Interlude at the SBB Station in Lausanne.

The trains arrive and depart in waves.

Despite an aggressive schedule of passenger trains, SBB still has capacity to roll freights through.

I made these photos digitally using my FujiFilm X-T1.

The station consists of a classic stone faced building, arched through shed over the platforms, and all the expected amenities.

Look at this impressive list of departures! Not bad for 45 minutes. More trains than many American cities get all week.
SBB Stadler railcars are common on many local trains.
Under the train shed at Lausanne. RAW file adjusted for contrast and exposure.
Freights are largely electrically hauled.

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Rails along the Water—St. Saphorin, Switzerland.

There’s something inherently attractive about a railway along water, be it a river, pond, lake or the sea.

SBB’s line along Lake Geneva is a fine example of waterside running. Not only does the lake exhibit wonderful aqua hues, but is surrounded by vineyards, snow capped Alpine peaks and other beautiful scenery.

The trick is finding locations where you can place a train with the water in a pleasing composition.

Easier said than done.

I’d found this location at St. Saphorin by searching the internet and studying Google maps. Last week, Denis McCabe and I arrived by train and made the short walk from St. Saphorin station to a foot bridge designed to grant access to the lakefront for bathers.

Not only did SBB provide transport, but fielded a nice variety of trains. About every five to ten minutes something came rolling along. Below is a sample.

This view is from the road side. I’ve opted to cross-light the train in order to better feature Lake Geneva. If you look carefully, You’ll see the foot bridge in the distance that was the vantage of the other images in this sequence.
Looking east toward St. Saphorin Station, I made this view of an SBB tilting train coming from Milan via Brig.
Just because the water is there, doesn’t mean it has to appear in the all the photos. I like this trailing view of an SBB locomotive hauled passenger train. Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1.
The classic view; an SBB freight rolls east along the lake. I’m looking toward the station at Rivaz, Switzerland.
For the passage of a local train, I opted for this wide-angle water-level view.
A westward freight made for some hard lighting, but the scenery compensates for the dark front on the locomotive.

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Colour in the Streets; Geneva’s Trams.

Geneva, Switzerland has a remarkable tram network that has melded traditional routes with modern construction.

I made this selection of photographs on my recent visit using both my FujiFilm X-T1 and Panasonic Lumix LX-7 digital cameras.

When making tram photographs I often aim to place the cars in their urban environment.

Geneva’s trams feature a variety of special liveries making for a colourful fleet.

Telephoto view using a FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm lens.
FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Blue and white is the standard livery on Geneva’s tram and bus fleet.
FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
An odd colour for tram; hot pink. Works for Easter I suppose.  FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Tram, bus and trolley bus; FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Lumix LX-7 photo of tram taking a turning loop.
My Lumix LX7 is a great tool for photographing urban night scenes.

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Geneva Station—one week ago.

Last week I visited Geneva, Switzerland where I made these photographs.

For the station building, I worked with my Lumix LX7. While the SNCF train was photographed using my FujiFilm X-T1.

Geneva, April 2017. Exposed on a cold morning using a Lumix LX7. Here I’ve tired to integrate the station with the street environment around it. Compare this view with the one below that focuses more on the building.
The great length of Geneva’s station makes it difficult to capture in one image. In this view I’ve cropped much of the building and my use of a wide angle lens has led to some dramatic distortion.
Here I’ve oriented my Lumix vertically to capture the interior of the concourse and ticket area. My purchase of Swiss passes at the offices at the right cost me more than my Lumix did three years ago. Yet the passes were well worth the cost, as the Swiss railway network is one of the finest in the world.
The tracks at Geneva are elevated. This platform view of an SNCF train was made using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera. Although the locomotive is back lit, its silver and lavender paint photographed well.

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Roman Trams

Well sort of.

Rome is one of the world’s most pictured cities, yet rarely does its tram network feature in photos.

So, on my brief visit to Rome I made many photos of its colourful urban rail-transit system.

