Tag Archives: Dublin

Under and Over in Dublin.


I made these views the other day on Beresford Place near Bus Aras in Dublin.

An outbound LUAS tram on the Red Line had stopped for traffic Gardner Street, while a southward DART suburban train rolled across the Loop Line Bridge on its way from Connolly Station to Tara Street.

Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.

This is the sort of common scene that is repeated hour after hour, day after day, and yet only rarely get recorded.

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The New ‘Old Liffey Ferry’.


New and old are relative terms.

The ‘Old Liffey Ferry’ that had ended service back in 1984 has been revived by Dublin Port, and so now you can cross the Liffey again by boat in the Dublin Docklands.

Although advertised as the ‘Old Liffey Ferry’, it was a new experience for me.

Last Thurday it was bright and warm, and I met with Mark Healy for a photo wander in Dublin and we crossed the Liffey twice by boat.

The posted fare is 2 Euro and the crossing takes just a few minutes. This is a novel way of seeing the Dublin Docklands and offered a variety of photographic opportunities.

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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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Two Trains on the Move at Islandbridge Junction!


Monday, 11 February 2019 was bright and sunny in Dublin.

Although I was only just back across the Atlantic, I made use of the morning when I’d heard that Irish Rail 073 in heritage orange paint was working the down IWT Liner (container train operated from Dublin’s North Wall to Ballina, Co. Mayo).

As this exited Dublin’s Phoenix Park Tunnel approaching Islandbridge Junction, an Irish Rail ICR working the Hazelhatch-Grand Canal Docks service came the other way.

I hadn’t anticipated a ‘rolling meet’, but as luck had it I got two trains for the price of one.

This sequence of photos was exposed using my FujiFilm XT1 digital camera with 27mm pancake lens.

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Dublin’s Pearse Station, Spring 1998.


Pearse Station features a capacious Victorian-era balloon-style train shed. Presently this is under-going restoration making for seen very different scene today than this one that I exposed 21 years ago.

I was very impressed by the Pearse Station shed and exposed a number views to make the most of the structure.

This is among my favorites. I’m standing near the south entrance to the shed, and the illumination effects resulting from combination of the broad southward opening and skylights produce an excellent effect on the train and platforms.

My composition is simple, yet clever. I’ve centered the DART train— which some photographers would frown upon, insisting instead on arbitrary placement using rules of thirds or other preconceived notions—and so made the most of the train shed, which is really the subject of my image.

By allowing for greater amounts of interior space to the right of the train, I’ve caused visual tension, while helping to expand the space in the photograph occupied by train shed. This draws the eye away from the train, while the lighting on the front of the train pulls the eye back. Placement of the rails to the lower right corner has another effect, allowing the eye to follow lines of perspective back to the north opening of the shed.

A novice artist might crop this image by cutting the space to the right of the train, moving the corner from the rails, and thus spoiling the intended effects while placing greater emphasis on the DART train, and in so doing ruining my intended composition. 

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Dublin’s DART: Twenty Years Ago.


Here’s a late 1990s view on Amiens Street in Dublin in front of Connolly Station.

The 1980s-era DART electric suburban train isn’t remarkable; except for a nominal change of paint and end lights, these cars look much the same today.

However, so much else has changed, which makes the photo look dated, and fascinating now.

I exposed this Fujichrome colour slide using my Nikon F3 with 135mm lens, probably in the Spring of 1998, and no later than Spring 1999. At the time of exposure, the scene seemed so unremarkable, I didn’t bother to put a date on the slide mount.

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DART Impressions—1998.


In my first year photographing in Ireland, I made many photographs of Irish Rail’s electric suburban service that is branded as ‘DART’ for ‘Dublin Area Rapid Transit’.

This is a selection of four color slides exposed back in 1998.

Connolly Station 1998.

Howth.

Howth.

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Dublin—Almost 20 Years Ago.

Looking East on Wellington Quay toward the Loop Line Bridge and Dublin’s Custom House.

In March 1999, I exposed this portrait view from a rooftop on Wellington Quay. Entrance to the building was just opposite ‘The Temple Bar’.

Working with an N90S with a Tokina 400mm lens, I quickly composed this frame as Irish Rail’s evening ‘down Rosslare’ rolled across the Loop Line bridge behind an EMD-built 071 class diesel.

Last week, I scanned this Fujichrome Sensia II colour slide on using a Nikon Super Coolscan5000 scanner.

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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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Irish Rail Four-Wheel Cement—May 2005.

