(R) (AR) 289 & 290
In 1948, both CIE, who ran nearly all the Dublin city bus services, and GNR, who ran a small number of routes in the north-east of the city, were in the process of fleet expansion. Both had suffered from lack of new buses during the War (1939 - 1945).
In 1948, CIE produced the first 10 double deckers of what we become known as the "Standard" Rs. GNR procured 10 8ft wide double deckers for city services. Both these batches were the first of a new and very successful development of existing bus types. The GNR buses were the first AEC Regent 3s, while the CIE buses were the first Leyland Titan OPD2/1s, with a larger engine.
So why link these two in one article?
Well, firstly, there were 10 in each batch. CIE batch was R281 - 290. GNR batch got fleet numbers 289 - 298. So we had an overlap with the numbers 289 and 290.
Secondly, there was a remarkable coincidence in dates to service. Note the following dates recorded for first entry to service:
GNR 289 - 23 March 1948
GNR 290 - 25 March 1948
CIE R289 - 25 March 1948
CIE R290 - 1 April 1948
Thirdly, although initially operated by different companies, the GNR buses eventually came into CIE ownership in 1958, when CIE took over all GNR bus services, and become AR289 and AR290. The remarkable thing is that for most of the early/mid 1960s, when these buses were in their late life, they worked from the same bus garage (Clontarf) on routes numbered consecutively (29 and 30), which terminated on either side of St. Anne's Park (St. Anne's, Raheny and Mount Prospect Avenue/Dollymount).
AR289 and 290 were withdrawn from service in March 1967. R290 was withdrawn in March 1968, followed by R289 in September 1968. Another unusual factor was that the two ARs and R290 retained the CIE green livery to the end. R290 was one of only four postwar CIE R class not to be repainted in the new 1960s livery, while most of the ex-GNR Regents remained green to their demise in 1967.
GNR 289 and 290 were city buses, and based in Abingdon Rd, Dublin for their GNR existence, and not receiving platform doors. They did spend some time outbased from Dublin. Both were in Skerries from October 1948 to November 1949, while 289 was based in Rush for a while in 1953. They spent most of their time on the Howth Rd.routes. During CIE days, they continued on Howth Rd. routes, but primarily on route 29 to St. Anne's. Indeed, AR290 was "bus 1" of route 31, a duty that worked all day on the 29. In 1965, it was replaced on this by R726, and the AR became a spare, being used on lighter duties.
R289 and R290 were in Clontarf by late 1949 and stayed there for the rest of their existence. They were originally on the 42, until replaced on this route by R554 - 558 in 1955. They then became spare until route 30 got all the R281 - 290 batch in 1961, to replace the "Queen Marys". R289 and R290 were Boards 9 and 10, starting their daily duties at 0814 and 0835 from Dollymount. They both worked through to lunchtime, then pulled in to garage for a few hours, before reappearing for evening peak and working to nearly midnight. They would have had two regular crews on their first morning duties, as these were the duties of the two "bogeys" on the 30.
A fleet list for
August 1949, and recollections of Michael Corcoran, would indicate that these
buses were originally in Donnybrook. However, one of the attached photos claims to show
R290 while brand new in Clontarf garage. However, the illuminated adverts and nearside wing mirror are not correct for a new bus in 1948, so photo must be taken after an overhaul.
Here are a range of photos of (AR) 289 and 290, and R290. Unfortunately, no photos of R289 have come to hand.
289 at Eden Quay terminus in GNR days
290 at same location, taken from nearside. Bus dressed for Portmarnock.
Another photo of 290 in GNR days.
AR289 parked in Lower Abbey St. in 1960s, in CIE green with CIE logo.
AR289 passed Custom House on its was to city terminus, displaying "Dublin" as destination. GNR scrolls always showed "Dublin" rather than "City Centre".
AR290 in Lower Abbey St. in CIE days.
R290 dressed as a 54 in Clontarf Garage. Note illuminated adverts on front. This photo claims to be when bus was new, but that has to be incorrect, as illuminated adverts only came in mis-1950s, and nearside wing mirror is also incorrect for 1948. Most likely photo is after an overhaul/repaint in mid-1950s, perhaps immediately after the illuminated adverts were applied.
R290 late in life (1960s) on its regular route, the 30, at Clontarf Rd. with Clontarf baths in background