International Train Hotel-Entroncamento, Portugal

April 3, 2014.

Entroncamento Station, Portugal on the evening of April 3, 2014.
Entroncamento Station, Portugal on the evening of April 3, 2014.

Portugal shares the broad Iberian standard gauge with Spain: rails are five feet six inches apart. Despite this commonality, today there are relatively few international services between the two countries.

One of the few cross-border trains is the nightly combined Lusitania/Sud Expresso connecting Lisbon with Spanish cities. The Lusitania runs Lisbon-Madrid, while the Sud Expresso is a vestige of the old Wagon Lits luxury express that once connected Lisbon with Paris, but now only goes as far as Irun on the Spanish-French frontier.

The train operates with RENFE (Spanish Railways) TALGO train hotel equipment, which makes it anomalous compared with the majority of Portuguese passenger trains.

On April 3, 2014, I planned to photograph the eastward Lusitania/Sud Expresso (train 335/310) during its station stop at Entrocamento, Portugal.

This is a big station, adjacent to freight yards, shops, and Portugal’s National Railway Museum.

Portugal.
Entrocamento Station with the nightly Lisbon-Spain train hotel approaching in the distance. Exposed with a Lumix LX3 set at 80 ISO.

The train departed Lisbon Santa Apolónia at 9:18 pm, and arrived at Entroncamento a little more than an hour later. I had less than five minutes to make photographs.

I worked with three cameras. First exposing digital time exposures using my Lumix LX3 positioned on a mini Gitzo tripod. I made several images using my standard night photo technique (see: Lumix LX-3—part 2:  Existing Light Digital Night Shots).

Entrocamento Station with the nightly Lusitania/Sud Expresso paused for its station stop. Exposed with a Lumix LX3 set at 80 ISO. I used the self timer set at 2 seconds to minimize vibration.
Entrocamento Station with the nightly Lusitania/Sud Expresso paused for its station stop. Exposed with a Lumix LX3 set at 80 ISO. I used the self timer set at 2 seconds to minimize vibration.

Then I quickly swapped the Lumix for my Canon EOS 3 with 40mm lens loaded with Provia 100F, and made a three exposure bracket. With film, I find it difficult to gauge night exposures, so I aided my efforts with my handheld Minolta Mark IV light meter.

Provia 100F has a filtration layer that minimizes undesirable color spikes caused by fluorescent and sodium lighting.

In the middle of this time-exposure exercise, I also made several handheld images using my Canon EOS 7D set for a high ISO. I figured that covered most of the angles.

I exposed this view of the Lusitania/Sud Expresso using my Canon EOS 7D handheld with a 20mm lens; ISO 4000 f2.8 1/50th of a second. While not as critically sharp as the tripod mounted Lumix image, it has a nice feel to it. Also, for me it’s a fast and easy ‘safety’ shot, in case my more elaborate technique using the Lumix failed to work as hoped.
I exposed this view of the Lusitania/Sud Expresso using my Canon EOS 7D handheld with a 20mm lens; ISO 4000 f2.8 1/50th of a second. While not as critically sharp as the tripod mounted Lumix image, it has a nice feel to it. Also, for me it’s a fast and easy ‘safety’ shot, in case my more elaborate technique using the Lumix failed to work as hoped.

I was distracted during my efforts by the arrival of a Takargo Vossloh E4000 diesel (powered by an EMD 16-710 engine) hauling a container train.

As soon as the train hotel pulled away, I repositioned to photograph the diesel-hauled container train.

Takargo Vossloh E4000 diesel rumbles in the sodium vapor gloom of Entrocamento. Lumix LX3 photo.
Takargo Vossloh E4000 diesel rumbles in the sodium vapor gloom of Entrocamento. Lumix LX3 photo.

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