London Overground—Part 2

 

 

More Views London’s Overground Network

Yesterday’s post (London Overground–Part 1 posted April 27, 2013) offered a cursory survey of London’s Overground network. Here I’ve posted a follow up with more images.

London Overground Train.
London Overground Train. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.
London Overground.
Overground train approaches Brondesbury on April 19, 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.

Since Overground primarily serves neighborhoods in London’s outer reaches and is a much more recent addition to London Transport, it is undoubtedly less-familiar to visitors than the Underground. Yet, Overground is a boon for the railway enthusiast, since it connects a variety of interesting railway hubs and junctions.

 

London Overground with canal.
Overground crossing the Regents Canal at Haggerston on April 17, 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.
Train interior.
Interior of London Overground train on April 21, 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.

Overground services are fully integrated with other elements of London Transport, and there are many places allowing cross platform transfers to Underground and Network Rail services, as well as connections to buses and the Docklands Light Railway. Overground is open to holders of Day Travel Cards, Oyster Cards and other urban fares.

Class 59.
An EMD-built Class 59 diesel leads an empty stone train through Kensington-Olympia station on April 19, 2013. The Overground offers a convenient link to freight routes. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D and 28-135mm lens.
London Overground.
London Overground train approaches West Hempstead station on April 19, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens set at 135mm.
London Overground train at Clapham Junction. Lumix LX3 photo.
London Overground train at Clapham Junction. Lumix LX3 photo.

On the down side, many Overground stations suffer from austere, utilitarian, and otherwise uninspired architecture (if the term can be applied to the line’s platforms and shelters). Yet, I found the services well run, and stations and trains clean and easy places to make photographs.

An EWS Class 66 diesel leads a northward container train through the Overground station at Wandsworth Road on April 22, 2013. Canon EOS 7D photo.
An EWS Class 66 diesel leads a northward container train through the Overground station at Wandsworth Road on April 22, 2013. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Wandsworh Road on April 22, 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.
Wandsworh Road on April 22, 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.

 

Mirror-view of London Overground.
A platform mirror catches a view of an Overground train at Willesden Junction on April 19, 2013. Lumix LX-3 photo.
Hoxton Station
Hoxton Station on London’s Overground. Lumix LX3.
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London Overground—Part 1

Exploring London’s Overground Network

 

London Overground platforms at Clapham Junction. Lumix LX-3 photo.
London Overground platforms at Clapham Junction. Lumix LX-3 photo.

London’s Overground system provides a regular-interval rapid transit service on various radial railway routes. These routes utilize a mix of Network Rail mainlines, new specialized Overground lines, and lines converted from former Underground lines. Over much of its network, Overground services share tracks with franchise long-distance passenger train operators, freight services, and in a few places with Underground trains.

London Overground train approaches Wandsworth Road on its run from Clapham Junction to Highbury&Islington on April 17, 2013. Exposed with Canon EOS 7D.
London Overground train approaches Wandsworth Road on its run from Clapham Junction to Highbury&Islington on April 17, 2013. Exposed with Canon EOS 7D.

Recently, Overground completed an outer orbital ring. This allows passengers to make a complete circle around London (albeit requiring a couple train changes). Since this circle intersects several significant freight lines, I found it useful for studying and photographing freight trains in the London area.

Overground provides an easy link from popular places to photograph freights such as Kensington-Olympia, Wandsworth Road, and a variety of stations on the North London line. My experience on this most recent trip produced mixed results.

London Overground at Hamstead Heath
An Overground train approaches Hamstead Heath on the North London Line. Freights often use this line, filling paths between scheduled Overground services. Lumix LX-3 photo.
GB Railfreight locomotives.
GB Railfreight EMD-built Class 66 diesels roll toward London’s Kensington-Olympia station on April 19, 2013. Exposed digitally with a Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.
Class 66 diesel-electrics.
An EWS Class 66 diesel leads a Class 92 electric on a unit freight at Kensington-Olympia on April 19, 2013. The high volume of freight transiting London on this line, make Kensington-Olympia popular with photographers. While photographer’s lunch droppings make the station popular with pigeons. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.
An EWS Class 66 diesel leads a Class 92 electric on a unit freight at Kensington-Olympia on April 19, 2013.
Trailing view of a freight led by an EWS Class 66 diesel and Class 92 electric on a unit freight at Kensington-Olympia on April 19, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.

Since, Overground services have been much expanded since my last visit, I focused my efforts on riding and photographing routes that not previously experienced while re-exploring places I hadn’t visited in several years. As result, I wasn’t as patient waiting for freights to pass. While I saw many freights from the windows of Overground trains, I made only a few successful images of freight movements.

My time in London was limited and I had variety of social and business engagements. Also, I visited a variety of London’s museums, pubs, and other attractions.  Yet, I made good use of my time on the Overground. These are images are just a few of my results. Check London Overground—Part 2 for more views.

A London Overground train at Willesden Junction on April 19, 2013. Compare this view with the image of the London Tube train presented in an earlier post.
A London Overground train at Willesden Junction on April 19, 2013. Compare this view with the image of the London Tube train presented in London Underground Part 2.

 

London Overground Train.
London Overground Train. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.

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London Underground April 2013—Part 2

More Images of London Transport.

 

London Underground
West Brompton Station on the District Line on April 19, 2013. Notice the larger size of cars used on the District and Circle lines as compared with Tube trains.

As a follow up to yesterday’s post (London Underground April 2013—Part 1), I’ve displayed a few more London Underground images made during last week’s trip. I first photographed the Underground at South Kensington back in early 1998, using my Nikon F3T  loaded with Fuji slide film. By contrast, all of my images displayed here were exposed digitally, primarily with my Lumix LX-3, although I also made a few with my Canon EOS 7D.

London Underground
Kings Cross-St. Pancras Tube Station on Monday April 22, 2013. Lumix LX-3 set at ISO 200.

Riding the Underground, what always strikes me is the continual warnings to ‘Mind the Gap!

London Underground
At noon on April 19, 2013, a Bakerloo tube train approaches Willesden Junction. At this location Tube trains share tracks with Overground services. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D fitted with 28-135mm Canon lens.

Trains fit two profiles, the older and larger profile  such as that used by Circle, District, and Metropolitan Lines, and the later and lower profile used by ‘Tube’ services. These days many people refer to the whole of the Underground as the ‘Tube,’ (technically only the lines linking tunnels bored through deep clay which the lower profile trains use are ‘Tube lines’). Of course, in addition to subterranean routes, Underground trains also work surface lines and in some places share tracks with Overground and Network Rail trains.

London Underground
A Metropolitan Line train catches the glint on the evening of Wednesday, April 17, 2013. Lumix LX-3 photo.

 

London Underground
Underground Station at London’s Covent Garden, April 18, 2013. Lumix LX-3 photo.
London Underground signs
Signs boast of renovations and improvements to the Underground at Tottenham Court Road. Lumix LX-3 photo.
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London Underground April 2013—Part 1

Digital Images of Urban Transport.

 

London Tube
Caledonian Road Tube Station on the London‘s Piccadilly Line, April 19, 2013.

