Category Archives: Class 201 diesel

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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Lucky Morning at Islandbridge!

Just a little while ago I was passing the usual place at Islandbridge Junction in Dublin. Although mostly cloudy, I took a glimpse over the wall. A horn hooted from the Phoenix Park tunnel and an Enterprise 201 eased out onto the Liffey Bridge.

As locomotive 206 approached, running light engine toward Irish Rail’s Inchicore Works, the clouds parted and brilliant morning sun illuminated the junction.

Lumix in hand, I made these photos!

Lumix LX7 photo 25 March 2019.

Irish Rail 206; Lumix LX7 photo 25 March 2019.

Travel Notice: Brian will be traveling over the coming days and weeks, so Tracking the Light notices and responses may become infrequent. However:

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Heuston Station Evening Glint—Three Photos.


Working with my Lumix LX7 I made these three evening glinty views of Irish Rail trains to and from Cork at Dublin’s Heuston Station.

I’ve always loved the soft orange glow of filtered evening light.

Where’s the filter you ask? It’s in the sky. A mix of clouds and pollution—particulates and other stuff—alters the spectral qualities of the setting sun by pushing the color balance toward the red-orange end of the spectrum.

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Irish Rail Quad Track at Lucan South‑Sun, Cloud and Trains!


Irish Rail makes good use of its quad track on the Cork Line in southwest suburban Dublin. Fast Intercity trains overtake slower moving all-stops passenger trains and the occasional freight.

The other day Colm O’Callaghan and I spent sometime documenting the action.

The sky was a tapestry of clouds with spells bright blue sky. In other words a typical Irish afternoon.

I made these views with my FujiFilm XT1 and 27mm pancake lens. Since top speed for passenger trains is 100 mph/160 kmph, I set the camera to 1/1000 second to freeze the action.

In addition to the digital photos I made a few select views on Fujichrome Provia with my old Nikon N90S and 135mm lens. Those remain in the camera.

Irish Rail ICRs work the Dublin-Westport train on the ‘down slow’ line.

A few minutes later a similar consist races by on the ‘down fast’ line. (Outside tracks are designated ‘fast’, inside tracks ‘slow’. Signaling is set up for directional running.

It was overcast when Irish Rail 218 raced by with a Mark4 set for Kent Station, Cork.

Speaking of Cork, I was on the phone to a Tracking the Light reader there when this ICR set with the new ‘blue doors’ worked up-road on the ‘up-slow’ (Up is toward Dublin; Down is away from Dublin). Previously I’ve reported on the change to Irish Rail’s ICRs with the addition of blue doors in place of green. I described these as ‘purple’ (they still look purple to me, but I’ve been informed the color is ‘blue’.)

Trailing view of a Cork-Dublin train on the ‘Up fas’ line.’ Nice burst of sunlight!
IWT Liner
Irish Rail 088 leads K803 (Ballina to Dublin North Wall IWT Liner) on the ‘Up Slow Line’.

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Irish Rail Old Cabra Road Dublin.


Here’s a few black & white views exposed last week on Kodak Tri-X of Irish Rail’s branch from Islandbridge Junction to the North Wall/Connolly.

Recently, Irish Rail has expanded service on the Grand Canal Docks—Hazel Hatch/Newbridge run and now trains run at least hourly throughout the day.

Following a Grand Canal Docks bound passenger train was the daily Up IWT Liner (Ballina to North Wall, Dublin).

Since these trains were coming out of the relatively harsh midday sun, I opted to work with black & white film, which makes the most of the contrast and allows me to control shadow and highlight detail to a greater degree than with my digital cameras, while giving the images a period look.

Irish Rail 234 with Up IWT Liner (Ballina to North Wall, Dublin) at Old Cabra Road in Dublin

To maximize tonality and detail from the negatives I employed a ‘split process’ using two developers.