Where else can you see multiple tram lines pass through a 3rd century city gate? Thanks to Stephen Hirsch for suggesting this photo location at Porta Maggiore.

Exposed using my Lumix LX7 in early April 2017.


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Italian High Speed Train at Firenze; or, how to use your phone to find a location.

Probably the best thing about the smart phone that I was coerced into acquiring is the interactive map.

When in Italy, I found this map useful in finding locations.

A modern Italian high speed train glides through Firenze-Statuto, a suburban station on the north side of the city. Lumix LX7 photo

With a touch of the screen, my position was immediately located. Railway stations are highlighted in blue, and I found it easy enough to calculate both distance and estimated walking time.

Using this technique, I navigated my way through the touristy bits of Firenze (Florence) and found the station at Firenze-Statuto, which was a busy place to watch and photograph trains. I’ll call that a successful use of the new technology.

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Freight on the Italian Mediterranean Coast.

An FS (Italian State Railway) articulated electric locomotive leads a northward freight at Framura on Italy’s Mediterranean coast.

Using my Lumix LX7, I made this photo in the minutes before sunset in early April 2017. To make the most of the camera’s RAW file, I adjusted contrast and exposure in post processing using Lightroom and outputted this as a JPG sized for internet presentation.

Framura, Italy.

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Irish Rail at Cabra; Spoil revisited.

A few weeks back I posted some views from the Old Cabra Road bridge where an Irish Rail ICR arrived on scene and partially blocked my view of the ever elusive spoil train. (See: Are Two Trains Better than One?)

Just to clarify the significance of that event: Irish Rail ICRs (Intercity railcars) are the standard passenger train on most routes in Ireland.

Furthermore, a public App for your smart phone will alert you where these trains are running most of the time. Finding an ICR on the move is easily accomplished.

By contrast, the spoil train is difficult to find, even for veteran observers. It doesn’t run often, rarely has a rigid path, and tends run off path even when given one. It doesn’t appear on an App, which makes it even harder to find.

It’s like a ghost train and I’ve missed it more times than I’ve managed to picture it.

Colm O’Callaghan and I scored views of the spoil train from Old Cabra road a few days ago. This was one of my favorite from the sequence.

Exposed digitally using my FujiFilm X-T1 with 90mm f2.0 prime lens.

Persistence and patience are the lessons for the day.

Dark Alleys of Genova.

Genova (Genoa, Italy) is an old Mediterranean port city, famous as the home of Christopher Columbus .

(Facebook viewers will need to click on this post to see the full photo as FB has tends to crop vertical images to the horizontal with little consideration for content).

The old city is a maze of dark narrow alleys where the sun rarely shines.

Exposed using my Lumix LX7 in April 2017.

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Italian Challenges.

It was a bright April 2017 morning when I arrived at Genova Piazza Principe. The station is scenically situated in an open area between two tunnels.

The challenge of making visually impressive photos of Italian railways lies in finding ways to handle the infrastructure effectively.

Italian Railways are very heavily built and largely electrified. The result is a plethora of columns, poles, masts, wires and other necessary, yet visually distracting elements that can make finding a clean composition a difficult task.

Throw in some graffiti, litter, and a few dodgy shadows, and a photo can appear overly busy and cluttered, so careful attention to detail is a must.

FS intercity passenger train 659 running from Milan to Ventimiglia departs Genova Piazza Principe in April 2017. Exposed using a Lumix LX7 from a public footpath west of the station.

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Milano Centrale Revisited.

I made my first visit to Milano Centrale (Milan Central Station) in February 2000.

Earlier this month (April 2017), I revisited this amazing example of railway architecture and made these photos using my Lumix LX7.

Milano Centrale is like an O-scale building on an N-scale model railway.

This is one busy station and served by hundreds of trains daily reaching points across Italy and elsewhere in Europe.

