Irish Rail’s only four track mainline transits the west Dublin suburbs. This was built toward the tail-end of the Celtic Tiger boom years. Rail traffic flows in fits and starts, but midday on week days can result in some interesting action.
The prize this day was catching Irish Rail’s General Motors-built 071 class locomotive 079 hauling the elusive per-way ‘Rail trucks’ (rail train) on its run from Platin (on the Navan Branch) to the per-way depot in Portlaoise.
I worked with my Canon EOS 7D, which handles the cloudy bright lighting conditions admirably.
Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.
This morning (February 21, 2013), Dublin dawned frosty and dull. On Thursdays, Irish Rail runs a pair of intermodal freight liners between Dublin port and Ballina, County Mayo for shipping company IWT (International Warehousing and Transport). Today, the first of the two IWT Liners (as the freights are generally known) departed the yards at the North Wall just after 9:31 am. As it was led by a common 201-class diesel and the weather remained especially dull outside, I opted to let it pass undocumented, as I’ve often photographed this train in nice light. The second train, however, was running with Irish Rail 074, one of the 1970s-era General Motors-built 071 class diesels, which is of greater interest to me. So this afternoon, my friend Colm O’Callaghan and I went to a favored spot near Clondalkin in the western suburbs at milepost 4 ¼ , where we waited patiently in Baltic conditions. While the temperature was a balmy 3 degrees Celsius (about 37 Fahrenheit), the biting wind and general dampness made it feel much colder. Just ten days ago I was out in much colder conditions at Palmer, Massachusetts (USA), where it was about -17 degrees Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit), and it hadn’t felt so bad. There’s nothing like a raw Irish day to cut through you.
Clondalkin is on the short stretch of quad-track mainline between Cherry Orchard (no cherries near the place!) and Hazelhatch that was expanded from the old double-line at the end of the Celtic Tiger-era boom years. The slight curve at the end of a long tangent in an area of industrial estates makes for an interesting setting to capture trains on the roll. However, it isn’t the nicest place to stand around exposed on a cold day. Complicating photography are high palisade fences and other fencing on the bridge that requires some creative solutions to overcome. While waiting for the down IWT liner, we witnessed the usual parade of passenger trains, all running to time, on the new Irish Rail time table.
The mildly overcast conditions encouraged us to make a cross-lit view of the liner from the north side of the line, rather than the more traditional three-quarter angle from the south side. I like the north side view on a dull day because it offers a better angle on the quad track and signaling.