First I use a very weak solution of Kodak HC110 mixed 1 to 250 to water. To intensify the detail in shadows while avoiding over processing highlight areas, I keep the developer temperature comparatively high (73F) and allow it to work to exhaustion. My second developer is Ilford ID mixed 1-1 for 6 minutes 45 seconds with one minute agitation intervals. Then stop; fix 1, fix 2, rinse for 3 minutes, hypoclear, then a series of final washes. Dry and scan.

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Kildare Summer 1999.



In the summer of 1999, I was standing on the footbridge at Kildare station where I focused on Irish Rail 225 leading Mark3 carriages as it approached at speed.

My first Nikon N90S was loaded with Ilford HP5 and fitted with an old Tokina 400mm fixed focal length telephoto.

The train was common; my photograph was unusual. Working with extreme telephoto compression, I’ve framed the train in the arch of road-bridge, which has the effect of accentuating the pattern of the crossovers east of the bridge.

I recall the piercing Doppler squashed screech of 225’s horn as it neared the platforms, warning passengers to stand back.

The memory of that sound and the following rush of air as the train raced past puts me back in that place in time nearly 20 years gone. I know too well how I was feeling at the time. Strange how one photograph of a train can summon such memories and feelings.

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Irish Rail 217 River Flesk—A Lesson in Night Photography.


The other evening I made a few handheld photos of Irish Rail class 201 diesel number 217 River Fleskat Dublin’s Heuston Station.

217 was working a Mark4 set on the 2100 schedule to Cork.

There are myriad approaches to night photography. In this instance, I worked with my Lumix LX7 without a tripod.

I’m fortunate because I have an unusually steady hand. The Lumix further aids my efforts because it has image stabilization.

I set the camera to ISO 200, and working in ‘A’ (aperture priority) I manually set the lens aperture to its widest opening, which in this case is f1.8. The wider the aperture, the more light passes through the lens to reach the sensor, so having a ‘fast’ lens (one with a small maximum aperture number, such as my f1.8 lens) is a huge benefit.

This set up allowed me work with a 1/10 of second shutter speed, which is adequate speed for a static photograph.

Lumix LX7 photo f1.8 at 1/10th second hand-held, ISO 200, auto white balance. JPG adjusted from a camera RAW file using Lightroom.


Lumix LX7 photo f1.8 at 1/10th second hand-held, auto white balance

If I had been using my FujiFilm XT1 with the kit zoom lens, my widest aperture would have been about f4.5, which is nearly two full stops slower than f1.8, which means at ISO200, I’d require about ½ second exposure to obtain a comparable result, which is too slow for a sharp handheld image in most instances.

Another way of approaching this would be raise the ISO. So with the FujiFilm set up just described, I could increase the ISO setting to 800, which would boost the effective sensitivity of the sensor by two stops (bringing me back up to 1/10thof a second using f4.5). However, this would also boost the noise level and reduce sharpness.

Back in the old days, I would have used Kodachrome, and that would have required a tripod, and probably some filters to colour-correct for the artificial light. Today, digital cameras when set to ‘auto white balance’ do an admirable job of balancing the colour for fluorescent, sodium vapor and other forms of artificial light that tend to tint an image.

Normally for night work with the Lumix, I’d dial in a 1/3 over exposure compensation (+ 1/3 on the exposure compensation dial) however in this situation the relatively bright night sky where low cloud was illuminated by lots of artificial light combined with the silver body of the locomotive and bright platform lighting, obviated the need for boosting the exposure by 1/3 of a stop.

However, I did make some very subtle changes in post processing to help visually separate the roof of the locomotive from the sky.

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Irish Rail’s Sligo Timber at Islandbridge.


Recently discussions of Irish Rail’s Sligo Timber have led me to ask, ‘When did this traffic end?’

Sometimes my memory offers a clear picture of the past, in other situations it is fuzzy and lacking desired detail. This is among the reasons I try to apply detailed labels and captions to my photographs near the time of exposure.

