishbuses feature providing more details on the technology and its first day in service with photos from the renowned photographer Patrick Losty. The photos below show a WH1 on a fairly rare full days service on former Route 20B, the photos taken at the Maryfield Drive (Ardlea Road) terminus.
WH1 on the 20B at the Ardlea Road terminus on the 16/11/2009.
WH1 on the 20B on the 16/11/2009.
WH1 at the Ardlea Road terminus on the 16/10/2009. Note the long shadows.
A side profile of WH1 at Ardlea Road on the 16/11/2009.
A rear shot of WH1 at the Ardlea Road terminus on 16/11/2009.
The Ardlea Road terminus is a nice spot for photographs. It is located just off Ardlea Road on Maryfield Drive, the terminus is south facing and therefore is generally well lit. There is usually very little traffic.
WH1 preparing itself for its return departure to Eden Quay on the 16/11/2009.
Most times WH1 appeared on the 20B solely during the evening rush doing either of the universals on the route. The 20B had an old roster, originally agreed in 1997 and with Dublin's continuing traffic problems there were two universals that helped out during the peaks. These universals were also sometimes allocated the WV class. The first did the 1550 ex St. Stephen's Green, then operated back in to Eden Quay, working again out to Ardlea before pulling in. The other one did the 1630 ex Eden Quay, then back to SSG (sometimes special), before doing the last departure. That was the regualar arrangement in any case. WH1 is seen below loading for the 1550 departure ex St. Stephen's Green.
WH1 is seen on St. Stephen's Green North operating a rush hour departure to Ardlea Road on the 9th May 2011.
The Hybrid however was strictly allocated to Route 16, being a rare sight on the 20B and an almost non-existant on all other Summerhill routes. To some extent this route was a good trial route, being a lenghty cross city route, however given its difficulties one can't help thinking that the short 20B which never strayed too far from the depot may have been a better choice.
WH1 seen during the snow conditions of December 2010 operating Route 16 on Dame Street.
WH1 on O'Connell Street operating Route 16 to Ballinteer on the 31/12/2009.
The photos below show WH1 at the Ballinteer terminus in August 2010. The bus had just entered service that day after being away for a number of months in Ballymena. Many enthusiast assumed it would never returned. But return it did equipped with a new front, the less faded green on which made it stand out till its final days. Notable in this photo is the small front nearside mirror, which was not standard to Dublin Bus. It was retrofitted with a larger example a few days later.
WH1 at the Kingston, Ballinteer terminus, of Route 16 on the 5th August 2010.
A nearside shot of WH1 at its Kingston Terminus on the 5th August 2010.
A side profile of WH1 at the Kingston Terminus on the 5th August 2010. RV548 is parked very close behind.
WH1 at the first outbound stop at Kingston on the Brehon Field Road Ballinteer on the 5th August 2010 about to depart to its northern terminus of Santry.
Summerhill's former WH1 is pictured on the Grange Road on Route 16 on the 22nd December 2011. The festive setting is amplified by the driver which if you look closely is darning a red Santa hat. Dublin City provides the backdrop for WH1 expanding out over the roofs of the houses.
WH1 was withdrawn on the 31st January 2012. The fleet will be all the less interesting without it. It was such a revolutionary bus in so many ways, however it was plagued by operational issues from the very beginning. WH1 was very much a prototype, a rev 1.0 if you will. Hybrid technology has come a long way since then as proven in UK cities such as London and Manchester. I'd imagine a few years will pass before Dublin Bus purchases Hybrid buses, however there is no doubt that WH1 has proven to be very useful from an engineering persepctive, pointing out failures that may not have been apparent when hybrid bus technology was being perceived. Dublin Bus should be commended for taking on the operational challenge of such a prototype concept, even if its time here proved ultimately to be relatively short.
Summerhill's WH1 seen in its final month of service operating Route 16 on the Swords Road on the 13th January 2012.
The grá that this site had for WH1 is evident, it having held permanent residence on the front page over the last few years to the dismay of renowned enthusiasts. It was by far my favourite bus, such an enigma. It sounded different, it drove different, it looked different. Its my belief that buses should be two tone green in Dublin, they look right. As decades go by, the variants of the two tone green can become outdated as happened in the 90s, however Freeney's colour scheme as applied to WH1 shows how modern the 'official' Dublin Bus colours can look. It would great to see the fleet one day back in this guise, minus the daisies of course. I think in many ways the operational issues furthered my interest. Photos were always prized but often I chased this bus to find it wasn't out, or had just been pulled or on a few occasions had broken down en route. Strictly allocated to the 16, it strayed onto the 20B as a last resort, generally just for a few laps in the evening having failed to get out for the morning rush. It is known to have operated the following routes: 14 (it was noted twice in January on this route, some reknowned enthusiasts in toe both times only to be pulled before they could get their shot), 16, 16A (usually Euro duties - don't recall it straying onto an actual day board - see here), 20B, 33 (see here), 41 (noted once or twice - including one Saturday during an Oxygen weekend, the only known Saturday operation of WH1), 41B, 41X (see here), 746 (after finishing a 41X it returned to the Airport not via Santry hence the 746), 747 (see here). Quickly shipped to Ensign in the UK its future remains unclear. I put my chips on it never seeing a days service again, I hope that I'm proven wrong. Farewell WH1.
WH1 awaiting to return to the city on one of the evening universals on Route 20B on Maryfield Drive back in February 2011. The headlights twinkle as night takes over. Will we see this bus once more at Maryfield Drive. One would imagine possibly not...
My last ever shot of WH1, taken on the evening of the 13th January 2012 on the Swords Road. Knowing that this would probably be my last ever photo of WH1, I prayed that this handheld shot would remain in focus, my hands trembling in the cold. Thankfully it did, my walk home being sombre knowing that I would never see it again.