During 2013, London’s Underground network has been celebrating 150 years of service. This milestone is marked by posters and artwork around the network. For me the Underground is both a convenience and a subject for photography.

London Underground 150.
London Transport Poster celebrating 150 years of service on the Underground. Lumix LX-3 photo, exposed at Bank station on Sunday April 21, 2013.

The Underground is one of the world’s most complex and extensive railway rapid transit networks, and is well integrated with the rest of London transport.

Photographing on the Underground has its challenges. Space is often constrained, it tends to be dimly lit underground, and trains and platforms are nearly always crowded. The system boasts that it carries more than 1 Billion passengers annually! At times it seems that each and every one of these billion are in the way. Yet, the passengers are the reason for the system and often make for the most interesting images.

I’ve included a small selection of photos of the London Underground that I exposed over the last week. Most were made with my Lumix LX-3, which owing to its compact size and ease of use makes it my choice camera for making Underground images. Use of flash is prohibited; a tripod is impractical, so all of my images were made handheld with existing light.

Tube Station.
Highbury&Islington Tube Station on the Piccadilly Line, April 19, 2013.
Escalator at Leicester Square Tube Station.
London Underground Station at Leicester Square on April 22, 2013.
Escalator at Leicester Square Tube Station.
Classic Underground mosiac on the wall of the Tube. Lumix LX-3 photo.

 

London Underground
Escalator at Leicester Square Tube Station.
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Vistas with Battersea Park Power Station, London, April 17, 2013

The View From Wandsworth Road Station Footbridge.

Perhaps London’s most impressive railway backdrop is the disused Battersea Park Power Station. It is among London’s industrial icons and famous for its portrayal on the cover of Pink Floyd’s 1977-album Animals.

A Southeast Trains EMU from Waterloo Station passes the Battersea Park Power Station on April 17, 2013. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D fitted with 28-135mm lens.
A Southeast Trains EMU from Waterloo Station passes the Battersea Park Power Station on April 17, 2013. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D fitted with 28-135mm lens.

This location was recommended to me from veterans of railway photography and I first photographed here in the year 2000. The vantage point is from the lightly used suburban station at Wandsworth Road. Until recently, this was served by a loop service connecting London Victoria and London Bridge terminals. Now, the Overground rail network (subject of a future post) serves Wandsworth road.

Trains stop here every 15 minutes on the run between Clapham Junction and Highbury&Islington stations.

Several lines converge at Wandsworth Road, and in addition to continual parade of suburban trains are a variety of freight moves. Until a few years ago, Eurostar high-speed trains passed on their way to and from Waterloo International. Now, Eurostar serves St. Pancras and take a different route through London.

Battersea Park Power Station
Southeast Trains  services glide along at Wandsworth Road, London on April 17, 2013. Digital image made with a Canon EOS 7D fitted with 28-135mm lens.

I made these images only an hour or so after landing at Heathrow. As I waited for trains,  helicopters were circling as result of on-going funeral proceedings for Margaret Thatcher. Battersea closed as a generating station in 1983; ironic, isn’t it?

A Southeast Trains EMU from Waterloo Station passes the Battersea Park Power Station on April 17, 2013. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D fitted with 28-135mm lens.
Battersea Park Power Station on April 17, 2013.

 

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London April 2013

 

 

St. Pancras Station on Thursday, April 18, 2013.

Sir George Gilbert Scott’s Midland Grand Hotel along Euston Road, London, on the afternoon of April 18, 2013.
Sir George Gilbert Scott’s Midland Grand Hotel along Euston Road, London, on the afternoon of April 18, 2013. Exposed with a Lumix LX-3

I first visited London more than 15 years ago and since that time, I’ve revisited this dynamic city dozens of times. The impetus for last week’s visit was the opportunity to give an illustrated talk to the London-area Irish Railway Record Society. I made this image of St Pancras on my way to the talk, which was hosted at the Exmouth Arms near London’s Euston Station.

This magnificent structure is one of several important railway terminals along Euston Road. The massive ornate building was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, and historically served as both the St. Pancras head house and the Midland Grand Hotel. It remains one of London’s finest railway buildings. Beyond the head house is St Pancras’ immense balloon-style iron and glass train shed—the pioneer work of this type.

During my visit to London, I had the opportunity to explore the transport network. I found a variety of changes since my last trip to London, nearly two years ago. As one of the world’s great cities, London is undergoing a continual transformation. While elements of its past are incorporated in its new urban fabric, in each and every visit I find some things new and note some things forever lost. If nothing else, this keeps my cameras busy.

During this trip, I exposed more than 1000 digital images, and nearly 3 rolls of slide film. I plan to explore this material over the next few posts. Stay tuned!

 

 

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Southern Pacific’s Roseville Yard, February 1990.

 

SP SD7s work the East-end of Roseville Yard.

Southern Pacific Roseville Yard.
SP SD7s work Roseville Yard in February 1990. Exposed on Kodachrome 25 slide film with a Leica M2 fitted with a Leitz f2.8 90mm Elmarit. Metered manually using a Sekonic Studio Deluxe handheld photocell light meter.

In early 1990, I was living in Roseville, California and working in Sacramento. I worked nights, which meant I had lots of daylight to play with for photography. However, this was a Saturday evening. The day had been miserable—cold, damp, and dark. Not what people think of as ‘California weather,’ but typical enough for winter.

I’d been itching to make some photos, but theses dire conditions were uninspiring. Roseville wasn’t especially photogenic even on a good day, but there was lots of railroad interest around the place. Toward the end of the day, I saw clearing to the West, so I nipped down to the yard.

The East-end of Roseville was fairly accessible from public property. There was a grade crossing near the split between East Valley and Donner Pass routes. I made this image just as the sun dropped below clouds that were still spitting rain. A pair of SP’s venerable EMD SD7s working the East end caught the glint of the setting sun. The dark sky and glossy ground with evening sun is hard to top.

This remains one of my few good photos of Roseville Yard. Since then, Union Pacific merged with SP, and UP completely rebuilt the yard. The SD7s are long gone.

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Chicago & North Western 1385 in February, 1996.

Mid-Continent Railway Museum, North Freedom, Wisconsin.

I’ve featured Chicago & North Western 1385 in a number of books, including my American Steam Locomotive (published in 1998 by MBI), and Locomotive (published in 2001 by MBI) and most recently in Alco Locomotives  (2009 by Voyageur Press).

C&NW R-1
This view from inside the cross-tender’s shack at North Freedom show’s Chicago & North Western 4-6-0 1385 pulling up to the water tank to take on water. I made this classic scene in February 1996, during Mid-Continent’s annual “Snowtrain” event. I featured this image in my American Steam Locomotive among other publications. It was exposed on Kodachrome with my Nikon F3T and a 28mm lens.

The locomotive is preserved at the Mid-Continent Railway Museum  in North Freedom, Wisconsin, and was operated regularly when I lived in Wisconsin in the mid-1990s. My friend John Gruber had helped save the locomotive in the early 1960s, and it was his son Dick Gruber who introduced me to the engine when we worked for Pentrex Publishing.