I recall the Sligo timber’s revival in Spring 2002, and my many opportunities to photograph timber trains on the Sligo Line and in around Dublin in the years that followed, but I’m unable to remember when the last train operated.

On guessing, I thought 2007 or 2008 was pretty close. So on reviewing my photo files, I was a bit surprised to find this photograph dated 21 May 2009.

Photo by Brian Solomon on 21 May 2009.

I exposed this view on Fujichrome from my regular spot at Islandbridge Junction, which shows Irish Rail 232 in the modern green livery leading a timber out of the Phoenix Park Tunnel. The construction-progress of the apartments at left helps me confirm the date of the photo.

So, when was the final movement of timber by rail from Sligo? I must have been away.

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Last in the Series: Irish Rail 234.


This is my final Irish 201-class diesel posting in my 2018/20-year retrospective series.

Irish Rail’s ‘down Waterford’ at Cherryville Junction, Co. Kildare, 23 January 2005. Exposed on Fujichrome Provia 100F.

I have to admit, old 234 isn’t my favorite, and there’s a bit of, ‘ah not that one, again.’ But so be it! If we ever need photos of 234 on the move, I have many to chose from.

Here I present two: one in the classic orange livery from 2005, and a recent view in green and silver.

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Irish Rail 233

My penultimate post for 2018 that features Ireland’s 201-class diesels focuses on locomotive number 233—second to last in the series (201-234).

In recent times this has worn the minimalist ‘raccoon’ livery, while for a number of years it wore the older Enterprise scheme.

I exposed these views of 233 in the Dublin area over the last three years.

I’ve been featuring the Irish Rail 201 diesels as part of my 20 years in Ireland photography retrospective. I started with the class leader number 201, and have progressed sequentially. Take a wild guess as to which locomotive I’ll conclude the series! (This is not a trick question. You don’t need to consult a crystal ball or take a class in advanced mathematics.).

Irish Rail 233 in Enterprise paint works the down IWT Liner (Dublin to Ballina) at Clondalkin on March 24, 2016. This was shortly before it was repainted into the ‘raccoon’ livery.

In September 2016, Irish Rail 233 works the Belmond Grand Hibernian at Islandbridge, Junction.


Old 233 seen at Dublin’s Connolly Station in September 2018. Lumix LX7 photo.

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Irish Rail 232 in 2017; A 201-Class in Fresh Paint.


As 2018 draws to a close, I still have three more Irish Class 201 diesel-electrics to feature as part of my on-going 20 year Irish Railways Retrospective!

Next up in the queue is Irish Rail 232.

In  Spring 2017, this was the latest locomotive running around in fresh paint, and I’d made a point of catching on the IWT Liner (Dublin to Ballina, Co. Mayo).

Here’s two views from March 2017.

8 March 2017, Irish Rail 232 leads the up-IWT with container pocket wagons viewed from Stacumni Bridge near Hazelhatch in suburban Dublin.
The following week I caught 232 with the down IWT Liner roaring up ‘The Gullet’ from Memorial Road in Dublin.

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Raccoon at Mallow

Irish Rail has two of it 201 class General Motors diesel painted in a simple livery; silver with a broad black stripe (plus yellow semi-circle upfront). These have been coined ‘raccoons.’

Although 231 had been working the Mark 4 sets on the Dublin-Cork run for several weeks, I was still momentarily puzzled when I spotted the down Cork approaching Mallow back in February 2018.

‘What’s this?’ I thought, expecting something green.

‘Ah! 231, of course.’

I always like it when I get something unexpected, yet if I had known this was approaching, I’d probably have positioned myself on the far platform.

Photos exposed digitally using my FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm zoom.

I made some exposure and contrast adjustments to this wide angle view to allow for greater detail and more balanced exposure on the shadow-side of the train.

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Classic Chrome: Irish Rail 230 with Bulk Bogie Cement at Limerick Junction.

On 19 May 2003, the sun was shining at Limerick Junction.

