This feature looks at the introduction of the second phase of Bus Connects on the 28th November 2021. The Lucan and Ringsend Road network becomes the C-Spine. There are 6 C-Spine services, the C1, C2, C3 and C4, all operating a 30min service daytime, giving a combined daytime frequency of 7.5mins along the core section of the spine, from Ringsend Depot to the Ballyowen Road (Woodies). The other 2 C-Spine services are the C5 (the night version of the C3) and the C6 (the night version of the C4), while the C1 and C2 are 24 hour. All operate at an hourly frequency late night/early morning, giving a combined night-time service of every 15mins. Buses on the C-spine daytime operate via the Chapelizod by-pass, with only the late night/early morning C5 and C6 serving Chapelizod. To compensate, the 26 has been significantly increased in frequency to continue the service to Chapelizod. A lower frequency service, Route 52, operates from Ringsend Depot to the Intel campus in Leixlip, principally replacing Route 66E. A number of local services have been introduced around Lucan and Leixlip, the L51, L52, L53, L54, L58 and L59. The introduction of the C-spine has seen all previous routes serving these corridors withdrawn, namely the 25, 25A, 25B, 25D, 25X, 66, 66A, 66B, 66E, 66X, 67, 67X, and the southern section of Route 1. The following sections outline each of the principal changes.
C1 & C2:
The C1 and C2 operate from Adamstown Station to Sandymount (St. John's Church), and replace Routes 25A, 25B and the southern section of Route 1. The 25 to Dodsboro was also withdrawn as part of these changes, but no direct replacement to the city is provided, instead the low frequency L51 and L52 can be used to connect to the C3/C4 section of the C-Spine. In Lucan the C2 operates the former route 25B from Adamstown Station into the city and then on to Sandymount, while the C1 mirrors mostly the former routing of the 25A, albeit it shares the C2 route from Esker Road along Newcastle Road to Adamstown Station. For this reason, the former Lucan Shopping Centre terminus of Route 25A is vacated, served solely by the L51 which partially replaces the former Route 239. This is a significant oversight of the new network, with Lucan Shopping Centre being an important amenity in the area, always reasonably patrionised by bus and needing a good service if Lucan residents can be enticed from their cars for shopping journeys.
Ringsend's PA250 is seen operating Route C2 at the Adamstown terminus on the 28th November 2021. The train station is on the opposite side of the road, whereas the large amount of cranes in the background are working on a new town centre which should no doubt increase the footfall in this general area in the near future (click on photo for larger version).
In the city the C-Spine differs from the former 25/A routings in that from Bachelors Walk the services continue onto Eden Quay, across the Rosie Hackett Bridge and onto Townsend Street, and then follow the former Route 1 to Sandymount. On their return, the buses turn up Tara Street from Pearse Street as per the former Route 25A/B, but they now have a new stop on Tara Street. They then turn onto Burgh Quay, leading onto their main city centre stop on Aston Quay.
Frequencies are pretty much as they were for Lucan, each service providing a 30min daytime service, combined to a 15min frequency, with a much-boosted peak-time service in one direction (i.e. from Adamstown in morning peak, and to Adamstown in the evening peak). However, Sandymount actually gets a less frequent service than before midweek daytime, with some increases in frequency at the weekend. Most importantly these services have been introduced as 24-hour services as part of the C-Spine introduction. Whereas the 25/A/B had been operated by Conyngham Road depot, the new C1 and C2 are operated jointly between Phibsboro and Ringsend (with peak extras from Broadstone).
