The GAC Ireland/Bombardier Ireland Bus Range

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Strathclyder

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This subject has fascinated me for a long time, and as a result, I thought I'd start this thread on it. Mods/admins, please move this thread to the appropriate part of the forum if necessary.

The end result of the Irish transport authority (CIÉ) having a falling out with Leyland in the mid/late 70s (in regards to issues concerning spare parts supply, vehicles being deemed as not meeting CIÉ's needs, general maintenance issues and the like; am willing to be put right there), the Bombardier K-Series family of buses are among the most, shall we say, characterful to have ever seen service anywhere. I was considering dedicating this thread solely to the KD double-deck model that was associated most closely with Dublin (based mainly on the fact the 20th anniversary of the type's farewell day was this January past), but thought better of it considering how fascinating the whole range is.

To those unfamilar with these machines, linked are pics of the 4 main types (the 'KC' single-deck citybus, the 'KE' intercity single-deck coach, the aforementioned 'KD' double-deck citybus & the 'KR' rural single-deck), taken by Flickr's Jonathan McDonnell, Irishbuses & Darren Hall respectively.





As a bonus, here is a rare shot (also by Irishbuses of Flickr and located somewhere in the UK, dated in the caption as Oct. 1977) of the Van Hool McArdle-bodied single-deck prototype that was built at their Spa Road bus works (formely owned by CIÉ themselves) with a GM-built Detroit Diesel powerplant and a Alison gearbox. Relations between CIÉ & VH would break down around this time and as a result, while the DD powerplant and Alison gearbox would be available for some of the final products as a option (most notably the KD double-deck) in the later GAC/Bombardier joint venture, they would of course look completely different and be built elsewhere (Shannon in County Claire to be precise).

 
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TheGrandWazoo

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This subject has fascinated me for a long time, and as a result, I thought I'd start this thread on it. Mods/admins, please move this thread to the appropriate part of the forum if necessary.

The end result of the Irish transport authority (CIÉ) having a falling out with Leyland in the mid/late 70s (in regards to issues concerning spare parts supply, vehicles being deemed as not meeting CIÉ's needs, general maintenance issues and the like; am willing to be put right there), the Bombardier K-Series family of buses are among the most, shall we say, characterful to have ever seen service anywhere. I was considering dedicating this thread solely to the KD double-deck model that was associated most closely with Dublin (based mainly on the fact the 20th anniversary of the type's farewell day was this January past), but thought better of it considering how fascinating the whole range is.

To those unfamilar with these machines, linked are pics of the 4 main types (the 'KC' single-deck citybus, the 'KE' intercity single-deck coach, the aforementioned 'KD' double-deck citybus & the 'KR' rural single-deck), taken by Flickr's Jonathan McDonnell, Irishbuses & Darren Hall respectively.





As a bonus, here is a rare shot (also by Irishbuses of Flickr and located somewhere in the UK, dated in the caption as Oct. 1977) of the Van Hool McArdle-bodied single-deck prototype that was built at their Spa Road bus works (formely owned by CIÉ themselves) with a GM-built Detroit Diesel powerplant and a Alison gearbox. Relations between CIÉ & VH would break down around this time and as a result, while the DD powerplant and Alison gearbox would be available over for some of the final products (most notably the KD double-deck) in the later GAC/Bombardier joint venture, they would of course look completely different and be built elsewhere (Shannon in Co. Claire to be precise).

It's an interesting story that I don't know much about esp the political and socio-economic reasons behind having a factory in a flagship new town.

They did try to sell into the UK with a sole KR type sent on extended demonstration to United Auto as their 1501 C529XEF, working there for just short of a year. A non standard paint scheme for promo photos was replaced by an overall ad extolling the virtues of it and its Cummins engine; it being based at Darlington depot where Cummins has a factory. Despite its rural bias, it was confined to working the Teesside Airport to Hurworth service which is really more a cross town route extending to a couple of villages either side of the town and, despite living there, I never bothered to get a trip on it!
 