I made this view of Irish Rail 230 in Enterprise paint working an up-road bulk-bogie cement from Cork.

Using a Contax G2 rangefinder with 45mm lens, I exposed this view on Fujichrome Sensia II (100 ISO) . Key to my composition was the semaphore to the left of the train.

In 2003, Limerick Junction saw several weekday freights; today there are no revenue freight moves on this part of the system.

In recent weeks, Limerick Junction has been undergoing another major reconfiguration to install a platform on the south side of the Cork-Dublin line.

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Two in One (view); Class 201s 228 and 229 together on 23 September 2018.

In more than 20 years of photographing Irish Rail, 23 September 2018 was the first time I’d photographed a pair of 201s together on a train.

FujiFilm XT1 photo.

I’d been alerted by folks on the Cork-end of the railway that this unusual move was on it way to Dublin. Although the Cork – Dublin Mark 4 with 229 and 228 arrived after sunset, myself and Jay Monaghan documented this unusual occurrence at Heuston Station.

FujiFilm XT1 photo.

I made photos using my FujiFilm XT1 and Lumix LX7 digital cameras.

Successfully capturing unusual or unique events are among the challenges of the railway photographer.

Lumix LX7 photo.

FujiFilm XT1 photo.

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Irish Rail 227 in Three Photos.

Irish Rail 227 is another of the workhorse 201 class diesels.

This is part of my continuing series featuring Irish Rail’s Class 201s to commemorate my 20 years of photography on Irish Railways.

Irish Rail 227 works down road at Cherryville Junction on 6 May 2000. Exposed using a Nikon N90S fitted 400mm Tokina Lens on Fujichrome Sensia II (100 ISO).

Connolly shed, the rarely photographed end of 227.

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Irish Rail 226 and its Great Southern & Western Railway Commemorative Plate.

Irish Rail 226 is unique because of commemorative plate(s) it carries on the sides of the locomotive.

Here’s a selection of digital photos I exposed of 226 at Portarlington on 13 October 2018.

Irish Rail 226’s commemorative plate.

A dreary morning at Portarlington. Lumix LX7 photo.

Lumix LX7 photo on 13 October, 2018. A few hours later this camera failed. Thankfully, I have others to work with.

Sometimes a detailed photograph says more than an overall view. What do you think?

 

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Irish Rail 224: 20 Years In Ireland: Irish Rail class 201 Retrospective

I’ve been exploring and photographing Irish railways since 1998. To mark my twenty years photography, I’ve been displaying images of each of Irish Rail’s 201-class General Motors diesels in numerical order.

Today’s locomotive is 224, seen above  a while back in a view that’s up-close and personal. The introduction photo was made on 17 March 2017 in a curve between Mourne Abbey and Rathduff, Co. Cork. A green loco for St. Patricks Day.

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Enterprising the Boyne or BIG BRIDGE tiny train.

Irish Rail’s lofty Boyne bridge spanning the river and valley of the historic Boyne at Drogheda poses a visual conundrum.

This prominent span rises high above Drogheda. It is a very impressive bridge.

But it’s difficult to adequately picture a train on it. Feature the bridge; the train is lost. Feature the train; the bridge gets cropped.

Look up at the bridge; and the train is marginalized.

Stand back to take in the whole span of the bridge and the train becomes insignificant.

Place the train at the center of the bridge and it become lost in the iron work.

Complicating matters, the only regularly scheduled trains with locomotives are the cross-border Belfast-Dublin Enterpriseservices, and on these train the locomotives always face north.

Last Sunday, I made these views of up and down Enterpriseconsists at Drogheda.

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Irish Rail 223 Then and Now.

1998 and 2018

As it happens, Irish Rail 223 was one of the first Irish locomotives I put on film.

I made this view at Tralee back in February 1998. Expose with a Nikon F3T on Fujichrome slide film.

Additional views of 223 were exposed digitally in recent weeks.

