Category Archives: Class 201 diesel

GP7 on the Work Extra

The other morning was bright and clear in North Conway, NH.

Locomotive 573 (a former Maine Central GP7) was put to work on Conway Scenic Railroad’s work train.

The work train ran from North Conway to Conway to load ballast and ties.

I made this photo at the Golf Course crossing in North Conway using my Nikon Z6 digital camera with 24-70mm zoom lens.

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Railroad Details

Yesterday, I wandered around the station at North Conway seeking detail images of the property to post to social media to help promote Conway Scenic Railroad.

The ‘station’ being more than just the building, but the whole property where the railroad conducts its business.

Photos made with a Nikon Z6 digital camera.

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Tarratine—by Day!

A week ago Kris and I visited the crossing at Tarratine, west of Rockwood, Maine where we waited for the eastward Canadian Pacific freight number 132.

This remote crossing bisects the track in a sweeping curve in the forest. We waited here for quite some time. Finally, I heard the distant sound of laboring General Electric diesels. And then, finally, a distant whistle.

I set up with my Nikon Z6 fitted with a f2.8 70-200mm Z-series zoom. When the train came into view, I exposed a series of digital images and made a pair of color slides on Ektachrome.

The slides remain latent (unprocessed), but here are a few of my digital images.

Some my regular viewers on Tracking the Light have expressed interest in seeing more photos of the freight cars behind the locomotives. So I’ve included a few of those images too.

Later that night, Kris and I returned to this same crossing where we made a series of night photographs of the westward freight. Those will be featured in another posting.

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Heuston Vignettes

During my visit to Dublin last month, I stayed the Ashling Hotel across the Liffey from Irish Rail’s Heuston Station. This gave me ample opportunity to revisit this old haunt during my wanders around the city.

Working with my Lumix LX7, I made this selection of views around the station during my final 24-hours before flying to Boston.

I’d made my first photos at Heuston upon arriving by train from Galway in February 1998, more than 24 years ago!

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Locomotives at Inchicore

During April 2022, on an official tour of Irish Rail’s Inchicore Works, I had the opportunity to make photos of locomotives and equipment.

Having been away from Ireland for several years, one of the things that struck me during my week-long visit was the variety of paint liveries on Irish Rail equipment.

Its really a pretty colorful railway!

I made these images using my Lumix LX7, which was my primary camera during this trip.

The Lumix is compact & lightweight, but versatile and capable of extremely highquality photos despite its small size. It’s Leica lens is extraordinarily sharp.

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Irish Rail at Islandbridge Junction—25 April 2022

Yesterday, I returned to my old location at Islandbridge Junction in Dublin for the first time since November 2019.

Although I’d made countless photos here over the years, it was nice to be back at this once familiar place again.

The procession of passenger trains was certainly down from pre-Covid times, but in the course of about half an hour I photographed five trains passing through the junction.

I made these views using my Lumix LX7 and processed the Lumix RAW files using Adobe Lightroom.

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Nine Years Ago-Irish Rail Pan in Blue Light

On the evening of February 25, 2013, I was walking along the wall on the St. Johns Road in Dublin. There’s a low spot where a few stones have been dislodged, and it was here I peered over the wall.

A Cork train was heading down road behind 201-class 219. Working with my old Lumix LX3, I exposed this pan photo.

Irish Rail 219 departs Dublin Heuston Station on February 25, 2013.

The original file was a bit dark, so I lightened the camera-RAW file using Lightroom and scaled it for presentation here.

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Irish Rail 201 framed.

In May 2001, I stood on the old footbridge at Irish Rail’s Kildare Station and framed an up-road train using the bridge’s lattice iron-work .

Irish Rail locomotive 213 (of the 201 class EMD diesels) led Mark III carriages. At the time this was about as common as one could expect for an Intercity passenger run.

Now, the Intercity MarkIII carriages are long gone, and old 213 is among the 201-class diesels stored at Inchicore.

I made the square image with my Rolleiflex Model T. Kodak 120-size Tri-X film processed in a customized mix of Ilfotec HC developer.

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Manulla Junction—May 2002

2002 was a productive year for my photographic adventures.

Working with my Contax G2, I exposed this sequence of black & white photos on Kodak Tri-X at Irish Rail’s Manulla Junction in County Mayo.

This isolated station served as the transfer point for passengers traveling on the Ballina Branch.

In the the long view, the Ballina branch train can be seen to the right, with the Westport-Dublin train on the left.

