AD31, an Alexander Setanta-bodied DAF SB220, is seen in the StationLink Livery applied as branding for Route 90 which serves as a connection between Heuston and Connolly Stations. This branding was applied in 1996 to AD26/7/9/30/31, which had all previously been delivered white (see below). The bus is loading passengers at its principal stop on route to Heuston at Aston Quay on the 1st May 1999, the final days of the StationLink ADs on Route 90.
Dublin City lacks an all encompassing train terminal like many capital cities in Europe. However with a lack of investment in public transport that has left Dublin without any form of underground, the city has had to rely on bus transport between its major stations for much of the 20th century.
By the early 1860s, Dublin had 5 major train terminals scattered around the city.
Westland Row (Pearse): Westland Row station was the first to open in 1834, the city terminus of the Dublin and Kingstown Railway, Kingstown later reverting to its previous name of Dún Laoghaire having being named in honour of King George IV during the period 1821 to 1921. In 1846 the train company was renamed the Waterford, Wexford, Wicklow and Dublin Railway Company, then in 1860 being renamed Dublin, Wicklow and Wexford Railway the line reaching Bray in 1855, with Wexford following 40 years after the original opening in 1874. The company would later be renamed The Dublin and South Eastern Railway in 1906. Passengers from Waterford, Wicklow, Bray, Dún Laoghaire and other major towns on the south west coast would have arrived in Dublin at this location. The station was situated 0.72miles from the GPO in O’Connell Street.
Amiens Street (Connolly): Connolly station was opened in 1846 as the Dublin terminal of the Great Northern Railway (Ireland), services then operating as far as Drogheda. In 1853, trains reached Belfast. Passengers from Derry, Belfast, Omagh, Cavan, Monaghan, Enniskillen, Portadown, Newry, Dundalk, Drogheda, Balbriggan, Malahide and Howth to name a few would have arrived in Dublin at this location. This is the closest station to the GPO O’Connell Street at 0.43miles distant.
Van-Hool-bodied Leyland Atlantean AN68, DF813 is seen operating Route 90 about to descend the ramp having just departed the Connolly Station stop. The 90 at this time would have principally been a KC class single-deck service, however double-deckers were often required to help out at peak hours. This bus had a long operational history in Conyngham Road being delivered early in 1978, spending over 15 years in service before being withdrawn in the late-summer of 1993.
Broadstone Station: This station opened in 1847 as the Dublin terminal of the Midland and Great Western Railway. Trains serving this station would have arrived from Galway, Westport, Sligo, Athlone, Maynooth and Mullingar. The station was closed to passenger traffic in 1937, with the building becoming the home to most of CIEs provincial bus operations within the Dublin area after the station finally closed in 1961. Broadstone is 0.82miles from the GPO.
Harcourt Street Station: This station was the terminal of an alternative routing to Dublin from Bray station via Dundrum opening in 1859. Much of its routing has now been occupied by the LUAS Green Line. The station was 1.15miles from the GPO, however it was in close proximity to the business and shopping areas near St. Stephen’s Green.
Kingsbridge Station (Heuston): Kingsbridge Station was the terminal of the Great Southern and Western Railway. It was named Kingsbridge due to its proximity to Kings Bridge, a bridge over the liffey, renamed Sarsfield Bridge in the 1920s and then Sean Heuston Bridge in the 1940s. The bridge now carries the LUAS tram over the liffey. The station itself would be renamed Heuston Station in honour of Sean Heuston in 1966. Trains serving Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford, Kilkenny, Portarlington and Kildare terminate here. This station is the furthest from the GPO being 1.61miles distant.
Broadstone's Alexander R-bodied Volvo Olympian, RV616 is seen operating an usual departure on Route 92 at Heuston Station on the 2nd March 2010. RV616 is an interesting vehicle. Delivered late in 1999 it went into service in Conyngham Road Garage early in 2000 branded for the '25A Lucan Road flyer'. Pre-2002 Broadstone mainly operated peak-hour euro services yet had a strong contingent of low floor double-deck buses. In order to rectify this, and see more fleet usage from these low floor vehicles, Broadstone AV-class buses were dispersed to other garages in return for 99-D RV class buses. In this transfer Broadstone received RV474-81 and 616-9 from Conyngham Road for AV22-33, 226/7, this transfer occuring late in 2001. RV616 returned to Conyngham Road in early 2003, before again moving, this time to Phibsborough as part of the fleet changes associated with Harristown Depot's opening on the 31st October 2004. It was withdrawn from Phibsborough as part of the 120 bus fleet reduction during the May 2009 cut-backs. However, it returned to service for a few weeks in Clontarf in July 2009 when EVs were undergoing modifications. Again withdrawn, RV616 returned to service during August 2009 working the viaduct replacement Route 33X services. It would then appear on regular Phibsborough services, especially the 120, 121 and 122 routes, before being withdrawn for a third time in late 2009/early 2010. However the bus with nine-lives was once again reinstated to service, this time to Broadstone Depot, in February 2010 as cover for buses being fitted with the new Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system. It is seen in this photo only a few weeks after its reinstatement.