The 25 has a long and rich history in the Lucan area. Originally the route was a steam and then electric powered tram from Conyngham Road Depot to Lucan, introduced to Chapelizod in 1881 and onwards to Lucan in 1883. It was operated by its own company, the Dublin and Lucan Stream Tramway, and then the Dublin and Lucan Electric Railway Company upon electrification in 1897. It was extended to Dodsboro (Spa Hotel) in 1912. In 1925 it closed, and was taken over by the DUTC, relayed into DUTC tram construction standards and reintroduced in 1928 as Route 25 from Bachelors Walk to Lucan Village, the first time the number was used for the service. The tram continued until 1940 when it was replaced by buses. The bus service initially terminated in Lucan Village as the DUTC tram service had done, being partly extended to Dodsboro in the late 50s. The 25A is a more modern route number, initially referring to Route 25s that served Arthur Griffith Park. Services to Arthur Griffith Park started in the mid-70s, but it was the early 90s before the route number became prominent for these services. The 25A would be relaunched as a CitySwift route in 1996, around the start of the great Lucan expansion. The 25B is a more recent route, introduced in 2010 as a slight variant of Route 25A in the Lucan area.
Route 1's association with Ringsend was also a long one. Upon the introduction of route numbering in 1918, Route 1 was reserved for short services on the Sandymount line to Ringsend Library only. It was intermittantly used up until 1939. It was reintroduced as a regular passenger service in the late 40s, appearing in the timetable in 1951, as the service to the ESB Power Station at Poolbeg Extension. It continued in this guise until Network Direct in 2012, being formed into the principal city service to Sandymount, operating through from Santry. The northern section of Route 1 survives for now, being scheduled for replacement as part of the A-spine changes in early 2024.
C3 & C4
The C3 and C4 extend the C-Spine towards Lucan Village (albeit not via Main Street which loses its service to the city with the loss of Route 25) and onwards towards Maynooth via Leixlip (C3) or via Celbridge (C4). The C3 is the direct replacement of Route 66, but terminating now at Ringsend Depot as opposed to Merrion Square. Likewise the C4 is the direct replacement of Route 67, again terminating now at Ringsend Depot. These services are now operated by Ringsend Depot as opposed to Phibsboro which had operated the 66 and 67 services. The 67 is slightly different to the implementation proposed in the latest Bus Connects proposals in that the C4 was meant to terminate at Salesian College and not the Maynooth Station terminus of former Route 67. The W6 was meant to cover the connection from Maynooth to Celbridge, operating from Moyclare to The Square Tallaght, but this has yet to be introduced. It may be assumed that the C4 will be shortened to Celbridge upon the introduction of the W6.
Frequencies again are pretty much what they were for these services prior to Bus Connects, with both operating on a 30min frequency, interlaced to provide a 15min service to Lucan Village. For Leixlip however the number of city-bound services is significantly reduced, from 5 buses per hour midweek daytime, to only 3 buses per hour (with gaps of up to 30mins), with the loss of Routes 66A and 66B. One wonders how passengers are expected to hub and spoke off such infrequent services. The significant improvement for residents is once again the introduction of a 24-hour service in these areas in the form of the C5 and C6. Both operate on an hourly frequency at late night/early morning providing a combined 30min service to Lucan Village. The C5 is the night-time version of the C3, differing from the C3 in operating via Chapelizod, River Forest and Green Lane. The C6 is the night-time version of the C4, operating via Chapelizod as per the C5.
The 66 and 67 have a long history. Both Celbridge and Maynooth had early bus services that served the town from the mid-20s heading to a variety of outer destinations. However, the 66 and 67 date their history to the services introduced by the General Bus Company in the late 20s. The General Bus Company operated both services until acquired by the DUTC in 1934. Assigned numbers 66 (Maynooth via Leixlip) and 67 (Celbridge), they had continued in much the same form up to their recent withdrawal on the introduction of the C-Spine.
Route 26 & L53
Route 26 and L53 are very different services but are covered together because they are interworked in the same bill from Conyngham Road Depot. The 26 retains its former routing from Merrion Square to Liffey Valley Shopping Centre via Palmerstown. Importantly it now becomes the only daytime service to Chapelizod and has been given quite a significant frequency increase, from every 30mins daytime midweek to 15mins, and from hourly weekend daytime to 15mins (Saturday) or 20mins (Sunday). As part of the changes the 26 has moved from Phibsboro Depot to Conyngham Road Depot, returning to its "home" depot, having operated there from its existence up to the route reorganisation caused by the opening of Harristown Depot in 2004 when it moved to Phibsboro.