Leading the Dublin train is Irish Rail Class 201 #215.

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Window on Killarney

September 30, 2016, on the advice of Ken Fox, I traveled to Killarney for an unusual convergence.

Rail Tours Ireland’s Emerald Isle Explorer and the Belmond Grand Hibernian—Ireland’s only two high-end tour trains were both scheduled to arrive at Irish Rail’s Killarney on the same afternoon.

I made my photos and then returned to Dublin on-board Irish Rail’s regularly scheduled train that was worked with one of the common Hyundai-ROTEM Intercity Rail Cars (ICRs).

I made this view on board the ICR using my Canon EOS 3 with 40mm pancake lens loaded with Ilford HP5 processed.

I processed the film in Kodak HC110 mixed 1-64 with water at 68f for 4 mins. Later I toned the processed negatives in a Selenium solution mixed 1-9 for 9 minutes. This last step boosted the highlight detail to give a silvery glisten.

Negatives scanned with an Epson Perfection V600 flatbed scanner.

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Two 201s Together

Under normal circumstances, Irish Rail operates its class 201 General Motors diesel locomotives singly.

Such was not the case three years ago, when on 23 September 2018, photographer Jay Monaghan and I had the rare privilage of picturing a pair of 201s together at Dublin’s Heuston Staton on a train that had just arrived uproad from Cork.

I made this view using my Lumix LX7.

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Grand Hibernian—17 September 2016

Five years ago, I was poised at the army bridge near Mosney over the old Great Northern line to photograph the, then new, Belmond Grand Hibernian on its run from Dublin to Belfast.

This luxury tour train made weekly tours of the Irish network in season.

Irish Rail class 201 number 216 was painted to match Belmond’s train set, and was routinely assigned to the train.

Belmond’s choice of a dark navy blue made for challenging photos in conditions other than bright sun. In photos, this shade of blue often appeared almost black, and when lightened using post processing software tended to shift green.

In this view, I selectively lightened the front of the locomotive, and applied minimal lightening to the shadow areas of the entire scene. I’ve attempted to retain the true color of the train as best I can.

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Geometry and Contrast—Kent Station, Cork

Here’s another view from Kent Station in Cork exposed on a visit in 2002 using my Contax G2 rangefinder loaded with Kodak Tri-X.

The repetitive geometry of the station roof and the extreme contrast between light and dark gives this photograph dramatic impact.

I was standing on the platform, just under the station roof at the east-end of the curved train-shed, where I was using the elliptical valance of the roof as a visual frame to bracket the pair of Irish Rail trains.

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Kent Station, Cork—April 2002.

On a day trip to Cork City (Ireland) in April 2002, I made this photo using my Contax G2 rangefinder on Kodak Tri-X.

I had the camera fitted with a 45mm Zeiss lens. Key to the image tonality was an orange filter, which gives the photo a contrasty snap with lots of texture in the sky while lightening the rendiition of the shade of orange paint on the class 201 diesels.

Kent Station, Cork, Ireland, April 2002.

I’d processed the film using a custom mix of Ilfotec HC.

To scan the film, I used my Epson V600 flatbed scanner with Epson Scan 2 driving software. I made nominal adjustments to contrast using Adobe Lightroom.

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Five Years ago at Santa Ana

On August 4, 2016, I spent a little while at the Metrolink station in Santa Ana, California on the old Santa Fe photographing passenger trains coming and going.

As modern adapted stations go, Santa Ana is cool.

This view was made from the footbridge over the tracks. I was putting my FujiFilm XT1 digital camera through its paces.

Working with Lightroom, I made adjustements to color temperature, contrast and color saturation to improve this Fuji RAW file. I wanted to make the most of the California color palate.

Metrolink F59PHi 877 works at the back of train 687.

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Irish Rail 204 and Mark3s

11 April, 2009 was a bright day in Ireland.

Irish Rail was in its final months of working 201-class diesels with hauled sets of Mark 3 carriages on regularly scheduled intercity trains.

Using a Canon EOS 3 loaded with Fujichrome Sensia II (100 ISO), I exposed this image of Irish Rail 204 racing down road near Sallins, County Kildare.

Scenes like this, once so common, were soon to be just a memory.

Word to the wise: Look around you. What changes may soon alter the everyday? Make your photos before it’s too late.

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Stacumni Bridge This Day Five Years Ago!

Tight view of a 201 class EMD diesel.

