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Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ)

Córas Iompair Éieann was formed on the 1st January 1945 with the amalgamation of Great Southern Railway & Dublin United Trasport Company.

When CIÉ was formed it had 618 serviceable buses and 113 trams. Every tram and 364 buses came from DUTC and the other 254 from GSR.

After the company was formed a Rolling Stock Engineer (Road) was put in charge of all road vehicles. Major mechanical work was carried out at the GSR's former workshops at Broadstone. Body-building was carried at DUTC's former works at Spa Road in Inchicore.

The GSR fleet consisted of 34 double-deckers and 220 single-deckers. Most of the single-deckers were Leylands Tigers, Lions & Cubs and 3 AEC Regals. All of the double-deckers were Leyland Titans. 229 of the 254 were petrol engined.

The DUTC fleet consisted of 242 Leyland Titans and 4 Tigers double-deckers and 84 Lion single-deckers. All of the DUTC fleet was diesel-engined.

In 1947 CIÉ signed a contract with Leyland where by CIÉ agreed to buy only Leyland premium bus chassis for 25 years.

In 1948 CIÉ introduced the very successful Leyland OPD2 66-seater double deckers fitted with 9.8 litre Leyland O600 engine. The O600 engine became the standard CIÉ bus engine for the next 15 years. CIÉ also imported 150 Leyland PD2/3 58-seater double-deckers and were used to replace the last of Dublin's trams.

The last Dublin tram to run was the No.8 to Dalkey, south Co.Dublin on the 3rd July 1949 which marked the closure of the system. The tram was followed by a huge crowd all the way to Dalkey and into the tram shed, for the last time, in sadness. A downside to this crowd was many got on the tram and took seats and anything that could be taken as memorabilia of the Dublin trams.

CIÉ acquired 40 P-class single-decker OPS3 Tiger chassis and were then bodied by CIE in 1948. Between 1949 and 1951 a further 331 were bought. 30 (P161-170 & P271-290) were given names of Irish rivers. Also in 1949 CIÉ bought 6 Bedford BP class coaches for airport work.

Between 1954 and 1956 CIÉ introduced 88 Leyland Royal Tiger PSU1 single-deckers, the U class. U1-50 gained the names of different places in Irish.

Between 1959 and 1961 CIÉ introduced a fleet of 30'0" double-deck buses and were the RA class. They were based on the Leyland PD3/2 chassis with semi-automatic transmission and air brakes.

In 1959 CIÉ to dismay of many people closed down the last remaining tram system. The Hill of Howth Tramway had operated since 1901. It travelled right around the Hill from Sutton up towards Howth Summit and down into Howth itself. After closure many trams went to different places. No.9 to the Transport Museum of Ireland, another to the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, another to California, USA.

Between 1961 and 1964 CIÉ introduced a fleet of 170 Leyland Leopard L2s. These were the E Class. These replaced the P class Tigers.

In 1963 The Pacemaker Report was published. Its main points were:

The report also analysed the profitability of CIÉ's transport network. The findings were:

Even in the early 1960s, Dublin was having traffic problems. The population in Dublin had doubled since the 1930s and private cars had trebled since the 1950s. Dublin's bus schedules were becoming severly disrupted and particularly at peak times. Also in the mid 1960s CIÉ introduced radio control in its Dublin bus fleet.

In the early 1960s CIÉ was experiencing a shortage of double-deckers. Leyland was now offering a new model called the Atlantean. A demonstrator was tried in Dublin in 1960, but CIÉ was not impressed. In 1964/65 CIÉ was still suffering a shortage of double-deckers. However Spa Road had finished production of standard Titans and was too busy building new C Class single-deckers to build any new double-deckers. Also CIÉ had still not decided whether to buy the Atlantean or not. Many of the 1950s P Class half-cab single-deckers were being withdrawn and their mechanical equipment was in excellent condition so CIÉ sent the very best to the former GNR(I) works in Dundalk where they were combined with a Leyland chassis and body work from Park Royal to form 26 "new" double-deckers numbered the R900 class because they were so different from the standard Titans.

Also CIÉ chose the Atlantean. The first order consisted of 340 vehicles and between 1966 & 1974 CIÉ introduced 602 Atlantean buses.

The decision to buy the Atlantean was an unwise one. The design was complicated, requiring extra maintainance. The first Atlanteans were powered by the O600 engine but these were underpowered. Later buses were fitted with the O680 engine but the Atlantean design was never a good design compared to previous Leyland designs.

Between 1965 and 1968 CIÉ introduced 270 Leyland Leopard PSU3 single-deckers, the C class. Between 1971 and 1973 CIÉ introduced 213 Leyland Leopard PSU5/4R coaches, the M class. They replaced many of the U class Tigers. There was many problems with the the Leopards which cost CIÉ an awful lot to fix.

