Photo of the Week - Week 17:
Clontarf's AV37 is seen operating the 0745 service to Alexandra Road on the last day of Route 53A on the 21st April 2012. The George's Dock draw bridge shrouds AV37, neatly framing Gandon's impressive Custom's House in the background.
And so another one bites the dust. Saturday the 21st April 2012 saw the end of Route 53A, one of Dublin's shortest routes. The 53s really deserve a historical feature for themselves. However, the 53A was the original number used for a service to Knockmaroon and then Glasnevin Hill. The North Wall quay service begain in the late 1930's operating from Eden Quay to East Wall Road (Alexandra Quay). It was timetable initially to meet shift patterns in the Docks.
AV37 is seen on the 2nd last Alexandra Road departure of Route 53A on the 21st April 2012. It is seen turning off New Wapping Street onto Sherrif Street Upper.
The 53A would become more frequent, and was joined in the mid-50s and 60s by Route 53B, which also operated to East Wall Road via Seville Place and Sheriff Street Lower. It should be noted that the bus allocation during this time was different to Route 53. The 53 was DD operated, but the 53A/B were initially Two Person Operated Single Deckers. They went One Man Operated in 1965, possibly being the first in the city centre to be operated as such.
AV37 is seen turning off Gardiner Street onto Beresford Place on the very last Alexandra Road bound 53A on the 21st April 2012.
It's interesting to note that the 53A was the longest serving route in the East Wall area. For a short period in 1988, the 53 and 53A were merged, with buses operating out of the city as a 53A, some with peak hour services via Alexandra Road, then as a 53 around East and West Roads, finally terminating at Wiggin's Teepee on the East Wall Road. After a month or so, the 53 was reinstated, however the service during the peaks operated as a circular service. In the morning peak buses went to Alexandra Road as Route 53A, then returning as a 53 to the city. The oposite was the case in the evening peak. Right till the end of the route, there was no return journeys on Route 53A, with half of the lap always being composed of a Route 53 departure.
AV37 is seen turning off Alexandra Road onto the East Wall Road full on enthusiasts on the very last Route 53A departure on the 21st April 2012.
The 53A will be missed, one of the little variants that you would see from time to time. Network Direct has really killed off these little variants, however it is hardly justified to argue the operational merits of the 53A. Bar the last journey, there was only one or two on each 53A departure on its last day. The new 53 timetable seems to provide the correct level of service to the East Wall area. The consistent terminus at the Ferry terminal is to be welcomed to. AV36 is seen on the last day of Route 53 to the East Wall at its former terminus at the O2. Officially, this has not been the 53 terminus since February of this year, however in practice this has been the case for much longer. As can be seen from the photograph, there is no suitable place to lay over, however buses would often use the old routing to turn about, then resting at the next stop on the East Wall Road.
Clontarf's AV36 is seen passing the old 53 terminus on the East Wall Road on the 21st April 2012.