Dublin's New GT Class:
Donnybrook's brand new GT5 is seen loading the first departure of a GT class from Cherrywood on the 0800 Route 7 on the 3rd September 2012. The shelter depicts the new Dublin Bus television advert, about a man who clearly doesn't understand the convenience of the bus.
The new GT class has finally arrived. The GT class is a Wright's Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo D9B. It is very similar to the VG class delivered in 2008/2009, the last new buses that Dublin Bus acquired. Notably the GT class have middle doors, a prerequisite from the National Transport Authority who purchased them. Also of note is the fact that they have the same front as the VG class, the Gemini 1 body, which was requested as opposed to the current Gemini 2 body. This is no doubt due to part standardisation, however this author has always felt that the Gemini 1 front is much more attractive than its plastic looking descendent. The GT class is slightly longer than the VG, by about 4 inches. The interior has bucket seats, like former WH1, as opposed the the more comfortable bench seats Dublin Bus have formerly gone for. WiFi, as per AV121-130 also comes as standard, but like those AVs the data rate is poor, even on an empty bus. These buses also come equipped with internal displays, integrated into the body. These are an excellent new feature, showing the next stop as per EV37 and EV38. However, the integration makes the information panel seamless, unlike those fitted to the EV37 and EV38. No audible stop announcements are made, for the moment at least, though the middle doors create quite an annoying sound when closing. However, I have to admit its great to see centre doors back in Dublin, and first time today I actually managed to use one. Never thought I'd see the day.
An upper deck view of GT3 showing the bucket seats and internal stop display. Another display is located in front of the wheelchair bay downstairs.
Donnybrook's GT3 is seen on the Churchview Road on the 3rd September 2012 heading for Cherrywood.
Though this was the first time that GTs were allocated to Route 7, it was in fact not the first day of operation. The honours went to GT7 on Friday 31st August 2012, which operated two half laps from Blackrock to the city for management observation of class operation. Unfortunately, none of the bus paparazzi were aware until after the event. The GT class will soon subsume Route 7's allocation, with more expected on a daily basis. This will then lead to the withdrawal of the entire Donnybrook RV allocation, maybe by the end of this week, and a few of the WV class, with only 2-3 left. It would be expected that the entire RV class will be withdrawn prior to the last GTs entering service, though full details have not been confirmed.
Donnybrook's GT5 is seen on Temple Road Blackrock operating a Route 7 departure to Loughlinstown on the 3rd September 2012.
The allocation of the GT class will be as follows:
- Donnybrook: GT1-21 (Route 7 - spares to float onto Route 11)
- Conyngham Road: GT22-31 (Route 151)
- Harristown: GT32-49 (Routes 4 and 102)
- Summerhill: GT50-59 (Route 33)
- Clontarf: GT60-71 (Routes 29A and 104)
- Ringsend: GT72-80 (Route 1)
Donnybrook's GT8 is seen on the Churchview Road operating Route 7 on the 3rd September 2012.
Donnybrook's GT5 is seen waiting on its 0800 departure from Cherrywood at the set down stop on the 3rd September 2012.
Update: Conyngham Road's GTs Enter Service:
Conyngham Road's GT26 is seen at the East Road terminus of Route 151 on the 23rd September 2012. The 151 had previously just laid over at this point, picking at the next stop down on East Road. However, from July this stop is now also the first pick up stop.
After the successful conversion of Route 7, and associated Routes 7B, 7D and 8, to GT class operation in Donnybrook, Conyngham Road has been next to receive the GT class. The first GTs entered service from this garage on Monday the 17th September 2012 on Route 151. With Route 151 to be fully converted, Conyngham Road will eventually have GT22-GT31. In service last weekend (22nd/23rd September), was GT22, GT26, GT29 and GT30. DublinBusStuff eventually caught up with GT22 at East Wall on Sunday the 23rd. However, Saturday was a day of dissapointment. Three times I descended on East Wall, each time waiting for a GT. In two cases there was an hour gap in the 20min service, the third time a 40min gap and then two AVs. So no GTs and a lot of hanging around East Wall for nothing. Clearly the East Wall leg is dropped when the rediculously low running time runs into trouble on Saturday afternoon, but from my observations it clearly demonstates the lack of operational knowledge within the National Transport Authority. However, I'm not sure dropping 2 services in a row on one section of route should be a fallback operational technique.
Conyngham Road's GT22 is seen on Memorial Bridge on Route 151 on the 23rd September 2012, with a view showing off their middle doors.
Conyngham Road's GT26 is seen on East Road turning onto Sherrif Street on Route 151 on the 23rd September 2012.
The Foxborough terminus is also not great for photos. Mainly because there really isn't one. Most buses show up to Foxborough with Out of Service on the front, generally applied waiting at the traffic lights on the Outer Ring Road to turn onto the Balgaddy Road. The reason for this is because the terminus on the Balgaddy Road is not ideal and there has been much local opposition to the buses laying over at this location. Instead most buses head back along the inbound route to layover on the Outer Ring Road, hence the need to remove the 151 from the scrolls as it will be passing some inbound stops. With a minute or so to spare, the bus will return and pull in if someone is waiting on it. Thus its a difficult place to get a shot. I was lucky with GT29, as the driver obeyed the operational manual to a key, showing up at the stop with just about 2mins to spare. Enough time for a shot in any case.
