Photo of the Week - Week 38:

Phibsborough's Wright Gemini bodied Volvo B9TL, VG6, is seen operating Route 26 on the South Circular Road on the 20th August 2011.

Yesterday, the 17th September 2011, saw the end of the meandering Route 26. As and from the 18th September 2011, Route 26 operates directly from Merrion Square to Palmerstown, avoiding the South Circular Road and Ballyfermot sections. Terminating just off the main Lucan Road at Palmerstown Cemetary, the 26 has been all but cancelled as a route, Palmerstown Cemetary simply a place to terminate short "66s". The busier stops on the Kennelsfort Road further on from the terminus are now no longer served, neither is Cherry Orchard Hospital.

The meandering version of Route 26 was launched as part of Network Direct back on the 21st November 2010, as part of the Lucan Road Network Direct reorganisation. Its diversion via South Circular Road was to replace the shortened 68 and 69 which were, according to the original plans, to terminate at the Red Cow LUAS Interchange. However, though the 68 now no longer serves the South Circular Road, the 69 still does, the plans on shortening these routes being dropped.

AX560 is seen operating a Route 26 service to Merrion Square on the Kylemore Road on the 7th May 2011.

Upon serving Chapelizod, Route 26 then served the Kylemore Road, Ballyfermot and Cherry Orchard Hospital before continuing to Palmerstown Cemetary via the Kennelsfort Road. This section was to take account of the 76s withdrawal from Kylemore Road and the subsequent lack of service along this stretch. However again this initial Network Direct proposal has been dropped and hence the 76 will now not be removed.

Another important aspect of the Network Directed Route 26 was that it moved the terminus of the 26 from Cherry Orchard Hospital to Palmerstown Cemetary. This was a popular move, the terminus at Cherry Orchard Hospital been noted for anti-social behaviour, namely due to a much troubled rehabilitation centre located there. Therefore it is appropriate that this terminus was not returned to, however it is the case that this route no longer really has much use any more.

Personally I would have liked to see a complete reorganisation of the 26. Given it had too much running time to begin with, the new more direct routing only gives it more. 60mins on a Sunday from Merrion Square to Palmerstown is too much. On a Sunday I would have liked to see a service from Pearse Street to Palmerstown Cemetary, with a 60min round trip. This way it could add a further bus an hour to the service along Conyngham Road, which is a bit light on a Sunday. Mid week services would need to run to Merrion Square, but the buses seem to have easily enough running time to get to Liffey Valley which would serve a good section of its former route.

VG1 operating Route 26 through Ballyfermot Village of the 30th December 2010.

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