I’m waiting for someone to call me out on title redundancy.
Actually, according to my notes, this Irish Rail permanent way consist is called the ‘rail trucks.’
It was nine years ago that I joined my friend Colm O’Callaghan on an adventure to the west Dublin suburbs to catch this elusive train on the move.
We set up at near Clondalkin looking east toward the Park West and Cherry Orchard station on the recently opened quad track section of the Dublin-Cork main line.
I made this view using my Canon EOS 7D with an f2.0 EF 100mm USM prime telephoto lens. Exposure was f5.6 1/500 at 200 ISO. I adjusted the file using Adobe Lightroom. Below are three variations, each described in the caption.
At various stops along the way, I made digital photos using my old Canon EOS7D with a 28-135mm lens.
Although I’ve previously published some of these photos on Tracking the Light, for this post I’ve re-edited my selection and made a variety of up-to-day post processing adjustments using Adobe Lightroom, which I didn’t use back in 2013.
It was a typical Irish overcast day on 3 May 2014. Using my Canon 7D, I made this selction photos of Irish Rail.
Last night, I imported my nine year old Canon CR2 RAW files into Lightroom and re-profiled them as an exercise.
Three of the four photos below were adjusted for color, contrast, and exposure. One of the images was the in-camera JPG.
One of the great advantages of working with digital RAW files in post processing is the ability to lighten the shadow areas. This small adjustment can significanly improve the appearance of photos made in dull overcast lighting.
Last night Kris and I watched a Sci-Fi film about time travel.
Afterwards, I thought about how each of my slide binders offers a form of time travel.
Lately on Tracking the Light, I’ve been offering windows in time. Each that looks back through my photographs; one week, five years, etc.
I look at this photo and I think how much has changed since I exposed this frame of Fujichrome.
I was standing at ‘the box’ at the St John’s Road in Dublin on the evening of 29 April 2007. I made the image with a Nikon F3 with 24mm Nikkor lens.
Much of these scene has changed in the intervening years. The old baracks behind the train was demolished and replace by an upscale housing complex. The view of the tracks looking west has been obscured by brush and bushes (don’t ask which is which). And, these days I rarely exposed Fujichrome in Dublin with a Nikon F3.
Irish Rail’s Mark4 sets still work the Dublin-Cork run though. So that’s something.
Twenty-Five years ago, I was exploring Irish Rail, and seeing this amazing railway for the first time.
Dublin’s Pearse Station impressed me. The capacious Victorian train shed with a mix of electric and diesel trains reminded me of Philadelphia’s great termini; Broad Street and Reading Terminal.
But also because it was the oldest big city station in continuous use. The station opened in 1834 and although greatly altered over the decades, this had always served as a Dublin hub.
Today, it is rare to find a diesel here, except on permanent-way trains, and more rarely on RPSI diesel tours. Yet, back in 1998, it was a common sight to find a 201-class General Motors diesel-electric working a push-pull Mark3 set in suburban service. The sound of the big GM was amplified under the shed.
I made this photo on Fujichrome Sensia (100 ISO) using a Nikon F3T with 24mm Nikkor wide-angle lens. Looking at this photo today, it amazes me how few people were on the platform.
After landing at Farranfore, I spent a week in Tralee, then another driving around the West in a hired Citroen Saxo, before enbarking on a rail journey at Limerick for Dublin.
This was argueably the most significant train trip of my adult life. I never intended to visit Dublin. But upon arrival there, I realized that I’d found a special place.
All of Dublin lay in my future. For more than 20 years, I rented apartments in Dublin. And the city was my conceptual office and research library where I wrote many of my books and as used base to travel around Europe.
Between 1998 and 2019, I made tens of thousands of photographs documenting Irish railways.
Another tip: So when selecting the appropriate Big Bus Dublin, it is helpful to find a relatively empty tour. Not only will the give you the best seat in on the bus (up top, at the back), but also great freedom to move around to capture the best angles.
The first bus of the day tends to be crowded, while I found those mid afternoon to have ample space.
Here’s an interesting way to make elevated views of Dublin’s trams: ride at the back of an open-top tour bus.
Kris and I bought 48-hour tickets for the Big Bus Dublin, which provides a half-hourly hop-on hop-off service.
This was primarily a way for us to play tourists in Dubln, but I quickly found that it offered an excellent means to photograph the LUAS.
We traveled on three different types of buses. The variety that was most effective allowed me to shoot over the railing at the very back of the bus. Some of the more modern coaches didn’t have this feature, so you should choose your bus carefully.
