Photo of the Week - Week 16:
Harristown's GT45 is seen at the Howth Station stop, the terminus stop of the Dart Replacement service which operated on the 20th April 2014. Note the old sign for the Transport Museum, which is slowly weathering away.
Northside DART services were suspended on Sunday the 20th April 2014 to faciliate important maintenance of the line. The day coincided with the Brian Boru festival which was held over two days at St. Anne's Park, and attracting thousands of tourists and Dubliners for the festivities and the battle re-inactments. To compensate for the lack of DART services, and the extra passenger numbers for St. Anne's Park, Dublin Bus operated a shuttle service along the Howth Road to Howth Village, the Howth Road being parallel to the northern rail line for the majority of its length. The service operated approximately every 15-20mins, and was operated with buses from 4 depots: Clontarf (EV15, EV21), Donnybrook (AV265, AV273), Harristown (GT45, GT141) and Phibsborough (GT146, GT149).
Phibsborough's GT49 is seen on the All Saints Road operating the Dart Shuttle on the 20th April 2014.
The route began in the city, in the morning from Eden Quay due to Abbey Street being closed to traffic, and in the afternoon from Abbey Street. It operated basically Route 31 to Howth Station, doing a u-turn in Howth Harbour. The only divergence was into All Saints Estate, following Route 29A around there, allowing it close access to one or two entrances to St. Anne's Park. The photo above showing a Phibsborough Bus in All Saints Estate is incredibly unusual, though probably not as unusual as the car parking. Note all the cars on the grass verge, the Garda no parking cones seemingly not applying for the day. This estate resembled Armageddon, cars strewn absolutely everywhere, and bus progress was somewhat hindered. The u-turn at Howth Harbour is also interesting, though is actually part of the standard network. The first 31 (untimetabled) also does a u-turn at this location.
Donnybrook's AV273 is seen completing its u-turn in Howth Harbour about to operate a 31 back into the city on the 20th April 2014.
Some of the early morning services displayed Route 31 back into the city instead of Shuttle Bus. The extra passengers on the Howth Road was no doubt giving problems to the regular 31's schedule. Overall, the service was implemented very well, with stance inspectors at either end of the route. Buses were scheduled at regular intervals and were usually requested to go 5mins or so before an actual 31, if one was due to depart, in order to keep as much room on the regular 31 services as possible for regular passengers, though it should be noted that the services were quite busy regardless. Buses were well utilised, with not too much time for layover at either end, yet regular intervals maintained. In the end the only issue with the service would have been the destination. Shuttle Bus is a bit vague. It would be nice if there was a "DART Replacment Service" scroll on Dublin Bus displays in a similar way to "Luas Bus". Otherwise displaying 31D, or 31 Howth Harbour, with the notice in the window would have been a bit more informative. The sign in the window declaring St. Anne's Park Shuttle was informative for the majority of passengers who were destined for the festivities, but you could have well not been aware that the buses were actually destined for Howth.
Clontarf's EV15 is seen at the Howth Station last stop of the Dart Replacement service on the 20th April 2014.