GT29 is seen at the Foxborough terminus of Route 151 on the 22nd September 2012 about to depart to East Wall on the 22nd September 2012.
Update: Harristown's GTs Enter Service:
Harristown's GT33 is seen at the Monkstown Avenue terminus of Route 4 on the 14th October 2012.
Today (the 14th October 2012), saw another roll out of Dublin Bus' new GT class. GT32 and GT33 operated Route 4 this morning from Harristown to Monkstown Avenue. Harristown's allocation will be GT32-49, and quite a number have been delivered. With a full allocation to Route 4 imminent, the Merrion Road will be exclusively GT operated, save for a few Euros on the 4 and the rare extended 17s and 84As. The overflow of the class are destined to operate Route 102, and one wonders whether Harristown will be as strict as Donnybrook have been. Given the size of the garage this is quite possible, whereas Conyngham Road suffers from space issues and thus there has been some interesting obos of GTs on the 69, 25B and 68A. Even Donnybrook's GT6 operated a late evening Route 54A, though no doubt as a one lap cover. So even if the allocation is strict, there are always times of rarity.
Harristown's GT32 is seen on the Merrion Road at the Merrion Centre operating a Route 4 service to Harristown on the 14th October 2012. As per the shelter, Route 3 does not stop here. It'll be an expensive operation to put that on every stop that the non-existent Route 3 doesn't serve :-).
Update: Summerhill's GTs Enter Service:
Summerhill's new GT50 is seen on Main Street Swords on its way to Balbriggan on the 29th October 2012.
Summerhill's GTs entered service on the 24th October, and already their presence has taken hold of Route 33, though it should be noted that GT51-53 did enter service sooner being on temporary loan to Donnybrook. Summerhill is left with just 3 RV buses, a pity given the garage has always been keen to put these vehicles out at weekends. However, I have to admit being impressed with these new vehicles. The more I travel on them the more I notice their level of comfort. Dublin Bus clearly understand a quality vehicle, and like the VG class before them the quality of finish makes the Gemini the best double-deck body available on the market. Though I'm sure this comes at a cost, it seems to be noticed by more than us bus enthusiasts. From my experiences travelling around, the response from other passengers has only been positive, "Overheard in Dublin" being quite complimentary to these new additions to the fleet. 10 buses would seem too much for the 33, and already the GT class has been making appearances on the 41 routes.
Summerhill's GT52 is seen on O'Connell Street having operated in from Skerries on the 28th October 2012, having just returned from service in Donnybrook. The East Lancs Double-Deck in the rear is the new open top night tour now offered by Dualway.
Summerhill's GT57 is seen at the Swords Manor terminus of Route 41 in some very sharp afternoon sun on the 27th August 2012.
Harristown have also had a number of additions to their fleet, following on from the first few which appeared on the 4. With the 4 being very limited in service at weekends, a number are appearing as originally suggested on Route 102. However, they also like to make evening appearances on Route 27B from my observations. It should be noted that though the GTs are being delivered at pace, there are not in numerical sequence. Donnybrook are still missing one or two of their allocation, while Conyngham Road, Harristown and Summerhill have gaps in their batches. Clontarf has already received its first example, but it may take a while for all the gaps to be filled in.
Harristown's GT34 is seen at the Dublin Airport terminus of Route 102 about to depart to Sutton on the 27th August 2012.
Update: Clontarf's GTs Enter Service:
Clontarf's brand new GT61 is seen operating Route 29A on the Raheny Road on the 10th November 2012.
Clontarf has been next to have introduced the GTs into service, with GT60's first outing on the 6th November. GT61 was soon to follow, but the pace has been slow. The 29A has been an interesting pick for new buses. It has long been associated with the oldest buses in the fleet. In the last days of the Clontarf RVs, this route was most likely to get them, slightly more so than the 27. The Bombardiers in Clontarf also saw out their last days here. Even now, save the occasional EV, it is home to some of the oldest AVs in Clontarf's fleet. So with a planned new extension from Sunday 18th November 2012 into Baldoyle, Route 29A has become flavour of the month.
Clontarf's GT60 is seen on the 29A at Donaghmede Church on the 11th November 2012. The Newgrove terminus is two stops further up the road, but this display and terminus will be a thing of the past from this Saturday (17/11/12).
Update: Ringsend's GTs Enter Service:
Ringsend's brand new GT72 is seen operating Route 1 on Strand Road on the 30th November 2012.