Here’s an excerpt of my text from Locomotive on C&NW’s R-1 Class 4-6-0s:

If any one locomotive could be selected to represent Chicago & North Western’s steam power fleet, it would have to be the Class R-1 Ten Wheeler. In its day, the R-1 was the most common, and perhaps the most versatile locomotive on the railroad. A total of 325 R-1 were built, the most numerous type of any C&NW steam locomotive, and they were among the longest lived classes on the railroad as well.

 During the last 15 years of the 19th century, C&NW amassed quite a variety of 4-6-0s. Most were products of the Schenectady Locomotive Works, in Schenectady, New York, but some were built by Baldwin.

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Polish Steam Working Disused Track-Part 2

PKP 2-10-0 catches the light in April 2002.

2-10-0 locomotive
Exposed using a Nikon F3T with 24mm lens and R2 red filter on Fuji Neopan 400, and processed in Agfa Rodinal Special.

As I mentioned in Polish Steam Working Disused Track (Published on March 6, 2013), eleven years ago I rode a enthusiast’s excursion from Wolsztyn to Zagan in south eastern Poland led by PKP (Polish National Railways) 2-10-0 Ty3-2. This trip covered a variety of disused lines southwest of the Wolsztyn steam depot.

On that day, the train stopped more than 25 times for photography. This image was made near the end of the run. We were at a remote spot, not far from Zagan. The track was fairly derelict. After we got off, the train pulled ahead making for some nice effluence from the engine. Spring was in bloom and I framed the World War II-era 2-10-0 in the blossoming branches of a hedge.

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Irish Rail September 3, 2005; 185 and 134 work the Ballina Branch.

Mixed Pair Near Foxford, County Mayo.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

On the afternoon of September 3, 2005, I made this photo of vintage General Motors diesels working Irish Rail’s Ballina Branch train. The train was working from its connection at Manulla Junction to the north-end of the branch at Ballina. While mixed pairs of class 121 and class 141/181 diesels wasn’t unheard of, by 2005 it was a rare event.  Irish Rail’s 071 class General Motors diesels were more common.

185+134 near Foxford 3 Sept 2005 Brian Solomon 230137
Nikon F3 fitted with a Tokina 400mm f5.6 lens, exposed on Fuji Sensia 100 slide film.       Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.
http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

 

Today, the branch passenger service is the domain of railcars. Gone too are the old steam heated Cravens carriages.

185+134 near Foxford 3 Sept 2005 Brian Solomon 230141
Exposed with Nikon F3 fitted with a Nikkor f2.8 24mm. Fuji Sensia 100 slide film.

I was working with a pair of Nikon F3s (my old F3T and a F3HP). On one I had a Tokina 400mm lens, on the other a Nikkor f2.8 24mm. Both photographs were exposed on Fuji Sensia 100 slide film and scanned.

I’ll be presenting my illustrated talk “Ireland through American Eyes 1998-2008 My first Decade in Ireland” to the London area Irish Railway Record Society  this evening (April 18, 2013) at 7pm, .

The program begins at 1900 (7pm) upstairs at the Exmouth Arms, 1 Starcross Street, LONDON NW1, (advertised as a 5 minute walk from London’s Euston station). A nominal donation of £3.50 is asked of non-IRRS members (members £2.50)

For more on the IRRS see: http://www.irrs.ie/

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

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Irish Rail Ballast Train at Islandbridge, Dublin, April 16, 2013

Iarnród Éireann’s elusive HOBs on the move.

Yesterday morning (Tuesday April 16, 2013) was sunny and warm, but very windy. Fluffy clouds raced across the sky casting shadows as the rolled along. This is always a tough situation when waiting for a train to pass. Often, it seems the desired train passes just as cloud obscures the sun.

I was lucky; a big cloud was just clearing as Irish Rail 080 exited the Phoenix Park Tunnel. There was more than a two-stop difference between the cloudy and sunny spots. With full bright sun, I caught Irish Rail’s ‘High Output Ballast’ (known on the railway as HOBS) passing Islandbridge Junction.

Irish Rail Ballast Train
Canon EOS 7D with 40mm pancake lens, exposed at 1/500th second f7.1. In-camera Jpg and RAW files were made simultaneously. This is a scaled Jpg from the in-camera Jpg.

I made a few Fujichrome slides with my EOS 3 and some digital with the Canon EOS 7D. I’ll have to wait a few weeks for the slides, but here are my digital efforts.

Ballast wagon.
Canon EOS 7D with 40mm pancake lens, exposed at 1/500th second f9.0. I made a spot decision to stop down from f7.1 to f9, based on the camera meter. With rapidly changing light and a moving train, I didn’t have time to consult the exposure histogram.
Irish Rail Ballast Train
Irish Rail HOBS at Islandbridge.

I’ll be presenting my illustrated talk “Ireland through American Eyes 1998-2008 My first Decade in Ireland” to the London area Irish Railway Record Society  tomorrow, April 18, 2013.

The program begins at 1900 (7pm) upstairs at the Exmouth Arms, 1 Starcross Street, LONDON NW1, (advertised as a 5 minute walk from London’s Euston station). A nominal donation of £3.50 is asked of non-IRRS members (members £2.50)

For more on the IRRS see: http://www.irrs.ie/

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Guest Post: Richard Jay Solomon’s Hoosac Trip, April 13, 2013

Note from Tracking the Light: This is the first guest post. It features photos and notes by Richard Jay Solomon.

Here’s few shots of Saturday’s (April 13, 2013) Boston to Mechanicville, New York private-car excursion that operated on Pan Am Railway’s Boston & Maine route via the famed Hoosac Tunnel. (also see: Boston & Maine Slug Set at Rices, near Charlemont, Massachusetts; June 26, 1986.)

Pan Am’s executive F’s lead Saturday’s (April 13, 2013) excursion at Boston’s North Station: ASA 200, f/5, 1/40th sec. jpegs at full size (super size RAWs files were exposed simultaneously, along with color slides in another camera).
Pan Am’s executive F’s lead Saturday’s (April 13, 2013) excursion at Boston’s North Station: ASA 200, f/5, 1/40th sec. jpegs at full size (super size RAWs files were exposed simultaneously, along with color slides in another camera).

The next two images are clips taken from a HDTV video of the run-by made with my Olympus PL1 ‘micro 4/3ds’ sensor, and a 14-42mm zoom lens (probably set at 14mm, f3.0)

The camera was mounted on mini Gitzo tripod. No people filter used — just luck and low angle!

East Portal, Hoosac Tunnel on April 13, 2013.
East Portal, Hoosac Tunnel on April 13, 2013.
If I had two more hands I could have taken still digital with my Lumix LX-7 that would have been much sharper. The clips are processed in ‘Levels’ with an un-sharp mask.
If I had two more hands I could have taken still digital with my Lumix LX-7 that would have been much sharper. The clips are processed in ‘Levels’ with an un-sharp mask.

And finally a shot inside Boston & Maine’s 4.75-mile Hoosac Tunnel; Exposed at f/4, 1s, ASA 800, 15mm with zoom, with image stabilization mode ‘IS2,’ exposed from the rear platform of the Caritas.

Hoosac Tunnel looking east.
Hoosac Tunnel looking east.
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Boston & Maine Slug Set at Rices, near Charlemont, Massachusetts; June 26, 1986.