Strathclyder

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They did try to sell into the UK with a sole KR type sent on extended demonstration to United Auto as their 1501 C529XEF, working there for just short of a year. A non standard paint scheme for promo photos was replaced by an overall ad extolling the virtues of it and its Cummins engine; it being based at Darlington depot where Cummins has a factory. Despite its rural bias, it was confined to working the Teesside Airport to Hurworth service which is really more a cross town route extending to a couple of villages either side of the town and, despite living there, I never bothered to get a trip on it!
Was waiting for someone to mention 1501! ;) Non-standard though it's initial livery was, I think it looked rather sharp in it (linked image from the John Carter Flickr collection; originally taken by Mark Harrington). For some reason, I always had it in my head that it got United's livery just before it went back to Ireland, but I clearly had the order of liveries backwards. In a number of ways (size, layout & mechanical specification primarily), the KR-Class could be considered a forerunner to the original Dart.


1501 in it's later Cummins B-Series demo livery (from the southlancs Flickr collection) which I also think suited it's boxy shape rather well.


Oh, and thanks to the mod who trimmed the thread title; it was a tad cumbersome in it's original form. :)
 
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Roilshead

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It's an interesting story that I don't know much about

The full story of CIE's fall-outs with Leyland, Van Hool-McArdle, and the start-up to collapse of the GAC-Bombardier project, is told in Micheal O Riain's (add your own fadas) On the Move: Coras Iompair Eireann 1945-95 (Gill & Macmillan, Dublin, 1995). I'll precis at some point, time allowing.
 

Strathclyder

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Linked below are two vids which prominently feature KD-class vehicles in service around Dublin in the early/mid 90s (from the CIEDCLASS & DaveSpencer32 YT channels respectively). For those familar with that DD two-stroke howl, these will either trigger fond memories or bring about a migraine lol. Dave's vid was shot the year before mass withdrawals of the type from the Dublin Bus fleet started (1995); I believe new Volvo Olympians were used as replacements.



And to compliment the latter vid, here is a photo representing 3 of the main decker types in the DB fleet in July 1994 (by Flickr's Darren Hall): aka a study in boxiness! The Olympian was very much the 'new kid on the block', being just 2 months old, the Van-Hool 'Atty' was in it's 19th year (new Feb. 1975) and the Bombardier was in it's 12th (new April 1982).

 
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baza585

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I was not a fan of the KD class. Every journey came with a free headache because of the noise and vibration.
 

Strathclyder

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I was not a fan of the KD class. Every journey came with a free headache because of the noise and vibration.
Aye, there's no getting away from the fact that they were/are a very divisive type; the DD powerplant in particular is a sticking point for many given the level of noise it put out (the Deltic of the bus world without question). But credit where credit is due: some, despite the issues that dogged them, did manage to notch up 17-18 years in service. The last Dublin Bus example was withdrawn from normal service in December 2000; the last examples were directly/indirectly replaced by new AV-class ALX400-bodied Volvo B7TLs (linked image by Flickr's Darren Hall).

 

robertclark125

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Linked below are two vids which prominently feature KD-class vehicles in service around Dublin in the early/mid 90s (from the CIEDCLASS & DaveSpencer32 YT channels respectively). For those familar with that DD two-stroke howl, these will either trigger fond memories or bring about a migraine lol. Dave's vid was shot the year before mass withdrawals of the type from the Dublin Bus fleet started (1995); I believe new Volvo Olympians were used as replacements.



And to compliment the latter vid, here is a photo representing 3 of the main decker types in the DB fleet in July 1994 (by Flickr's Darren Hall): aka a study in boxiness! The Olympian was very much the 'new kid on the block', being just 2 months old, the Van-Hool 'Atty' was in it's 19th year (new Feb. 1975) and the Bombardier was in it's 12th (new April 1982).

The photo of the Volvo Olympian, kd and the atlantean, also appeared in the book "Dublin bus " published in 2007. Quite a few photos of bombardier and gac products, including the short lived batch of kr single deckers at donnybrook.

One KD was exported; in 1982 a left hand drive example was sold 8the transport authority in Baghdad. No one knows what happened to it after the Iran Iraq war, so there may still be a KD out there!
 