Yesterday, 30 November 2018, I located a collection of my Irish Rail slides from 2005. Among them were these views of ‘bubble cement’  trains (consisting of pressurized four-wheel powdered cement wagons) passing Islandbridge in Dublin on 26thof May that year.

These were exposed on Fujichrome Sensia II (100 ISO) and processed at Photocare on Abbey Street in Dublin.

I scanned these using an Epson V750Pro flatbed scanner making large TIF files, then made colour and contrast adjustments using Lightroom to improve presentation. In addition, I also implemented some digital sharpening to make the photos prior to outputting as scaled JPGs (for Internet presentation) to  make these appear closer to modern digital images.

Irish Rail 134 and 156 lead a Platin to Cork cement train at Islandbridge Junction on 26 May 2005. Exposed using a Contax G2 rangefinder with 45mm Zeiss lens.

Empty cement led by Irish Rail 077 approaches the Phoenix Park Tunnel in Dublin on 26 May 2005. Exposed with a Nikon F3T.

Irish Rail stopped operating cement through Dublin about a decade ago, and so these views are now historic.

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When Reality Looks Like Fantasy—Kingsbridge Monochrome

Yesterday, I had one frame of film left in my Nikon F3.

I’d been exposing photos of Dublin’s North Side and I wanted to process the film before dinner.

I exposed this view of Heuston Station and the old Kingsbridge (now Sean Heuston Bridge) on frame 37.

The sky was impressive; dark blue with textured clouds rolling across it like a flowing tapestry.

To make the most of the usual light, I did a few tricky things.

I exposed the film for the sky and clouds with the intention of some non-standard chemical processing.

To make the most of the shadows with out roasting the highlights, I presoaked the film in a very dilute bath of Kodak HC110 at 75F for 6 minutes with very little agitation. Then, I drained the presoak solution and processed the film in Ilford ID11 mixed 1-1 with water at 68F for 7 minutes (considerably less than the recommended time).

The results were even better than I expected.

Looking across Dublin’s Croppy’s Park toward Kingsbridge and Heuston Station. Exposed using a 24mm Nikkor lens on an F3 SLR camera loaded with Ilford HP5 black & white film. Processed for maximum dynamic range.

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I went to the Shops and Scored Three Cool Trains!

I went to the Shops and Scored Three Cool Trains!

Yesterday was a bright sunny morning in Dublin. I coordinated my walk to SuperValu at Heuston South Quarter to neatly coincide with the passage of Irish Rail’s IWT Liner.

I timed this well and only waited a few minutes at Islandbridge Junction. Rather than my normal angle from ‘the box’, I opted for an over the wall view a little further up.

Irish Rail 077 leads the down IWT Liner at Islandbridge Junction.

Continuing along St. John’s Road toward Dublin Heuston Station, I was surprised to hear another 071. I peered over the wall to discover that Irish Rail 073 (in heritage orange paint) had come down to shunt Belmond’s Grand Hibernian.

Hearing the distinct sounds of an EMD turbocharged 645 diesel tempted me to look over the wall as I walked along the St Johns Road toward Supervalu. This is what I saw; Irish Rail 073 moving down to shunt the Belmond cruise train. An ICR (InterCity Railcar) sits by the valeting plant.

Walking back from SuperValu, I made this view of 073 shunting Belmond’s Grand Hibernian consist.

Dashing to SuperValu, accomplished my shopping in record time, and returned trackside to catch 073 bringing the Grand Hibernianthrough the wash, and then stopped in front of me at Islandbridge Junction. As this was happening Paul Maguire sent me text to alert me that the elusive Sperry train was on its way over to me.

The view from the box of 073 shunting the Belmond train through the carriage wash. I’ve made slight enhancements to the image to make the most of the dramatic autumnal sky and lighten shadows.

Minutes later, Irish Rail 076 with Sperry came across to Platform 10 where it was scheduled to run around before heading to Bray.

Blocked by the Belmond! When one cool train gets in the way of another. Yet, the two trains together are the real story. I can’t say that previously I’d ever photographed the Belmond and Sperry train at the same time.

I walked around to Conyngham Road to catch the Sperry train on its way into the Phoenix Park Tunnel.

Not bad for a trip to the shops!

An Irish Rail ICR is working toward Connolly Station as viewed from the Conyngham Road. In the distance is the Sperry train opposite Platform 10 at Heuston Station.  I’ve made slight enhancements to the image to make the most of the dramatic autumnal sky and lighten shadows.