A Kodachrome View of Boston & Maine’s West End

Yesterday, April 13, 2013, Pan Am Railways hosted a passenger excursion over the historic Boston & Maine route from Boston to Mechanicville. My father, Richard Jay Solomon, was among the passengers, and he sent me regular updates on his progress. This inspired me to revisit images such as this one.

Boston & Maine railroad along the Deerfield River.
Exposed on Kodachrome using a Leica 3A fitted with a 65mm Elmar and Visoflex.

Scouring the archives, I found this Kodachrome slide from the 1980s. It shows Guilford’s Boston & Maine mainline at Rices, near Charlemont, Massachusetts at 11:05 am on June 26, 1986. A westward freight led by B&M’s lone GP40-2 slug set (on left) is holding at the signals for an eastward train coming from Mechanicville, New York.

This image was never among my best photographs. At the time, I was using my old Leica 3A fitted with a 65mm Elmar using a Visoflex reflex arrangement. To gauge exposure, I used an antique hand-held General Electric photo cell. The camera arrangement allowed for a sharp image but was awkward to use. More to the point, the meter wasn’t very accurate and my sense for exposure wasn’t highly tuned. As a result, this slide was overexposed, as were most of my efforts from the day.

Thankfully, my choice of film at the time was Kodachrome 64, which was relatively tolerant of inaccurate exposure. So while, this slide appears too bright when projected on screen, the emulsion retained sufficient detail to be recovered digitally. I scanned the slide using my Epson V600 scanner, then corrected for my flawed exposure with Adobe Photoshop by manipulating the ‘Curves’ function. The end result isn’t objectionable.

 

 

Exposed on Kodachrome using a Leica 3A fitted with a 65mm Elmar via a Visoflex.

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Metro-North’s Westport Connecticut Drawbridge, November 2002.

 

 

Metro-North Bridge 44.32.

Officially this known as Metro-North Bridge 44.32, this spans Saugatuck River an includes consists of a pair of parallel Scherzer rolling bascule lifts that date to about 1904–1905. I featured this bridge with a photo by Patrick Yough in my 2007 book Railroad Bridges published by Voyageur Press.
Officially known as Metro-North Bridge 44.32, this spans Saugatuck River and includes a pair of parallel Scherzer rolling bascule lifts built circa 1904–1905. I featured this bridge with a photo by Patrick Yough in my 2007 book Railroad Bridges published by Voyageur Press.

I made this unusual view of Metro-North’s former New Haven Railroad Westport Drawbridge using my Contax G2 rangefinder with a 16mm Hologon lens. When kept perfectly level this lens allows for non-converging perspective of vertical lines, however off-level it produces extreme vertical convergence.

The antique electrification on this movable span was an ideal subject to explore this lens’s peculiar perspective. My vantage point was from a public walkway easily accessed from the westbound platform MN’s Westport Station. I’d first photographed this drawbridge in November 1985 using my dad’s old Rollei Model T with black & white film. Bright sunlight and low fair-weather clouds add depth and contrast.

Working with Westinghouse, New Haven Railroad had pioneered high-voltage alternating current overhead electrification for mainline use in the early years of the 20th century.

 

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Conrail at School Road, Batavia, New York; 24 Years Ago

 

Conrail freight.
Conrail C39-8 6005 leads a westward freight on the former New York Central ‘Water Level Route,’ approaching School Road in Batavia, New York on April 12, 1989. A thin layer of high cloud has lightly diffused the morning sunlight which has also cooled the color temperature—an effect exaggerated by the blue sensitivity and saturation characteristics of Kodachrome 25 film.

This day, twenty four years ago, April 12, 1989, I sat in the morning sun at School Road in Batavia, New York, 399 miles from Grand Central Terminal. This was a favorite location to watch the Water Level Route on a weekend morning. At the time I was a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology, I lived south of Rochester at Scottsville, New York, and it was about a half and hour drive to this lightly used crossing. Here I’d read, write in my notebook, and document the passing parade of Conrail freights and the occasional Amtrak train. A talking equipment detector a few miles to the west would alert me to approaching eastward trains, but westward trains might creep up on me. These tended to be crawling, as there is a slight grade up the Niagara Escarpment known local as Byron Hill. ‘Hill’ is a relative term, since this grade seemed almost invisible to the eye. However, freights powered for the low-grade run from Selkirk to Buffalo would stagger up this nominal rise. On this morning, the distinctive chug of General Electric 7FDL diesel engines caught me ear above the twittering birds and the rush of a light breeze. Before I knew it the gates were motoring down and lo and behold, a westbound was coming down the hill.

My Leica M2 was fitted to an f4.0 200mm Leitz Telyt using the awkward Visoflex II attachment, which effectively transformed my rangefinder into a single-lens reflex. This entire contraption was positioned on my recently acquired Bogen 3021 tripod with ball-head. (The ball arrangement seemed like a good idea when I bought it, but I was forever fighting it to make fine adjustments with long lenses.) This morning, I had everything all set up and pre-focused; I exposed a couple frame of Kodachrome 25. Leading the train was one of Conrail’s unusual GE-built C39-8s, a favorite model because of its angular cab-arrangement.

Six weeks after I made this image, I graduated from R.I.T. and by end of September that year, I was on my way to California. The old crossing at School Road closed a number of years ago as part of a grade crossing elimination scheme. Last summer, I unexpectedly found a former Conrail C39-8s at Lansdale, Pennsylvania along with a few of its ilk in black Norfolk Southern paint, but that’s a story for another post.

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Irish Rail 077 Works Laden Tara Mines Train on April 11, 2013.

New Irish Rail Livery!

Irish Rail zinc train.
Freshly painted Irish Rail 077 approaches Clontarf Road on the afternoon of April 11, 2013. This is the first of the repainted 071 class to leave Inchicore Works. Exposed digitally with a Canon EOS 7D and 28-135mm lens.

Freshly painted in the new Irish Rail livery, 071-class locomotive 92-60-0117077-4 (077) leads a Tara Mines zinc train at Clontarf Road in Dublin on its way to the North Wall. The locomotive is the first to leave Inchicore in the new livery. See: Tracking the Light’s extra post from April 10, 2013.

Irish Rail zinc train.
Freshly painted Irish Rail 077 approaches Clontarf Road.
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Dublin’s Heuston Station, April 9, 2013.

 

 

Trans-Atlantic Exchange.

ish Rail’s Tony Cooke and Amtrak’s Douglas Kydd at Heuston Station with Intercity Rail Car 22311. Lumix LX-3 photo.
Irish Rail’s Tony Cooke and Amtrak’s Douglas Kydd at Heuston Station with Intercity Rail Car 22311. Lumix LX-3 photo.

Click here for views of Irish Rail 077 in the new livery!

I featured Dublin’s Heuston Station in my 2002 book, Railway Masterpieces. Here’s a an excerpt of my text:

Located near the Guinness Brewery along the south bank of the River Liffey, Dublin’s Heuston Station is a classic example of a railway terminal from the dawn of the railway age. Despite its age it still serves as one of the city’s primary railway stations and is among the oldest railway stations in continuous use in the world. Few stations have survived from the formative age of railways, and far fewer city terminals exist from this period.