Beemax

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I seem to recall that one of the double deckers was operating as a demo in Southampton in around 1975. With the combination of its angular design and colour (which i seem to recall as a sort of yellow ochre but could be wring) I think it would win my vote as the ugliest bus ever to operate in the city
 

berneyarms

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I seem to recall that one of the double deckers was operating as a demo in Southampton in around 1975. With the combination of its angular design and colour (which i seem to recall as a sort of yellow ochre but could be wring) I think it would win my vote as the ugliest bus ever to operate in the city
It wouldn’t have been a Bombardier - production didn’t start until 1980. Possibly a VanHool McArdle D class.

Aye, there's no getting away from the fact that they were/are a very divisive type; the DD powerplant in particular is a sticking point for many given the level of noise it put out (the Deltic of the bus world without question). But credit where credit is due: some, despite the issues that dogged them, did manage to notch up 17-18 years in service. The last Dublin Bus example was withdrawn from normal service in December 2000; the last examples were directly/indirectly replaced by new AV-class ALX400-bodied Volvo B7TLs (linked image by Flickr's Darren Hall).

I’ll confess that I loved travelling on the KC and especially the KD fleet every day.

The roar from the KD engine was something else and it could certainly move at quite a speed on the open road.

However, mechanically they were a disaster with virtually every working part requiring remedial attention or replacement at some point.

Overheating was a regular issue, with the rear engine covers being left unlocked in the summer in an attempt to cool the engines by fanning cool air in.

The other fleet types (KC, KE and KR) proved far reliable vehicles and a little quieter.
 
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Strathclyder

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The photo of the Volvo Olympian, kd and the atlantean, also appeared in the book "Dublin bus " published in 2007. Quite a few photos of bombardier and gac products, including the short lived batch of kr single deckers at donnybrook.

One KD was exported; in 1982 a left hand drive example was sold 8the transport authority in Baghdad. No one knows what happened to it after the Iran Iraq war, so there may still be a KD out there!
It's a cracking image, worthy of a frame me thinks. If one doesn't have that book to hand, Flickr's Darren Hall is one of the best online resources for the Bombardier KD-class throughout it's career (from CIÉ through to Dublin Bus & Bus Éireann). Jonathan McDonnell is another good one; he has pics of both the first and last of the line (KD1 and KD366 respectively, including one of both together) and the various KDs that gained advertising liveries (notably Coca-Cola, Smarties, Mars Bar & Stanley Tools).

Indeed, one KD was exported to Baghdad. Apart from being left-hand drive, other differences that set it apart from the rest of the KDs were: different-sized wheels/tires, the staircase was located right behind the cab (it was roughly half-way back on all the rest, in common with deckers delivered to London in the mid/late 90s), full-depth sliding windows like those on buses built for Hong Kong & Singapore before the wholesale adoption of air-conditioning were fitted (not surprising, given Baghdad's climate), grab-rails halfway up said windows, a single-leaf front entrance, a two-piece rear window on both decks, opening quarterlights on the bottom of the front windows of the top deck and a full-width destination display on the rear (it's worth mentioning here that KD1/2 also had a rear destination display, but merely a numeral one. KD1's was rarely used and was plated over later in it's career, while KD2's was a 'dummy' unit and was never fitted with a functioning roller-blind). Flickr's David O'Connor has 3 views of the Baghdad KD illustrating the noted differences from it's CIÉ brethern; all are linked below. Even without the Iran-Iraq war, I doubt such a one-off would've lasted all that long in such a punishing operating enviroment (that is, if it even left Ireland!).



 
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Roilshead

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The full story of CIE's fall-outs with Leyland, Van Hool-McArdle, and the start-up to collapse of the GAC-Bombardier project, is told in Micheal O Riain's (add your own fadas) On the Move: Coras Iompair Eireann 1945-95 (Gill & Macmillan, Dublin, 1995). I'll precis at some point, time allowing.
In 1947, shortly after its foundation, CIE signed an agreement with Leyland which bound CIE to source from Leyland, for a period of seven years, all its passenger service vehicle requirements which could be met by the Leyland range (and all goods vehicles over 5 ton); the benefit to CIE was Leyland's agreement to supply spares at cost price and to co-operate in the establishment of a chassis-construction facility at Spa Road works, Inchicore. An external report into CIE in 1948 poured cold water on the idea of a CIE-owned chassis-construction enterprise, but the agreement with Leyland regarding chassis and spares supply was renewed at intervals up to 1974 - by 1974 CIE were obtaining discounts of 31-80% on the price of spares.

