Room with a View: The Challenges on Photographing from/on a Steam Locomotive Footplate—12 Photos.

Earlier this week it was organized for me to travel on the footplate of Great Northern Railway of Ireland 85.

The thrill of experiencing a steam locomotive cab on the main line is a rare privilege.

My job was to make photographs and stay out of the way.

Locomotive driver Ken Fox works on the left side of the engine as it rolls through Tipperary countryside.

Locomotive 85 is a three cylinder compound  4-4-0, a 1932 product of Beyer Peacock.

The compound arrangement is what intrigued me, but like the low droning throb sounding  from the 20 cylinder diesel powering an EMD SD45, this element of the steam equipment is beyond my ability to picture.

Instead, I had to settle for making images of the crew at work and the locomotive in motion.

Fireman’s view near Mountrath on the Cork Line.
12mm Zeiss Touit view of the fireman shoveling coal.
Fireman’s view of a Mark 4 train up road near Thurles. Special viewing equipment on my Fuji XT1 made images like this possible.
Fireman’s view. Working the injector.
View of the firebox.

The footplate offers a rough ride, while swirling coal dust and locomotive exhaust complicate photography and the handling of sensitive equipment. The lighting is at best difficult. Staying out of the way often means that I wasn’t always  able to get the angle I really wanted and needed to make due with where I was able to stand.

Driver side view.
Feeding the fire. Lumix LX7 photo.

The locomotive is bathed in smoke and dust.

Special thanks to everyone at the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI) and at Irish Rail for making my locomotive journeys possible.

For details about the RPSI and scheduled steam and diesel trips see:

https://www.steamtrainsireland.com

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