  “The Dublin terminal was formerly known as Kingsbridge and was renamed in 1966, along with many other stations in Ireland, as a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising. At this time, railway stations were renamed in honor of participants in the Rising who had been executed by British authorities in the aftermath of the event, so this station is named for Sean Heuston.”

On April 9, 2013, I facilitated a short tour of Heuston for visiting Amtrak locomotive engineer Douglas Kydd who was on vacation in Ireland with his Fiancée. Among the highlights was the opportunity to inspect one Irish Rail’s newest trains.

Irish Rail 22311 and other 22K-series Intercity Railcars under the restored 1840s-era Heuston Station train shed. Lumix LX-3 photo.
Irish Rail 22311 and other 22K-series Intercity Railcars under the restored 1840s-era Heuston Station train shed. Lumix LX-3 photo.
Irish Rail 22311 arrived in Ireland on August 17, 2012 and officially entered traffic on on December 20th last year. It retains the gloss and an aroma of a new car. Lumix LX-3 photo.
Irish Rail 22311 arrived in Ireland on August 17, 2012 and officially entered traffic on on December 20th last year. It retains the gloss and an aroma of a new car. Lumix LX-3 photo.

 

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Tracking the Light Extra! Breaking Views!

 

Extra! Extra! Irish Rail 077 in the new Livery makes one its first daylight runs.

Irish Rail 0117077
Irish Rail locomotive number 0117077 leads a wagon transfer over the River Liffey at Islandbridge at 4:25pm on April 10, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.

A few minutes ago, at 4:25 pm, April 10, 2013, I caught Irish Rail’s 071 class locomotive 0117077 working a wagon transfer from Inchicore to Dublin’s Northwall . While the locomotive has worn this new paint for about a month, today it finally left its sequester at Inchicore works. It was understood to have worked a trial to Sallins (on the Cork road) earlier in the day.

Irish Rail 0117077 leads a wagon transfer over the River Liffey at Islandbridge at 4:25pm on April 10, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.
Irish Rail locomotive number 0117077 leads a wagon transfer over the River Liffey at Islandbridge at 4:25pm on April 10, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.

The locomotive’s expanded number is intended to comply with European numbering conventions.

Irish Rail 0117077 leads a wagon transfer over the River Liffey at Islandbridge at 4:25pm on April 10, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.
Irish Rail 0117077 leads a wagon transfer over the River Liffey at Islandbridge at 4:25pm on April 10, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.
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British Rail Class 9F 2-10-0 on North Yorkshire Moors Railway; April 10, 2011

9F 2-10-0 near Goathland
British Rail 9F 92214 approaches Goathland on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway on the morning of April 10, 2011. Exposed with a Canon 7D with 28-135mm zoom lens; ISO 200 f10 at 1/250th second. Metered manually.

British Steam:

Two years ago today, I was visiting Britain’s preserved North Yorkshire Moors Railway. This is an amazing operation. The railway is worked with a colorful mix of preserved steam and diesel locomotives. Trains work on a regular schedule, traversing the sublime Yorkshire Moors. In addition to beautifully restored stations and signal boxes (tower), the railway is well accessed by hiking trails. This location was recommended to me by a member of the railway’s station staff at Goathland—and is only 10-15 minute walk from the station platforms.

This was a pleasant place to spend a crisp Spring morning. I could hear locomotive 92214 barking up the grade for several minutes before it came around the bend into view. Later in the week I had business attending the annual London Book Fair, which while interesting and necessary, couldn’t compare to my brief experience on the North Yorkshire Moors!

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California Northern, Petaluma, California April 9, 1994.

California Northern locomotive.
A former Chicago & North Western GP15-1 at the old Northwestern Pacific station in Petaluma on April 9, 1994. Exposed with a Nikon F3T with 28mm lens on Kodachrome 25 slide film.

19 Years ago Today.

On April 9, 1994, I made this image of a freshly painted California Northern GP15-1 in front of the former Northwestern Pacific station at Petaluma, California. In the foreground are some poppies—California’s state flower.

California Northern had only recently assumed operation of several former Southern Pacific lines, including the lower portion of the NWP route via Petaluma. As it turned out, California Northern only operated the NWP segment for a few years, making this a relatively rare image. It was published in Pacific RailNews in the mid-1990s.

 

 

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Helpers at Tunnel Hill, Pennsylvania, November 3, 2001.

 

Busy Morning on the old Main Line.

Tunnel Hill, Gallitzin, Pennsylvania on November 3, 2001.
Tunnel Hill, Gallitzin, Pennsylvania on November 3, 2001.

This image of rear-end helpers on the back of a loaded Norfolk Southern autorack train was part of a sequence of photos I made at this location shortly after sunrise on November 3, 2001. My friend Mike Gardner and I were on a weeklong photo-pilgrimage in central Pennsylvania.

The location is a classic and there’s a lot of history here: I’m looking from Tunnel Hill in Gallitzin railroad-direction east toward Bennington Curve on the former Pennsylvania Railroad. If you look carefully, you can see more of the train winding through the curve in the distance. The line descends along Sugar Run. A short while after I made this image, the train looped around the famous Horseshoe Curve near Altoona, Pennsylvania.

Just below the last autorack, ahead of the helpers, is a bridge that once crossed the old line that went around the Muleshoe Curve. Conrail lifted that route in the early 1980s. In the 1960s, my father made photos from ground level at this location with PRR trains coming off the Muleshoe line.

Because of the weight of the train, the helpers were needed for dynamic braking to keep train speed at a safe crawl down this unusually steep mainline railroad. Although Conrail was two-years gone when I made this image, the SD40-2 helpers based at Cresson were still largely dressed in Conrail blue. The whine of their dynamic braking rounded across the valley on this crisp clear morning.

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New photos added to Tracking the Light’s Dublin Page

Dublin Gallery by Brian Solomon

Dublin, April 4, 2013.

Spire and GPO on Dublin's O'Connell Street.
Spire and GPO on Dublin’s O’Connell Street.

I’ve added a variety of new images of Dublin, Ireland to my special Dublin page on Tracking the Light. See: Recent Images of Dublin Ireland listed on the third tier in the header. Click HERE for a direct link.

As appropriate, I update this page regularly with fresh images of Ireland’s capital city!

While not specific to railways, this page occasionally features images of Irish Rail, LUAS, Railways Preservation Society Ireland, plus views of the canals and other subjects.

Locomotive Geometry Part 5; Wisconsin Central F45

Cowls on the Prowl.

Among Wisconsin Central Limited’s 20-cylinder EMD fleet were six F45s and a lone FP45, all former Santa Fe.

Santa Fe had been first to order the FP45—intended as a dual service machine used passenger service and for fast freight. The only other customer for the FP45 was Milwaukee Road which bought five of them. Significant of these designs was the external semi-streamlined cowling leading the locomotive’s ‘Cowls’ nickname.

Santa Fe F45 5972 at N Fond du Lac wis March 11 1995 by Brian Solomon 234116_2
Santa Fe F45 5972 on Wisconsin Central at North Fond du Lac on March 11, 1995.