Irish Rail 223 leads the up IWT liner from Ballina at Islandbridge in Dublin on a August 2018 evening.

The next day, 223 works the down IWT liner at Islandbridge Junction. One a locomotive is assigned to the IWT liner it often works if for several days in a row.

Comparatively little rolling stock in service back in 1998 remain active on Irish Rail today.

Who could have guessed that I’d be making photos of Irish Rail 223 more than 20 years after I caught it at Tralee on that cloudy Febraury morning!

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Irish Rail 222—The Bishop.

Many Irish Rail locomotives have nicknames. Engine 222 is ‘The Bishop’ or ‘Bishop Tutu’, which is an allusion to its number.

Over the last 20 years, I’ve caught this locomotive at many places across the Irish network.

Irish Rail 222 working push-pull set at Cherryville Junction on 20 September 2002. Exposed on Fujichrome with a Nikon.

10 June 2006; An electrical power cut at Westport, County Mayo had required the use of portable generators at the station. In addition to the discordant cacophony at the normally peaceful location, this had resulted in some unusual moves to get trains positioned properly, such as this view of 222 with Mark 3s beyond the station to the West.

See: DAILY POST: Timber and General Motors, June 10, 2006 

Irish Rail 222 works a Dublin to Cork Mark4 set nearing Kent Station, Cork.

Now officially 02-10222. The Bishop basks in the evening sun at Heuston Station in Dublin.

Working the IWT liner from Dublin to Ballina, at my all to often photographed location at Islandbridge in Dublin. Exposed digitally using my FujiFilm XT1.

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Irish Rail Workhorse Diesel; The Unremarked 221 in four photos.

Here’s four views of Irish Rail 221; two film, two digital; two orange, two green & silver; two with passenger, two with freight; one in snow, three without; but all showing this machine on the move.

221 leads the down Dublin-Cork liner at Ballybrophy on 25 March 2005. Exposed on Fujichrome Velvia 100F using a Nikon F3 with 180mm lens.

This is part of my on-going series depicting Ireland’s class 201 diesel electrics to mark my 20 years photographing in Ireland. Photographic details in the captions.

Irish Rail 221 leading Mark 3 carriages at Kildare on a damp summer day in 2005. Exposed on Fujichrome Velvia 100F using a Nikon F3 with 180mm lens.

Freshly painted 221 (with expanded number) leads the down IWT liner (Dublin to Ballina container train) at Islandbridge Junction in Dublin. Exposed digitally using a FuijFilm XT1 with 90mm Fujinon telephoto lens. Notice the effect of scale with the monument visually positioned over the locomotive. The date of exposure was 21 September 2017.

Irish Rail 221 in the snow at Islandbridge in Dublin on 28 February 2018. Exposed digitally with a FujiFilm XT1 and 27mm pancake lens.

Question: do head-on telephoto views portray the shape of the 201-class effectively?

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Irish Rail 220; Here and There, North and South, Freight and Passenger, Then and Now.

Five views of Irish Rail 220.

Of the Irish Rail class 201 diesels, number 220 is well represented in my collection! Let’s just say I had lots of photos to pick from, both on film and with digital.

Any favorites among these?

April 2000, I found Irish Rail 220 at Belfast Central. Exposed on Fujichrome Sensia II using a Nikon.

In August 2005, 220 leads Mark 2 carriages toward Connolly Station as viewed from Old Cabra Road in Dublin. The shadowy cut made for a contrasty slide.

In 2014, I caught 220 working the down IWT Liner west of Kildare from the main road over pass. Exposed using my Canon EOS 7D with telephoto lens.

In 2015, I caught 220 working the up-IWT Liner (International Warehousing and Transport container train heading toward Dublin port) passing the station at Hazelhatch on the quad track near suburban Dublin.

It was a fine October day at Cork’s Kent Station when I exposed this view of 220 with a Mark IV set.

In each of the images, I’ve made nominal adjustment to exposure, contrast and colour balance.