However, internal CIE reports show that dissatisfaction with Leyland products started as early as 1965, with the 270 C-class Leopards delivered between then and 1968, which were reported to have unreliable and uncomfortable air suspension which required modification at CIE's expense. The 213 M-class Leopards delivered between 1971-73 were reported to have noisy rear axles which failed prematurely, suspension springs which failed prematurely and were replaced by German-made units, and Leyland engines with a life expectancy around of that previously expected (which led to replacement with DAF and GM units). The D-class Atlanteans were recorded as suffering problems with failures of fluid flywheel, gear box, alternator, starter motor, hydraulic accelerator control, fuel pump, power steering ram, engine overheating, and oil carry-over from compressor to brake system.

In 1973, CIE disposed of its bus body buildings works at Spa Road to Van Hool-McArdle, a partnership between the Belgian coach-builder Van Hool and the small Dundalk-based firm of Thomas McArdle - CIE had decided that its demand for bus bodies was not sufficient for economic production, whilst Van Hool (and the Irish government) saw the prospect of developing a commercial body-building facility with export prospects. Van Hool-McArdle leased Spa Road works from CIE, and the 248 staff employed there moved across from CIE. Van Hool-McArdle soon decided that the capacity at Spa Road would be too limited for its planned expansion to build buses and coaches for export, and that the limited capacity was inflating its costs., so a plan was formulated to build an entirely new factory and to increase the staff employed there to around 600. They were encouraged in this by CIE, who were thinking about moving away from Leyland . . . In 1974, CIE terminated its contract with Leyland (the last batch of the M-class was cancelled, although Van Hool-McArdle D-class Atlanteans continued to enter service until 1979), signing instead a contract solely for the supply of spare parts at less advantageous terms. At this time CIE's thoughts were along the lines a family of GM-Allison or Cummins-Voith vehicles constructed by Van Hool-McArdle. To allow Van Hool-McArdle to start work on this project, in 1976 CIE reduced the number of Atlanteans on its outstanding contract with Leyland, for which it paid Van Hool-McArdle a penalty. Now things started to sour with Van Hool-McArdle. When CIE had disposed of Spa Road works to Van Hool-McArdle it had entered into a cost-plus contract for the supply of future bodies - this ended-up being very expensive as there was no incentive for productivity or cost-saving by Van Hool McArdle, and CIE had no idea how much future bodies would cost. Agreement couldn't be reached on a contract for the supply of the proposed new family of buses - the Belgian government tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade the Irish government to put pressure on CIE - and the proposed new factory and expansion of Van Hool-McArdle didn't happen, and Spa Road works/Van Hool-McArdle was gradually wound down, and closed on completion of the outstanding contract to body the remaining D-class Atlanteans.

With the Van Hool-McArdle project dead, in 1977 CIE turned to the bus designer Hamburg Consult to design its proposed new family of buses. Meanwhile CIE started negotiations with American Motors General (AMG) to manufacture the proposed new bus family, and purchased a disused piano factory in Shannon for the purpose. Unfortunately, at the very last minute AMG pulled-out of the deal. CIE approached GM, who declined to be involved. An executive of AMG then proposed, in a private capacity, that a partnership of the Canadian bus manufacturer Bombardier and General Automotive Corporation (GAC) - in which he was a substantial shareholder - should operate the manufacturing facility. The final agreement was that CIE would own the factory, jigs, and tools/machinery, and that Bombardier (Ireland) Ltd would employ the labour and would have the right to produce and market the CIE bus designs for export and would pay CIE a royalty for each vehicle exported. Finally in 1981, the first GAC-Bombardier KE-class buses emerged.