Recently, I featured Milano Centrale in my book Railway Depots, Stations & Terminals published by Voyageur Press.

Here’s an excerpt of my text:

Milano Stazione Centrale (Milan Central Station) is a monumental railway terminal that faces the Piazza Anrea Doria. . . [the station’s] design was the result of an architectural competition held in Milan in 1913 . . . Although the plan dated from before World War I, its blocky style and super human scale seems to typify the public architecture of the interwar Fascist period. [Milano Stazione Centrale] was one of the last great railway stations built in Europe before World War II.

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A Century-old American Streetcar Design that still works Italian Streets.

The Peter Witt streetcar is an example of an American design adopted by European cities.

I featured the Peter Witt in my book Field Guide to Trains and Locomotives and Rolling Stock published by Voyageur Press in 2016. This is also available from Amazon.

Here’s an excerpt of my text:

The Peter Witt was a widely built steel-body center-door streetcar noted for its early use of the ‘pay as you enter’ system, where passengers paid fair to the motorman and eliminated need for a conductor. Exiting passengers used the center door to minimize delays during stops. The car-type was named for its designer, the Cleveland Street Railway commissioner, who originated the car arrangement about 1915 . . . The Peter Witt was adopted in Italy in the late 1920s.

I exposed these images of a venerable Peter Witt working the streets of Milan earlier this month (April 2017) using my Lumix LX7.

Lumix LX7 telephoto view at dawn in Milan, Italy. April 2017

See yesterday’s post  Milan Peter Witt at Dusk for a view of the Peter Witt’s distinctive door arrangement.

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Milan Peter Witt at Dusk.

It was a drizzly dusk two weeks ago (April 2017) when I used my Lumix LX7 to expose this image of a Peter Witt streetcar in Milan, Italy.

With the Lumix set at ISO 200; my exposure was  f1.8 at ¼ (using  ‘A’ mode that allows me to select the aperture, while the camera automatically selects the shutter speed).

To steady the camera, I rested it on a railing conveniently located at the tram stop.

I’m fond of making night shots where there’s still a hint of colour in the sky.

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Paris Gare de Lyon

For my money Paris Gare de Lyon is the coolest station in France.

Here’s just a few views from my brief visit earlier this month.

All were exposed using my Lumix LX7. Film enthusiasts fear not! I also made some colour slides of this iconic railway terminal.

Read more about railway stations, buy my book Railway Depots, Stations & Terminals published by Voyageur Press.

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SNCF’s TGV; Brussels to Milan

A couple of weeks ago, I found good deal on-line for a 1st Class SNCF ticket from Brussels Midi to Milan via Paris.

It was an early start from Brussels. I enjoyed some fast running, a quick change at Lille Europe, and an hour and half to navigate my way across Paris.

I made these photos of the train journey with my Lumix LX7.

Brussels Midi just before sunrise.
Gliding along at speed near the Belgian-French frontier.
Lille Europe high-speed station.
I traveled on this TGV Duplex between Lille and Paris Gare du Nord.
Upstairs on the TGV Duplex.
Paris Gare du Nord.
The longest and final leg of my TGV journey was between Gare de Lyon and Milan on this multi voltage TGV set.

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RPSI Gone Retro.

The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland is naturally historically minded, obviously. But in this situation I’ve used a vintage 1930s Leica IIIa with period Nikkor 35mm lens to expose traditional black & white film.

All of these photos were made on RPSI’s diesel tour to Galway and Kilkenny on 8 April 2017.

For some images I used Kodak Tri-X processed in Iford ID11 and toned with selenium, for others I worked with Ilford FP4 (ISO 125) which I processed in Agfa Rodinal Special.

You’ll spot subtle differences in tonality.