Heuston Station is the most isolated of all of the main train terminals in Dublin, therefore much of this article will focus on it. Connecting this station with the city was of prime importance which was signified by the approval of a tram line linking Kingsbridge, Westland Row and Harcourt Street stations in 1867, the first tram line to be approved in Dublin City. However, the line was not the first to be built, the City of Dublin Tramway Company rights to build this line being acquired by the Dublin Tramways Company in 1871. The line would open on the 3rd June 1872, with horse trams operating on the following route:
King’s Bridge, Victoria Quay, Usher’s Island, Usher’s Quay, Merchant’s Quay, Wood Quay, Essex Quay, Wellington Quay, Aston Quay, D’olier Street, Pearse Street (then Great Brunswick Street), Westland Row, Merrion Street Lower, Merrion Square West, Merrion Street Upper, (Ely Place, Hume Street returning Merrion Row), St. Stephen’s Green East, Earlsfort Terrace (terminating at the Exhibition Palace now the National Concert Hall).
The Exhibition Palace was built by Benjamin Guinness who lived at Iveagh House on St. Stephen’s Green. Purchasing lands behind this property he created the Iveagh Gardens in which were held the Great Dublin International Exhibition in 1865, a precursor to the World’s Fair. For this event the Exhibition Palace was constructed and a great iron and glass structure known as the Winter Garden was constructed at its rear. (For information on the winter garden see here.)
GAC single-decker KC13 is seen on Aston Quay loading for a service to Heuston Station on Route 90 on the 8th September 1991. It was delivered to Conyngham Road in 1983, seeing out nearly 15 years of service before its eventual withdrawal in 1998. In this shot however KC13 is not in the best of attire. As can clearly be seen the scroll has been torn and its unable to display its destination.
After this event the Exhibition Palace and Winter Garden were used for concerts and exhibitions. Therefore the location was popular to passengers arriving into both Kingsbridge and Westland Row Stations. Upon the opening of the tram line in 1872, the Dublin Exhibition of Arts, Industries and Manufactures was being held in the Exhibition Palace. The Winter Garden would be removed in 1882, sold on for further use in England, the Exhibition Palace been sold in 1883 to be used as a University until 2007, though the main hall was given to the National Concert Hall in 1977 which still occupies the building.
The Exhibition Palace however did not open on Sundays, and by the end of the month trams operated a shorter routing between Kingsbridge and Westland Row Stations only on a Sunday. It was a further 7 years before the extension to Hatch Street (corner Harcourt Street) serving Harcourt Street Station. This opened on the 23rd June 1879. Trams initially, from the first day, operated only between Hatch Street and Westland Row, meeting the South Quays line there. However, the two would be joined and known as the Hatch Street line or also as the ‘Three Stations’ due to the three principal rail termini it served on route. Harcourt Street station however had been the first of the principal termini to receive a tram service when the Rathgar line was opened in February 1872.
By the time of the Hatch Street extension the North Quays line had been opened running from Bachelor’s Walk to Parkgate Street. Running in close proximity to the south quays line, there was too much duplication in service with little need for trams on both sides of the quays. It was this fact that eventually would see off the ‘Three Stations’ line, leaving Kingsbridge served by the north quays line which ran very close to the station.
Donnybrook's WV13 is seen operating Route 92 on College Street in April 2005. The WVs, and Donnybrook's, operation of Route 92 lasted only 10 months, before the AVs and Conyngham Road took over. WV13 was part of the first batch of 20 WVs delivered to Dublin Bus in 1999. The batch arrived in December, WV1-10 to Ringsend in CityImp livery for Route 150, WV11-20 to Clontarf in Core Blue/Cream livery for the 103/4 relaunch in early 2000. WV11-13 transferred to Donnybrook in early 2004 with AV344-6 going the other way. The bus was withdrawn from the fleet during the May 2009 cutbacks.
Amiens Street station would also be provided with a tram service to the city when the Clontarf line opened in 1873. However Broadstone would never be served by a tram line, this station remaining isolated in terms of transport provision right up to its closure in the late 1930s.
The next major connection between the mainline stations occurred with the opening of the City of Dublin Junction Railway, more often known simply as the Loop Line, connecting Westland Row and Amiens Street stations. The line opened on the 1st May 1891, with a new station located at Tara Street. This line is colloquially known as the “Porter Line” because bars situated under the line sold porter, porter being another term for stout, at cheaper prices than other city bars.
In the late 1890s the Dublin United Tramways Company (DUTC) went about a full network electrification scheme. The north quays line was electrified prior to the south quays line; it being converted on the 18th October 1899. Because of this the DUTC operated an electric tram service between Parkgate Street and Westland Row to provide a faster service for passengers between Kingsbridge and Westland Row stations.
Conyngham Road's RV519 is seen operating Route 90 on Burgh Quay on the 10th August 2002. Guinness had taken out a series of wraps on the buses allocated to the 90 (RV517-20). These wraps were applied in the autumn of 2000. Each bus had a different wrap, however by 2002, and this photo, the wrap was updated on all buses to "Guinness Draft - Believe".
A few months later on the 16th January 1900 the South Quays line between Kingsbridge and Hatch Street was converted to electric operation, the south quays line having the last horse trams in the centre of Dublin.
