Review of 2017:
DT2 is seen operating a 41X service to Knocksedan on St. Stephen's Green on the 31st August 2017. 2017 was the final year of DT operation. Though cluttered, the background is topical for 2017 with the opening of the Luas Cross City line to Boombridge (click on photo for larger version).
This feature is a 6-part series looking at 2017. DublinBusStuff attempts to cover all the pertinent events throughout the year, however its impossible to cover everything. For this reason, this review will attempt to provide a full list of fleet and route changes in 2017. (NOTE: Entry dates are first day of service, withdrawal dates are last day of service)
At the start of the year, the Dublin Bus Fleet was as follows:
AV284-AV287, AV315-AV316, AV334-AV335, AV346, AV362, AV416-AV417;
SG38-SG45, SG125-SG130, SG198-SG207.
AV294-AV295, AV297-AV298, AV351-AV361, AV363, AV399-AV413;
AV330-AV332, AV344-AV345, AV347-AV350, AV387-AV394, AV398;
AX464-AX468, AX521-AX528, AX534-AX543, AX545, AX554-AX555, AX611-AX619;
EV23-EV36, EV90-EV100; GT1-21, GT81-GT100;
SG15-SG37, SG110-SG124, SG223-SG244;
NOTE: AX398, AX542, AV543 in Coastal Tours livery.
AV279, AV282-AV283, AV321-AV326, AV328, AV341-AV343, AV377-AV380, AV418-AV419, AV447-AV448;
AX451-AX458, AX497-AX509, AX516, AX535-AX536, AX546-AX548, AX550-AX553, AX556, AX620-AX625;
AV314, AV364-AV376, AV381-AV382, AV430-AV440, AV446;
SG1-SG14, SG131-SG145, SG217-SG222, SG251-SG260;
AV24, AV65-AV68, AV93, AV96, AV116-AV117, AV172, AV176, AV179, AV441-AV442, AV445;
AV317-AV320, AV383-AV386, AV414-AV415;
AX459-AX461, AX469-AX495, AX517-AX520, AX529-AX531;
SG86-SG97, SG208-SG216, SG245-SG250.
AV336-AV340, AV395-AV397, AV420-AV429;
AX462-AX463, AX549, AX626-AX637;
EV22, EV37-EV42, EV46-EV48;
AV63-AV64 (Ghost Tour);
AX544 (1916 Tour).
AV308 is seen operating Route 66X on Nassau Street on the 31st May 2017. This photo would no longer be possible for a number of reasons. Firstly AV308 was withdrawn with delivery of the 2017 SGs, while the 66X no longer serves Nassau Street due to terrible planning conflicts with the Luas Cross service (click on photo for larger version).
January began with the re-entry into service of AV327 (on the 3rd January) and AV329 (on the 12th January) in Donnybrook. These had been stored in Donnybrook at the turn of the year. Both were withdrawn from service on the 13th January. AX545 had been withdrawn from service briefly after Christmas 2016 for a repaint from Wedding Bus livery. It returned to active service in Donnybrook on the 25th January. The 26th January saw the last day of operation of WV50, it having operated both the morning and evening departures on Route 44B on that day. On the 27th, WV51 returned to active service having been off service for a number of weeks for a refurberation. Finally, from a fleet perspective, Conyngham Road withdrew AV294 from service on the 27th January.
January also saw the extension of two 41X services each way to serve Knocksedan. Inbound, the 0725 and 0750 (via Glen Ellan) services were ammended to depart Knocksedan, 5mins before their original departure time at 0720 and 0745. Knocksedan is a fairly large housing estate on the Naul Road, previously the territory of Route 60 to Leas Cross. Buses proceed from Knocksedan and turn right at Leas Cross, following the Brackenstown Road to the Swords Manor terminus. Outbound the 1700 and 1715 services operate to Knocksedan. The extension made perfect sense because Harristown buses would have predominantly headed special via Knocksedan for the quickest route to Harristown.
