The end of them 20s (lest we not forget about the 14A and 48A)

Summerhill's Airlinkless branded Wright Gemini bodied Volvo B9TL, VG47, is seen operating the 20B on Skelly's Lane on the last day of the route the 6th June 2011.

So last week saw the end of the 20B, 14A and 48A, and the dawn of the new cross city 14 and 61 service to Whitechurch (see full feature of the first day of service here). As Network Direct rolls out across the city we are confronted with more and more strange occurrences, while we lose those that were considered normal. The 20 service is close to DublinBusStuff's heart so we'll start by saying goodbye to this good old reliable.

Route 20B:

Summerhill's Alexander ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TL, AV268, is seen at the 20B terminus on Maryfield Drive (off Ardlea Road) on the last day of service, the 6th August 2011.

The 20s have been a long servant to the area of Donnycarney/Beaumont, the 20 first being introduced there in August 1939 after the amalgamation of the 81 and 73. Exactly 72 years later in August 2011 the route was withdrawn to be replaced by an extended Dundrum 14 service. The 20B was introduced in 1979 as an extension of the 20 to Ardlea Road, it finally replacing Route 20 five years later. Thus the area of Skelly's Lane had been served by the 20B for 32 years. A full history of the 20/B route can be found here.

Summerhill's Alexander ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TL, AV115, passes the old Coolatree terminus of the 20 service on the Beaumont Road on the 31st July 2011.

The reality is that all that has changed is the number. The 14 covers the exact routing to Maryfield Drive, something that was not proposed when the Network Review Changes were first announced. The 14 was supposed to terminate in Santry, but the large passenger base who use the service between Collins Avenue/Beaumont to Artane Shopping Centre appears to have been enough to keep the 14 along the full 20B route.

Summerhill's Wright Gemini bodied Volvo B9TL, VG34, is seen operating Route 20B on the Malahide Road on its last day of operation the 6th August 2011.

One might ask therefore, with the route being almost exactly the same, what difference is in a number. For some reason, and this extends beyond the rhealms of bus enthusiasm, a number is very important to the human psyche. Its a brand, you've grown used to its quirks, the lenghts of time it takes to your stop etc... But its also a point of reminiscence, something that will always be remembered. It will take some time before the 14 becomes as accepted as the 20B was.

Summerhill's AX627 worksing into town on Route 20B on the Beaumont Road is passed by one of the stalwarts of the route, AV110 on the 31st July 2011. The camber of the road makes the buses lean away from each other to create a V-shape, reminiscent of the Last Supper painting of Leonardo DaVinci. Is this a reference to the godlike nature of the 20B ;-)

The people of Beaumont will begin to appreciate the cross city nature of the new 14, even if the bus does become slightly harder to predict. However, its not like they have been void of a cross city service. The 16s have long served the area, while the 20B itself retained peak hour cross city status right till the end, being formerly a full cross city route to Bulfin Road till the last 80s. During peak hours Route 20B extended to St. Stephen's Green, which always had a significant customer base.

Summerhill's Pulsar Gemini bodied VDL DB250 hybrid bus, WH1, is seen operating an evening Route 20B service from St. Stephen's Green to Arlea Road on the 9th May 2011.

The 20B had the same schedule for 14 years, since the days of the 20A/B route merger, though they had always been interworked. This meant that 20Bs were often unable to meet their running times during peak periods which saw a few universals required during the peaks. These were so called late pull outs, and often times if WH1 hadn't been used on its usual 16 board, it would appear for an evening gallop on Route 20B.

Summerhill's AV270 is seen operating Route 20B on Amiens Street on the last day of service the 6th August 2011.

Summerhill's AV110 is seen operating Route 20B on the Kilmore Road on the 31st July 2011.

There is something about night shots that finally register that the final death knell of a route has been rung. The last night of the 20B was quite strange. Having been operated by VG47, AV270 and VG34 for the day, with AV268 and AV112 coming out to help, only AV270 was left on the road after 9pm with two buses in three not operating. AV270 also managed to disappear at some point, replaced by EV49 which operated the last ever 20B departure.

EV49, about to depart on the last ever Route 20B service from Eden Quay to Ardlea Road on the 6th August 2011. A few seconds after this photo EV49 departed and Route 20B faded quietly into the night.

