A significant portion of Porto’s modern light rail Metro system is built on the right of way of an historic narrow gauge network.
In March 2019, photographer Denis McCabe and I visited the old station at Senhora da Hora in suburban Porto. The station building an a water tower survive, providing visual clues of operations from former times.
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Saturday’s (13 April 2019) The West Awakerail tour put Irish Rail’s class 071 diesels in the limelight.
Although once regularly used in prominent passenger services, in recent years Irish Rail’s 071 class General Motors diesels have largely been assigned to freight and per-way (maintenance) trains, which makes their prominent use in excursion work of great interest to observers
I photographed 071 locomotives that participated in Saturday’s tour. Engine 074 delivered Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s Cravens carriages from Irish Rail’s Inchicore Works to Connolly Station in Dublin.
Locomotives 082 and 075 had been specially prepared for the tour and set up of multiple unit working, a highly unusual arrangement for these agile six-motor diesels in Ireland.
At Claremorris, the 071 class-leader (number 071 and dressed in retro orange and black paint) took over for the runs to Ballina and Westport.
For 071 enthusiasts, 082 was a special treat because of its extra-loud base roar in the higher throttle positions. While 075 is a curiosity because it is painted in a slightly warmer shade of gray than most of the other members of its class.
I made these photos of the well-maintained 1970s-era General Motors locomotive on parade during The West Awake tour.
Special thanks to everyone at Irish Rail and the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland for making the tour a very enjoyable experience and productive photographic opportunity!
During the course of yesterday’s Railway Preservation Society of Ireland The West Awakerail tour to County Mayo I exposed dozens of portraits of the crew, passengers and observers, along with views of the train from many angles.
This selection was exposed using my FujiFilm XT1 digital camera.
Thanks to Irish Rail and the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland for a well-planned rail excursion!
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In my Railway Guide to Guide to Europe, I featured Porto’s Sao Bento Station.
On my recent visit to Porto with fellow photographer Denis McCabe, I took the opportunity to re-photograph this stunning railway terminal. I’ve included a few of these views below.
Here’s an excerpt from my text on Sao Bento Station:
Sao Bento . . . was designed by architect Marques da Silva and constructed in the early 20th century. . . .Portuguese stations are known for their elaborate blue painted-tile decorations but none is more elaborate than Sao Bento. Inside the main hall allegorical tile murals by Jorge Colaço depict the history of transportation and events in Portuguese history.
In contrast to my April 2014 visit to Porto’s Trindade station , where I remember horizontal rain blowing into the covered over portions of the platforms, my more recent visit was under clear sunny skies.
Trindade is a busy junction station where Porto Metro lines interface with each other.
At the northeastern end of the top level, Metro tracks exit the station into an open area while taking a remarkably tight curve before plunging into a tunnel below the city.
I exposed these views using my ‘new’ Lumix LX7 on a visit to Porto in late March 2019.
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.
The scenic Douro Valley is legend as one Portugal’s great places to ride and photograph trains.
On our brief visit to the valley last week, Denis McCabe and took positions on the south side of the river to photograph regularly scheduled passenger trains that for a short time were being hauled by vintage English Electric diesels.
What’s so special about diesel-hauled passenger trains? Not only do the English Electric engines represent a throw-back to an earlier era, but by-in-large Portuguese Railways are electrified and/or host passenger multiple units in place of diesel locomotive hauled trains.
I made these photos using my FujiFIlm XT1 with 90mm lens.
Porto boasts two large Eiffel bridges over the River Douro.
One is a disused railway bridge; the other is this one pictured— the famed Pont Luis I, which carries tram-operated Metro Line D and a pedestrian walkways on its top level and a road on the lower level.
I made this view with my Lumix LX7 from an alleyway east of the bridge.
Under a clear sky with a blazing sun over my left shoulder, I made this view of a Comboios de Portugal (Portuguese Railways) local passenger train pausing for a station stop at Valega.
This small town benefits from a regular interval stopping passenger service on the busy double-track Lisbon-Porto mainline that hosts high-speed Alfa Pendolino, InterCity long distance, and lots of freight trains on the same rails.
Last Saturday, 30 March 2019, Denis McCabe and I navigated sinuous roads over the hills from the Douro Valley to Marco de Canaveses, Portugal in order to inspect one of Portuguese Railways’ vintage English Electric-built diesels that are temporarily assigned to scheduled passenger services on the scenic sections of the Douro Valley route to the east.
Locomotive 1455 restored in a retro-blue livery was laying over between runs at the Marco de Canaveses station. We had about 10 minutes to make photos, before we departed for the return drive to the Douro Valley to catch this machine at work.
I made these views using my Lumix LX7, but also exposed a few Fujichrome Provia 100F slides.
Minutes ago (on 4 April 2019) I made this view from Conyngham Road in Dublin as an ICR working a Grand Canal Docks-Hazelhatch service exited the Phoenix Park Tunnel and crossed the lattice bridge over the River Liffey.
Spring is in bloom and the trees are just getting their leaves, yet it is freezing outside with a harsh nip in the wind.
On the agenda for last week’s photographic adventure in Portugal was a venture into the Douro Valley.
In recent weeks line-works had resulted in a throw-back operation of regularly scheduled Douro Valley passenger services using vintage English Electric diesel hauled trains in place of diesel railcars.
[Translation: a limited opportunity to make photos of vintage trains in very scenic settings.]
Denis McCabe and I departed Porto in our hired car for a location I’d preselected the night before.
Google Maps provided the most direct (if not the shortest) route to a point south east of Aregos on the south bank of the river. Neither of us had ever been here before.
For me the Douro Valley resembles a populated version of California’s Feather River Canyon.
We made it just in time: shortly after our arrival we heard a diesel working up the valley. The cameras were hastily switched ‘on’, positions taken and photos made.
Special thanks to Tracking the Light reader and fellow photographer Stephen Hirsch who supplied us with up to date details on Douro Valley operations.
Not bad for our first minutes in the Douro Valley. But there’s more to come! Stay tuned . . .
Tracking the Light is on ‘auto pilot’ while Brian is traveling.
Never pass up a perfect sunny photograph. That’s been my policy for a very long time and its one that pays off.
There’s nothing special about an Irish Rail Rotem-built InterCity Railcar (ICR) on the Sligo Line.
And 20 years ago there was nothing special about a General Motors 071 diesel-electric with Mark 2 carriages on the same run. Photos like this one will age well. Someday some young photographer will wish that he/she was at Clonsilla to capture a scene like this one.
I made this view using my Lumix LX7 at Porto’s Campanha Station on Friday 29 March 2019. I’ve posted this using a wireless ‘hotspot’ connection from my MacBook to my iPhone. Apologies if the quality isn’t up to standards or if the photo doesn’t load quickly.
I’ve exposed hundreds of photos in Portugal over the last few days. It may take some time before I’ve had time to sort through every thing.
As I write this, I’m sitting on a hillside with fellow photographer Denis McCabe overlooking the supremely scenic Douro Valley awaiting the passage of an English Electric diesel-hauled passenger train, as per the recommendations of Tracking the Light reader Stephen Hirsch.
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.
Tracking the Light is on Auto Pilot while Brian is Traveling.
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!
Travel Notice: Brian will be traveling over the coming days and weeks, so Tracking the Light notices and responses may become infrequent. However:
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.