The L53 is one of four local services now operating in the Lucan area, operating between Adamstown Station and Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, termini it shares with the L51. Its routing however is much more direct to Liffey Valley from Adamstown, and in this photo passengers are seeing boarding the bus that had let a C2 go past only a few minutes previously. From Adamstown, the bus follows the C2 (former 25B) routing via Grifeen Avenue to the Balgaddy Road (151 terminus), but instead of turning left into Foxborough, it continues straight along the Balgaddy Road and onto the Fonthill Road to Liffey Valley Shopping Centre. As can be seen from the photo above and below, many buses operate a L53 to Liffey Valley and then a 26 to the city and vice versa. The allocation to both these services so far has been as mixed as the former 25 group, with the 9 odd Hybrids (AH/WH/VH), AXs, EVs, GTs and SGs all allocated.
Conyngham Road's WH2, having completed the L53 from Adamstown, is seen at the Liffey Valley Terminus about to depart on a Route 26 to Merrion Square on the 28th November 2021 (click on photo for larger version).
A new route introduced with the C-Spine is Route 52. This route is operated by Ringsend Depot, and operates from Ringsend Depot to Intel Leixlip, actually terminating on the campus itself. The route follows the C-Spine for most of its length to Leixlip, differing in that it services Lucan By-Pass rather than operating via Lucan Village. Buses do stop at the Newcastle Road interchange on the Lucan By-Pass. At Leixlip, the buses follow the former Route 66E routing via Green Lane and back to the Maynooth Road, however unlike the 66E which operated all the way to Maynooth, the 52 terminates at the Intel Leixlip Campus. Buses operate every 60mins, 7-days a week.
Green Lane / Glen Easton has done very well from the C-Spine changes. Initially only being served by 66D and then 66X peak hour services from 2006 onwards, the 66E was introduced in 2019 to offer a day service between the peaks Monday-Friday on an hourly frequency. The 52 is a full service morning to night 7-days per week. Green Lane also has the new L59 service which means it now has three buses per hour, a significant increase. It is interesting that a road that had always been under served, is now the only spur of the former 66 route to retain a service direct to the city, with the longer-served, well-established passenger base in River Forest and Castletown now forced to change buses to get to the city. The 52 is an interesting choice of route number. Though no doubt just a coincidence, a Route 52A was operated by the DUTC via Pearse Street and Ringsend Road back in the 1930s, operating onwards to Sandymount.
X25, X26, X27, X28, P29, X30, X31 and X32:
Broadstone's AX596 is seen operating the X25 on Merrion Street Upper on the first morning of the X25's operation, the 29th November 2021. AX596 was returned to service that morning to ensure the higher PVR (peak vehicle requirement) of Broadstone Depot for these C-Spine express service's launch (click on photo for larger version).
The Lucan Road Corridor has always been a hive of peak hour services. This is reflected in the much increased frequencies of the C1 and C2 during peak hours, but also in the number of peak-hour extra services that have been included in the launch of the C-Spine. These replace previous 25X, 66X and 67X services. The eagle-eyed observers may have seen that in the original drafts of Bus Connects these were denoted routes 325 to 332, but since then the leading '3' has been dropped for either an 'X', for limited-stop services, or a 'P', for peak-hour only services.
Phibsboro's PA146 is seen operating Route 66X on Baggot Street on the 26th November 2021, the last day of Route 66X operation and the last day all of Baggot Street was served by the Lucan Road Xpresso services.