WH1 awaiting to return to the city on one of the evening universals on Route 20B on Maryfield Drive back in February 2011. The headlights twinkle as night takes over. Will we see this bus once more at Maryfield Drive. One would imagine possibly not...

Route 14A:

The 14A which was introduced in 1965 bowed out of action on Saturday the 6th August 2011, replaced by a more frequent cross city 14 service. When introduced it ran almost exactly the same route as the 14 from Phoenix Park to Churchtown. Both services operated via Dartry, the Dropping Well and Churchtown Road Lower. The 14A terminated on Beaumont Avenue (Weston Avenue) while the 14 went up the Braemor Road. It was later extended to Meadow Grove where it terminated for a number of years.

Donnybrook's Alexander R-bodied Volvo Olympian, RV582, is seen operating a Route 14A service to Dundrum on the 30th July 2011.

At this stage the 47A was the bus of choice down the Orwell Road and into Landscape Road with the former Route 61. Upon their withdrawal in the mid 1980s Route 14 was extended into Landscape Road though continued to operate up the Braemor Road to Landscape Road before terminating at the corner of Riverside Drive instead of the 47A routing via Churchtown Road Upper. Certain 14 services were then diverted away from the Dropping Well, instead operating via Churchtown Road Lower, Orwell Road, Rathgar and into the city.

Donnybrook's wedding bus, AX545, is seen operating a rare departure on Route 14A on Earlsfort Terrace on the 16th June 2011.

In the mid-90s the 14s were extended to Balinteer. This was the point at which the 14A became the Dartry and Dropping Well service, with the 14 instead always operating via Rathgar, Orwell Road, Mount Carmel Hospital, Braemor Road, Beaumont Avenue and onto Ballinteer. With the merger of the 14s and 48A into one bill in the mid naughties, the 14s were extended onwards along the 48A routing to Dundrum while also being extended to Parnell Square in the city. The 48A continued on a much lower frequency interworked with the 14s.

Donnybrook's, EV98, is seen turning right at the Dropping Well Pub heading for Dundrum on the 30th July 2011. EVs on this route were always uncommon.

The section now between Palmerstown Park and Churchtown is now without a service with the withdrawal of the 14A. Rumours circulate that something might replace it. Originally the 61 was put forward in the proposals, which would have saw it operate under the 9 arches and then left at the Dropping Well Pub onto Churchtown Road Lower. However now its routed via the old 48A service to Dundrum boosting capacity on that corridor.

Donnybrook's, RV599, is seen operating Route 14A on the now unserved Churchtown Road Lower at Windy Arbour Luas stop on the 30th July 2011.

Route 48A:

Donnybrook's, RV585, is seen operating a 48A service to the city on Broadford Road on the 12th December 2010.

Route 48A also bit the dust on the 6th August 2011. A very historical route it served the area of Ballinteer for 78 years. The route was always fairly frequent, however the introduction of the Luas in the early 2000s saw off a lot of its customer base. Areas like Ranelagh and Milltown suffer from terrible traffic congestion, which made the 48A unreliable during peak periods, or at least not a competitor to the Luas.

Donnybrook's, EV94, on a rare EV operated Route 48A service at the Ballinteer terminus of Route 48A on the 4th February 2011.

The 48A shared much of its routing with the 44, however the departure times were never interlaced. This meant that most often you would find a 44 and 48A running in tandem with no service through Milltown for another 40mins, a terrible waste of resources. The same could be said for the new 61 and 44 combination, though Dublin Bus has noted that in future these routes will be interlaced.

Donnybrook's AV90 is seen operating a Route 48A service on Ballinteer Avenue on the 30th June 2011.

The final Route 48A service from the city, the 2310 from Parnell Square was operated by AV257. The photo below shows AV257 at its O'Connell Street stop, the RTPI indicating that yes the 48A, the last ever 48A, is due. And so it departed on the night that three famous Dublin City routes faded into memory.

The last ever 48A, AV257 loading on O'Connell Street on the night of the 6th August 2011.

N.B. This website is not affiliated with Dublin Bus. The information contained herein is intended for enthusiast reference. For all current timetable and route information please refer to the official Dublin Bus Website.