Photo of the Week - Week 6:
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.
Well WH1 is finally gone, withdrawn on the 31st January 2012.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 As decades go by, the variants of the two tone green can become outdated as happened in the 90s, however Freeney's colour scheme as applied to WH1 shows how modern the 'official' Dublin Bus colours can look.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.
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.