The following table is a summation of the changes:
|X25||This service replaces the 66X in the Glen Easton (Green Lane) area. As per the former 66X timetable, there are services from Maynooth via Green Lane, and others which start at Glen Easton. One morningservice only goes to Leeson Street Lower, whereas the others continue to Belfield as all previous 66X services had done. There is a loss of one morning service (5 to 4). In the evening, there are the same number of services as before (5). All operate to Maynooth via Green Lane. As before 3 start from Belfield, the other 2 now start from Leeson Street Lower as opposed to Westmoreland Street.||66X (Partial)||Broadstone|
|X26||This service replaces the 66X services from Maynooth via Louisa Bridge. There are 3 services to Leeson Street Lower, with no return services. This corresponds to the service from before the recent changes.||66X (Partial)||Broadstone|
|X27||This service replaces the 67X from Salesian College via Aghards Road to Leeson Street or Belfield. There are 6 services, compared to the previous 4, with 3 to Belfield and 3 to Leeson Street Lower. On return, there are 5 services, 2 from Belfield and 3 from Leeson Street, compared to 3 previously, 1 from Belfield and 2 from Merrion Square.||67X (Partial)||Broadstone|
|X28||This service replaces the 67X from Salesian College via Celbridge Main Street to Leeson Street or Belfield. There are 5 services, compared to the previous 2, with 2 to Belfield and 3 to Leeson Street Lower. On return, there are 5 services, 2 from Belfield and 3 from Leeson Street, compared to 2 previously, 1 from Belfield and 1 from Merrion Square.||67X (Partial)||Broadstone|
|P29||This service replaces the 25D direct service from Adamstown to the City, terminating at Ringsend Depot as opposed to Merrion Square. There are 4 services each way of peak periods, as per the former 25D, the only loss being the odd 25D from Adamstown to Merrion Square at 1610.||67X (Partial)||Broadstone|
|X30||This service replaces the 25X operating from Dodsboro to Belfield. As before, there are three services in the morning and two in the evening, with one of the morning services operating via Kew Park. At a time where all unique services are getting there own number, one wonders why the X30 via Kew Park remains an X30, whereas the X26 via Green Lane is the X25.||25X||Broadstone|
|X31||This service replaces the 66X operating from Captains Hill to Earlsfort Terrace, not serving Belfield as the previous Captains Hill 66Xs had done. There are 3 return services, compared to only 1 return service before the C-Spine launch.||66X (Partial)||Broadstone|
|X32||This service replaces the 66X operating from Hewlett Packard to Earlsfort Terrace, not serving Belfield as the previous Hewlett Packard 66Xs had done. There are 2 return services, compared to only 1 return service before the C-Spine launch.||66X (Partial)||Broadstone|
Broadstone's AX593 is seen operating on the unique X30 service from Dodsboro via Kew Park to UCD Belfield on the first morning of operation, the 29th November 2021. AX593 had returned to service that morning having been needed for the increased PVR with the introduction on C-Spine express services.
The Lucan Road Xpressos had always served Baggot Street and Waterloo Road on their way to/from Belfield, i.e. following the 39A routing (or Route 10 when they had been introduced). With the recent launch of the C-Spine, those services to/from Belfield operate the full length of Leeson Street (more following the 46A routing), serving only a small section of Baggot Street in one direction. Not all services operate to Belfield, with a number of services terminating at Leeson Street Lower (Embassy of Malta), facing back towards the city. These are referred in the timetables as to "St Stephen's Green", though the buses correctly show "Leeson Street Lower".
Overall the Express routings have been much changed, having previously been very inconsistent inbound/outbound and meandering due to various issues with Luas Cross-City, the inbound/outbound routings now mirror each other much better. Inbound services now operate the entire length of Eden Quay, looping around Custom House on Beresford Place before crossing Memorial Bridge to serve Moss Street. This is the first time Moss Street is served, and all express buses operate there, as opposed to just the P29 which, at least on the first day, was the only route showing on the stop headplate.