I made these photos using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera with a 24-70mm zoom.
Toward the end of April, for the second morning in a row, I was in position at ‘the box’ on St Johns Road in Dublin to witness the passing of Irish Rail’s down IWT liner.
It was a cosmic alignment. The sun came out just as three trains converged upon Islandbridge Junction. The first was an ICR that emerged from the Phoenix Park Tunnel and stopped across from Platform 10. The second was an ICR heading toward the tunnel.
Then the down IWT liner emerged from the tunnel weaved around both ICRs on its way through the junction.
Sometimes, it helps to be in place at the best spot and just wait out the action.
Exposed in April 2022 using a Lumix LX7 digital camera.
I first visited Irish Rail’s Connolly Station in February 1998.
That seems like a lifetime ago and the station facilities have been greatly altered since my early visits.
On Monday, 25 April , 2022, we transfered from the LUAS to Irish Rail’s DART at Dublin’s Connolly Station and on the way between the tram and the train, I exposed this Lumix LX7 photo 29000 and 22K series railcars under the old roof.
Although these are common varieties of trains in Ireland, there’s a certain thril of seeing them again in an historic setting, which reminds me that the common today will someday seem captivating. Everything changes and it helps to have been away for spell to better appreciate the effects of change.
An open eye can produce creative vision and a record for history.
Monday, 28 October 2019 was a bright day in the Irish capital.
Although the main focus of the day was catching Irish Rail’s IWT Liners and the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s Haunted Expresses, the weather was conducive to making captivating photos of the more pedestrian trains.
Photographer Jay Monaghan and I had spent the day traveling around Dublin, grabbing angles of the passing trains.
In the afternoon we made our way to the Claude Road footbridge west of Drumcondra Station and set up for the outbound RPSI train.
While waiting, I made this view of an outbound ICR (intercity railcar) working the afternoon Dublin to Sligo service. In the distance is the Croke Park stadium. Further, are the iconic ‘Chimneys’ or ‘Stacks’ for the Poolbeg Generation Station.
On the afternoon of Saturday, 14 September 2019, Belmond’s Grand Hibernian was due at Connolly Station, Dublin .
Earlier I’d caught the train being shunted at Heuston Station, and expected it to make the run with Irish Rail 071 in retro orange paint.
A group of us were in place at Connolly anticipating the navy blue cruise train led by the orange loco.
But which platform would make a better photograph?
At the last minute, photographer Kevin O’Brien suggested platform 3. I owe him one for the idea. As it happened the Belmond and a late running Belfast-Dublin Enterprise approached Connolly at the same time.
My friends over on platform 2 didn’t get the view they hoped for since in the final seconds the Enterprise effectively blocked the view of the other train.
After photographing Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s private charter crossing the Liffey in Dublin, and catching the train with the TESCO painted Red Line tram at Gardiner Street, I walked briskly to make more photos of the train arriving at Connolly station.
Steam locomotive number 4 was unhooked and sent to Connolly shed, while Irish Rail 082 took its place to bring the RSPI Cravens across to Inchicore Works.
I made these photos using my FujiFilm XT1.
The camera battery was flashing red and my storage card was alarmingly low on pixels. Where were my film cameras? Not with me at Connolly.
A week ago, I had a some spare time in the Dublin city centre and the sun was bright, so working with my FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm prime telephoto, I exposed a series of photos of LUAS trams working the Red Line on Abbey Street.
Friday morning, 6 September 2019, I took position at the far end of Dublin Connolly Station platform 4 to photograph RPSI’s Empty Cravens arriving from the Inchicore Work in preparation for boarding and departure of the annual Steam Dreams excursion. (More on that tomorrow!).
I wanted to make both long telephoto and wide angle views of the train. To accomplish this I could use my FujiFilm XT1 with a telephoto and then switch to my Lumix LX7 as the train approached.
However, for the sake of convenience instead I opted to work exclusively with the XT1 for this sequence, and fitted the camera with a 18-135mm zoom lens.
There’s no one ‘right’ way to execute an image (or images) but different equipment choices will produce varied results.
One reason for my using the XT1 for the whole sequence was a function of the lighting conditions. My Panasonic Lumix LX7 is an excellent camera in many respects. However, I’ve found that it has a slightly narrower dynamic range, probably owing to smaller file size.
In many situations this subtle difference doesn’t matter, but with Friday’s lighting, I wanted to be able to pull in sky detail in post processing, and from past experience the XT1 RAW files leave more to work with than those from the LX7.