EMD’s F45 was intended primarily for freight so it didn’t feature a large steam generator. As a result it was several feet shorter. Santa Fe ordered 40, while along with Great Northern and its successor Burlington Northern, bought 56 F45s. Like its SD45, EMD rated both FP45 and F45 at 3,600 hp.These locomotives had a similar appearance to the SDP40F and F40C (see: Locomotive Geometry Part 4).

EMD F45
Former Santa Fe 5959 leads a northward freight near Slinger, Wisconsin in May 1995.

Although Wisconsin Central operated seven of the big cowled EMDs, I found these to be relatively elusive when compared to WC’s far more common SD45s. Yet, I count myself  fortunate to have caught the cowl 20-cylinder locomotives at various occasions, both in Santa Fe and Wisconsin Central paint.

This broadside view of a northward WC freight in Spring 1996 demonstrates the length difference between the leading F45 and trailing FP45.
This broadside view of a northward WC freight in Spring 1996 demonstrates the length difference between the leading F45 and trailing FP45.
Nose view of a WC F45.
Nose view of WC F45 6656 on May 4, 1996.
F45 interior view showing the 20-cylinder 645E3 diesel engine.
F45 interior view showing the 20-cylinder 645E3 diesel engine.
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Purple Ad Tram on LUAS Green Line

Spring Colors for Dublin Transport.

Harcourt Street, April 3, 2013.
Harcourt Street, April 3, 2013.

The other evening I was at birthday party in Dublin’s old Harcourt Street Station where I noticed the passing of a purple advertising tram. Wednesday, April 3, 2013 dawned clear and bright, so during the course of my day, I took a spin down the LUAS Green Line, and intercepted this latest ad tram. I exposed digital photos with my Lumix LX3, while making a few slides with my old Nikon F3.

Alstom Citadis Tram
Alstom Citadis Tram in advertising livery arrives at Kilmacud on the LUAS Green Line, April 3, 2013.

Purple_tram_St_Stephens_Green_P1450661_3

Alstom Citadis Tram
LUAS Alstom Citadis Tram seen at St Stephens Green, Dublin.
LUAS Alstom Citadis Tram seen at St Stephens Green, Dublin.
LUAS Alstom Citadis Tram seen at St Stephens Green, Dublin.

I’ll be presenting my illustrated talk “Ireland through American Eyes 1998-2008 My first Decade in Ireland” to the London area Irish Railway Record Society on April 18, 2013.

The program begins at 1900 (7pm) upstairs at the Exmouth Arms, 1 Starcross Street, LONDON NW1, (advertised as a 5 minute walk from London’s Euston station). A nominal donation of £3.50 is asked of non-IRRS members (members £2.50)

For more on the IRRS see: http://www.irrs.ie/

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The Sun Doesn’t Always Shine In Dublin; But it did on April 2, 2013!

Irish Rail‘s Day in the Sun—April 2, 2013.

It was a rare day in Dublin. After what has been reported as the coldest March on record (and, undoubtedly one of the grayest), waking up to a clear blue dome was a joy. As a weekday, Irish Rail had fair bit on the move, above its normal schedule of passenger trains.

Irish_Rail_224_IWT_Liner_Islandbridge_Jct_Vert_IMG_0463
Irish Rail Class 201 number 224 rolls through Islandbridge Junction with the Dublin-Ballina IWT-Liner on April 2, 2013.

My first move was to catch the ‘down IWT Liner’ (Dublin to Ballina International Warehousing and Transport container train) from my usual spot. This place is easy, too easy, so has often become my default location. Not to linger, I hopped on the LUAS (Dublin’s tram system) to meet my friend Colm O’Callaghan down (at) the North Wall (near Dublin port).

We proceeded to a favored overhead bridge at Claude Road on Dublin’s North Side to catch Irish Rail’s last orange 071 (number 084) working a long welded rail train up from the permanent way depot (track maintenance yard). This was delayed coming across from Islandbridge by the passage of scheduled trains on the Sligo Line.

Rotem ICR.
A Sligo to Dublin Connolly passenger train passes Claude Road, Dublin.
071 class diesel.
The long welded rail train approaches Claude Road in Dublin on April 2, 2013.
 Once standard, orange trains have all but vanished from Irish Rail in recent years. General Motors-built class 071 number 084 is the last locomotive in traffic to wear orange paint. A new livery is being applied to the 071 class presently.

Once standard, orange trains have all but vanished from Irish Rail in recent years. General Motors-built class 071 number 084 is the last locomotive in traffic to wear orange paint. A new livery is being applied to the 071 class presently.

After catching this unusual train, we moved down to the Cork Line at Lucan South to wait for the ‘Up IWT Liner’ from Ballina led by another of the 071 Class General Motors diesels.

All of these images were exposed with my Canon EOS 7D. Had I anticipated such a productive venture, I would have brought along a film camera. Perhaps next time!

The Ballina to Dublin IWT liner works ‘up road’ on the slow line near Lucan South in west suburban Dublin. Not far behind is a Cork to Dublin-Heuston Mark4 on the fast line. This will overtake the freight in a few minutes.
The Ballina to Dublin IWT liner works ‘up road’ on the slow line near Lucan South in west suburban Dublin. Not far behind is a Cork to Dublin-Heuston Mark4 on the fast line. This will overtake the freight in a few minutes.

Irish_Rail_083_w_IWT_Lucan_South_close_view_w_pylon_IMG_0497

I’ll be presenting my illustrated talk “Ireland through American Eyes 1998-2008 My first Decade in Ireland” to the London area Irish Railway Record Society on April 18, 2013.

The program begins at 1900 (7pm) upstairs at the Exmouth Arms, 1 Starcross Street, LONDON NW1, (advertised as a 5 minute walk from London’s Euston station). A nominal donation of £3.50 is asked of non-IRRS members (members £2.50)

For more on the IRRS see: http://www.irrs.ie/

The 1020am Cork to Dublin-Heuston passenger train screams along on the fast line near Lucan South.
The 1020am Cork to Dublin-Heuston passenger train screams along on the fast line near Lucan South.

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German Class 52 2-10-0 works upgrade near Pelm, April 3, 2010

German steam near Gerolstein
One of the advantages of the LX-3 are its multiple aspect ratios. For this photograph, I selected the 16:9 ratio for a panoramic view.

175th Anniversary Plandampf:

Three years ago, four of my Irish friends and I flew to Germany to witness 175th anniversary of German railway celebrations and excursions. This was truly spectacular and featured an ambitious excursion schedule focused on Trier in the Mosel Valley. While we were up early every morning it was impossible to catch all of the more than 100 special trains operated over the six day period in early April. The lines covered by excursions were all new to me, so prior to our arrival, I’d spent more than a week pouring over maps and satellite views.

Among the lines intensively worked was the heavily graded single track route east of Gerolstein toward Daun. Here, my map-work paid off, as I’d picked out this spot never having been there before. Our means of obtaining the location was a bit unorthodox; we drove up a lightly traveled unpaved trail, then uphill across a field to reach a fire-road then further up hill. Upon reaching the ridge, we found there was actually an easier means of getting here. Some German enthusiasts already on-site were bemused by our bold arrival. ‘You must have a great faith in God to come here that way,’ they said to me.