A comparison of the former inbound routing of the Lucan Road Express services and the new routing. The routings are reasonably similar, except for the Baggot Street/Waterloo Road loss, and time-wise would be much the same.
A comparison of the former outbound routing of the Lucan Road Express services and the new routing. The routings are quite different, with the new routing much more efficient time-wise, albeit it doesn't hit as many areas as the former routing. However, as can be seen, the inbound and outbound routings are much similar than before, providing a more consistent service to would-be passengers.
All these new peak-hour services are operated by Broadstone Depot. Previously, the 25D was operated jointly by Harristown and Conyngham Road, the 25X was shared between Conyngham Road and Broadstone, while the 66X and 67X were jointly shared between Phibsboro and Broadstone. With the 66X and 67X services, the Phibsboro operated departures were regular 66 or 67 boards, i.e. not Euro/Universal duties and operated by the general pool of 66 or 67 drivers.
A collage of some lesser shots of Broadstone buses operating the peak-hour services on the 29th November 2021, the time of year and the early morning making it difficult to get good crisp shots. PA138 is seen on Merrion Square West operating an X26, VG4 is also seen on Merrion Square operating an X27, VG6 is seen operating an X28 on Westland Row (Note the "Donnybrook" display), VG9 is operating a P29 seen on Moss Street, AX598 is operating an X31 on Merrion Street Upper and finally AX587 is seen operating an X32 on Merrion Square West.
L51 and L52:
There are two further Lucan local services, the L51 and L52, both replacing Route 239 with Adamstown Station as a focal point. Both are operated by Go-Ahead, as the previous Route 239 had been. The L51 operates from Liffey Valley Shopping Centre to Adamstown Station. It follows much of the former Route 239, except it doesn't operate by Fonthill Road (which is now served by the L53). Instead it continues straight from Liffey Valley onto St. Loman's Road, and then onto Willsbrook Road before rejoining the former Route 239 route at Elmbrook Avenue. It then follows the former 239 routing past Arthur Griffith Park and Lucan SuperValu to Lucan Village. At Lucan Village it turns left following the former Route 25 to Dodsboro, continuing along the Dodsboro Road towards Shakleton Estate, then using Adamstown Park to get to Adamstown Station. It is not the proposed routing in this area, but with the area still under development it is as close as possible, unlike the C2 which was also to serve the Shakleton area of Lucan.
The other route is the L52 which operates from Adamstown Station to Blanchardstown Shopping Centre. From Adamstown Station it follows the routing via Adamstown Park, Shakleton and Dodsboro Road to the former Route 25 terminus then following the former 25 route to Lucan Main Street. From there, it follows the former Route 239 to Blanchardstown Centre. With the two routes heading via Dodsboro in both directions, a 30-min frequency is maintained (both routes operating every 60mins) between Dodsboro and Lucan Village to replace the former Route 25. Go-Ahead have strictly allocated their NTA-liveried Streetlites to the new routes, 12136-12140.
L54, L58 and L59:
A significant addition to the network is the introduction of Leixlip and Celbridge local services. All three services terminate at River Forest, the terminus loop there being significantly widened before the C-Spine introduction. The L54 is Conyngham Road operated and operates from River Forest as per the former Route 66A past Lucan Village to the Ballyowen Road. It turns right and follows the Ballyowen Road to the Balgaddy Road, passing the 151 terminus, and continuing along Balgaddy Road then Lucan Newlands Road and then onto the New Fonthill Road, the New Nangor Road, Ninth Locke Road into Clondakin Village, then around the Woodford Loop to the Monastery Road before terminating at the Red Cow Interchange.