Again in the 1970s Dublin bus services were servrely affected by increasing traffic congestion but also severe industrial relations problems.

Starting in 1969 CIÉ introduced radio control for buses in Dublin, having introduced a telephone-based system for inspector in the 1950s in an attempt to deal with the traffic problems. This was followed by the development of Automatic Vehicle Monotoring system (AVM) in the mid 1970s, which was a computer based system which covered the whole fleet. This allowed the position of all the buses to be displayed at a central control room and then corrective action could be communicated by radio to the bus drivers. However it was 1983 before the entire Dublin bus fleet was under AVM control.

CIÉ decided that a Belgian company, Van Hool, would take over the Spa Road works in 1973 and the Leyland contract be ended in 1974.

CIÉ's demand for buses was not enough to keep the Spa Road works in full production, so Van Hool hoped to develop export orders for its Irish plant. In 1973 Van Hool teamed up with Thomas McArdle Ltd of Dundalk and Van Hool McArdle was formed. They leased the Spa Road works and took over 248 CIÉ staff.

The first buses were based on the Atlantean chassis and engine. But CIÉ was not satisfied with Leyland, as the Dublin city fleet had experienced a 25% failure rate in fleet availability. So Van Hool and CIÉ looked for more reliable equipment which was eventually found in the form of General Motors engines with Allison transmissions and Cummins engines with Voith transmissions as a back up. CIÉ then cancelled the contract with Leyland.

CIÉ had planned a 'family' of buses - double-deck, city single-deck and intercity single-deck. But a problem developed, Van Hool soon found the costs of Spa Road facility too high and production too low. Van Hool wanted to build a new 600 bus per year factory. CIÉ were happy with as they wanted to move away from the Leyland design to new types as soon as possible.

But CIÉ soon got unhappy with the initial 'cost-plus' contract between the two companies. CIÉ were finding it difficult to predict the cost of a finished bus on this contract. They decided to negotiate a fixed-price contract but Van Hool would not agree and CIÉ suspended the contract. Van Hool took legal action and the case was not settled until 1992 in CIÉ's favour.

By the mid 70s and early 80s CIÉ had withdrawn all half-cab double-deckers from service. Most of the R Class were withdrawn first and by 1976 were all gone. When the KD Class arrived in 1981 the R900 Class were withdrawn and 9 months later the RA Class were withdrawn thus bringing to an end the era of Leyland half-cab double-decker operation with CIÉ.

In 1977 CIÉ asked a bus designer, Otto Schultz of Hamburg Consult, to design a new bus family based on General Motors engines, Allison transmissions and Rockwell axles and a contract with American Motors General was negotiated to build the buses. But GM would not have anything to do with buses that were not their own design.

So an executive of American Motors suggested a joint venture between a Canadian bus builder, Bombardier and the General Automotive Corporation. This venture created Bombardier (Ireland) who took over a plant at Shannon, Co.Clare and CIÉ signed a contract with them.

By 1981 delivery had begun and by December 1982 276 double-deckers and 52 express single-deckers were in service and in the end 365 double-deckers were bulit. Also between 1983 and 1985 202 city single-deckers were built, and between 1983 and 1987 227 rural single-deckers were built.

But problems soon emerged with the new buses. After about two years in service structual problems began to emerge and this proved expensive to repair for CIÉ. Also at this time a dispute erupted between CIÉ , the government and Bombardier.

This dispute happened because CIÉ only needed 150 buses per year but the factory could not be operated economically at this rate but eventually CIÉ agreed to accept 250 buses per annum which meant the factory could be operated economically.

But in 1983 Bombardier sold their stake in the factory to GAC, but GAC withdrew in 1985 and CIÉ operated the factory until 1986 when the factory enentually was closed down. From then CIÉ decided to change its policy to one of inviting tenders and buying standard models on the basis of price and quality.

In 1984/85 CIÉ withdrew the C Class Leyland Leopards from service however many country examples survived into the Bus Éireann era.

In 1985 CIÉ took delivery of 50 Van Hool Acrons for Expressway and Tours duties. These were the CVH/EVH Class.

In October 1984 the 'Building on Reality' report was published, it outlined that CIÉ should be split up into 3 companies: rail services, provincial bus services and Dublin bus services. In December 1986 the Transport (Re-organisation of Córas Iompair Éireann) Act of 1986 was passed. After that 3 companies were formed Iarnrod Eireann/Irish Rail , Bus Eireann/Irish Bus and Bus Atha Cliath/Dublin Bus, all of which were incorporated on 20th January 1987. All began trading on 2nd February 1987.

 


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