NIR diesel

DAILY POST: Sugar Beet at Thomastown, November 2003


NIR 112 Leading Empties Under a Stormy Sky.

 Irish Rail’s 2003-2004 didn’t go as planned. Just as the season was gearing up, the Cahir Viaduct on the Limerick Junction-Waterford line collapsed under laden cement train, closing the line and forcing the detour of sugar beet trains via the much longer Waterford-Cherryville Junction route.

This complication for Irish Rail was a boon for photographers as it resulted in sugar beet trains running in places where they didn’t normally go.

This was especially timely, because the portion of line from Athy to Waterford West was still under control of traditional signal cabins with mechanical semaphores and the electric train staff system. But not for much longer! An all-color light mini-CTC control system was being installed and was finally commissioned in Spring 2004.

I began the morning of November 29, 2003 in Dublin, where it was cold, dark and very wet. It was one of those days where horizontal rain is the norm and it never gets bright enough for the street lights to shut off.

Despite the bad weather, a fellow photographer and I headed toward Cherryville Junction by road with visions of intercepting sugar beet trains on their diversionary route. Somewhere between Kildare and Cherryville, the ever-elusive NIR 112 (on long term loan to Irish Rail) roared uproad with an empty beet train returning from Mallow to Wellingtonbridge.

We reversed direction, and went to Kildare, where I exposed a ‘record shot’ of the train. My exposure was noted at f2.8 1/8th of second. (What some of us would call ‘f-dark at a week’ meaning; ‘hopeless exposure for a moving train.’)

Undaunted we pursued this unusual train toward Waterford, taking advantage of crossings with other trains on the single track line. Near Thomastown, we passed through a front.

This was like a line drawn across the sky! To the north it remained foul and dark, to the south clear, cold and bright! We made our way to an overhead accommodation bridge on the Dublin side of Thomastown station where I exposed this view of the train approaching the home signal.

Northern Ireland Railways 112 is a General Motors diesel built to the specification of Irish Rail’s 071 class. In 2003, it was on loan to Irish Rail and worked a great variety of trains. On the morning of November 29th, I made this view of it approaching Thomastown with an empty sugar beet train. The home signal was placed unusually high and setback from the line for sighting reasons.
Northern Ireland Railways 112 is a General Motors diesel built to the specification of Irish Rail’s 071 class. In 2003, it was on loan to Irish Rail and worked a great variety of trains. On the morning of November 29th, I made this view of it approaching Thomastown with an empty sugar beet train. The home signal was placed unusually high and setback from the line for sighting reasons.

I count this among my truly unusual Irish railway photographs.

Also see Tracking the Light’s:  Irish Rail at Taylorstown Viaduct, December 8, 2001 and  Irish Rail, Wellingtonbridge, County Wexford, December 2005.

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