Irish Rail 076 throttles up as it leads the Sperry rail testing train into the Phoenix Park tunnel. I’ve made slight enhancements to the image to make the most of the dramatic autumnal sky and lighten shadows.

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Sunny Saturday: Colourful Tram Works LUAS Green Line on Dawson Street—3 photos.

Yesterday, 29 September 2018, I made these views of a LUAS Green Line tram wearing the latest fully covered advertising livery as it worked up Dawson Street in Dublin on its way to Broombridge.

September often brings sunny days in Ireland, and yesterday was a fine afternoon to make a few photos.

This encounter with the colourful tram was fortuitous, rather than planned, as I was on a shopping mission and photography was a secondary activity.

Photo adjusted from the camera RAW in post processing.

All the images were exposed using my FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm zoom lens.

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Dublin’s College Green with Tram—Fuji Acros 100.

The Green Line Cross City extension cuts through College Green, one of Dublin’s most pictured intersections.

I made this view in August 2018 using my Canon EOS 3 with 40mm lens on Fuji Acros 100 black & white film.

This I processed by hand in a Paterson tank using Rodinal Special liquid developer concentrate mixed 1 to 31 with water for 3 minutes 45 second at 68F.

The negatives were scanned with an Epson V500 flatbed scanner, and contrast was nominally adjusted in post processing to make for a more pleasing digitally presented image.

College Green, Dublin. On the left is Trinity College, on the right is the Bank of Ireland which occupies buildings designed in the 18th century for the Irish Parliament.

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Dublin Pub Immortalized on Tri-X-And yes there’s a Railroad Photo too.

Several days ago, two Dublin photographers and I converged on the Conyngham Road, where Irish Rail’s branch from Islandbridge Junction to Connolly Station/North Wall enters the Phoenix Park Tunnel.

Our interest was Belmond’s Grand Hibernianled by an Irish Rail class 071 diesel.

Afterwards we paid a visit to Ryan’s of Parkgate Street, a local pub just a short walk up the street and near Dublin’s Heuston Station, where I continued to make photos with my vintage Nikon F3 with 50mm f1.4 lens.

Working with a wide aperture on film allows for selective focus and the ability to select a subject and offset it against a soft background. This the opposite effect often provided by many digital cameras that tend to use a smaller aperture and sharpening software to produce greater depth of field and razor sharp images.

Belmond’s Grand Hibernian heads for Dublin Connolly Station. Kodak Tri-X exposed with a Nikon F3 with 50mm lens.

I used Kodak Tri-X, which I processed in Ilford ID-11 using a traditional recipe with my customized multiple-split process to maximize shadow and highlight detail.

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Tracking the Light EXTRA: LUAS Green Line to Dawson.

Yesterday (Wednesday 19 September 2018) high winds attributed to storm Ali resulted in widespread transport disruption across Ireland.

Some railway lines were closed because of downed trees. It was reported that a Galway-Dublin Intercity Railcar (ICR) was damaged when it struck a tree.

In Dublin,LUAS Green Line overhead wires were damaged  and service suspended between Cowper and Dawson in the city centre.

As of this morning, LUAS was still only operating a limited service in the city centre and on the southern extremities of the Green Line route.

I went to explore the turn-back operation relating to the temporary Dawson terminus. While trams were only carrying passengers as far south as Dawson Street, the trams themselves were running toward St. Stephens Green to use the facing point crossover on the north side of the Green to reverse direction.

Dawson LUAS stop on Dawson Street in Dublin. Notice the unusual destination at the front of the tram. Lumix LX7 photo.

Tram drivers were manually operating crossover points at St Stephens Green. Lumix LX7 photo.

Dawson displayed in a tram reversing at St Stephens Green. Lumix LX7 photo.

Stranded trams beyond the end of live wire at St Stephens Green. FujiFilm XT1 photo with 90mm lens.

FujiFilm XT1 photo with 90mm lens.

A tram navigates the St Stephens Green facing point crossover. FujiFilm XT1 photo with 90mm lens.

Photos were exposed digitally this morning, 20 September 2018.

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In the Shadow of the Old Canal: Black & White Views of Coopers Cafe.

It’s been decades since the old Grand Canal Harbour behind the Guinness Brewery was drained and filled in.

Dublin’s Guinness brewery had an historic relationship with the Grand Canal. The old canal harbour was located across the street from the brewery complex.

The old Harbour Bar takes its name from the Grand Canal Harbour. The canal buildings are at the far right of this  image.