Using my Lumix LX-3, I made this image of Deutche Bahn Class 52 8134-0 working up the valley toward Daun. I also exposed a series of color slides on Fujichrome with my Canon EOS-3.

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Wisconsin Central Limited at Duplainville, Wisconsin, May 7, 1996

 

SD45s with a short train.

Wisconsin Central SD45s.
Exposed with a Nikkormat FT3 fitted with a Nikon f2.8 28mm lens; Kodachrome 25 slide film.

By the mid-1990s, Wisconsin Central Limited operated one of the largest fleets of secondhand 20-cylinder EMD locomotives in the United States, having acquired more than 100 SD45s, F45s, among other 20-cylinder models from class I railroads. It rebuilt the locomotives at its North Fond du Lac shops.

At the time, I lived in Waukesha within earshot of WC’s former Soo Line mainline to Chicago. A few miles to the north was WC’s crossing of Soo Line’s former Milwaukee Road mainline. (This confusing arrangement stemmed from Soo Line’s 1985 merger with Milwaukee Road, and the subsequent spin off of former Soo Line routes which in 1987 had been regrouped as Wisconsin Central Limited.)

Among WC’s freights was T047, which connected with Soo Line in Milwaukee and so utilized the former Milwaukee Road mainline between Milwaukee and Duplainville. On the afternoon of May 7, 1996, I exposed this Kodachrome slide of a pair of WC SD45s (one of which still wearing Santa Fe paint) leaving the Milwaukee mainline on its way north toward North Fond du Lac.

 

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Railway Preservation Society Ireland’s Easter Eggspress at Dalkey, April 1, 2013

Great Southern & Western Railway 0-6-0 186 Under Steam.

GS&WR 186 with Easter Eggspress at the Dalkey Tunnel April 1, 2013. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D fitted with 28-135mm lens, ISO 800.
GS&WR 186 with Easter Eggspress at the Dalkey Tunnel April 1, 2013. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D fitted with 28-135mm lens, ISO 800.

This morning (April 1, 2013), I rode Irish Rail’s Dublin Area Rapid Transit service from Dublin to Dalkey, and walked out via Sorrento and Vico Roads to an overlook on the old Dublin & South Eastern line near the Dalkey Tunnel. While I photographed the parade of passenger trains, my primary objective was to catch GS&WR 186 exiting the tunnel with the Railway Preservation Society Ireland’s Easter Eggspress.

I featured this 19th century 0-6-0 in my book Steam Power  (published by Voyageur Press in 2009) on pages  158-159 and 180-181. While I’ve made many photos of this engine over the years, I wanted to catch it at least one last time, as it’s my understanding that the locomotive is due to be withdrawn soon and may not be returned to traffic in the near future.

Using two cameras, I exposed two parallel sequences of digital images, which required some ambidextrous action on my part. I positioned my Lumix LX3 on a pocket tripod, and operated this with my left hand, while with my right hand I worked my Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens. Displayed here are selected results from both cameras.

Lumix LX3 view.
Lumix LX3 wide angle view.

Just a reminder:

I’ll be presenting my illustrated talk “Ireland through American Eyes 1998-2008 My first Decade in Ireland” to the London area Irish Railway Record Society on April 18, 2013.

The program begins at 1900 (7pm) upstairs at the Exmouth Arms, 1 Starcross Street, LONDON NW1, (advertised as a 5 minute walk from London’s Euston station). A nominal donation of £3.50 is asked of non-IRRS members (members £2.50).

 

 

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Brussels at Night; March 2013

 

When I was visiting Brussels last weekend, I made a series of nocturnal images of the city and its transport. Below are a few of my favorites.

Brussels Central Station
Brussels Central Station is largely below street level. Access to the platforms is via this modern ground level building. I exposed this image on the evening of March 22, 2013 using my Lumix LX3 set at ISO 80 in ‘A’ (aperture) mode with a +2/3 exposure over-ride (to compensate for the night sky and highlights from streetlights). The final exposure was f2.8 at 1 1/3 seconds.
Tram at night.
Sometimes it’s best to take an opportunistic approach to urban photography. I made this grab-shot with my Canon EOS 7D (fitted 28-135mm lens set at 5000 ISO) from the front seat of a Citroen Picasso paused at a set of traffic lights. Panning the tram using slow shutter speed minimizes the visual defects caused by shooting through a car window. The combination of twilight, streetlights, and motion make for a surrealistic image.
A Brussels PCC tram glides along at dusk on March 24, 2013. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D fitted with 28-135mm, set at ISO 5000 f3.5 1/30 second.
A Brussels PCC tram glides along at dusk on March 24, 2013. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D fitted with 28-135mm, set at ISO 5000 f3.5 1/30 second.
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Belgian Rail Freight— March 22, 2013

 

Making the most of a Belgian Rail-Freight Hotspot.

Mid-Morning on Friday March 22, 2013, I took a SNCB (Société National des Chemins de fer Belges—Belgian National Railways)  local train from Antwerpen Centraal to a suburban station at Antwerpen Noorderdokken. This is an important junction north of central Antwerp, where routes toward Amsterdam diverge from the principal freight line to Antwerp Port.

Belgian Railways.
An SNCB InterCity train led by a Class 18 Electric (built by Siemens) passes the station at Antwerpen Noorderdokken on March 22, 2013. While something less than a garden-spot, this busy junction is a great place to watch and photograph trains. Canon EOS 7D.
Railway junction near Antwerpen, Belgium.
SNCB diesels working light-engine pass Antwerpen Noorderdokken on the morning of March 22, 2013. In the foreground is the link to the new Antwerp-Amsterdam high-speed line. Lumix LX3.

I was following the recommendation of a friend who had previously explored this junction. As one of Europe’s busiest ports, Antwerp is a large source of rail freight, and this route is famous for both its volume and variety of traffic.

An SNCF Fret (French National Railways Freight) diesel leads a grain train toward Antwerp port. Canon EOS 7D.
An SNCF Fret (French National Railways Freight) diesel leads a grain train toward Antwerp port. Canon EOS 7D.

Crossrail_freight_Antwerpen_Noorderdokken_IMG_2604 2 Crossrail_freight_Antwerpen_Noorderdokken_IMG_2609 2 SNCB-banking_into_curve_Antwerpen_Noorderdokken_IMG_2730 1

SNCB_freight_Antwerpen_Noorderdokken_IMG_2647 1

In addition to SNCB’s freights, open access arrangements allow for a variety of private rail operators and other national railways to serve customers. In a little more than 4 hours, I witnessed nearly 35 freight moves (including light engines) under partly sunny skies. In addition I also photographed a dozen or so passenger trains.

SNCB passenger train at speed.
An SNCB Class 18 electric with double-deck push-pull train races through Antwerpen Noorderdokken. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens set at 120mm, 1/60 second at f25.0. ISO 200. Hand-held pan with image-stabilizer disabled.

My preferred locations were in a field about a 15 minute walk from the Antwerpen Noorderdokken station. Here, the freight line makes a sweeping ‘S-bend’ that allows for a variety of angles favoring the light.