In 1902, just after the vast electrication of Dublin’s tramway network, the Dublin United Tramway Company’s Secretary R.S. Tresilian went about describing each of the lines in the Dublin Tram Network. About the Hatch Street line he wrote the following:
“Kingsbridge to Hatch Street via South Quays: Distance 2miles, cars run every 8 minutes
The cars start at the terminus of the Great Southern and Western Railway at Kingsbridge, and pass along the South Quays as far as O’Connell Bridge, where they turn into D’olier Street, along that street into Brunswick Street (with Trinity College on the right and the Antient Concert Rooms on the left), from whence they turn into Westland Row, one of the termini of the Dublin and South Eastern Railway Company being on the left, along Lower Merrion Street and the west side of Merrion Square, Leinster House, the former residence of the Dukes of Leinster (now the house of the Royal Dublin Society), and the National Gallery of Painting being on the right, through Upper Merrion Street, Ely Place, and Hume Street, into the east side of St. Stephen’s Green, and along it through Earlsfort Terrace, the Royal University being on the right, along Hatch Street, where, at the junction with Harcourt Street, and in close proximity to the other terminus of the Dublin and South Easten Railway, they stop.”
Alexander Setanta-bodied Volvo B10B, VA2, is seen loading on Aston Quay on the 2nd March 1996 on Route 90. VA1 & 2 were mistakingly registered 95 D 36001/2 by Alexanders when delivered, the plates been changed before entry into service. VA1-2 arrived in mid-January 1996, long after the last of the AD class DAFs with which they were ordered. VA2 was to meet a sorry end. On the morning of the 5th February 2003, while operating a 76B along the Coldcut Road, its engine caught fire and the bus was withdrawn.
The GNR termini at Amiens Street, located less than half a mile from Nelson’s Pillar was not served by any cross city trams. In order to rectify this, the DUTC introduced a service from Fairview to Westland Row on the 20th November 1916. The routing was: Fairview, Annesley Bridge Road, North Strand Road, Amiens Street, Talbot Street, Lower Gardiner Street, Beresford Place, Lower Abbey Street, O’Connell Street, D’olier Street, Pearse Street, Westland Row.
By 1917, the northside route had been extended to St. Lawrence’s Road. In 1918 the route was extended to Hatch Street mirroring much of the South Quays line and finally the route was extended to Rathmines also in 1918.
In 1918, the DUTC replaced the symbols denoting the routes with numbers. The Kingsbridge to Hatch Street service was denoted route 22. Prior to this, as part of a campaign to distinguish trams for the illiterate, the Kingsbridge to Hatch Street Line was given a White Square Symbol which trams displayed above their destination scrolls, where the number scrolls were later fitted. The St. Lawrence Road – Hatch Street/Rathmines service, was given the route number 13. Its symbol prior to this was of a white square with a red diagonal line through it.
Both routes were affected by the wartime shortage of coal in 1918. As part of major curtailments to the tramway service in order to preserve coal supplies, Routes 13 and 22 were withdrawn on the 21st March 1918.
The 22 was reintroduced sometime in the 1920’s. It is hard to pinpoint the exact reintroduction date but it should be noted that the coal shortages were still present during the Civil War. The only record of services over the South Quay lines found was during a period in July 1922, when a large amount or damage was done to the North Quay line and Parkgate Street trams ran via the South Quays and over Kings Bridge to Parkgate Street.
In the February 1924 DUTC timetable the 22 is still not listed, however by April 1924 the South Quays line was working operating from Parkgate Street to Rathmines. The routing was as follows:
Parkgate Street, Kings Bridge, Victoria Quay, Usher’s Island, Usher’s Quay, Merchant’s Quay, Wood Quay, Essex Quay, Wellington Quay, Aston Quay, D’olier Street, Pearse Street, Westland Row, Merrion Street Lower, Merrion Square West, Merrion Street Upper, (Ely Place, Hume Street returning Merrion Row), St. Stephen’s Green East, Earlsfort Terrace, Hatch Street, Harcourt Street, Harcourt Road, Rathmines Road Lower (terminating at junct. Castlewood Avenue).
This scene typifies a time since forgotten in Dublin, where Bus Áras was strewn with badly parked Bus Eireann vehicles awaiting their time for provincial services. KE20 and KR169 are parked in Beresford Place where the tram tracks currently are.AD28, having recently entered service, is seen trying to access Store Street on the 31st March 1994. A KD loading on the 42 or 43 can be seen above the KE. AD28 was the odd one out of AD26-31, as it did not get painted into StationLink livery, instead becoming CitySwift. It would be trasferred to Phibsborough to operate the 40 group of routes, before being sold on to Bus Eireann for schools work.
On the 2nd August 1927 the trams were run for the first time into Kingsbridge Station itself, when an extension to the line took the trams directly onto the platform on the north side of the station. However, even with this initiative to boost passengers, the South Quays line was only slightly profitable due to the proximity of the north quays line, and with the Corporation pressing for the complete relaying of the South Quays, the company took the decision to close the route. The last trams ran on the 30th March 1929.
This left Kingsbridge station served from Parkgate Street by lines 23, 24, 25 and 26, and by bus route 51 to Clondalkin. By this stage Amiens Street station was also served by bus routes from Marino, Killester, Malahide, Coolock, Clontarf, Portmarnock and Howth. Westland Row had the Ringsend Trams as well as Inchicore Trams (Route 21), with bus routes from Bray, Cabinteely, Dun Laoghaire, Rathfarnham, Enniskerry and Dundrum. Harcourt Street also had new bus services to places such as Dundrum, Rialto and Rathfarnham. However Broadstone station remained isolated, with no direct transport provision, until its closure for passenger services in 1937.
An interesting new feeder bus service was initiated by the GNR on the 7th January 1932. It operated from Amiens Street Station to Eden Quay, a distance of about half a mile, to connect the train station with the GNR bus departure point on Eden Quay. This service would cease in 1941 as a wartime economy measure.
