Irish Railway Record Society Trip to County Cork, 20 July 2013

Sun Scorched Irish Extravaganza—Part 1

I traveled on the Irish Railway Record Society’s “Special Train” consisting of locomotive hauled Cravens carriages to Kent Station Cork, with side trips Cobh, and Midleton operated on 20 July 2013.

Irish Rail 071 at Heuston Station, Dublin.
Photographers crowd toward the Cork-end of the platform at Heuston to catch snaps of freshly painted 071 on the special train to Cork.

My reasons for traveling were largely to visit with friends on and about the train while enjoying a spin around Cork.

Tracking the Light followers, Noel Enright and Mark Healy at Heuston Station, Dublin on 20 July 2013.
Tracking the Light followers Noel Enright and Mark Healy at Heuston Station, Dublin on 20 July 2013.
Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Gerry is fellow traveler on many railway adventures. Did he tell you the story about the priest, the minister and the rabbi? Canon EOS 7D photo.
Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Tracking the Light reader Stephen Hirsch displays his new Lumix camera. Lumix LX3 photo.

The special was unusual. The carriages were Railway Preservation Society’s former Irish Rail Cravens. It’s been nearly seven years since the old Cravens were withdrawn from regular service, thus ending Irish Rail’s routine use of traditional steam heated stock.

More usual was operation of a pair of Irish Rail’s General Motors-built class 071 diesel-electric locomotives. In the last few years, most Irish Rail trains have been operated with various classes of self-propelled rail cars. The exceptions being Dublin-Cork push-pull trains and the Dublin-Belfast Enterprise, both of which routinely call for class 201 diesels.

Thus, the 071 diesels have been largely relegated to freight and per-way (maintenance) service. The days of 071s roaring in ‘run 8’ (maximum throttle) down the Cork mainline hauling Mark II, Mark III or Cravens carriages in regular service is a memory.

Pairs of 071s were never common and multiple working of 071 virtually unknown (although it has been known to have occurred, at least once). So the ability to travel behind a pair of 071s was indeed very unusual. On Saturday’s trip only one of the locomotives was working at a time.

Also, this trip featured freshly painted 071-class leader, now officially known as ’92 60 0117071-7′ in an effort to comply with European common numbering. It’s still just engine 071 to the rest of us.

So far as I know, this was the first scheduled passenger service with an 071 in Irish Rail’s new gray and yellow livery. While, I’d previously photographed 077 (pardon me for not using its full European number) in this paint, this was my first opportunity to make photographs of 071 in gray.

Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Irish Railway Record Society special on 20 July 2013 pauses at Rushbrooke, Co. Cork on its way to Cobh. Irish Rail 073 leads a former British Rail steam heat van and Cravens carriages. Canon 7D photo.
Cobh (pronounced 'Cove') was the last port of call for the Titanic. Canon 7D Photo.
Cobh (pronounced ‘Cove’) was the last port of call for the Titanic. Canon 7D Photo.
Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Locomotive 071 couples to the excursion at Cobh. The train had been brought from Kent Station Cork by 073. Lumix LX3 photo.

 

Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Enthusiasts grab photos of locomotive 073 at Kent Station in Cork. Lumix LX3 photo.
Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
During an engine change friends chat on the platform at Kent Station in Cork, 20 July 2013.

 

Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Irish Rail driver Ken Fox at Kent Station, Cork. Lumix LX3 photo.

I was impressed with the time keeping. I enjoyed the company on board the train and on the platforms. All of Irish Rail’s and IRRS staff performed admirably, efficiently, and safely. On the trips to Cobh and Midleton, and especially on the return run to Dublin, driver Ken Fox showed exceptional professionalism and skill of operation.

Yet, what impressed me the most, and by far the most unusual aspect of the trip, was they call here ‘wall to wall sun’. Although, I’m told there’s been a spell of good weather in Ireland, I cannot recall the last time I’ve taken an entirely cloud free railway trip in Ireland!

More to come in future posts . . .

 

Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Irish Rail 071 at Midlton County Cork. First grey 071 at Midleton? Comments anybody? Lumix LX3 photo.

 

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