Kodak Tri-X, rated at ISO 320 and processed in a two bath developer then toned with selenium for 9 minutes mixed 1 to 9 with water.
Kodak Tri-X, rated at ISO 320.
Portarlington. Kodak Tri-X, rated at ISO 320
Ilford FP-4 processed in Agfa Rodinal Special.
Kodak Tri-X, rated at ISO 320
Kodak Tri-X, rated at ISO 320
View from the train near Woodlawn. Ilford FP-4 rated at ISO 125.
Focused on the train at Attymon. Ilford FP-4 rated at ISO 125.
My view of the train at Attymon in black & white. I’ve got a tight shot in colour. Ilford FP-4 rated at ISO 125.
Galway. Ilford FP-4 rated at ISO 125.
Galway. Ilford FP-4 rated at ISO 125.
Galway. Ilford FP-4 rated at ISO 125.
Ballinasloe. Ilford FP-4 rated at ISO 125.
Portarlington. Kodak Tri-X processed in Ilford ID11 and toned with selenium. Note the extreme range of exposure latitude. 
Kilkenny. Ilford FP-4 rated at ISO 125.
At the end of the day in Connolly Station, Dublin. Ilford FP-4 rated at ISO 125.

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Bruxelles Central/Brussel Centraal (Brussels Central Station)

Brussels Central Station features six tracks below ground, with an art deco styled station building above ground.

It lies between Brussels two main termini; Nord/Noord (North) and Midi/Zuid (South).

The incongruity in names and spellings is a function of Belgium’s two primary languages (French and Flemish) combined with the tendency of the English language to rename places without consideration for local spelling or pronunciation.

During my most recent visit to Belgium I made a couple of visits to Belgium’s main stations. While not strictly photographic ventures, I always plan to make photographs during the course of my travels.

Opportunity taken on site can save a lot of running around later on.

If you are interested in railway stations consider my book: Railway Depots, Stations and Terminals published by Voyageur Press.

SNCB is a very busy railway and Brussels Central handles a tide of trains at rushour.

This sign represents the Flemish spelling for the station.

Photos exposed using my Panasonic Lumix LX7.

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Underground, on the Surface, and on the Elevated: Trams in Köln.

Just a few views from the lens of my Lumix LX7: trams on the roll in Köln during my recent visit.

Köln’s extensive light rail network has endless opportunities for photographs. Over the years I made a few images, but I’ve long felt a more extensive exploration is in the cards.

Someday . . .

At the Dom/Hauptbahnhof station.
Rudolf Platz, Köln.
On an elevated structure approaching Neusser Str.

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Köln Hbf—March 2017

At the end of March 2017, I revisited the Köln Hauptbahnhof (main railway station).

It was almost 21 years since I made my first visit here with my dad back in 1996.

I was delighted to see that a few of the old East Germany class 143 electrics were still on the move. Once very common, these old electrics have become relatively scarce.

This image was exposed digitally using my Lumix LX7.

Köln Hbf in March 2017.

Portraits, engine photos and station-scapes with my Lumix LX7 on 8 April 2017.

Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s Trip to Galway and Kilkenny—Part 2.

More photos from my Lumix exposed Saturday 8 April 2017, on the RPSI’s The Marble Tribesman Diesel Tour that ran from Dublin Connolly Station to Galway via Portarlington and Athlone then to Kilkenny via Kildare.

Galway. (something behind me must be more interesting than old 081 beneath the shed!).
Irish Rail’s 081 catches the sun at Galway. Not much left of the sidings in the goods yard here.
Photo at Woodlawn, County Galway.
Welcome to Woodlawn! (Thanks to Stephen King for pointing out the sign).

Detail of 081 at Kilkenny.
Station stop at Athy, County Kildare.
Reviewing photos from the stop at Kilkenny.
A surprise birthday song for barman Jon Nabb (left).
Jon opens a gift.

Also surprised for his birthday was RPSI’s Fergus (left).
We arrived back at Connolly Station at dusk after more than 12 hours on the road.
Engine 088 having been uncouple from the train waits to run around at Connolly Station, Dublin.
Group portrait of Irish Rail staff and hangers on at Connolly.

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