On March 3, 2015, I made this view of 201-class 8209 in an interim paint scheme leading a down Irish Rail IWT Liner at Stacumni Bridge near Hazel Hatch in suburban Dublin.

I was working with my recently acquired FujiFilm XT1 and getting used to the peculiarities of this excellent image making tool.

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Old 204 at Enfield!

I like vague titles.

My Irish friends might wonder, since Irish Rail class 201 number 204 in unlikely to have ever reached Enfield, County Meath on the Sligo Line—although the older C-Class diesel with the same number probably did pass that point (before my time).

Amtrak F40PH-2 204 almost certainly passed Enfield, Connecticut on the former New Haven Railroad’s Springfield-New Haven Line, a route now described as the ‘Hartford Line’. While I have various photos in the 1980s of the 200-series F40PH-2s, it is unlikely that I have a photo of 204 at Enfield.

Then there’s an extremely remote possibility that I have a photo in my collection of a Boston & Albany 4-4-0 with that number passing Enfield, Massachusetts on the Athol Branch. I’ll have to review my B&A roster to confirm they actually had a locomotive with that number and if it ever ran up the branch.

So!

How about Guilford Rail System’s high-hood GP35 204 working the Maine Central with MABA at Enfield, Maine?

Regular Tracking the Light readers might understand my connections to this engine.

(It’s a sister locomotive to former Maine Central 216 that now resides at Conway Scenic where I now work.)

Too many ephemeral and tenuous connections?

Just wait, I could make signaling allusions!

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Large Chrome at Cherryville!

On May 11, 2002, I worked with a Rollei Model T loaded with 120-size Fujichrome to make this view of Irish Rail 213 leading a Mark 2 set down road at Cherryville Junction, Co. Kildare (Ireland).

For the social media view I’ve cropped in on the original view, while for Tracking the Light, I’ve published the full un-cropped square.

Unfortunately in the original un-cropped version I centered up the front of the locomotive at the middle of the square. Poor composition!

I guess, I’ll have to go back and do it again!

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Cork’s Kent Station: Three Views on Tri-X.

During October’s Cobh Rambler tour, I made these views at Cork’s Kent Station on Kodak Tri-X black & white film.

The tour was operated by Railway Preservation Society of Ireland in conjunction with Irish Rail.

Kent’s curved Victorian train shed makes for a fascinating venue to photograph a modern railway in action, while the inclement weather on the day translated well with the traditional media.

I processed the film using a customized split development process consisting of  Kodak HC110 presoak mixed 1-200 followed by primary development using Ilford ID11 1-1. The negatives were scanned using an Epsom V500 flatbed scanner with some minor final adjustment using Lightroom.

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Irish Rail 225 on the 0800 to Cork.

This morning, Irish Rail 201-class diesel-electric number 225, recently overhauled after years of inactivity, worked the down 0800 Dublin Heuston to Cork passenger train.

From what I hear, this is the first time this nearly quarter-century old locomotive has worked a passenger train since returning to service.

I made these photos a few minutes ago at Islandbridge Junction while out for my morning walk.

Exposed using a FujiFIlm XT1 with 27mm pancake lens.

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Irish Rail 225 Back On the Roll!

After nearly a decade hiatus from revenue service, Irish Rail class 201 number 225 is again working trains.

Yesterday, Monday 28 October 2019, photographer Jay Monaghan and I walked up to Cabra and patiently waited for 225 that was leading the down IWT Liner (North Wall in Dublin to Ballina, County Mayo.)

Giving the train an extra bit of color were 11 hot-pink ‘ONE’ 40-foot containers, which are relatively new to Irish Rail.

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Faces of The Cobh Rambler—lots of photos!

Saturday wasn’t the brightest or driest day.

Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s  The Cobh Rambler departed Dublin Heuston Station as per schedule.

It was raining by the time we passed Lucan South (about 6 miles from Heuston).

By the time we reached Cork it was lashing.

On these excursions I often focus on my friends, many of whom are Irish Rail employees and/or RPSI members.

Thanks to everyone who made this trip a success!

All images were exposed using my Lumix LX7.

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Limerick Junction—5 October 2019.

Arriving on Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s  Cobh Rambler,  I photographed four trains at Limerick Junction during the train’s brief pause.

The weather was dire, but that’s all part of the challenge.

New footbridge at Limerick Jct.

More photos from the Cobh Rambler soon!

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Irish Locomotives Yesterday and Today?

Often I assembled Tracking the Light posts several days in advance of publication (or ‘posting’).