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Navy Blue—Irish Rail 216 for Belmond’s Grand Hibernian.

In my earlier 216 post I pictured Irish Rail 216 in its ordinary paint liveries, before it was specially adorned for service on the Belmond Grand Hibernian cruise train in 2016.

This post features 216 in fancy dress.

Off season, 216 will work other services. It is seen arriving at Kent Station in Cork with a Mark4 set from Dublin.

216 looks best on a bright sunny day.

The slightest change in colour balance will dramatically alter the tint of Belmond’s navy, making this train unusually challenging to picture accurately. It is seen passing Islandbridge on a sunny Sunday morning.

216 up close. Unfortunately the navy colour tends to show dirt and grime more readily than other liveries.

I wonder, with all the attention now paid to 216, has this become the most pictured of the 201 class diesels?

The Grand Hibernian is among the trains featured in my book: Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe, now available from the Kalmbach Hobby Store.

https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/book/01304

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Irish Rail 216 in Ordinary Dress.

Today, Irish Rail 216 wears a one of a kind navy-blue livery and is seasonally assigned to Belmond’s luxury Grand Hiberniancruise train.

 This has become one of the most popular trains to photograph in Ireland and I’ve caught it here and there over the last few years.

For my 201 retrospective, I thought I’d present a few photos of 216 before it was blue.

Irish Rail 216 was among the first 201 class diesels I put on film. Here it is at Westport, County Mayo back in February 1998. Exposed on Provia100 with my Nikon F3T and 135mm lens.

In April 1998, I made this view of 216 at Heuston Station, back when the station shed was blue, but 216 wasn’t! 24mm view with Fujichrome Sensia.

Also in April 1998, 216 with a Mark3 set at Kent Station, Cork. A 135mm view on Fujichrome Sensia (100 ISO).

This seems unusual now: Irish Rail 216 in orange paint on the container pocket wagons (CPWs) then assigned to Dublin-Cork midday liner. Photographed at Islandbridge Junction in Dublin using a Contax G2 with 28mm Biogon Lens. Give me a good price, and I’ll sell you the lens. (I’m totally serious!) briansolomon.author@gmail.com

And there’s 216 in fresh green, yellow and silver paint, rolling through Cherryville Junction with a down Mark3 set on 20April2006. How things have changed!

Stay tuned for more soon!

Check out my new book: Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe, now available from the Kalmbach Hobby Store.

https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/book/01304

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Oh No, Not the Dreaded 215! Again . . . 

Irish Rail 215. Is this my least favorite of the 201 class locomotives?

It’s probably my most photographed.

My first recognition of the 215-effect was on a trip to Galway many years ago. Friends were visiting from America and we were traveling on the Mark3 International set.

Soon after departing Dublin Heuston, it was evident that the train was in trouble. We weren’t making track speed. When we got to Hazelhatch, our train took the loop. Old 215 had failed. We waited there for about 40 minutes until 203 was summoned for a rescue.

Some months later, I returned from Boston to Dublin, and on the front page of the papers was 215 at Heuston Station—on its side! It had derailed.

15April2006 Irish Rail 215 works the Galway train passing Attymon. Fujichrome slide.

Possibly one of my first photos of 215, working the Mark3 push-pull at Westland Row in Dublin, April 1998. Fujichrome exposed with a Nikon F3T and 135mm lens.

Old 215 in orange paint at Pearse Station in 1998.

And which loco worked the very first publically scheduled Mark IV set from Dublin to Cork?

215 with a patch! Islandbridge Junction in September 2006. Not its first trip on the Mark4 set, nor its last!

Out for the down train, take a guess which loco I’m most likely to catch!

Here’s a Mark4 trial in April 2006. Revenue working began a couple of weeks later. Top of Ballybrophy bank on the Dublin-Cork mainline.

Uh! There it is again. Damn thing is a like a shadow.

Near Newbridge on 14 April 2009. Back when film was all I had.