February saw Phibsborough return AV308, on the 2nd February, and AV313, on the 3rd February into active service. These buses had previously been stored in Harristown.
On the 10th February Dublin Bus officially relauched its Dublin Sightseeing Brand as DoDublin. Buses had already been appearing in this new livery. On the route front, Monday 20th February saw the introduction of an early, 6am, departure on Route 38B from Damastown to O'Connell Street only. This bus is the first service into north Blanchardstown, except for the morning 39 Ghost which serves Corduff. Once into the city, it principally is a univeral on the 25A/B corridor.
DublinBusStuff had its first update of 2017 on the 12th February with some photos of AV110 operating Route 18 back in 2014. Also included in this update was a full allocation of buses to routes on the 1st January 2017. Like this year, January and February were quite miserable and it was March before I took my first photos of the year.
EV21 is seen in its Do Dublin livery operating the Hop On Hop Off tour outside Dublin Bus HQ on O'Connell Street on the 2nd October 2017. EV21 was officially was on the Tours fleet list at the start of 2017, though it was mid-January before it began appearing in service. EV49 and EV50 also joined EV21 in 2017 (click on photo for larger version).
March began with the withdrawal of Route 53B from Heuston Station to the Ferry Port via Bus Aras. Route 53B was never an official route per say, requiring a much higher fare than Route 53 over the same distance. It was a special express service for Ferry passengers. Route 53B last ran on the 4th March 2017, operated by AV362. AV362 was one of the RailLink AVs, and it transferred to Clontarf especially for Route 53B given it was fitted with luggage racks. Following the withdrawal of Route 53B, it went into general allocation at Clontarf. DublinBusStuff covered the last day of Route 53B service, a wet and miserable Saturday from memory (see here). Morton's now operate the replacement service, connecting the Irish Ferries services to a city terminus of Westmoreland Street. Heuston Station and Bus Aras are no longer served.
AV45 leads a line of 3 Morton's buses on the Ferry service on Westmoreland Street on the 14th Arpil 2017. Not sure why Morton's expected a mass exedus, though it was the Friday of a bank holiday so maybe it was inbound traffic that was of concern? Notable that this photo was taken on Good Friday 2017, the last Good Friday with the alcohol purchase ban (click on photo for larger version).
The 5th March saw the return of AV311 and AV312 into service at Phibsborough, operating general services as opposed to Broadstone Euro departures. Route 40 got an extension to Charlestown Shopping Centre, and a running time increase, on the 19th March 2017. The terminus is different to that used by Route 9 and 83(on Sundays) outside the Odeon Cinema. Buses proceed from the former route at Barry/Plunkett estate onto the N2 into Finglas Village, Seamus Ennis Road and McKee Road to Charlestown. DublinBusStuff covered the route extension here. On the 21st March, AV306 was returned to operation in Harristown, being withdrawn again on the 5th April. AV296 returned to service at Conyngham Road on the 24th March 2017.
AV296 is seen on a beautiful summer's day operating Route 79 on Aston Quay on the 17th June 2017. It was always notable due to its lack of adverts after returning to service. It spent a number of months in service having returned to service in March 2017 (click on photo for larger version).
One of the biggest events of the year, from a fleet perspective, was the Bus Eireann strike which ran from the 24th March till the 14th April 2017. The dispute between the drivers and the company revolved around a survival plan proposed by Bus Eireann to resolve the financial problems of the company, especially around the unsubsidised Expressway services. For Dublin Bus, the Bus Eireann strike proposed a significant challenge. Though seperate companies, Phibsboro base their Euro/Universals in Broadstone, the back-end of the Bus Eireann Broadstone depot. With the Broadstone depot under pickets, operating a service from this depot would have proved impossible. For this reason, Euro services were moved out of Broadstone, principally to Harristown though some were operated from the main Phibsboro depot.
