It’s a comparatively unusual occurrence to find an RPSI steam excursion side by side with an Irish Rail freight.
In fact, over the last two decades, I’ve only had a handful of opportunities to photograph steam excursions and freight together.
Last Wednesday September 11, 2019, was one of those opportunities.
Locomotive number 4 on its way from Galway to Dublin with the Steam Dreams trip was paused to take water at Athlone, when the up-IWT liner from Ballina arrived to change crews. In the lead was locomotive 234.
I made a few photographs, then the sun emerged from the clouds, so I made a few more photos!
Here are examples from both my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm XT1 digital cameras.
For the last decade or so, Irish Rail has focused largely on its passenger operations. These days long distance passenger trains are dominated by fleets of Rotem-built InterCity Rail cars (ICRs), with locomotive-powered trains only working Dublin-Cork (class 201 diesels with Mark 4 push-pull) and Dublin-Belfast (class 201 diesels with De Dietrich push-pull). To the casual observer, it might seem that all the Irish Rail trains are ICRs. Certainly they seem to be everywhere.
Last Thursday and Friday, David Hegarty & I visited midland counties in search of freight trains. These are good days to be out, since Irish rail fields a variety of scheduled freight on its route to County Mayo via Portarlington, Athlone, and Roscommon. This single-track line has a rock and roll profile across undulating countryside.
It’s gorse-season, and the gold-tinged blooming bushes works well with Irish Rail’s ‘safety yellow’ on the front of most trains. Getting the sun out is an added bonus. One minute there’s bright sun, the next its lashing rain. Sometime, I didn’t have to wait that long. They call it Spring. It’s as good an excuse as any.
In addition to these digital photos exposed with my Canon 7D and Lumix LX-3, I also exposed a couple of rolls of film, including the first roll of Fuji Velvia 50 that’s been in my Canon EOS 3 in about six years. When using slide film, I usually work with 100 ISO stock. The Velvia 50 is an accident, and I’ll be curious to see how those slides turn out. Thanks to Noel Enright for logistical advice!