To mark my twenty years photographing Irish Railways, I thought it would be a neat exercise to display images of each of the 201-class General Motors diesels in numerical order. I’ll intersperse these posts with other Tracking the Light features.
Today, I’m beginning with the class leader. This engine famously arrived in Ireland in a Russian-built cargo plane.
That event was before my time in Ireland, but I made hundreds of photos of engine 201 around Ireland before it was withdrawn from traffic and stored at Inchicore.
Next in this series, I’ll feature never before published photos of Irish Rail’s very elusive 202.
On self-style tour of the Balkans that began and ended in Vienna, Denis McCabe and I spent a productive afternoon near the Slovenian border station at Jesenice. To the north beyond the formidable wall of the Alps lies Austria.
The mainline south to Ljubljana is electrified at 3,000 volts direct current. The Austrian electrification is high voltage alternating current. A small holding yard at the station was used to change engines and hold freights.
We caught a procession of trains, including a special summer-season passenger train heading to the Bulgarian coast.
The highlight of the visit was this freight the worked with a General Motors diesel off the secondary line that runs southwesterly toward the Italian frontier.
There’s a stiff grade on this line climbing up to Jesenice and we could hear the freight coming long before it came into sight.
Sunny skies were fading as a storm brewed in the mountains beyond. We boarded a local passenger train for Ljubljana and on arrival witnessed an especially violent electrical storm from the station platforms. I’ll post some of those dramatic photos sometime.
This was among my first Irish Railway photographs. I’d hired a car in Limerick and was exploring. At the time I knew very little about Irish Rail, but I was fascinated by the Ballina branch passenger train.
What caught my interest here was the juxtaposition of the General Motors diesel with the Claremorris station sign. It was the name of the town in Irish that fascinated me. I also liked the old Irish Rail logo, which seemed to represent the double junction at Claremorrris.
I’d never have imagined then, that this would just one of the thousands of Irish railway photographs I’d expose over the next 16 years!