CIE's plan was to take 150 buses per year. The economic output of the Shannon factory was 250 buses per year. Viability required that Bombardier (Ireland) find an export market for 100 buses per year. No such market was ever found. Moreover, government spending restrictions limited CIE's fleet replacement plans. By late 1982 staffing levels at the plant had been reduced. In early 1983, with prospects looking bleak, Bombardier sold its stake in Bombardier (Ireland) to GAC, who were now sole owners and changed the name to GAC (Ireland). GAC (Ireland) were essentially operators of the Shannon factory under a management contract from CIE, the terms of which allowed CIE to withdraw from the contract under certain conditions - CIE were unhappy about the change of ownership of Bombardier (Ireland)/GAC (Ireland) and in August 1983 gave notice to terminate the contract in 1985. In 1985 CIE took over operation of the plant directly . . . but the only vehicles remaining to be completed were 24 KR-class single deckers - CIE had decided the future wasn't with either long-term supply contracts such as they'd had with Leyland until 1973, or in-house design and manufacture, but with inviting competitive tenders for the supply of off-the-peg buses.
 
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Strathclyder

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I’ll confess that I loved travelling on the KC and especially the KD fleet every day.

The roar from the KD engine was something else and it could certainly move at quite a speed on the open road.

However, mechanically they were a disaster with virtually every working part requiring remedial attention or replacement at some point.

Overheating was a regular issue, with the rear engine covers being left unlocked in the summer in an attempt to cool the engines by fanning cool air in.

The other fleet types (KC, KE and KR) proved far reliable vehicles and a little quieter.
Yeah. When it comes to the KDs (and to a lesser degree the rest of the K-class family), there is seldom a middle ground. It's either a bus you love to hate, or a bus you hate to love. Can't imagine too many of CIE/DB/BE's mechanics during the KD era being in the latter camp, given the repeated breakdowns and persistent overheating issues! Drivers I'd imagine would've been fairly evenly split (as with almost every other type, past or present), either considering them good/easy/smooth to drive or a elephant on roller skates in a ice rink irrespective of the prevailing road/surface conditions. Enthusiasts may love the DD two-stroke howl and put up with the rattling, or dislike them for those same reasons. The poster child for 'marmite bus' if ever there was one.

The KRs were by all accounts the best of the lot (in terms of construction quality & refinement; they were the only member of the family to be built on a chassis) and could be regarded as a forerunner to the original Dart as noted above, given their many similarites. This was most likely the reason the last of them (used as school buses by the end) didn't get withdrawn until 2006-2007.

@Roilshead A concise rundown of the entire saga, much appreciated.
 
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GusB

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Interesting though these vehicles are, there are none that would win any beauty contests!
 

berneyarms

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Interesting though these vehicles are, there are none that would win any beauty contests!
Well as someone who saw them and used them every day here in Dublin, I actually would disagree with that!

Having endured the awful “tan” livery of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Bombardiers brightened up the streets with the new two-tone green livery dramatically.

The full width window on the top deck of the KD was wonderful to look out of.

Quite frankly, compared to many of the demo vehicles going around at the time, and certainly compared to the vehicles that preceded them on the streets of Dublin, the Bombardier/GAC KC and KD vehicles looked fresh, modern and new.
 

Strathclyder

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Well as someone who saw them and used them every day here in Dublin, I actually would disagree with that!

Having endured the awful “tan” livery of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Bombardiers brightened up the streets with the new two-tone green livery dramatically.

The full width window on the top deck of the KD was wonderful to look out of.

Quite frankly, compared to many of the demo vehicles going around at the time, and certainly compared to the vehicles that preceded them on the streets of Dublin, the Bombardier/GAC KC and KD vehicles looked fresh, modern and new.
You just awoke a dormant memory lol

The prototype KD (1 JZH/B1/KD1) was outshopped in the 'tan/orange' livery, but never entered service in that guise. It gained the familar two-tone green livery the type would come to be intrinsically linked with before entering revenue-earing service (linked image below from the mikeyashworth Flickr collection).


And a shot from December 1981 (from Flickr's Fred Dean) with a 2 month-old KD33 turning off of Eden Quay onto O'Connell Bridge with a Dalkey-bound 8. Deliveries of the production KDs had started that July; KD1/2 entering service in May.