From the 24th March, Harristown began operating departures on Routes 9/25/25A/25B/26/66/66B/66X/67/67X, as well as Broadstone departures on routes it also operates (Routes 16/33/37/39A/70). Approximately 5 Euros remained in Phibsboro (operating Routes 25A/38/66/26/67X/70), operating out of the main allocation. It is not known if this is one block of duties, though it would be presumed so. The drivers based at Broadstone were based then at Harristown or Phisboro for the duration of the strike, depending on where their duty was operated from.
AV281 was returned to service as part of the Broadstone Bus Eireann strike replacements, but was then kept in service following the completion of the strike. It is seen operating a Euro service on Route 39A on Nassau Street on the 31st May 2017 (click on photo for larger version).
The fleet movements were as follows:
AV274-AV278, AV280-AV281, AV288-AV294, AV299-AV303, AV307-AV310, AV333.
AV313, AV364, AV367, AV368, AV373, AV375, AV381, AV382, AV430, AV431, AV434, AV436, AV439, AX449, AX450.
AV370, AV372, AV374, AV432, AV433.
AV365, AV366, AV369, AV376, AV435, AV437, AV438, AV440, VG9, VG10, VT36-VT43.
AV299, AV304, AV305.
Of the buses that went to Harristown, quite a significant number operated at least a few departures on Harristown routes and weren't limited to the transferred services. These buses were: AV274-AV278, AV280-AV281, AV288-AV290, AV294, AV300, AV309, AV327, AV367, AV368, AV381,AV382, AV430, AV434, AV436, AV439 and AX450. Of note were the VTs trapped in Broadstone, with therefore capacity reductions on these Euro services. In the end, Dublin Bus' ability to keep these services running is quite commendable, showing a dynamic company able to handle operational difficulties at short notice. As Dublin proceeds towards a more distributed/tendered bus market, it is noted that advantages of having one large operation will be lost. On the 14th April, the buses that were previously in store were returned to storage, with buses from Broadstone returned their for Monday 17th April operation. The exception was AV281 which had transferred into the regular Harristown allocation on the 6th April as a replacement for AV306.
It transpired that during this time, I was spending a number of weeks in the US on business, meaning I had missed most of it. I had headed to Dublin on the 14th April to catch these buses. The replacement buses operated some morning services, and that evening I was in the city waiting for some photographs of these previously stored buses, to find a last minute agreement had been reached at Bus Eireann, allowing Broadstone to reopen once more. The previously trapped buses were therefore back into service onto their regular haunts. I had missed it all.
Cold and wet. In Dublin for the Broadstone replacement buses, Broadstone had literally just reopened and VG10 is back on its then regular departure having been trapped in Broadstone for a number of weeks, operating Route 70 on Aston Quay on the 14th April 2017. At least if no replacement bus photo was to be had, VG10 was the photo, towards the end of days of the Wedding livery in Dublin Bus (click on photo for larger version).
May began with the return of AV304, AV311 and AV312 to service on the 2nd May, AV304 operating from Harristown Depot, and AV311 and AV312 operating from Phibsborough. AV304 operated for just over two weeks before being withdrawn again, last operating on the 19th May. Quite a number of AVs were withdrawn at the start of the summer season. The following outlines the status of AVs over the summer period:
AV330 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 6th June, returning on the 8th September
AV331 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 6th June, returning on the 5th September
AV332 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 6th June, returning on the 26th September
AV344 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 8th June, returning on the 29th August
AV345 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 16th June, returning on the 1st September
AV347 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 6th June, returning on the 4th September
AV348 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 6th June, returning on the 28th August
AV349 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 16th June, returning on the 25th August
AV350 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 16th June, returning on the 28th August
AV387 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 16th June, returning on the 17th August
AV388 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 16th June, returning on the 24th August
AV389 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 16th June, returning on the 21st August
AV390 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 16th June, returning on the 21st August
AV391 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 9th June, returning on the 23rd August
AV392 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 25th July, returning on the 29th August
AV393 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 24th July, returning on the 29th August
AV394 - sole Donnybrook AV not withdrawn for summer
AV398 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 24th July, returning on the 28th August
AV317 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 19th June, returning on the 24st August
AV318 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 16th June, returning on the 24st August
AV319 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 19th June, returning on the 23rd August
AV320 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 19th June, returning on the 1st September
AV383 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 19th June, returning on the 1st September
AV384-AV386 and AV414, AV415 remained in service through the summer.