Alexander R-bodied Volvo Olympian RV518 is seen on Aston Quay loading on Route 90 to Hueston Station in June 1999. The posters for the European Election on the 11th of the month are attached to anything stationary. RV517-20 would just have entered service when this photo was taken, and they were fitted with extra luggage racks downstairs like the ADs before and the AVs after. The RailLink livery would not last long, however it was quite an attractive livery. In time honoured fashion the driver has wound the scroll such that it displays both Heuston Station, where it is heading, and the Irish for Connolly Station. The scoll will then not be wound for the return journey or most likely the full duty.
The North Quays tram Routes 23 and 24 were converted to buses on the 16th April 1938. The Lucan tram continued, like other trams lines closed later, suffered due to the removal of the principal tram services on its corridor. The 24 was extended northwards to Marino, amalgamated with the 43A. Thus for the first time a passenger transport service operated between Amiens Street and Kingsbridge Stations.
Another development at this time was the introduction by the DUTC of a new unnumbered service from Aston’s Quay to Kingsbridge Station. Certain services went to the arrivals platform in Heuston Station where the tram service had served in the late 20s, while others went to St. John’s Road. The service operated via the Northern Quays. This service was part of a number of routes that were removed due to wartime economies. It may well have been numbered Route 27 prior to its withdrawal.
In March of 1949, CIE reintroduced the bus service from Kingsbridge Station (arrivals platform) to Aston Quay, but since then and the present day these bus services are un-timetabled, meeting specific trains rather than operating a set frequency service. This resumption occurred just prior to the reintroduction of Route 79 which operated then via South Quays, passing the front of Kingsbridge Station, St. John’s Road and onto Ballyfermot. The 79 prior to its wartime withdrawal had operated via the North Quays and the South Circular Road to the ranch, so this service offered a new connection with the south side of the station.
GAC Single-Decker KC51 operating Route 90 on Aston Quay on the 22nd July 1992. Its destination simply reads Inter Station, the passenger seemingly not needing to know exactly which stations this meant. This destination display would continue all the way up to the delivery of the VAs in 1996. KC51 was delivered to Conyngham Road in early 1984, being 14 years in service there until its withdrawal during the last quarter of 1998. The bus looks somewhat different to the majority of the KCs in that it was not delivered with a GAC badge. KCs 1-68 did not have this badge, KC2 however had a Bombardier badge.
Though bus routes came, went and got reorganised there was little change in how each of the principal rail termini were served until the first half of 1972 when Route 24 was shortened to terminate at Sean Heuston Bridge, (formerly Kings Bridge) at the front of Heuston Station. However unlike the Heuston Station shuttles that went under the station gantry and met specific trains, the 24 terminated prior to entering the gates of Heuston Station.
The next fundamental change came when CIE launched its new frequent DART rail service, with which they wanted to link up to Heuston by bus. CIE had major restructuring plans that were to be put in place as part of the DART introduction, with feeder buses operating from adjoining areas to the stations and reduced bus services running in parallel to the main line. However this principal, as well as the discussion of One Person Operation, led to the scheme being delayed. In fact it was delayed for 18 months after the introduction of the DART in July 1984, with DART feeder services not beginning until February 1986.
When CIE first announced their plans for DART feeder services, the 90 as it was then to become was as “a circuit bus route linking the main stations in the city centre - Connolly, Pearse, Heuston and Tara Street.” However Pearse was never to be served by the 90, no doubt its proximity to Tara Street and also the fact that DART trains served Tara Street lead CIE to opt for a more direct service.
Alexander Setanta-bodied Volvo B10B, VA9, is seen departing Connolly Station on the 17th February 1996, having only been delivered. The stop behind inciates the DART feeder status of the route, the road behind leading under the canopy to the platform side and carpark. VA9 would last just over 10 years in service with Dublin Bus, being used with all the VA class to launch the 25A Lucan Road CitySwift service in 1996, before being dispersed when larger vehicles were required onto the 78A and occasionally back onto the 90s. It was withdrawn in September 2006.
With ongoing problems with the implementation of DART feeder services, CIE announced the launch of an InterStation single-deck bus service to be launched on Monday 19th November 1984, operating from Heuston to Connolly via the Quays. The service would not be introduced, however the fact that CIE decided to try and push this service shows its importance. Another year was to pass before CIE decided to go against the unions and announced that Dart Feeder services would begin on the 8th December 1985. A long dispute ensued with drivers being suspended upon refusing to operate these routes.
An agreement was finally reached in January 1986 for large capactity OPO on bus services. The Inter Station Dart Feeder service operating from Heuston to Connolly via the Quays, Bus Aras and Tara Street began on the 2nd February 1986. GAC single-decker buses KC120/1 were allocated from inception, with buses displaying Inter Station Shuttle.
The 90 paralleled a lot of the 24’s route from Sean Heuston Bridge to Marino, the routes being identical from Sean Heuston Bridge to Amiens Street. The main difference between the routes was that the 90 operated up the ramp at Connolly Station and into Heuston Station itself. The 24 terminated at Sean Heuston Bridge, u-turning just before the gates into the station. The 90 on the other hand continued up the road on the north side of the station, then it took the second left heading under the gantry. The road alignment was similar to now and buses operated around this road in an anti-clockwise direction. The official terminus of the route was under the gantry thus providing passengers with a service directly to the platform. Another significant difference was the classification of the route as DART feeder, hence one could purchase feeder tickets valid for both bus and train.