Recently, I explored this area on my way over to visit Coopers Cafe operated by my friends Jeff and Noel Brennan.

This is on the edge Dublin’s Liberties, an industrial neighborhood with a lot of history. Today, it’s up and coming, although many of the neat gritty old buildings remain.

Photos exposed on Ilford FP4 using a Nikon F3 with 24mm Nikkor lens. Processed in Ilford ID11 using a customized recipe.

Coopers Cafe is located directly behind the Guinness brewery on the corner of Bond and Robert Streets.

Breakfast is served anytime from opening till closing. I had mine at 2pm.

There’s a lot of history around Coopers Cafe. Come in, have a coffee or tea and soak in the atmosphere!

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Purple Tram Harcourt Street.

There’s a purple tram prowling Dublin’s Green Line.

The other day I was on my way over to John Gunn’s Camera Shop on Wexford Street and I made these photos with my Lumix LX7 of LUAS trams gliding along Harcourt Street.

This is a perfect place to pose modern Citadis trams against a backdrop of Georgian Terrace houses.

To compensate for flat lighting, with two of these three images I made some minor manipulations in post processing to boost sky detail, lighten shadows and improve contrast.

That means one of the images is simply the unaltered camera-JPG. Can you guess which one that is?

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Bad Luck with the Belmond!

Two Sunday Mornings in a row I walked up to the line with an aim of catching an 071 class locomotive in heritage paint leading Belmond’s Grand Hiberniancruise train on its run from Dublin Connolly to Waterford.

Two Sundays, two locations, two heritage locomotives (numbers 073 and 071 respectively), and two different Irish Rail scheduled trains that got in my way.

Gosh, bad luck!

In both instances, I came away with different photos than I’d set out to make.

Irish Rail 073 leads Belmond’s Grand Hibernian in Dublin on 2 September 2018. An Irish Rail intercity rail car destined for Heuston Station is stopped at a red signal. Bad luck! The Belmond train was running a few minutes behind the advertised.

Bright sun, fluffy clouds, elevation, all the elements for a calendar perfect image. Oh no, an ICR! Shoo shoo!

Well, that didn’t work out as hoped! But then again, I have a zillion photos here anyway.

My question: might these photos age well? Perhaps the intrusion of the ROTEM ICRs may make these photographs more interesting in years to come?

 

I’m not one to get overly excited when a photo opportunity doesn’t work as planned. Sometimes it’s best to just keep making photos when a scene plays out.

PSSSST! (I also made some sneaky 35mm slides that may make the most of both situations).

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Variations on a Theme: Irish Rail 219 at the same place, again.

I’ve often heard railway photographers dismiss an opportunity with the excuse, ‘I already have that there.’

I’m guilty of this too.

However, everyday is different; locomotives and locations are only two elements that make a a successful railway action photograph.

Weather, lighting, angle to the tracks and the focal length of your lens all play important roles in the end result. Also consider the cleanliness of the locomotive and the variations in consist.

There was a period where Irish Rail 219 regularly worked the Dublin-Ballina IWT liner freights. When I’m in Dublin it is relatively easy for me to reach my standard location and catch the IWT on its down-road journey. In fact I often do this on my morning walk, or on the way to the supermarket.

5 March 2014; exposed using my now defunct Lumix LX3.

It was a few months later, in August of 2014, that I made this sunny day view using my new Lumix LX7. It helps to have a clear bright day and a clean locomotive.

I’ve moved a little bit west of my usual spot and working with my FujiFilm XT1 fitted with 18-135mm zoom with an external grad filter that I was using to improve the sky detail. I’m positioned a little higher here too. Unfortunately, this angle brings in more urban clutter.

Yet, it got to the point where if I knew that 219 was working the IWT, I wouldn’t bother with another photo of it in my standard location. (And yes I have it at other places too.)

Which of the three is your favorite?

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Irish Rail 218—Sunny Days and Cloudy Days.

Old Irish Rail 218 is a versatile machine as shown in the three views exposed over the years near Heuston Station.

In recent years, 218 has often worked the Dublin-Cork Mark 4 passenger sets, as well as liner freights and performed the occasion stint in permanent way service.

Irish 218 is ready to head down road at Heuston Station in Dublin in summer 2000. It’s along side 204 and 233. Exposed on Fujichrome Sensia II (100 ISO) using a Nikon N90S.