AV320 is seen on a gloomy Townsend Street operating Route 1 on the 17th November 2017, just weeks before its ultimate withdrawl from Ringsend operation on the 8th December. It went straight into service in Harristown following its withdrawal in Ringsend (click on photo for larger version).
AV295 - was withdrawn on the 9th June 2017 from Conyngham Road.
AV296-AV298, AV351-AV361, AV363, AV399-AV413 remained in service through the summer.
AV338 - was withdrawn from service at Summerhill on the 25th August. AV337-AV340, AV395,AV397 and AV420-AV429 remained in service through the summer.
AV287 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 8th August, returning on the 15th September
AV315 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 16th June, returning on the 27th September
AV316 - was withdrawn on the 19th May 2017 from Clontarf.
AV284-AV286, AV334, AV335, AV346, AV362, AV416 and AV417 remained in service through the summer.
AV308 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 16th June, returning on the 29th August
AV311 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 16th June, returning on the 28th August
AV312 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 16th June, returning on the 5th September
AV313 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 16th June, returning on the 28th August
AV314 - was withdrawn for the summer in the 16th June, returning on the 29th August
AV364-AV370, AV372-AV376, AV381, AV382, AV430-AV440 and AV446 remained in service through the summer.
AV315 is seen operating Route 130 at its Lower Abbey Street terminus on the 12th May 2017. This bus was withdrawn from service about a month after this photo, the bus remaining off service for about 3 months over the summer before being put back into service in Clontarf in late September 2017 (click on photo for larger version).
June saw the last day of operation of a bus in Wedding livery, when VG10 operated a Euro duty and an overtime departure on the 1905 Route 37 service from Blanchardstown Centre on the 9th June 2017. VG9 and VG10 had outlived the other former wedding buses in the white livery, albeit they had lost their wedding adverts for standard adverts for a number of months. VG9 went for its repaint a month earlier than VG10 at the start of May. DublinBusStuff covered these events with a feature of the wedding buses repainted into standard livery here.
There were no new routes in May and June 2017, however two routes were rerouted. Route 757 was rerouted via Bus Aras towards Dublin Airport and Eden Quay from Dublin Airport on the 21st May 2017. DublinBusStuff covered this new routing here. From the 18th June, Routes 68, 68A, 69, 69X and 150 were moved from their former Fleet Street terminus to a new terminus on Hawkins Street.Route 32X was rerouted from the 19th June 2017 in the evening peak to use Tara Street to Beresford Place missing previously served stops at Pearse Street and Eden Quay, greatly speeding up the service.
Summer timetables were introduced on Routes 9, 11, 27, 46A, 77A, 83 and 123 to reduce the PVR of these routes during the reduced traffic summer season. These summer timetables differed solely on Monday-Friday operation, and were utilised between the 19th June and the 25th August. DCU routes 31D, 42D and 70D were withdrawn for the summer, last operating on the 9th June and reintroduced on the 15th September 2017.
Summer 2017 also brought a few tri-sided wraps. GT125 was first to get one for St. Helen's Housing development in June. DublinBusStuff did a feature on this advert here. AX523 followed soon after, also in June, with a tri-sided advert for Pride, being a notable part of the Pride March that year. DublinBusStuff covered this wrap here.
Donnybrook's AX523 was the pride of the fleet for a number of months over the summer of 2017. It is seen here on Bray Main Street operating Route 45A on the 21st August 2017 in its tri-sided advert for Pride 2017 (click on photo for larger version).
