A Long Delay Results in an Unexpected Opportunity.
We waited at milepost 17 near Sallins for the return of locomotive 461 with Railway Preservation Society Ireland’s The Marble City rail tour from Kilkenny.
After a bit of a delay, I’d became curious and tried phoning people on the train. After a few phone calls I learned that tragedy had delayed the excursion.
It was reported that Irish Rail’s regular Intercity train from Waterford was involved in a fatality on the line and the steam special was stranded at Athy while the Gardai (An Garda Síochána is the Irish name for Ireland’s national police force) conducted an investigation.
I was told by an RPSI member on the train that it would be at least 8pm before the train was on the move.
Instead of giving up and returning to Dublin, fellow photographer Hugh Dempsey and I opted to remain trackside. After all, only the Waterford trains were affected, so there would be plenty moving to photograph. And there’s the element of curiosity, just how late would the train be?
I took the opportunity to update some local people who had turned out to watch the steam special of its misfortune.
Later, a local man took pity on our prolonged wait, and dropped down to us with cups of hot tea and biscuits (cookies). In the mean time there was some nice evening light to photograph the ordinary procession of Irish Rail trains.
Finally, at 9:18pm I got word that The Marble City with 461 had reached Cherryville Junction and was making its dash for Dublin—some four hours behind schedule.
It passed us just before 10pm, which made for a rare summer evening view of an Irish steam special. Most RPSI trips run in daylight! Using film I’d have been out of luck, but thanks to advances in digital photograph I was able to make a distinctive image.
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