Indian Summer for the Irish Rail Class 121‑Part 3

 

General Motors Single Cab Diesels Wander Far and Wide in their Final Years.

Irish Rail container train.
In June 2006, Irish Rail 134 had been assigned to the Waterford-Ballina Norfolk Liner container trains. I featured it in this image exposed at Ballina, County Mayo. I used this photo in my book on Intermodal railroading, published by MBI. Fujichrome film exposed with my Nikon F3T and 180mm lens.

In their final few years of service, Irish Rail 124 and 134 worked a great variety of services. For me, simple knowing these two engines were out there, made photographing Irish Rail more interesting.

Sometimes I knew where they were, other times one would appear unexpectedly. Occasionally they’d get paired together and stay that way for a while, but more often than not, they’d be paired with one of the 141/181 class Bo-Bos.

All of my images of 121s at work were made on film (slide and black & white negative). By the time I’d acquired my first digital camera, old 124 and 134 were no longer active.

Sifting through my slides from their last five or six years, I’ve found numerous images of these engines. As I’ve mentioned previously, every time I saw one, I expected it to be the last time, so I made the most of every opportunity. Here’s a lesson: never expect that you’ll  see something again; so photograph to the best of you ability when you have the chance.

Irish Rail after the storm
The 29th of October 2005 was an exceptional wet, windy and dark autumn day. Irish Rail sugar beet train V252 with 124 and 163 had worked from Wellingtonbridge to Limerick Junction, where it reversed direction for the remainder of its journey to Mallow, County Cork. As driver Ken Fox was easing the train out of Limerick Junction Station there was a momentary burst of sun, making for a dramatic image. Sometimes it pays to go out on the worst days because they can result in the best photos. Although the 121 was trailing, this remains one of my favorite images of a 121 at work. Exposed with my Canon EOS-3 with 50mm lens on Fujichrome Velvia 100 film.

 

Irish Rail's General Motors diesels at Islandbridge Junction.
It helps to have an apartment near the line: in July 2005, I heard the pair of 121s rumble across Irish Rail’s bridge over the Liffey at Islandbridge. I sprinted up to Islandbridge Junction and made a series of photos of the pair with a late-running Dublin-Waterford Liner. Despite the rain, this is another favorite photo. The day didn’t end there, and by evening, thanks to some swift driving by David Hegarty, I had a nice selections of images of the pair of surviving 121s at work. Exposed with my Nikon F3 with 85mm lens on Fuji Sensia 100 slide film.
Irish Rail ballast train
On April 24, 2006, driver Eamon Jones was at the trottle of Irish Rail 166 working with 134 on a ballast train from Portlaoise destined for Waterford where it was based for the next few days. David Hegarty & I caught it passing Cherryville Junction as it slows to take the switch for the Waterford Line. Fujichrome Sensia 100 exposed with my Nikon F3T and 180mm lens.
Blooming gorse with train.
In April 2006, 166 and 134 are working toward Wellingtonbridge with a ballast train from Waterford. At this moment the train has paused to allow the guard to shut the gates behind the train. I opted to strongly feature the gorse that was in full bloom. The old South Wexford line was among my favorites in Ireland. Exposed with Nikon F3T with 24mm lens on Fuji Sensia 100.
Carrick-on-Suir.
Irish Rail 134 leads a laden sugar beet train at Carrick-on-Suir in December 2005. Exposed with a Nikon F3 with 180mm lens on Fujichrome Provia 100F.
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