On 11 September 2016—15 years after the infamous day—Irish Rail 218 works a Mark 4 set toward Cork. This view is from my often utilized location at Islandbridge Junction. Exposed as a RAW file with my FujiFilm XT1 and adjusted for contrast in Lightroom.

Cloudy days yield opportunities too! On 27 February 2018 Irish Rail 218— now displaying its modified long number—leads a panel train into Dublin’s Phoenix Park tunnel. The next day  snow blanketed  Dublin and surrounding areas causing travel chaos.

Of the 201 class locomotives, 218 is another machine that ranks with numerous photos in my collection.

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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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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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When a Rainy Day allows for a Better Photograph.

Here’s an example of when a rainy day allows for a better photograph.

Dublin’s recently extended LUAS Green Line passes the famous Fusilier’s Arch entrance to St. Stephen’s Green.

Two problems with a bright sunny day:

  1. the arch and foliage/trees in the park cast shadows that often make for a less simplified composition
  2. While the popularity of the park on nice days results in a continuous procession of people in and out of the park, making it difficult to frame up a tram beneath the arch. Simply getting an unobstructed view can be problematic.

Exposed on Kodak Tri-X with a Nikon F3 with 50mm lens.

Certainly you can make some kind of photo here on a bright day, but it will look pretty different than this classical view.

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Sun and Cloud, The RPSI Cravens at Claude Road: A Lesson In Patience.

On Satuday 24 March 2018, I shared Dublin’s Claude Road foot-bridge with Paul Maguire and Ciarán Cooney, as we waited for the RPSI Cravens to run from Inchicore to Connolly for a scheduled inspection of the equipment.

It had been completely sunny, but as the time for the train approached, clouds began to dapple the morning sky.

I exposed this view using a Nikon N90S with 180mm Nikkor telephoto lens on Fujichrome Provia100F slide film.

The light was in flux when I released the shutter. Was the train in sun?

I had to wait more than three weeks to find out, since I’ve just received my slides back from the lab.

Irish Rail 084 leads the RPSI  Cravens eastward at Claude Road. File adjusted with Lightroom.

I made some nominal adjustments to contrast and colour balance after scanning.

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I feature Irish Rail and the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland in my new Railway Guide to Europe, which is now available from Kalmbach Books.

Click here to order Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe.

Ireland’s Most Colourful Train?

Easter Monday, photographer Jay Monaghan and I were in position at Memorial Road in Dublin to catch the RPSI carriage transfer on its way from Connolly Station to Inchicore.

These were the same carriages featured in yesterday’s post, ‘Steam Crosses Dublin’s Loop Line’.

Getting from Dubin’s city centre to Memorial Road, required a well-timed sprint to catch the 25B bus.

Although we were hoping for Irish Rail 073 in heritage paint, 201-class locomotive 232 in silver, green and  yellow added colour to RPSI’s heritage train.

Irish Rail 232 leads RPSI’s Cravens up the gullet on Easter Monday. Exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

Tight telephoto trailing view of the RPSI train heading toward Inchicore Works.

Although the train is slightly more distant, I prefer this training view because the trees to the left of the line aren’t cropped.

So, was this Ireland’s most colourful train on Easter Monday 2018?

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Steam Crosses Dublin’s Loop Line.

This scene presented three visual challenges;

  • Dublin’s Loop Line is a difficult bridge to picture trains upon owing to a high degree of foreground and background clutter, complex lattice girder construction, and brightly coloured graffiti.
  • Tank locomotive number 4 is an awkward mass and largely painted black that makes for a hard subject to picture satisfactorily, even on a good bright day.
  • It wasn’t a bright day; the lighting conditions were flat (low contrast) and bland.

Further complicating matters, there wasn’t more than a few seconds warning before the train entered the scene, so I needed to be poised.

Friends on board assisted my timing by keeping me up to date as to the location of the train.

I made my views from the Rosie Hackett Bridge (opened in 2014) looking down river toward Dublin Port.

Rather than work with a zoom, I opted for my fixed focal length 90mm telephoto on my FujiFilm X-T1. This gave me a wider aperture, allowed for shallow depth of field to help distinguish the train from its background, and is a very sharp lens  corner to corner.

DART electric suburban trains made for opportunities to make practice photos to test exposure, depth of field, focus and composition.

As the train clattered across the bridge I made several exposures, trying to minimize the distractions of bridge infrastructure and background clutter.

My first view of RPSI No. 4 on the bridge. This subtly shows Dublin port in the distance and features traffic on the south quays.