Irish Rail 215 in clean paint with the up-road IWT liner passing Fonthill.

Good ol’ 215.

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Irish Rail 214: Two Sunrise Views, Dublin and Mallow.

This pair of photos depict Irish Rail class 201, engine number 214 at work on passenger and freight.

The top photo was exposed in July 2005. I wanted to make a photo of the 0700 (7am) Dublin-Cork passenger train departing Dublin Heuston, before the service was changed to one of the new Mark4 sets.

My theory was that this service was rarely photographed leaving Dublin owing to the early hour and backlit sun. I had months left to do this, but by July the days were getting shorter, and by the following summer the Mark 4s would be in traffic. (It pays to think ahead).

So I went to my favorite spot on the St. John’s Road, and used my Contax G2 with 28mm lens and exposed a few frames of Fujichrome Sensia (100).

Irish Rail 214 departs Dublin with the 0700 train for Cork. Today the Mark3 carriages are a memory and 214 is stored at Inchicore.

The bottom photo was exposed at Mallow on 18 July, 2003 at 0622 (6:22am). I’d gone out for another train, but instead caught this late running cement that was carrying some containers at the front. The train paused for three minutes at Mallow to change crews.

Here, I worked with Fujchrome Sensia (100 ISO) using my Nikon F3 with a 180mm Nikkor telephoto lens.

These are part of my continuing series on the Irish Rail 201 class locomotives aimed to mark my 20 years of railway photography in Ireland (1998-2018).

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Six Vintage 201 photos: Spring with Irish Rail 213!

Years past, I made many colourful photos of Irish Rail 213 River Moy on bright Spring days.

One of my first encounters was in May 1998 at Carlow. I’d arrived by bus (Shhh!!) and made photos of the down train (Dublin to Waterford) at Carlow station using my Nikon F3T loaded with Fujichrome Sensia 100.

View through the fence from the road using a 135mm lens.

213 side-on as it approaches the down starting signal at Carlow in May 1998.

Seven years later, in the Spring of 2005, I was keen to catch 213 on the move, since this was the first Irish Rail class 201 to wear the revised orange livery with bright yellow front end.

I saw this as a big improvement over the original 201 livery.

On 8 April 2005, I photographed 213 in fresh paint with my Contax G2 and 28mm lens on Velvia slide film.

Close up of 213 at Cork’s Kent Station using my Nikon N90S with telephoto lens and Sensia 100 film.

A month later on 8 May 2005, I made this view of 213 light engine at Heuston Station in Dublin. Anyone need a cheap shoe?

And because it fits the theme, I’ve also included a view from April 2006, of 213 descending Ballybrophy-bank racing toward Dublin.

It was on the evening of 17 April 2006 when I caught 213 with Mark3 carriages on the up-Cork passing milepost 62 1/2.

213 hasn’t turned a wheel in many a Spring now. It waits its turn in the sun in a deadline at Inchicore.

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Irish Rail 212 Flying Along at Cherryville Junction.

I made this panned view of Irish Rail class 201 number 212 working up-road at Cherryville Junction on 11 January 2003.

Blurred birds help convey the sense of speed as 212 races toward Dublin on 11 January 2003. This is part of my sequence of posts commemorating 20 years of railway photography on Irish railways. Next up is Irish Rail 213.

Panning is an effective technique for conveying motion. For this view I used a short telephoto lens and a comparatively slow shutter speed, probably about 1/60thof a second, while moving the camera in tandem with the locomotive.

Key to making an effective pan is maintaining constant speed and smooth motion.

Novice panners may make the mistake of stopping panning as they release the shutter. This results in a jarring complete blur that produces something less than the intended effect.

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Irish Rail 211, I Never Went Out for it, but here it is! 4 Views.

Ok, I’ll be honest. Irish Rail 211 seemed like part of the furniture. Just a common 201 class diesel. I didn’t make any special effort to put it on film.