After 4 hours of intense photography, I was cold and hungry, so I retraced my steps and headed back toward Brussels. In addition to digital images exposed with my Canon EOS 7D and Lumix LX3, I also made a number of color slides with my Canon EOS-3.

CFL_freight_Antwerpen_Noorderdokken_IMG_2591
A pair of CFL (Luxembourg National Railways) electrics lead a train carrying structural steel.

Class66_w_containers_Antwerpen_Noorderdokken_IMG_2679 1 Class66_w_mineral_train_Antwerpen_Noorderdokken_IMG_2555 1 Container_train_Antwerpen_Noorderdokken_IMG_2563 2

 

SNCB Vossloh diesels work a mixed freight toward Antwerp port.
SNCB Vossloh diesels work a mixed freight toward Antwerp port.
SNCB local glides towards its station stop at Antwerpen Noorderdokken.
SNCB local glides towards its station stop at Antwerpen Noorderdokken.
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Railway Cathedral Antwerpen Centraal, March 22, 2013

 

Belgium’s jewel is among Europe’s most magnificent railway terminals.

Antwerpen Centraal, Belgium on March 22, 2013. Lumix LX-3.
Antwerpen Centraal, Belgium on March 22, 2013. Author Carroll Meeks (The Railroad Station, 1956), credits architect Louis de la Censerie with the station’s Art Nouveau style. Censerie’s ornate decoration and exceptional use of light makes Antwerpten Centraal one of Europe’s finest railway terminals. Photo exposed with a Panasonic Lumix LX-3.

 

On the morning of Friday March 22, 2013, I rode an SNCB (Société National des Chemins de fer Belges—Belgian National Railways) train from Brussels to Antwerpen Centraal (Antwerp Central Station). It was bright and sunny, a real contrast to my experience in Dublin on the previous day where it was cloudy, windy and raining.

I first visited Antwerpen Centraal in May 1996. Since that time this classic stub-end terminal has been transformed into a three-level railway intermodal center. Tracks on the lowest level permit through services without the need for trains to reverse direction as was previously required.

Looking straight up at the domed roof in Antwerpen Centraal, Belgium on March 22, 2013. Lumix LX-3.
Looking straight up at the domed roof in Antwerpen Centraal, Belgium on March 22, 2013. Lumix LX-3.

The station head-house is among the most opulent and best kept anywhere in Europe, while the steeply pitched balloon train shed makes for a wonderful venue to photograph trains, its glass windows acting as enormous soft-box.

On Friday March 22nd, I had about 45 minutes at Antwerpen Centraal between trains. I used my time to good advantage and exposed a variety of digital images with my Lumix LX-3, and some Fuji Provia 100F with my Canon EOS-3. The film will be processed at a later time.

New SNCB electric multple-unit at Antwerpen Centraal, Belgium on March 22, 2013. Lumix LX-3.
New SNCB electric multple-unit at Antwerpen Centraal, Belgium on March 22, 2013. Lumix LX-3.
Station at Antwerp, Belgium.
New SNCB electric multple-unit at Antwerpen Centraal, Belgium on March 22, 2013. Lumix LX-3.

The terminal is well-suited to the city center and connected to myriad destinations through an excellent public transport system operated by De Lijn. This includes a 1000mm gauge tram network that still hosts vintage President Conference Committee (PCC) streetcars.

PCC Streetcar near Antwerpen Centraal on March 22, 2013.
PCC Streetcar near Antwerpen Centraal on March 22, 2013.

Antwerpen_Centraal_Tram_P1450097

My layover at Antwerpen Centraal was a sideshow to my main effort: I was on my way to a location near Antwerp port where I was aiming to photograph freight trains. Keep your eye on this space for those images!

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Irish Rail’s IWT Liner passing Cherry Orchard— March 21, 2013

Class 071 Hauling Containers.

 

This time last week (Thursday March 21) I was getting ready to fly to Brussels. My bag was packed; my passport and tickets were organized. Then word came over the telegraph that an 071 was to work Irish Rail’s second Dublin-Ballina IWT Liner (International Warehousing and Transport)

As previously mentioned on Tracking the Light (see: Irish Rail at Clondalkin, February 21, 2013), Irish Rail runs a weekday container train between Dublin and Ballina. On Thursdays, traffic demands a second Dublin-Ballina train.

In recent months, Irish Rail has largely assigned its common 1994-1995 General Motors 201-Class diesels to this freight service, and the older General Motors 071-Class have only worked it infrequently. So, when I heard that Irish Rail 075 was on the train, I was keen to make some photos.

I had two hours before I needed to aim for Dublin Airport—plenty of time. On the downside, the weather wasn’t so cooperative. It was overcast, very windy, and spitting rain. Not my favorite conditions, but I’ll make photos in just about any circumstances. So, when my friend Colm O’Callaghan suggested we make the effort, I grabbed my travel bag and cameras and headed out the door.

This would require only a very short wait, or so we thought! When we arrived at Cherry Orchard, an industrial area in the west Dublin suburbs, the telegraph informed us that the second IWT was still in the yard at the North Wall. In other words, it hadn’t left yet, and was still at least 20 minutes away. An hour ticked by. In the mean time we caught the Ballina-Dublin ‘up IWT’ liner with a 201-class.

Then my phone rang; a client needed a photo immediately. A difficult proposition considering that the photo was buried on a hard-drive that I hadn’t planned to access for another week! My plans changed, I had to head home and address this request before making for the airport. My two-hour cushion had just been eroded. Still no IWT liner, and time was running out.

We gave up and were about to leave, when the telegraph came to life: the IWT had passed Islandbridge! It was on its way and not far off. Unfortunately, a clattering of passenger trains preceded it. Another 10 minutes gone. Finally, we heard the approaching roar of a 12-645 turbocharged diesel! Our perseverance paid off: 075 with the ‘down IWT’.

 

Irish Rail class 071 diesel.
Irish Rail 075 leads the 2nd IWT Liner at Cherry Orchard on Thursday March 21, 2013. Photo exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens, contrast and color balance adjusted in Photoshop.
Irish Rail 075 leads the 2nd IWT Liner at Cherry Orchard on Thursday March 21, 2013. Photo exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens, no post-processing adjustment, except for scaling.
Photo exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens, no post-processing adjustment, except for scaling.

I dashed home, sent off the requested photo, then made for Dublin Airport on the 747 Airport Bus. Stay tuned for my photographs of Belgian railways . . .

Trailing view of the 2nd IWT Liner at Cherry Orchard.
Trailing view of the 2nd IWT Liner at Cherry Orchard.

I’ll be presenting my illustrated talk “Ireland through American Eyes 1998-2008 My first Decade in Ireland” to the London area Irish Railway Record Society on April 18, 2013.

The program begins at 1900 (7pm) upstairs at the Exmouth Arms, 1 Starcross Street, LONDON NW1, (advertised as a 5 minute walk from London’s Euston station). A nominal donation of £3.50 is asked of non-IRRS members (members £2.50)

For more on the IRRS see: http://www.irrs.ie/

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