This is probably the best of my efforts. I adjust the contrast locally to help emphasize the smoke from the engine. I suppose that’s cheating in some eyes, but all I did was enhance the smoke to help show direction and that the engine was working and not static.

How about this view of RPSI’s nice painted Cravens carriages? The rippled patters in the Liffey was an attraction of this angle.

Although these are nice attempts, I’m not 100 percent satisfied, but without better light and an elevated view, I’m not sure how I could have made substantially better photos.

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DART in the Snow.

On the 18th of March, snow fell in Dublin, again.

I made these views at Connolly Station of a southward DART suburban train using my FujiFilm XT1.

The trick is not underexposing the snow.

Falling snow can make for a great sense of depth.

Connolly Station, Dublin.

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Dublin by Night: 1000 shades of Dark.

I’d use ‘gray’ in place of ‘dark’, but apparently the phraseology has assumed new meanings.

I could just say ‘Dublin in Black & White’, but that isn’t really correct either.

Working with my Nikon F3 loaded with Foma Classic 100 black & white film, I made these photos during March 2018 wintery weather in Dublin.

To keep my camera steady for long exposures, I used various tripods, depending on the surface and circumstance.

Irish Rail’s Loop Line bridge over the River Liffey.

My exposures varied, but most were between 1 and 8 seconds. I calculated exposure manually using a Minolta IV Flash meter (in reflective mode).

I processed the Fomapan 100 film in Ilford ID-11 stock mixed 1-1 with water at 68F for 7 minutes 15 seconds, plus pre-soak with a token amount of Kodak HC110, then scanned negatives using an Epson V500 flatbed scanner.

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RPSI’s The Midlander in Colour.

As a follow-up to my black & white posts: On Sunday, 18 March 2018, I also worked with my two digital cameras to expose a few choice photographs of Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s The Midlander on its run from Connolly Station Dublin to Maynooth.

Also see: https://wp.me/p2BVuC-5nz

Telephoto view at Connolly. This is a colour photograph, but has the contrast and texture of a black & white image. Are the red signals an improvement or a distraction?

Looking back at the train from tank engine number 4.

Irish Rail 073 in heritage paint brought the RPSI train over from Inchicore Works to Connolly Station.

Engine No. 4 hauled the excursion.

An NI Railways CAF train arrives at Connolly substituting for the normal Enterprise set.

Approaching Glasnevin Junction in Dublin.

Working the Midland route toward Maynooth.

Running around at Maynooth.

Number 4 with its admirers at Maynooth.

My new book ‘Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe features RPSI trains in its section on Ireland.

This is due out in May 2018 and may be pre-ordered from Kalmbach Books: https://kalmbachhobbystore.com

For details on  RPSI and passenger excursions see: https://www.steamtrainsireland.com

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Steam on Retropan.

On one level, it seems appropriate to make images of steam locomotives and their environment with Retropan. ‘Retro on Retro’ right?

Yet, I know many old-school black & white photographers would object to the essential qualities of Retropan black & white film, which by design is comparatively soft and grainy.

Yes, there are sharper films; and of course there’s colour, not to mention digital, but the reason I chose Foma Retropan for these photos was because of the gritty quality it offers.

Someone might ask why does the RPSI run a steam locomotive, when there are more efficient diesel railcars available?

Connolly Station, exposed on Retropan 18 March 2018.

Connolly Station, exposed on Retropan 18 March 2018.

Ooo! Look an efficient diesel railcar. And it’s on Retropan too! Drumcondra, Dublin.

Approaching Glasnevin Junction, Dublin.

Maynooth.

Locomotive number 4 at Maynooth. Notice the modern signal in the distance and the bright lamps on the locomotive.

 

Psssst! I also made some colour slides, and a whole bunch of colour digital image on the same day.

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My new book ‘Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe features RPSI trains in its section on Ireland.

It is due out in May 2018 and may pre-order the book from Kalmbach Books: https://kalmbachhobbystore.com

For details on  RPSI and passenger excursions see: https://www.steamtrainsireland.com

Tracking the Light Extra! Dublin Greened for St Patrick’s Day 2018! Five NEW photos!

Lumix photos by Brian Solomon.

Dusk is a great time to capture the light. Once the blue in the sky has faded, the photos just are not as interesting.

O’Connell Street at dusk.

Grand Central at Abbey and O’Connell Street.

Irish Rail’s Loop Line Bridge with the Custom House.

Irish Rail’s Loop Line Bridge with the Custom House.

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