LUAS Line C - Opening Day - 8/12/2009:
The almost neverending continuation of stuff on DublinbusStuff not related to Dublin Bus continues. This time we focus on the opening day of the Luas Line C, the extension of the Tallaght Red Line to the Point Depot.
Luas Tram 3009 waiting behind Tram 3024 on Mayor Street prior to the inagural departure.
The crowds converge for the first Luas departure on the Docklands extension. Tram 3024 operated the first tram ex Mayor Square NCI towards 'The Point' while 3015 operated the first to Heuston.
The new extension sees 4 new stops added to the system, Georges Dock, Mayor Square, Spencer Dock and The Point. The new line cuts through the heart of the Docklands development, many of the photos included show the towering cranes and building sites that scatter the line. The recent economic downturn has reduced the expansive growth but there should be enough patronage for the Luas line already in sitiu.
Tram 3024 seen just after arriving awaiting the first Luas departure from the point.
The first 3 trams to arrive at the Point Depot, Nos 3009, 3024 and 4001.
Tram 3024 had the honour of operating the first tram to The Point, departing Mayor Square at 14:30. Logically, it then operated the first ex The Point, departing at 14:47. By this time 3 trams were in stance as shown above.
Tram 3007 pulling into the Spencer Dock Stop.
A good crowd was carried for most of the evening, however the miserable rainy conditions may have kept the crowds expected away. However much was put on for entertainment, with FM104 around at Mayor Square and a canopy party for children at the Spencer Dock Station. However there was something of real note also at Spencer Dock Station, the replica of DUTC tram 224, brought all the way from Howth to mark the event.
Replica DUTC 224 at Spencer Dock tram stop.
Judging by the amount of flags on the top deck you'd imagine the tram organisers felt it was an international event. However, just because it feels like you could be in a far distant land prior to your tram reaching Tallaght doesn't make the tram actually go to any of these exotic places (the bus enthusiast just waiting to get out). In any case, the extension just adds to the slow speed sections of the red line, with much of the journey at minimal speed. This is good for the luas spotter armed with camera but for the passengers one could not help thinking whether a dedicated busway would not have been a better concept.
Trams 3009 and 4001 await their departures to Heuston at The Point.
The first day of operation (8/12/2009) was marked by a free limited service operating from The Point to Heuston Station only. The 9th December will be the first full day of operation with the first direct trams from Tallaght to The Point started at about 5:30am. Of specific note is that two in every three trams are scheduled in the peaks to continue to The Point, with one in every two offpeak. Also, just in case there is confusion, the trams continuing onto The Point do not serve Connolly Station stop on route. Onboard announcements advise to get off at Georges Dock, but Bus Aras is closer, albeit across a very major road. To be honest you could probably walk faster from Georges Dock so the information might be useful.
3007 and 4001 waiting at The Point on a red skyed night over Dublin. At least the sailors will be happy even if there's another red sky in the morning, sure they'll have a new tram system.