Irish Rail Freight April 25-26, 2013

Seeking Liners and the Ever Elusive Timber-train.

For the last decade or so, Irish Rail has focused largely on its passenger operations. These days long distance passenger trains are dominated by fleets of Rotem-built InterCity Rail cars (ICRs), with locomotive-powered trains only working Dublin-Cork (class 201 diesels with Mark 4 push-pull) and Dublin-Belfast (class 201 diesels with De Dietrich push-pull). To the casual observer, it might seem that all the Irish Rail trains are ICRs. Certainly they seem to be everywhere.

 

Last Thursday and Friday, David Hegarty & I visited midland counties in search of freight trains. These are good days to be out, since Irish rail fields a variety of scheduled freight on its route to County Mayo via Portarlington, Athlone, and Roscommon. This single-track line has a rock and roll profile across undulating countryside.

UP IWT liner
Irish rail’s ‘up IWT liner’ (Ballina to Dublin) passes the 44 1/2 mile post near Portarlington. Gorse blossoms on both sides of the tracks. Canon 7D with 200mm f2.8 lens.
Dublin-Ballina IWT liner
First of two Dublin-Ballina IWT liners on Thursday, April 25, 2013. Canon 7D with 40mm pancake lens.

 

Irish Rail Timber near Portarlington
On on April 25, 2013, Irish Rail class 201 diesel number 219 leads a laden timber at mp44 1/2 near Portarlington. Canon 7D with 40mm pancake lens.

It’s gorse-season, and the gold-tinged blooming bushes works well with Irish Rail’s ‘safety yellow’ on the front of most trains. Getting the sun out is an added bonus. One minute there’s bright sun, the next its lashing rain. Sometime, I didn’t have to wait that long. They call it Spring. It’s as good an excuse as any.

Irish Rail freight.
Second IWT liner from Dublin to Ballina, north (west) of Portarlington on the branch to Athlone. Thursdays is a busy day for freight in Ireland, we caught six freight moves on April 25, 2013. Irish Rail 234 is the highest number 201 class diesels. The next day we photographed it again at Clara, Co. Offaly. Canon 7D with 20mm lens.

 

Ballina to Dublin IWT approaches the station at Clara on Friday April 26, 2013. That's 234, again. Lumix LX3 photo.
Ballina to Dublin IWT approaches the station at Clara on Friday April 26, 2013. That’s 234, again. Lumix LX3 photo.
Not so lucky with the twice weekly DFSD liner. The rain caught me here. Luckily I had an Opel for shelter! This is from the main road between Athlone and Knockcroghery. Canon 7D with 200mm f2.8 lens.
Not so lucky with the twice weekly DFSD liner. The rain caught me here. Luckily I had an Opel for shelter! This is from the main road between Athlone and Knockcroghery. Canon 7D with 200mm f2.8 lens.
IWT liner at Donamon.
This sounded great; its the down IWT liner roaring along with a 1970s-era class 071 near the former station of Donamon (west of Roscommon). Canon 7D with 40mm pancake lens.
Irish Rail empty timber train.
Last train of the day; the empty timber from Waterford near Donamon. After we caught this train, we were given good advice on an even nicer location a couple of miles further west. We’ll be back! Canon 7D with 100mm f2.0 lens.

In addition to these digital photos exposed with my Canon 7D and Lumix LX-3, I also exposed a couple of rolls of film, including the first roll of Fuji Velvia 50 that’s been in my Canon EOS 3 in about six years. When using slide film, I usually work with 100 ISO stock. The Velvia 50 is an accident, and I’ll be curious to see how those slides turn out. Thanks to Noel Enright for logistical advice!

Ballina to Dublin IWT approaches the station at Clara on Friday April 26, 2013. That's 234, again. Lumix LX3 photo.
Ballina to Dublin IWT approaches the station at Clara on Friday April 26, 2013. That’s 234, again. Lumix LX3 photo.
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