The L54 is a good addition to the Network, connecting Leixlip and Lucan with Clondalkin, while also providing a long needed link between Clondalkin areas and the Luas station at the Red Cow. The L54 is the first Dublin Bus service into the Red Cow Luas Interchange, with the occassional Luas replacement service being only the odd exception up to now. It operates every 30mins 7-days per week. For the residents of River Forest, who now only have a peak hour Express service to the city with the loss of the 66A, the L54 provides the best connection to the C-Spine, heading all the way to Lucan Village where both the C3 and C4 could be connected to, as opposed to just the C3 which serves Leixlip Village. Its a pity that the L54 doesn't loop in to serve the Woodies Stop just off the N4 to offer a connection to the full spine (C1, C2, C3, C4 services), given how tantalisingly closs the L54 gets to the full spine.
The L58 and L59 are operated by Phibsboro, terminating at River Forest and linking River Forest with Leixlip Village. Both operate on a 30-min frequency 7-days per week, meaning that River Forest has 6 buses per hour linking it and Leixlip Village compared to the previous one bus per hour. Unlike the L54 which heads as per the former 66A towards Lucan, the L58 and L59 turn right down Leixlip Main Street and up the hill on Station Road. The L58 turns up the Old Hill onto the Celbridge Road past Castletown and the Hewlett Packett factory site as per the former 66B, then continuing past the former 66B terminus to the Dublin Road joining the C4. Buses then turn up Shinkeen Road, then onto the Hazelhatch Road to terminate at the Hazelhatch Station. As per the residents of River Forest, the residents of Castletown now rely solely on a peak service to the city. They now have 2 buses per hour into Leixlip Village, and good links onto rail services at Leixlip Confey and Hazelhatch, but for those planning on connecting to a bus into the city, the 30-min frequency of the C3 makes it quite difficult.
Phibsboro's PA151 is seen operating the L59 at the River Forest terminus loop on the first morning of operation, the 28th November 2021. For those familiar with the River Forest loop in Route 66A days, it will be noted that it has been significantly widened to allow buses to overtake each other (click on photo for larger version).
The L59, unlike the L58 which turns off towards Castletown, continues along Station Road a little further, turning off onto Green Lane, serving Glen Easton. It turns left onto R449 over the (relatively) new M4 motorway interchange, joining the Maynooth/Celbridge Road and the C4 service, near Salesian College. It follows the C4 to ALDI Celbridge, turning right onto Aghards Road, following the former 67X routing around Aghards Road, Shakleton Road and the Clane Road. It turns right onto the bridge in Celbridge, continuing along the Hazelhatch Road to terminate at Hazelhatch Station. The introduction of the this service is a positive for the large housing estates west of Celbridge, which now have an all-day 7-days a week service, having previously been only served by the 67X in the peak periods.
Phibsboro's PA50 is seen passing the entrance to the Hewlett Packard Factory site operating Route 66B on the Celbridge Road on the last day of operation, the 27th November 2021 (click on photo for larger version).
The final change of note is with regards to Route 1, which now operates a shortened version of its former routing from Santry to Shaw Street only, with the Sandymount leg being covered by the C1 and C2. There is also a slight deviation on the inbound routing, with buses heading left off O'Connell Street onto Abbey Street, then right onto Marlborough Street, across Rosie Hackett Bridge to Hawkins Street, then Townsend Street, turning right onto the new terminus on Shaw Street. So it has inherited the pointless Rosie Hackett diversion from the 44 and 120. One has to question how much these buses going via D'olier Street actually caused in congestion, versus the lack of priority they face on this unnecessary diversion. Heading from Shaw Street, buses turn right onto Pearse Street and hence follow the former route to Santry.
As part of these changes, Route 1 moved from Ringsend Depot to Broadstone Depot. This was to allow capacity for the C-spine services. Along with Route 1, Ringsend lost the 15A and 15B which went to Summerhill Depot, which itself lost the 120 to Broadstone to make capacity for the 15A and 15B (these services will be covered in Photo of the Week articles over the Christmas period). Unfortunately, the scrolls were not up-to-date for Route 1's shortening, with the "Shaw Street" display not available on the first few days of operation. Mostly the 1C to O'Connell Street display was used.