As I write this, rain lashes at my window in Dublin.

If all goes to plan, as you read this my friends and I will be traveling on the RPSI diesel tour to Cork and Kerry, titled the ‘Cobh Rambler.’

Traveling behind diesels, especially the 1970s-vintage 071 class General Motors locomotives, has become a novelty in Ireland since the widespread purchase of Intercity Railcars in the mid-2000s, replaced most diesel hauled trains.

This has made diesel trips, such as that one planned for today, a special treat.

What promises to make this trip especially unusual is the very rare combination of 071 class and 201 class working together. There has been considerable comment and speculation as to which locomotives may work this trip.  Sometimes the locomotive planned for the day is re-assigned, develops a fault, or is replaced for other reasons. 

Over the years I’ve photographed most of the GM diesels in Ireland, and in this post I’ve put up a sampling of the locomotives suggested might work today’s train.

Irish Rail 078 with the Steel Train at Kildare on 7 April 2019.
Irish Rail 225 at Tralee, Co. Kerry in August 1999. Exposed with a Nikon N90S on Fujichrome Sensia II (100 ISO).
Irish Rail 232 with up IWT Liner at Stacumni Bridge near Hazelhatch in March 2017.

Learn more about the RPSI: https://www.steamtrainsireland.com

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Steam and Freight; Side by SIde.

It’s a comparatively unusual occurrence to find an RPSI steam excursion side by side with an Irish Rail freight.

In fact, over the last two decades, I’ve only had a handful of opportunities to photograph steam excursions and freight together.

Last Wednesday September 11, 2019, was one of those opportunities.

Locomotive number 4 on its way from Galway to Dublin with the Steam Dreams trip was paused to take water at Athlone, when the up-IWT liner from Ballina arrived to change crews. In the lead was locomotive 234.

I made a few photographs, then the sun emerged from the clouds, so I made a few more photos!

Here are examples from both my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm XT1 digital cameras.

FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm lens.
Lumix LX7 photo at Athlone.

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Take a Spin on Irish Rail—8 Photos.

Last week I boarded an Irish Rail ICR (InterCity Railcar) at Dublin’s Heuston Station.

Taking the train is more than opportunity to travel, it is a great time to make views of the railway at work and in motion.

I expose these photos on board using my Lumix LX7.

Irish Rail ICR at Heuston Station, Dublin.
Passing an Irish Rail Mark 4 set led by locative 229 as we departed Heuston Station.
It’s a bit strange to make a novel view such as this one, while being only a very short distance from my apartment in Dublin. At left is the Wellington Testimonial in the Phoenix Park, a monument I can see from my window.
Rolling along at speed on the Cork-Dublin main line in quad track territory in suburban Dublin.
Kildare.
Clara.
Paused for a station stop at Clara.

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Irish Rail photos on Flicker

I recently opened a Flicker account under the name briansolomonauthor.

Among the various albums is one devoted to Irish Rail. This features a modest selection from the thousands of images I’ve expose of Irish Rail since 1998.

Even if you do not have a Flicker account you should be able to enjoy my photographs. I hope to post new selections on a regular basis.

Click the following link to go directly to my Irish Rail Flicker page:

https://www.flickr.com/gp/163833022@N05/01i2r2

I’ve also assembled various other albums including those for: Conrail, Finnish Railways, Transit, Railway Stations, and New England Central.

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Irish Rail 225 Crosses Gardner Street in Dublin.


It was just an ordinary day when I made this impromptu view of Irish Rail 225 working a Mark 3 push pull set on Dublin’s Loop Line crossing over Gardner Street Lower.

What was common in 1998 seems pretty neat today. I’m glad I exposed the slide!

To make the most of this photograph, I scanned the slide using a Nikon Super Scoolscan5000 then imported the TIF file into Lightroom for contrast and exposure refinement plus colour balance and colour temperature adjustment.


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Irish Rail at Carlow—21 DEC 2003,


A visit to Irish Rail’s Carlow station on the shortest day of 2003, yielded some classic black & white photos, including these two views. The Cravens were working a scheduled service from Waterford to Dublin.

Working with a recently acquired Rollei Model T (the third such cameras I’d used over a 30 year span), I exposed a single roll of 120-size Fuji Neopan 400. The Rollei made a large square negative, which I really liked.

At the time my choice process for this film was using Agfa Rodinal Special (R09) at a ratio of 1 to 31 parts with water for about 3 mins 45 seconds. In this case I selenium toned the negatives for improved highlight detail.

