Daily Post: Irish Rail, Wellingtonbridge, County Wexford, December 2005

A Look at the Final Beet Season.

Irish Rail
Venerable four wheel beet wagons are fully laden with freshly harvested sugar beet at Wellingtonbridge in December 2005. Exposed with Nikon F3T with 180mm lens on Fujichrome.

Between September and January Irish Rail moved sugar beet from a loading facility at Wellingtonbridge to a processing factory in Mallow county Cork. In the last beet season, six days a week Wellingtonbridge loaded six to seven trains.

This was Irish Rail’s most intensive freight operation and operated with a fleet of ancient looking four-wheel beet wagons.

Short sidings at Wellingtonbridge required the shunting of most laden trains. On this frosty clear autumn afternoon, I made a variety of images on Fujichrome with my Nikon F3T to capture the atmosphere of this operation.

What sticks in my mind were the background sounds of conveyors dumping freshly harvested beet into the old wagons and the signal cabin with its mechanical signals and Victorian-era electric staff machine and bells. The scene is all quiet today.

Irish Rail locomotive 072 (built by General Motors in La Grange, Illinois.) shunts sugar beet wagons to assemble a train destined for Mallow.
Irish Rail locomotive 072 (built by General Motors in La Grange, Illinois.) shunts sugar beet wagons to assemble a train destined for Mallow. The loading equipment is behind the engine.
Irish Rail 072 during shunting maneuvers at Wellingtonbridge.
Irish Rail 072 during shunting maneuvers at Wellingtonbridge.
The short four-wheel wagons made for uniform looking trains. Cross-lit these offer a 'picket fence' look that I've always found appealing in railway image.
The short four-wheel wagons made for uniform looking trains. Cross lighting these wagons offered a ‘picket fence’ effect that I’ve always found appealing in railway images.

The beat is dead, long live the beat!

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2 thoughts on “Daily Post: Irish Rail, Wellingtonbridge, County Wexford, December 2005”

  1. These photos brought to mind your mention of sugar beet trains in “Railroads of California” and the detailed discussion and photographs in “Southern Pacific Railroad”.

    Although it most likely does not warrant an entire book for such a narrowly focused topic, was wondering if you ever thought about presenting the similarities and differences you saw between the Irish and Southern California beet train equipment and operations?

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