The summer of 2017 was also the last summer of the DTs. In previous years it had been the case that the vast majority of the DT class would be withdrawn for the summer period. However, in 2017, the majority of the DTs actually stayed in service. The following outlines the DTs in service over the summer of 2017:
Former Harristown DT7 is seen operating Route 39A on Baggot Street on the 16th June 2017, a week before it was withdrawn for the summer. This bus is now in service with Ashbourne Connect (click on photo for larger version).
The first of the 2017 SGs, SG271, entered service in Harristown Depot on the 24th July, 6 weeks or so before the rest of the batch started to arrive. A notable modification on the existing SG stock was the USB charging ports on the seat backs, a welcome addition to the Dublin Bus fleet. The changes to SG271 compared to SG270 was the reason it arrived slightly earlier than the others, ensuring that no problems existed with the bus. There were a few teething troubles, and the bus didn't go out on a weekend for a number of weeks post delivery. DublinBusStuff covered the delivery of SG271 into service here.
The tri-sided advert buses continued apace over the summer. The next into service was Summerhill's VG43, the first Airlink liveried bus to be so treated (VG49 operated the 747 in its Lucozade livery in 2015 but at this stage was a core-liveried bus). The advert was for TodayFM, as part of their "Oh, it's on!" advertisement campaign. DublinBusStuff covered the advert here. Then towards the end of August, Donnybrook's AX618 received a tri-sided advert for Persil PowerGems, which DublinBusStuff covered here.
September saw the start of deliveries of the rest of the 2017 batch of SGs (after SG271). Harristown received the next of its SG271 to SG288, with the entry of SG274 on the 6th September. The full entry into service of new Harristown SGs during September/October were:
with only SG278-SG281 awaited to complete the allocation. The were only a few withdrawals in Harristown during this timeframe:
Harristown's then new SG282 is seen at the Monkstown Avenue terminus of Route 4 on the 9th October 2017. It's pristine look is taken away by the mark near its reg plate, it obviously coming a cropper against something (click on photo for larger version).
The limited withdrawals was due to Harristown having a number of extra duties, such as 25D, 46A and the new Route 39X, which started on the 9th October 2017 (see here). In fact, Harristown also received AX557-AX561 from Phisborough which entered service in October, as follows:
Phibsborough also received most of its 2017 batch SG289-SG310 during September/October, as follows:
Against this, Phibsborough withdrew the following (as well as the AXs which transferred to Harristown):
The next garage to receive SGs was to be Donnybrook, however SG311 was pressed into service in Summerhill on the 9th October to cover for vehicle shortages there. Summerhill received a few of its batch of SG333-SG344 also in October as follows:
SG311 went to Donnybrook entering service there on the 31st October. At this stage they had already received 2 of their batch in the form of SG312 (entered service on 12th October) and SG313 (entered service on the 11th October). However Donnybrook lost 3 AVs in September/October. AV330 moved to Ringsend, entering service there on the 19th September. AV332 was withdrawn on the 6th October and AV398 was withdrawn for painting on the 10th October, being painted into standard livery from the old version of the Coastal Tours livery it had been carrying. It would end up in storage in Harristown before returning to service in Ringsend in 2018.
Conyngham Road were the other depot to put an SG into service during October, with SG345 entering service there on the 26th October. AV298 was withdrawn against this, last running in service on the 22nd October. In September, Conyngham Road had reinstated AV299 and AV301, on the 19th and 18th respectively. These remained in service only for a few weeks, being withdrawn on the 9th October.
Route 75 received a permanent allocation of VTs to morning departures from Tallaght from September. VTs had never been allocated but were reasonably sporadic on the 75, given it shared a terminus with the 46A at Dún Laoghaire. DublinbusStuff covered this new allocation here. VG44 appeared in an attractive tri-sided wrap for Virgin Media in early September (see here). On the route front, new routes were Route 15D which started on the 18th September, Route 39X, mentioned previously, which began on the 9th October and the DCU routes 31D, 42D and 70D returned from their summer hiatus on the 15th September.