The 90’s routing was as follows:
Eastbound: Heuston Station, Frank Sherwin Bridge, Wolfe Tone Quay, Ellis Quay, Arran Quay, Inn’s Quay, Ormond Quay Upper, Ormond Quay Lower, Bachelors Walk, Eden Quay, Beresford Place, Store Street, Connolly Station (Ramp).
Westbound: Connolly Station (Ramp), Memorial Road, Memorial Bridge, George’s Quay, Burgh Quay, Aston Quay, Crampton Quay, Wellington Quay. Essex Quay, Wood Quay, Merchant’s Quay, Usher’s Quay, Usher’s Island, Victoria Quay, Heuston Station.
Bombardier Double-Decker KD153 was delivered to Donnybrook in 1982, as part of a batch of 25 vehicles, spending much of its career there on Route 48A. This bus transferred to Summerhill around Christmas 1995 replacing the final Van Hools there. In the early Summer of 1998 it transferred to Conyngham Road to replace withdrawn KD293. KD153 was one of the last Bombardiers in Conyngham Road, seeing out its days on peak hour extras on Route 91. The picture above shows such a scene, with KD153 ready to operate an evening 91 service on the 20th September 2000.
Though the official routing saw buses travel via Store Street serving a stop opposite where the 747 terminus is today, it was not uncommon for buses to avoid Store Street and turn right off Amiens Street to Connolly Station Ramp. However, by the mid-90s it was fully via Store Street as this right turn had been banned.
Routes 90 and 24 continued in this fashion until February 1994 when the Sector 5 changes were introduced. These changes initiated the launch of CitySwift Route 78A and CityImp Route 123 on the 28th February 1994. The 123 replaced the 24 on a much realigned routing, with the 90 being the sole service between Connolly and Heuston Stations. Because of this, the service was increased to a clockface 10mins frequency Monday-Saturday, with a reduced service on Sundays. For this relaunch, the 90 received brand new AD-class single-deck buses, AD26-31, carrying a plain white livery. In 1996 these buses would enventually be branded into a new attractive StationLink livery.
Two morning services went to St. Stephen’s Green instead of Connolly Station via O’Connell Bridge and Kildare Street. These services displayed Route 91, though this wasn’t noted in the timetable. Eventually this number would be used by the Heuston Shuttle services to/from Aston Quay which previously had displayed no number. The 91 number is still used to this day though it was 2001 before the first mention of these services and their number 91 was put in a timetable. Even then no timetable appeared, just an indication that they would operate to meet train arrivals/departures.
Alexander Setanta-bodied DAF SB220, AD26, is seen at Heuston Station on the 23rd March 1994. AD26-31 were delivered in overall white livery before all but AD28 received StationLink branding. The bus has only recently entered service in this photo. A KC on a rail shuttle to the city is seen departing from under the gantry at Heuston Station. The AD however, is not picking up from this point but will pick up from the road outside Heuston.
In the mid-1990s Heuston Station underwent a significant redevelopment. As part of this redevelopment which was completed in 1998, a new bus interchange outside the main terminal building entrance was constructed. From this point buses did not operate under the gantry. The platform terminus was used from the inception of the 90 and continued in use for a number of years. However, the road under the gantry was also used by rail shuttles, which queued awaiting departure. The 90 with scheduled departure times, would have to pass these stationary buses which proved difficult. Hence the stop fell into disuse, with 90s departing from outside the building. The picture above shows a KC still operating under the gantry in 1994, but notably not on a 90 service.
On the 13th June 1998 the ramp at Connolly Station was shut due to refurbishment works. A new terminus was provided on Amiens Street opposite Connolly Station. This stop was further up towards Talbot Street than Gandon House, around where Subway is today. The routing then became:
Eden Quay, Beresford Place, Amiens Street, Talbot Street, Lower Gardiner Street, Beresford Place, Memorial Road, Memorial Bridge, George’s Quay.
Bombardier Double-Decker KD223, is seen operating Route 90 turning from Gardiner Street to Beresford Place on the 3rd July 1998. The ramp had been closed just a few weeks before this photo was taken, the diversion remaining in place for nearly 2 years. In 1998 the route would still have been primarily AD operated, so KD223 was an interesting allocation. KD223 was delivered along with KD224-36 to Donnybrook Garage in 1982 primarily for use on Route 45. In the summer of 1993 KD223 received an experimental two-tone green livery, which was dark green in the lower part and lime green above (A picture of this livery can be seen in Pat Losty's KD month feature on dublinbus.cc). In late 1997 it transferred from Donnybrook to Conyngham Road, the bus being one of the last withdrawn at this depot during the end of 2000. It became a short-term driver trainer for about a month before finally being withdrawn to scrap.
In 1999 the 90 service was again rebranded. The single-deckers on the service had reached saturation and it was necessary from them to be replaced with double-deckers. RV517-20 operated the service in a new RailLink livery which replaced the StationLink branding. This RailLink livery was to have a short lifespan with Guinness using the rear and sides for a wrap of RV517-20, the wrap being applied in the Summer of 2000. The front however remained in RailLink livery. By the Summer of 2000 Connolly Station’s ramp had been reopened and the 90s were back terminating at this location.In the mean-time Connolly Station got a new feeder service linking it with the Mater Hospital. The service operated by Summerhill Garage was numbered 321 and was operated by ME23-25 which had previously been used to operate the 61A HotelLink shuttle. The MEs retained this livery while operating route 321 which began operation on the 6th December 1999. The routing was:
Amiens Street (Route 90 stop – Connolly Station), Talbot Street, Gardiner Street, Sean MacDermott Street, Cumberland Street North, Hill Street, Temple Street, Eccles Street (Mater Hospital).
and it operated on a 15min frequency between the hours of about 0730 and 1030 and then in the evening peak again from 1500 to 1830 requiring two buses. The route was not a success and was withdrawn on the 1st April 2000.
