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.
Next up for my 20 years in Ireland/class 201 numerical retrospective is old 208/8208: to be different, I’m posting views of 8208 (one of two Class 201s owned by NIR for Enterprise service) working a variety of trains but not the Enterprise!
Originally, the locomotive was number 208, and it had been painted in an attractive NIR blue livery, similar to the 111-class diesels.
One locomotive; Three variations on the Enterprise livery.
In the last 20 years, I’ve crossed paths with old 207 on a number of occasions. Often on the Enterprise,but elsewhere across Irish Rail as well.
To my knowledge it was the only Enterprise201 to receive the large bright yellow patch at the ends, similar to the treatment given to orange 201s (201-205 and 210-215) beginning in 2005. [UPDATE: Kieran Marshall has reminded me that 233 was also treated with the large yellow patch at ends.]
Today, it is one of several locomotives painted in the modern Enterprise livery with asymmetrical purple and scarlet swooshes along the sides.
As part of my 20 years in Ireland/201 numerical retrospective, this is my opportunity to present a few views of Irish Rail 206.
When I first arrived in Ireland in 1998, 201-class locomotives numbers 206 to 209 (as they were then identified) were painted for the cross-border Belfast-Dublin Enterprisepassenger service.
It is my understanding that these four numbers were chosen for the Enterprise201s to pay historical tribute to steam locomotives of the same numbers that had worked the service in an earlier era.
In my time these were painted specifically for the re-equipped Enterprise using De Dietrich carriages (derived from the original French TGV single-level carriages)
Of the four, 206 River Liffey has been my favorite, but until relatively recently it is also one of the more elusive 201s in passenger service (in regards to my photography).
Around 2002, it suffered a fire and was out of traffic for about three years. When it returned, it spent months working freights.
Only recently, have I again found it regularly working as intended. It now wears the latest Enterprise livery, which is laterally asymmetrical and features a giant purple swoop across the side of the locomotive.
A few weeks ago I posted a shadow silhouette made from the Belfast-Dublin Enterprise crossing the old Great Northern Railway (of Ireland) Craigmore Viaduct.
Last week I had the opportunity to make a photo of the same bridge from the ground, thus making use of the shadow from a completely different angle.
Exposure was the tricky part, since the sun was low on the horizon, but partially blocked by the passing train. I made these photos with my Lumix LX7 without use of filters or post-processing adjustment.
Thanks to Honer Travers and William Malone with whom I was traveling.
There’s a lightly used road bridge over Irish Rail’s old Great Northern line south of the former station at Mosney that offers a clean view in both directions.
The Irish Sea is in the distance to the east.
A week ago David Hegarty and I spent a few hours here making photos of passing trains.
I made these views using my FujiFilm XT1 fitted with a fixed focal length 27mm pancake lens, which offers an angle of view rough equivalent to a 41mm lens on a traditional 35mm film camera. In other words it is a slightly wide-angle perspective.
Prelude: on Friday, August 14, 2015, General Motors-built 201-class 8208 worked the Dublin to Ballina IWT liner. I’d photographed that move on the quad-track near Cherry Orchard.
I was interested in this recently painted locomotive, which, of-course, is styled for the Dublin-Belfast express passenger service, and not freight.
Day of action: On Saturday, I saw reports of 8208 working the up-IWT liner. This was an otherwise dull afternoon. I crossed the War Memorial Park on foot. No Vikings with their long boats today.
I found my spot, and was poised at the Con Colbert Road bridge over the three track-line in a cutting (known colloquially as ‘the Gullet’). Moments before the liner appeared, the sun briefly emerged from the clouds. Lucky me! And so this Saturday-freight eased up to the ‘Bridge of Signals’ giving me plenty of time to expose photographs.
First, I made a few strategically composed color slides with my Canon EOS 3 with 100mm lens, then exposed some digital photos with my Lumix LX7
Not bad for few minutes away from the computer on a weekend afternoon.
I’d booked tickets on-line for my cousin Stella and I. As planned we took a spin from Dublin down to Belfast on the Enterprise.
I made a variety of photos to capture the experience. The train departed Connolly at 9:35am, as per schedule.
I’d first made this journey in February 1998. Back then Belfast still had a bit of an edge to it. I’d stepped out of Belfast Central Station on blustery damp morning and was immediately cautioned by a middle aged couple who told me to watch out where I walked.
On Friday’s trip, we were greeted by bright sunny skies and a much warmer welcoming Belfast. I was traveling light: only my Lumix LX7 and a Canon EOS 3 with just two lenses.
We rode an NIR local train from Central to Great Victoria Street, then spent the next six hours exploring on foot. We opted to return on the 6:05 pm train, which put us back in Dublin early enough for dinner and to meet a few friends.
Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.