For anyone wondering what a Detroit Diesel 6V71 lump looked/looks (for the few surviving examples in preservation) when installed in a KD, Flickr's Fred Dean has this cracking shot of late model KD357 (GSI 357) undergoing some remidial work at Donnybrook garage in February 1998.


While here, I should also mention some of the powerplant/gearbox/axle options that were available for the KD-class. Wikipedia lists the following:

  • Detroit Diesel 6V71/Allison V730/Rockwell - standard on all but one of CIÉ's examples and the Baghdad example
  • Cummins LT10/Voith D851/Kirkstall - one CIÉ example (KD146) had this powerpack fitted, initally having Cummins badging on the front bumper proclaiming this fact
  • Rolls-Royce Eagle/ZF 4HP500 Ecomat/Kirkstall - a single demonstrator KD (initally registered 20 JZL) intended to, by and large unsuccessfully, encourage sales from outwith CIÉ had this powerpack fitted. Would later be bought by CIÉ, re-registered 191 JZL and numbered KD191 (20 JZL would end up on KD20). Would end up in the Bus Éireann fleet, finishing it's service days there
  • Gardner 6LXB/ZF 4HP500 Ecomat/Kirkstall - never taken up
 
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90sWereBetter

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Has anyone found photos of the interiors of KCs and KDs? Certainly the KD's interior must have been a bit clunky with dual doors and the staircase set so far back (much further back than the staircase on contemporary Metrobuses and Titans in London)

On another tangent, while I believe there's several KRs still around thanks to their comparatively recent withdrawal, are KC100 and KD353 now the only survivors of their respective types in preservation? Did any KEs survive?

I presume there were a couple more Bombardiers/GACs which died at Kells Bus Graveyard, sorry, "Museum" near Cork...
 

berneyarms

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The KC was fine inside, but there was one row on the KD offside that was immediately behind the facing seats and just before the stairs that required you to be of a very short stature to fit into it!

Here is a video from the RTÉ Archives which includes interior KD shots:


And here is an interior video of some of preserved KC


There are certainly more than one KC and one KD preserved and there are KE and KR vehicles preserved too.
 
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Strathclyder

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Has anyone found photos of the interiors of KCs and KDs? Certainly the KD's interior must have been a bit clunky with dual doors and the staircase set so far back (much further back than the staircase on contemporary Metrobuses and Titans in London)

On another tangent, while I believe there's several KRs still around thanks to their comparatively recent withdrawal, are KC100 and KD353 now the only survivors of their respective types in preservation? Did any KEs survive?

I presume there were a couple more Bombardiers/GACs which died at Kells Bus Graveyard, sorry, "Museum" near Cork...
KD70 (one-time resident of the erstwhile Glasgow Bus Museum aka Busworld, in many ways the predecessor of the present-day Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust) still exists and is currently owned by the same chap who has KC48 back over in Ireland. Short video dating from September 2020 by the owner linked below:


Two KEs are known to have survived: KE14 & KE35. The latter is fully restored to touring coach spec. Here's a vid of it in action (from the tecmovie YT channel):

 
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robertclark125

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It's worth mentioning political pressure led to the Shannon site being chosen. It was the former Rippon piano factory, and there was pressure to find work for the former Rippon employees.

In addition, the first vehicle off the production line, KE1, broke down at the launch in the factory, and was pushed out by a tractor unit. It broke down again, en route to a celebratory lunch near the factory. The omens were not good!
 

Strathclyder

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In addition, the first vehicle off the production line, KE1, broke down at the launch in the factory, and was pushed out by a tractor unit. It broke down again, en route to a celebratory lunch near the factory. The omens were not good!
Set something a precedent, that. That said, I just can't bring myself to dislike them (is it my fascination with the quirky, unusual etc? Or am I ever so slightly mad? lol).
 

GusB

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Well as someone who saw them and used them every day here in Dublin, I actually would disagree with that!

Having endured the awful “tan” livery of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Bombardiers brightened up the streets with the new two-tone green livery dramatically.