Wright Fusion-bodied Volvo B7LA, AW14, is seen operating a Route 90 service to Heuston on Burgh Quay on the 28th June 2001. The AWs had been in service three months but were still awaiting the introduction of new route 90A. Therefore they operated short 90 services from Heuston Station to Tara St. AW14 was delivered late in 2000, before a lenghty driver training process, finally entering service on extra peak hour 90 services in March 2001 operating from Broadstone Depot. The class would then operate Route 10 before moving to Harristown upon its opening where they operate Routes 4 and 4A.
Route 90 has always had a mixed array of buses. With the RVs also having capacity problems it was announced that 20 articulated single-deck buses, AW1-20 would be purchased some of which would be used on Route 90. However, there was no chance of these buses being able to turn at Connolly Station.
The artics took to the city’s streets on the 12th March 2001, after a long period of driver familiarisation. Routes 127 and 129 started on this day, with short operations on Route 90 also been worked from the 12th March pending the introduction of Route 90A. The routing of these short 90s was as follows:
Heuston Station, then via North Quays to Eden Quay, Custom House Quay, Memorial Bridge, George’s Quay, then via South Quays, Heuston Station.
The 90A started on the 8th August 2001, operated by AW class artics, that had since the 12th March been operating city centre to Heuston workings as noted above. The routing was as follows:
Heuston Station, Frank Sherwin Bridge, Wolfe Tone Quay, Ellis Quay, Arran Quay, Inn’s Quay, Ormond Quay Upper, Ormond Quay Lower, Bachelors Walk, Eden Quay, Customs House Quay, Guild Street, Lower Mayor Street, IFSC, Lower Mayor Street, Amiens Street, Memorial Road, Memorial Bridge, George’s Quay, Burgh Quay, Aston Quay, Crampton Quay, Wellington Quay. Essex Quay, Wood Quay, Merchant’s Quay, Usher’s Quay, Usher’s Island, Victoria Quay, Heuston Station.
The 90A was operated as a “Euro” peak hour only route from Broadstone Depot, buses initially running every 10mins between the hours of 07:45 to 11:00 and 1500 to 1845. After a short period the running time was increased with services about every 15mins during these hours.
Alexander ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TL, AV290, is seen operating Route 90A to the IFSC on Eden Quay on the 19th July 2005. AV290 was delivered to Broadstone Depot, operating on Route 123 during the Special Olympics in the summer of 2003. The WVs allocated to the 123 were required for shuttle services for the event and AV288-302 were used on the 123. They then transferred to Conyngham Road, with which garage it is operating in the photo above. For pictures of these buses operating on the 123 visit Kevin Horgan's IrishBuses.com. There you will also find more of Kevin's pics of AV290.
Since the DART suburban line electrification there had been little or no progress with regards public transport capital provision. Tram lines had been muted for a long time, however there had been lengthy delays to the process. Finally in the early 2000s work began on the construction of two tram lines, one from St. Stephen’s Green to Sandyford and the other from Tallaght to Connolly Station. As part of this plan the ramp at Connolly was to be removed.
The first closure of the ramp occurred on and from Tuesday April 9th 2002. The second stop on Amiens Street had long since been disused, replaced by car parking, and buses had to terminate on Talbot Street, under the railway bridge, following the routing as set out above when the ramp had previously been closed.
This diversion was to last until 24th June 2002 when the 90 returned once again to the ramp. However buses turned right off Amiens Street to access the ramp as construction work had already begun on tram lines on Store Street.
In July 2002, the AWs migrated off the Euro duties to operate Route 10. The 90A remained in Broadstone operated by AV-class buses before transferring to Conyngham Road in 2003.
On Monday 20th January 2003 the ramp would close for good. The 90 then terminated on Amiens Street facing southbound, just at the main door to Connolly Station, right on the corner of Sherriff Street, having a pull in that is now used as an overflow to the main taxi rank at Connolly Station. Exact routing around Connolly was as follows:
Wright Fusion bodied Volvo B7LA, AW9, is seen at Heuston Station on the 22nd March 2001. The AWs were only 9 days in service at this point, and they operated shorts from Heuston Station to Memorial Bridge. Because of this they only displayed 90 when travelling towards Heuston Station, instead displaying An Lár - City Centre on their return. AW1-20 were delivered to Broadstone late in 2000, taking up service on a number of routes (39B, 65C, 90A, 127, 129) in 2001. In the summer of 2002 they were used on Routes 10/A, before transferring off that route and onto Harristown Euros upon Harristown's opening in late 2004. They currently operate Routes 4/A.
Eden Quay, Beresford Place, Amiens Street, Mayor Street Lower (stop just after Harbour Master Place), Commons Street, Sherriff Street, Amiens Street (Connolly Station), Memorial Road, Memorial Bridge, George’s Quay.
