Dublin Bus Hybrid Trials:
Dublin Bus are trialing nine hybrid vehicles this year on Routes 25/A/B operating out of Conyngham Road. Three, WH1-3, are Wrightbus Streetdeck HEV96 integrals with a Daimler engine, 3 are Alexander Dennis Enivro400H MMC buses, AH1-3, and 3 will be Wright Gemini 3 bodied Volvo B5LH, VH1-3. WH1-3 arrived in May, while AH1 arrived in June and has spent time in Broadstone with WH3. WH1/2 were used for driver familiarisation in Conyngham Road for approximately one month before both entered service on the 21st June 2019. It is not known when the AH buses will begin driver familiarisation, but it would seem we are at least a month or so before they could enter service. Dublin Bus have not had a great history with hybrids, being one of the early adopters with the original WH1 in 2008. Unfortunately this was a very unreliable bus. DM2, taken on demonstration, was more reliable but still ran into some teething troubles, and lead to no orders of hybrids. Reliablility in a bus fleet is paramount to the provision of a good service, and Dublin Bus will ensure they are aware of the most reliable bus on the market by doing such a long term comparison of different types on the same routes.
WH2 was first into service, operating the 0535 25A from Esker Road on Friday the 21st June 2019 on Bus 1/25. Unfortunately it didn't last the day on this board. WH1 operated slightly later, operating the 0640 25A from Esker Road. It faired much better than WH2, operating the very last 25A to Lucan, the 2325 that evening. It was then in service on Saturday the 22nd July, allowing me to get a few photos of it in its attractive livery. Though this livery is a Dublin Bus design, it would be great to see all Dublin Buses in this livery. It merges the popular yellow colour, important for those visibly impaired, with two green tones, representative of both Ireland and former colours worn in the city by DUTC, CIE and Dublin Bus vehicles for long periods.
Conyngham Road's WH1 is seen turning from Merrion Street Upper to the 25B terminus on Merrion Square South to operate a service to Adamstown Station on the 22nd June 2019. It will be noted that the bus is already dressed for its return departure (click on photo for larger version).
The reuse of fleet number WH1 is interesting. Maybe this way the history of the former WH1 can be wiped out of memory within the company. Fleet designations have been reused from time to time, but it very rare, and has never occurred within the same operator. The D-class designation was used twice, by the DUTC for 19 (D1-D19) Albion Valkyrie single-deckers taken over from the General Omnibus Company in late 1934. These were all gone by 1940, long before CIE reused the designation for the their long line of Atlantean buses. The RA designation was also reused, though no two buses had the same fleet number. CIE built RA1-152 in 1960/1. Dublin Bus then had RA176-RA325. The closest to this turnaround was P1. The DUTC built P1, Leyland Tiger TS3, in 1931. It was withdrawn in 1939. CIE then built a sizeable batch of P class buses, starting P1-30 in 1948 (though they were initially provincial buses until transferred to Dublin City services in 1951). The P-class designation was further reused by Dublin Bus, with Plaxton Verde bodied DAF SB220s, P1 arriving in 1992. But WH1's reuse by Dublin Bus 7.5 years after the former WH1 (January 2012 - May 2019) beats P1's 9 year hiatus (1939-1948) and therefore has the distinction of being the shortest re-use of the same bus fleet number in Dublin.