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 Firstly AV308 was withdrawn with delivery of the 2017 SGs, while the 66X no longer serves Nassau Street due to terrible planning conflicts with the Luas Cross service (click on photo for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 Both were withdrawn from service on the 13th January. AX545 had been withdrawn from service briefly after Christmas 2016 for a repaint from Wedding Bus livery.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).