Soon after this Luas Construction work brought an end to the right turn from Amiens Street, with buses operating down Custom House Quay. A new stop was placed on Custom House Quay, more recently used by the 33D/X, though it has been moved slightly further away from Liberty Hall. The routing around Connolly was then:
Eden Quay, Customs House Quay, Commons Street, Sherriff Street, Amiens Street (Connolly Station), Memorial Road, Memorial Bridge, George’s Quay.
Dublin Bus had invested heavily in low floor vehicles during the early 2000s. The 90 as one of its flagship routes, had retained the 99-D RVs, which had modifications which allowed for extra luggage racks, a necessity for the service. On the 30th May 2004 the 90 was officially made low floor, with the delivery of AV 359-62, which were specifically delivered with extra luggage racks for this service.
Alexander ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TL, AV361, is seen operating Route 90 on Burgh Quay on route to Heuston Station on the 19th July 2007. AV359-62 were delivered especially for Route 90 services being downseated to 72 to accomodate extra luggage racks downstairs. They were also the last batch of buses to be delivered in core Blue/Cream livery, AV363 being the first to be delivered in the fleet standard yellow/blue. Because of this they remained in the core livery near to the end of its existence with Dublin Bus, represented by the the two Olympians in fleet standard visible in this photo on Butt Bridge and Eden Quay. These AVs also marked the end for the special liveries applied to Route 90, the only indication of their branding being the RailLink sticker in the front windscreen.
Dublin’s Luas Tram system finally began operation on the 30th June 2004 with the opening of the green line from St. Stephen’s Green to Sandyford. The Red Line from Connolly Station to Tallaght opened on the 28th September 2004. This line also operated between Connolly and Heuston Stations, directly competing with the 90, the competition badly affecting the takings of the 90 especially in the Connolly Station/Bus Aras area. Upon completion of the works, Route 90 was able to move from its cramped terminus right outside the station door, to a new location adjacent to the Luas station. With the deregulation of the taxi industry, this stop became flooded with taxis as overflow to the actual taxi rank at the station. Because of this the stop became dangerous to use and was moved forward to the Bus Eireann interchange area in 2008.
On Monday the 29th November 2004, a new route began linking Heuston and St. Stephen’s Green, specifically linking the Green Line with Heuston Station. Numbered the 92 it was operated by Donnybrook Garage using WV-class midi-buses WV13, 14 and 21 which carried sign-writing of the route points on the panel just below the roof. The route operated Monday to Saturday from 7.00am until 7pm every 20 minutes and then every 30 minutes from 7pm until last departure at 11pm. Routing was as follows:
Heuston Station, Frank Sherwin Bridge, Wolfe Tone Quay, Ellis Quay, Arran Quay, Inn’s Quay, Ormond Quay Upper, Ormond Quay Lower, Bachelors Walk, O’Connell Bridge, D’olier Street, College Street, College Green, Grafton Street, Nassau Street, Leinster Street South, Kildare Street, St. Stephen’s Green North, Merrion Row, Baggot Street, Pembroke Street, Leeson Street Lower, St. Stephen’s Green East, St. Stephen’s Green North (timing point), Dawson Street, Nassau Street, Suffolk Street, Church Lane, College Green, Westmoreland Street, Aston Quay, Crampton Quay, Wellington Quay. Essex Quay, Wood Quay, Merchant’s Quay, Usher’s Quay, Usher’s Island, Victoria Quay, Heuston Station.
Wright Crusader 2-bodied Volvo B6BLE, WV21, is seen operating Route 92 on the 16th July 2005. Entering service in Broadstone in November 2000, this bus was the first of a batch of 20. Upon the opening of Harristown Depot on the 31st October 2004, it moved to Summerhill along with the 123. Within a month it was in Donnybrook depot branded for Route 92. WV21 still operates in Donnybrook depot.
The 92 was transferred from Donnybrook to Conyngham Road. At this point the 90 and 90A were amalgamated into a new route 90 service which was operated in conjunction with Route 92 extended to Wilton Terrace. The date of this amalgamation was Monday 5th September 2005. The routings were as follows:
Route 90: Heuston Station, Frank Sherwin Bridge, Wolfe Tone Quay, Ellis Quay, Arran Quay, Inn’s Quay, Ormond Quay Upper, Ormond Quay Lower, Bachelors Walk, Eden Quay, Customs House Quay, Guild Street, Lower Mayor Street, IFSC (timing point), Commons Street, Sherriff Street, Amiens Street (Connolly Station), Memorial Road, Memorial Bridge, George’s Quay, Burgh Quay, Aston Quay, Crampton Quay, Wellington Quay. Essex Quay, Wood Quay, Merchant’s Quay, Usher’s Quay, Usher’s Island, Victoria Quay, Heuston Station.
Route 92: Heuston Station, Frank Sherwin Bridge, Wolfe Tone Quay, Ellis Quay, Arran Quay, Inn’s Quay, Ormond Quay Upper, Ormond Quay Lower, Bachelors Walk, O’Connell Bridge, D’olier Street, College Street, College Green, Grafton Street, Nassau Street, Leinster Street South, Kildare Street, St. Stephen’s Green North, St. Stephen’s Green East, Leeson Street Lower, Wilton Terrace, Cumberland Road, Fitzwilliam Place, Leeson Street Lower, St. Stephen’s Green East, St. Stephen’s Green North, Dawson Street, Nassau Street, Suffolk Street, Church Lane, College Green, Westmoreland Street, Aston Quay, Crampton Quay, Wellington Quay. Essex Quay, Wood Quay, Merchant’s Quay, Usher’s Quay, Usher’s Island, Victoria Quay, Heuston Station.
