Photo of the Week - Week 9:
Summerhill's DAF re-engined Metsec-bodied Leyland Atlantean PDR1A/1 DF450 is seen on ticket selling duties for its Ghost Bus Tour on St. Stephen's Green North on the 2nd March 2013.
Ah Molly. Very seldom does a bus have such a character that it is known by a name rather than a number. But DF450 is very special indeed. Delivered to CIE at the end of 1972, this bus has just passed its 41st year of continuous service in the Dublin Bus Fleet, formerly the Dublin City Services section of CIE. This makes it the longest lasting bus ever in the Dublin Fleet. It is the last surviving MetSec bodied Leyland Atlantean in the fleet, and has been for over 12 years. D450 was one of the early conversions to a DAF engine, becoming DF450. It was converted to an open-top bus in the summer of 1988, becoming the 7-UP bus in an overall green 7-UP advertising livery. It was used on the North and Sourth Coast Tours.
A rear shot of DF450. Whereas most of the UK-operated Atlantean's had the inset window to allow for better heat dissapation from the engine, CIE went for an enclosed engine. Coupled with the Metsec body, this was a revolutionary design, something CIE probably never got credit for.
It was re-roofed in the autumn of 1998 and converted into its current guise of the Ghost Bus, with a highly decorative interior and of course, exterior livery. It became a back-up bus in the summer of 2006, when RH31 entered service on the Ghost Bus Tour. However it still manages to make it out from time to time. 2013 is likely however to be its final year in service. DF450 is seen on ticket selling duties in the images above, a somewhat rare instance of DF450 getting out during daylight hours. However, Summerhill have always ran a tight ship, so very occasionally DF450 does make it out for maintenance purposes, either rescuing another bus or inter-garage running. The last image shows DF450 on such a run. Still being able to move, DF450 is seen taking D'olier Street with pace, the bus leaning to one side as it makes its turn. Molly at full pelt is an incredible sound.
DF450 is seen on D'olier Street on the 4th September 2012.