The full width window on the top deck of the KD was wonderful to look out of.

Quite frankly, compared to many of the demo vehicles going around at the time, and certainly compared to the vehicles that preceded them on the streets of Dublin, the Bombardier/GAC KC and KD vehicles looked fresh, modern and new.
You're right enough - while they're not my cup of tea, it's all subjective. I have a fondness for the Alexander P-type that doesn't seem to be widely shared!

They're distinctive designs, though, and I suppose for their time they did look quite modern.
 

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I'm pretty sure that the launch of KE1, mishaps and all, made the Irish Times under the memorable headline "The Streetcar that's named Expire". It went on to feature in the Stephen Pile book, The Return of Heroic Failures, under the category "The Least Successful Bus Launch".

The mishaps even befell the double-deck KDs. Most notably KD111, which was never delivered to CIE, being written off by a runaway fire tender whilst parked outside the Bombardier factory awaiting delivery. The extra bus added on to the KD order as its replacement became KD366.
 
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Strathclyder

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I'm pretty sure that the launch of KE1, mishaps and all, made the Irish Times under the memorable headline "The Streetcar that's named Expire". It went on to feature in the Stephen Pile book, The Return of Heroic Failures, under the category "The Least Successful Bus Launch".

The mishaps even befell the double-deck KDs. Most notably KD111, which was never delivered to CIE, being written off by a runaway fire tender whilst parked outside the Bombardier factory awaiting delivery. The extra bus added on to the KD order as its replacement became KD366.
I distinctly remember seeing a image of KD111 in service up on Flickr, but it has (helpfully) disappeared. It was written off and later replaced by KD366, but by a bin lorry and not a fire tender if I recall correctly. You may be thinking of the original KC124 for the CIÉ Bombardier that was written off before delivery.
 
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DunsBus

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I distinctly remember seeing a image of KD111 in service up on Flickr, but it has (helpfully) disappeared. It was written off and later replaced by KD366, but by a bin lorry and not a fire tender if I recall correctly. You may be thinking of the original KC124 for the CIÉ Bombardier that was written off before delivery.
Yes, you're correct - this is what happens when you try to rely on (an ageing) memory! It was indeed KC124 which never made it out of the factory, being replaced by KC174.

KD111 wasn't that old when it was written off, I seem to recall.
 

Strathclyder

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Yes, you're correct - this is what happens when you try to rely on (an ageing) memory! It was indeed KC124 which never made it out of the factory, being replaced by KC174.

KD111 wasn't that old when it was written off, I seem to recall.
Not a problem, happens to us all. :) The 2nd KC124 lasted in service until April 1999 with Bus Éireann, last based at Cork depot.

Aye, was only a few months old when the bin lorry ran into it if I recall. Far as I can ascertain, it and KD317 (GSI 317; new March 1983 & gutted by a arson attack at Donabate station in August 1984) were the only KDs withdrawn in the 80s.

You're right enough - while they're not my cup of tea, it's all subjective. I have a fondness for the Alexander P-type that doesn't seem to be widely shared!

They're distinctive designs, though, and I suppose for their time they did look quite modern.
Indeed. It all being subjective is part of what makes this hobby so engaging; imagine how boring it would be if we all liked the same bus types, liveries etc. It'd be mind-numbing to say the least! Keeping things civil when the inevitable discourse that arises from differing opinions/viewpoints comes to pass is key, that goes without saying. But at the same time, don't be afraid to speak up for your corner (or bus in this case), nowt wrong with that either.

Just to throw a personal example of this out there: along with the Irish Bombardiers, I have a fascination with the Guy Wulfrunian, the Daimler Roadliner and the Ford R-Series (R1014 etc.). Not many enthusiasts would likely share with me that fascination (never mind that many my age/from my generation) and some would keenly seek to remind me of that, not to mention the buses' flaws, with varying levels of tact and civility, but I'd refer them to the above point in response (if they're willing to listen, that is): like most things in life, it's subjective. You like your classic bus type, I like mine.

(Look at me, waxing philosophical on a bus forum at 25 to 7 on a Tuesday morning. Lockdown has well and truly driven me up the wall lol)
 
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