The last departure on the 92 was brought forward to around 9pm, the service operating every 20mins, with Route 90 operating every 15mins. On Sundays, Route 90 operated its pervious routing, turning left off Custom House Quay onto Commons Street as opposed to Guild Street and using the stop at the station as the timing point.
Conyngham Road's Van Hool bodied, DAF re-engined, Leyland Atlantean AN68, DF834, seen on a Heuston Station special on the 9th March 1994 at Heuston Station. This bus was delivered to Conyngham Road in early 1978, spending most of its operational life there. In spent a couple of years in Phibsborough though, being transferred in the late spring of 1991 and remaining there till the autumn of 1993. It transferred then back to Conyngham Road to see out its days, mainly on peak hour extras as shown by this scene in March of 1994. It was one of the last AN68s left in Conyngham Road, being finally withdrawn in May of 1995.
Dublin received a new rail point on its rail network on Monday March 12th 2007, with the opening of Docklands Station on Sherriff Street Upper. This station is used by short workings on the Maynooth line between Clonsilla and Docklands. To coincide with this opening Dublin Bus began running a new Route 93 between Docklands Station and Tara Street/Eden Quay. However, a few weeks prior, Dublin Bus launched a new Route 151 between the Dockland Station and Grange Castle, though its terminus at Dockland Station was agreed just prior to its launch. Route 93 therefore shared its whole route with Route 151, which was more frequent and cost less for the journey. Its routing was:
Docklands Station (Sherriff Street Upper), Guild Street, Customs House Quay, Memorial Bridge, George’s Quay (Tara Street Station – setdown), Burgh Quay, O’Connell Bridge, Eden Quay (pick-up), Custom House Quay, North Wall Quay, New Wapping Street, Sherriff Street Upper, Docklands Station.
The 93 was operated by Phibsborough Garage and was not to last long. Like other routes such as the 22B and 65C it lived on operating every so often before finally being quietly dropped prior to the Summer of 2007.
Alexander R-bodied Volvo Olympian, RV517, wearing its original Guinness Advertisement. It featured a red theme with lips and the word share. RV518 on the other hand had a blue theme, a pair of eyes and the word feel. Living life to the power of Guinness, and most probably diesel, RV517 disembarks passengers on the Connolly Station Ramp on the 28th August 2000. It would then be rewrapped into the Believe advert, before the arrival of AV359-62 when it was began operating other Conyngham Road services.
Route 90 suffered due to the competition with the Luas line. On the 10th May 2009, the route was made Monday-Friday morning peak hour only as part of a number of cutbacks made due to the worsening financial situation of the company caused by the economic downturn. Route 92 was increased in frequency to every 15mins all day but the last departure is 2010 from Leeson Street. Interestingly neither service operates on a Sunday. Instead passengers rely on Route 91 workings to and from Heuston Station and Aston Quay. These are scheduled to meet trains at busy periods. However, the situation is farcical with no timetable or information about when these services operate. Extra 91 services had always been part of the operation to Heuston, but without a principal service to back up, they should have at least a provisional timetable.
The Red Luas line got an extension from Connolly to The Point Depot through Dublin’s Docklands and IFSC area. This became operational from the 8th December 2009, further adding to the transportation links of Heuston and Connolly Station. Initially two out of three trams ran to The Point from Tallaght, with one in three running from Tallaght to Connolly Station. The services to the Point do not serve the Connolly Station stop. More recently all services from Tallaght run through to the Point, with a short shuttle service between Connolly and Heuston Stations operating. However, this service seems to be doing quite badly and might well be dropped.
In order to rectify the financial problems within the company Dublin Bus has decided to drop Route 92 (and no doubt Route 90) altogether, instead extending Route 145 to Heuston Station. This is due to become operational in mid-2010, with an every 10min frequency operating 7-days a week. This is a significant improvement for bus passengers at Heuston Station.
Alexander Setanta-bodied DAF SB220, AD30, freshly painted, being one of the first into then new StationLink livery on the 19th May 1996. This photo provides a good view of the ramp to Connolly Station. Its heavy use by Bus Eireann is also apparent with buses laying over there in between services. AD30 was one of several ADs delivered to Conyngham Road for use on the 90 service in early 1994. With delivery of the RVs in 1999, these buses went into CitySwift livery for use mainly on the 78A, before being transferred to Phibsborough for further use and then onto Bus Eireann for use on school services.
Special thanks for this article must be given to distinguished bus photographers Darren Hall, Kevin Horgan and Patrick Losty for their excellent pictures without which this article would be nothing. Darren Hall, in collaboration with Johnathan McDonnell and Ian Molloy, has published two books celebrating the 20th anniversary of Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann in 2007. Both books are mandatory in any Irish Transport collection. Kevin Horgan runs to prominent irishbuses.com website on which more of his excellent photos can be viewed. Patrick Losty has, in collaboration with Dublinbus.cc, and formerly dublinbuses.com, created a series of online features covering year by year of Dublinbus' 23 year existence. Entited Wheeling in the Years it amasses a fantastic historical account of the companies existence through its vehicles. Pat has also (April 2010) compiled a series of 31 photos for a KD-month celebration on dublinbus.cc.