My last WV photos in service was of WV51. WV51 is seen at the Glencullen (Ballybrack) terminus of Route 44B on the 17th November 2017. The WVs would linger on two more weeks before their eventual withdrawal (click on photo for larger version).
2017 saw the withdrawal of the WV-class from Dublin Bus. WVs were comprised of a Wright Crusader 2 body on a Volvo B6BLE chassis, with a Volvo D6A engine. It is incredible to think that the WV-class is one of the longest enduring of modern times. Their 18 years of service, first entering service in December 1999 and being withdrawn from service in December 2017, is close to the KC class’ 19-years of service (1981-2000). In fact, it should be noted that KC1 excluded, which was a pre-production model made in Hamburg, the WV class actually beats the KCs for length of service, with the Irish built GAC KCs (KC2-KC202) operating in Dublin City (CIE)/Dublin Bus service for 17 years (1983-2000), albeit a number went on for some more years with Bus Eireann as school buses.
The WV midi-buses were revolutionary in the Dublin Bus fleet, providing a middle ground between the minibuses on the successful CityImp routes and full-sized single-deckers. Their purchase was a recognition of the successful CityImp concept, which had boosted passenger numbers on dwindling routes. It is a testament to this concept that these routes are now double-decker services.
The first WVs entered service in December 1999, with WV1-10 in CityImp livery assigned to Ringsend Garage to boost capacity on Route 150, and WV11-20 in core livery (blue/cream/orange) being assigned to Clontarf for northside orbital service reorganisation. This reorganisation didn’t occur until April 2000, and thus Clontarf assigned their WVs to Routes 51A, 101 and 103, though I personally remember a few late night outings on the 29A, 31s during these early days. In April 2000, the northside orbitals were rearranged, with Routes 101 and 300 cancelled, and the 103 reogranised with a new route 104. These two new routes were assigned WV11-20, operating at a high frequency.
WV21-WV40 were delivered in 2000 in CityImp livery, first entering service from Broadstone Depot from Wednesday 29th November on Route 123.
The final batch of WVs, WV41-52 were delivered in March 2001 in CityImp livery. WV41-46 went to Clontarf to operate Route 130, though at this stage the WVs were a single batch in Clontarf, and core-liveried WV11-20 could be equally found on Route 130 as Route 103, and vice versa for WV41-46. WV47-52 were delivered to Ringsend, allocated to Route 150, though also operating Route 83 for about one year. In February 2002, some routing changes occurred on Route 201 which allowed WVs to be used on Routes 201 and 202, with Leyland Olympians taking over Route 83.
The WV-class will also be remembered for their use on the Special Olympics shuttles in the summer of 2003. WV21-46 were used on this service, with new double-deckers taking over their duties for the period.
A rear shot of WV51 showing how battered these buses were at their end of days. Its seen out of its normal areas on Walkinstown Parade while on a photo run just before its withdrawal on the 18th November 2017 (click on photo for larger version).
The WV-class’ long association with Route 44B started in September 2003 when Broadstone loaned WV24 to Donnybrook for a week’s trial on the Glencullen route. This proved successful, and around the turn of 2004, WV8-WV13 moved to Donnybrook (WV8-10 from Ringsend and WV11-13 from Clontarf) to operate routes 44B, 59/A and 161. WV4-7 (from Ringsend) and WV14-16 (from Clontarf) followed WV8-13 to Donnybrook a few months later. At this stage the WVs became regular on the Bray routes (145, 184, 185), until the 145 was reorganised as a city service.
WV21-40 moved from Broadstone to Summerhill along with Route 123 during the Harristown opening reorganisation during October/November 2004, Summerhill becoming the 4th garage to operate WVs. WV21 was soon in Donnybrook (it may never have actually operated from Summerhill) for the new Route 92 service, carrying sign-writing for the new route.
A number of WVs were destroyed by fire on Route 44B. WV11 became the first on the 31st August 2005 in Glencullen. On the 22nd September 2006, WV9 also came a cropper near the Ballybrack terminus of Route 44B. Finally on the 18th December 2008, WV10 also caught fire at Johnnie Foxes pub working up for the first morning departure from Glencullen. The steepness of the roads meant the engines were stressed to extremes.
WV4-7 moved to Harristown in November 2005 to operate the Blanchardstown local services, however issues with the 239 routing delayed their introduction. Pending their introduction, they were used on a Park & Ride service from Quickpark to the City Centre for Christmas 2005. On the 12th February 2005, these took up service on the 237, 238, 239 and 270, ending minibus operation in Dublin Bus.
WV1-20 were first to be withdrawn during the cut-backs of April/May 2009. At this point WV41-46 transferred from Clontarf to Donnybrook, which meant neither Harristown nor Clontarf were operating WV buses. WV21-40 were withdrawn in November 2010 with the delivery of EV37-50 to Summerhill from Harristown to operate Route 123.
With the Network Directing, and subsequent reduction in frequency of Route 150, on the 15th May 2011, WV47-WV52 were transferred from Ringsend to Donnybrook. This left Donnybrook as the last remaining depot operating WVs, having 12 (WV41-52). This was in excess of what Donnybrook needed for Routes 44B, 59 and 63, and hence these could be found on peak hour services across the depot.
Eventually the WVs would find favour on Route 44 to Enniskerry. WV41-46 were withdrawn from operation in July 2012, soon after Route 44’s extension to Larkhill which meant that WVs were not allocated. WV47-WV49 were withdrawn at the end of May 2013, leaving only WV50-WV52 to soldier on. And soldier on they did, with generally one bus on the 44B, one on either the 59 or 63, and one bus spare. This continued into 2017, before WV50 was withdrawn in January 2017 (last operating on the 26th January) and cannibalised for parts to keep WV51 and WV52 in service. WV50 had only recently acquired an LED, something which WV52 also had retrofitted, leaving WV51 remaining with its dot-matrix display till the end, the very last bus in the fleet to have a dot-matrix. With only two buses remaining, the buses were strictly allocated to the 44B only, with one bus out at any time and one bus spare, except for one morning peak outing of WV52 on Route 46A on the 2nd March 2017.
WV52 last operated in service on the 24th November 2017. WV51 was the last WV to operate in service on the 1st December 2017. WV51 went out in the morning to cover the morning peak services on the 44B, pulling back into the depot about 1030am. It was scheduled to be used on the evening peak, but in the end WS2 was allocated for its first laps in service. And so ended WV operation with Dublin Bus, a quite ignominious end to a great servant of Dublin.
The WVs long association with Dublin Bus meant they operated quite a number of routes. The author has personal recollection of these buses operating the following routes (some of the routes were incredibly rare allocations. The list is not a full list of routes, I’m sure there were others): 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 7B, 11, 14, 15, 15A, 15B, 16, 16A, 17, 17A, 18, 19, 20B, 27, 29A, 31, 31B, 32, 32A, 33X, 41B, 42B, 44, 44B, 45, 45A, 46A, 46E, 47, 48A, 49, 50, 51A, 53, 53A, 59, 59A, 61, 63, 65, 75, 83, 84, 92, 101, 102, 103, 104, 111, 114, 123, 124, 130, 145, 150, 161, 184, 185, 201, 202, 237, 238, 239, 270.