Yet, whenever it passed, hauling freight or passenger, I made photos of it.

It’s hard to believe that its been nearly 10 years since I last saw 211 on the move. Yet, when I look at these photos, the scenes tell all.

So much has changed in the interval.

400mm Telephoto view from the top of Ballybrophy bank on 13 May 2000 with an up-road train from Cork to Dublin.

Kent Station Cork on 10 January 2005. Fujichrome Sensia 100 exposed with a Nikon F3 with 180mm lens.

A down road bubble cement train heading to Cork passes Ballybrophy on 25 March 2005. Exposed with a Nikon on Fujichrome Sensia 100.

Irish Rail 211 in the revised orange and yellow livery as photographed at Islandbridge Junction in Dublin on 10 December 2007. Canon EOS-3 with 50mm lens. Note the Bo-Bo towing a failed Enterprise 201.

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Irish Rail 210—Three Scenes NEVER to be repeated.

Brian’s 20 years in Ireland/class 201 numerical retrospective, part 10.

During the last 20 years an awful lot has changed at Irish Rail.

Here are three scenes never to be repeated and all featuring Irish Rail class 201 number 210—one of ten class 201 locomotives now stored at Irish Rail’s Inchicore works.

All were exposed on Fujichrome slide film using Nikon cameras. Details in the captions.

A view from 1998, not long after I made my first visit to Ireland, locomotive 210 with a set of Cravens under the train shed at Heuston Station in Dublin. Both locomotive and train shed are covered in grime. This was before the shed was renovated and the station brightened up. Notice the old-style lamps on the front of the loco. I was working with the glint effect, catching the light of the setting sun on the Cravens and interior surfaces of the station.

This was 11 May 2000. 18 Years ago. Locomotive 210 was working  an up-Ammonia at Limerick Junction. The Ammonia traffic ended in 2002.

On 13 May 2005, 210 works a down Dublin-Cork train at Rathpeacon. Stored fertilizer wagons occupy the sidings at the left. Since this photo was made the sidings at Rathpeacon have been removed and the old wagons scrapped.

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201 Retrospective: 209 in the Most Unlikely Place.

Continuing my 20 years in Ireland/class 201 numerical retrospective, I’m featuring loco 209 in a most unlikely place.

Hint, if you are not viewing this post on Brian Solomon’s Tracking the Light, you’ll need to click the link or all you’ll see is a view of this locomotive at Islandbridge Junction in Dublin!

Locomotive 209 in the old Enterprise livery at Islandbridge Junction.

Same locomotive, same place, but wearing an interim livery before being painted in the current Enterprise livery, and carrying the number 8209 in stead its old 209 id.

Irish Rail 209 at Wellingtonbridge 24 Nov 2003 working a sugar beet train destined for Mallow Co. Cork. At this time, the line from Waterford to Limerick Junction was shut owing to a bridge collapse at Cahir and sugar beet trains were running via Kildare. As a result, some 201 class locomotives worked beet trains. This was the only time I ever saw an Enterprise 201 on the South Wexford line.

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Class 201 Retrospective: Northern Irish Railways 8208 Everywhere but the Enterprise.

Next up for my 20 years in Ireland/class 201 numerical retrospective is old 208/8208: to be different, I’m posting views of 8208 (one of two Class 201s owned by NIR for Enterprise service) working a variety of trains but not the Enterprise!

Originally, the locomotive was number 208, and it had been painted in an attractive NIR blue livery, similar to the 111-class diesels.

I never saw it in blue.

208 as I first saw it; a thumbnail scan from a slide I made in 1998.

Working a Dublin-Waterford train at Athy in July 2003, shortly after it was renumbered 8208.

For few years 8208 worked in a unusual variation of the Enterprise livery, as pictured here on an RPSI excursion near Clonsilla on the Sligo line in 2009.

NIR 8208 in the latest Enterprise livery working Irish Rail’s IWT liner from Ballina at Memorial Road in Dublin.

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