Final presentation here included scanning using an Epson V750 flatbed scanner and some minor adjustments to contrast and cropping with Lightroom.

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Irish Rail Mark-4 Approaching Kildare.


On 6 April 2019, I was working with a 1980s-vintage Nikon F3HP fitted with an even older Nikkor 24mm lens to expose this view of Irish Rail 219 in ‘push-mode’ at the back of Dublin-bound Mark4 set at Kildare

This slide was among the photographs I exposed on Fujichrome Provia 100F on an excursion to Kildare with Paul Maguire and Jay Monaghan to photograph the Waterford-Portlaoise Saturday steel train (seen in the distance at Kildare station).

I digitized the slide using an Epson Perfection V750 flatbed scanner and imported the TIF file into Lightroom for final adjustment and outputted a scaled JPG for presentation here.

Several weeks ago on Tracking the Light I published a digital view of this same train, exposed moments after I made this slide.


Exposed at 1/1000th of a second at f4.0 on Fujichrome Provia 100F

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RPSI’s The West Awake—Eight Views from the Train.

One of the pleasures of traveling on an historic train is the ability to make photos of the line and passing scenery.

Modern cameras with rear-displays make this much easier since it isn’t necessary to have your eye to the camera to compose photos, while built-in line levels aid in composition.

Adjustable ISO ratings allow selection of more appropriate shutter speeds for action images.

This is a selection of photos I made from Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s The West Awake excursion on 13 April 2019.

Photos were exposed using my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm XT1. The Fuji benefits from an extendible and adjustable rear display that is especially useful on these trips.

Roscommon.

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Busy Time on the Branch—Views from Dublin’s Conyngham Road.

On Monday afternoon, 15 April 2019, I made this sequence of photos from Dublin’s Conyngham Road.

In just a few minutes I photographed four trains passing over the Branch that connects Islandbridge Junction with lines to Connolly Station/North Wall yards.

Exposed using my Lumix LX7; files adjusted for colour balance and contrast using Lightroom.

At 1452 (2:52pm a Hazelhatch-Grand Canal Docks ICR passed; note the signal with feather at left).

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GM Powered Diesel Leads Portuguese Timber Train.


Most of the Portuguese main line network is electrified, which makes diesel hauled trains something of a novelty.

Among the regular diesel hauled trains are freights by Portuguese open access operator Takargo, such as this one led by a Vossloh-built Euro 4000 diesel-electric locomotive.

This unusual looking machine sounds familiar since it is powered by a General Motors Electro-Motive Division designed 12 cylinder 710 diesel engine. The Euro 4000 is a cousin of Ireland’s 201 class locomotive and the America F59PHI, also powered by variations of the 12-710.

I made these photos from the platforms at Porto Campanha.

Lumix LX7 photo.

FujiFilm XT1 photo.


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Kildare; Light; Action!


Irish Rail diesel trains on the move.

On Saturday (6 April 2019), Paul Maguire, Jay Monaghan and I were in position at the road bridge west of Kildare Station on Irish Rail’s Dublin-Cork mainline.

The elusive steel train was holding on the middle road waiting to cross over, while a Mark 4 set from Cork weaved through the loop on its way to Dublin’s Heuston Station.

I made this view using my FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm fixed telephoto.

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Elusive ‘Raccoon’ leads the RPSI Cravens Transfer at the Gullet.

I made this photo on the morning of 18 March 2019 using my FujiFilm XT1.

I’ll admit that if you’re not closely familiar with Irish Rail’s Dublin operations my title to today’s Tracking the Light post might seem cryptic.

Two of the Irish Rail 201 class General Motors diesels, 231 and 233, are painted in a minimalist silver, black and yellow livery. These are colloquially known in the enthusiast community as ‘raccoons’ (or ‘badgers’).

Engine number 233 has been shy lately and rarely seen out on the mainline.

RPSI stands for the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland.

RPSI owns an historic set of Cravens-built passenger carriages.

These are stored/maintained at Irish Rail’s Inchicore works (repair shops), and when they are required for an excursion, Irish Rail makes a transfer run across Dublin to deliver them to Connolly station for boarding.

The graded three-track line from Islandbridge Junction to Inchicore runs through a cutting along Con Colbert Road known as ‘the Gullet’.

While I’ve covered most of this previously, I figure it doesn’t hurt to review the esoteric every so often to avoid confusion.

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