The last garage to receive their new GTs, Ringsend, put the first examples into service on the 29th November 2012. So far GT71, GT72 and GT73 have been noted in service. Like the EV class that preceded them, the GTs appear to be strictly allocated to the Sandymount route, nowadays solely Route 1. The EV class had in the main drifted away from Route 1, spending increasing amounts of time on Routes 49 and 65/B. One would imagine that these routes will see a lot more EV operation, but one can't help think that the EVs will appear elsewhere. There wouldn't seem to be enough duties to potentially allocate them to, so I'm at least going to expect a surprise in the next while. It also calls into question what will happen to AX494. Save for one or two rare appearances on other Ringsend routes, AX494 has been a daily allocation to the Sandymount route going back a number of years. But with Dublin Bus designating Route 1 as a GT operation, AX494 should be allocated elsewhere.
Ringsend's GT72 is seen operating Route 1 turning from Sandymount Road to Seafort Avenue on the 30th November 2012.
With three GTs now in service in Ringsend, the largest allocation of RVs in the city fleet now stands at 4, with Ringsend now having only RV606,607,608 and 623 in service. Summerhill's sole RV makes the total RV fleet 5, and there are many mummerings that this, RV560, will be the last in service with Dublin Bus. In any case, the days of the Ringsend RVs look numbered. The end of the coming week could be the last, maybe one or two will trickle into the following week, all depending on deliveries of the GT class. As a final note, the new GTs have finally seen an updated scroll in Ringsend. The work of an eminent bus enthusiast has seen the Shanard destination, corrected to the more historical and more correct, Santry, which now matches the 104 which shares the same terminus. As noted in the Howth Road changes, the 31A destination has had a similar destination issue, with the "Road" being dropped to make the terminus solely "Shielmartin". I would imagine this will be corrected soon. Personally, the initial Network Direct destination scrolls made most sense, with a general destination such as Santry, with Shanard Road then in brackets underneath, switching to the Irish for Santry and then the via point in English.
Ringsend's GT72 is seen loading at Sandymount Village on Route 1 with its new updated scroll on the 30th November 2012.
Update: Donnybrook's second batch enters service
Donnybrook's brand new GT90, the highest fleet-numbered GT yet in service, is seen on the Glendun Road operating Route 44 at the Glendun Road terminus on the 28th July 2013.
Monday the 22nd July 2013 saw the introduction of the first of the latest batch of Wright Gemini-bodied Volvo B9TL GT class buses, with GT81-85, 87, 88 and 90 being introduced into service. With the new deliveries, Routes 54A and 114 were upgraded to GT class operation. Route 11 will follow when the rest of the Donnybrook batch are delivered, the full Donnybrook allocation being GT80-100, though summer holidays at the Wright's factory in Ballymena may delay this.
As has been published recently, the allocation of the GT-class buses will be as follows:
|Donnybrook||GT81-100||11, 54A , 114|
|Conyngham Road||GT120-GT127||68, 69|
Donnybrook's GT11 is seen at the Kiltipper terminus of Route 54A on the 27th July 2013.
What has become quite apparent is that the newest buses will not necessarily be on the recently converted routes. Many of the latest batch have been seen on the 7 group of routes during the week, whereas this weekend the entire 7, 114 and 54A allocations were from GT1-21, delivered to Donnybrook last year. However, in all cases the allocations of the GT converted routes were GT class buses, with GT1-21 being sufficient. What this points to is that these buses have clearly been not fully utilised since their delivery, as there always would have been enough buses to cover these three routes. This may point to the ownership of the buses, but it has been obvious since the delivery of the GT class last September that they have not been out day and night, which had been the norm for the latest buses delivered since the year dot. Harristown is possibly the greatest example of this. With such a low PVR on the 4 and 102 at the weekend, a lot of these buses are Monday-Friday only.
Donnybrook's GT15 is seen on the rollercoaster estate road leading into Ticknock Hill housing estate on Route 114 on the 27th July 2013.
Update: Ringsend's second batch enters service
Ringsend's brand new GT102 is seen at the Rossmore terminus of Route 150 on the Orwell Road on the 24th August 2013.
Ringsend has been the next garage to obtain GTs, with GT101-GT106 entering service on Tuesday 20th August 2013. Ringsend are expecting another seven GTs, bringing the allocation up to GT113. The buses will replace older AVs one for one, with AV2, AV4, AV5, AV7 and AV105 being noted as withdrawn.
Ringsend's GT105 is seen on the Rossmore Road operating Route 150 on the 24th August 2013.
The GTs have arrived in Ringsend unlocked (referring to the fact that Ringsend have the displays of EV1-8 and GT72-80 restricted to only show Routes 1, 49, 65/B), and have therefore been noted on a variety of Routes. So far I've seen mention of Routes 1, 15, 15A, 15B, 65B and 150. Interestingly none have yet appeared on the 56A which was muted as the route to be allocated them. There was also a surprising lack of GTs on the 49 yesterday (24/08/13). So far, the 150 appears to be mostly allocated the new GTs, and would appear to be the route that will be converted.
GT104 is seen at the Clongriffin Main Street terminus of Route 15 on the 24th August 2013.