Tag Archives: Ireland

Irish Rail Workhorse Diesel; The Unremarked 221 in four photos.

Here’s four views of Irish Rail 221; two film, two digital; two orange, two green & silver; two with passenger, two with freight; one in snow, three without; but all showing this machine on the move.

221 leads the down Dublin-Cork liner at Ballybrophy on 25 March 2005. Exposed on Fujichrome Velvia 100F using a Nikon F3 with 180mm lens.

This is part of my on-going series depicting Ireland’s class 201 diesel electrics to mark my 20 years photographing in Ireland. Photographic details in the captions.

Irish Rail 221 leading Mark 3 carriages at Kildare on a damp summer day in 2005. Exposed on Fujichrome Velvia 100F using a Nikon F3 with 180mm lens.
Freshly painted 221 (with expanded number) leads the down IWT liner (Dublin to Ballina container train) at Islandbridge Junction in Dublin. Exposed digitally using a FujFilm XT1 with 90mm Fujinon telephoto lens. Notice the effect of scale with the monument visually positioned over the locomotive.
Irish Rail 221 in the snow at Islandbridge in Dublin on 28 February 2018. Exposed digitally with a FujiFilm XT1 and 27mm pancake lens.

Question: do head-on telephoto views portray the shape of the 201-class effectively?

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Irish Rail 220; Here and There, North and South, Freight and Passenger, Then and Now.

Five views of Irish Rail 220.

Of the Irish Rail class 201 diesels, number 220 is well represented in my collection! Let’s just say I had lots of photos to pick from, both on film and with digital.

Any favorites among these?

April 2000, I found Irish Rail 220 at Belfast Central. Exposed on Fujichrome Sensia II using a Nikon.
In August 2005, 220 leads Mark 2 carriages toward Connolly Station as viewed from Old Cabra Road in Dublin. The shadowy cut made for a contrasty slide.
In 2014, I caught 220 working the down IWT Liner west of Kildare from the main road over pass. Exposed using my Canon EOS 7D with telephoto lens.
In 2015, I caught 220 working the up-IWT Liner (International Warehousing and Transport container train heading toward Dublin port) passing the station at Hazelhatch on the quad track near suburban Dublin.
It was a fine October day at Cork’s Kent Station when I exposed this view of 220 with a Mark IV set.

In each of the images, I’ve made nominal adjustment to exposure, contrast and colour balance.

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Irish Rail 217—Three Photos: Summer, Fall & Winter.

Next up in my 20 year retrospective featuring the Irish Rail 201 class is Irish Rail locomotive 217!

Is this anyone’s favorite engine?

I have many images of 217 over the years, and I’ve selected these three for presentation here.

Details in the photos below.

Irish Rail 217 pauses in the loop at Ballybrophy in June 2006. Exposed on Fujichrome using a Contax G2 rangefinder with 28mm Zeiss Biogon lens.
September 2016, 217 passes Clondalkin on the quad track in suburban Dublin with the down Mark4 for Kent Station Cork. FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Rare snow blankets Dublin on 28 February 2018. FujiFilm X-T1 photo. I made this photo through the fence at Memorial Road, you can see part of the fence blurred at right. Normally I’d crop this defect, but I left it in so you can see the challenge of photographing at this location. Careful positioning will allow for an unobstructed view, but I wasn’t as careful as I should have been.

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Navy Blue—Irish Rail 216 for Belmond’s Grand Hibernian.

In my earlier 216 post I pictured Irish Rail 216 in its ordinary paint liveries, before it was specially adorned for service on the Belmond Grand Hibernian cruise train in 2016.

This post features 216 in fancy dress.

Off season, 216 will work other services. It is seen arriving at Kent Station in Cork with a Mark4 set from Dublin.
216 looks best on a bright sunny day.
The slightest change in colour balance will dramatically alter the tint of Belmond’s navy, making this train unusually challenging to picture accurately. It is seen passing Islandbridge on a sunny Sunday morning.
216 up close. Unfortunately the navy colour tends to show dirt and grime more readily than other liveries.

I wonder, with all the attention now paid to 216, has this become the most pictured of the 201 class diesels?

The Grand Hibernian is among the trains featured in my 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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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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Six Vintage 201 photos: Spring with Irish Rail 213!

Years past, I made many colourful photos of Irish Rail 213 River Moy on bright Spring days.

One of my first encounters was in May 1998 at Carlow. I’d arrived by bus (Shhh!!) and made photos of the down train (Dublin to Waterford) at Carlow station using my Nikon F3T loaded with Fujichrome Sensia 100.

View through the fence from the road using a 135mm lens.
213 side-on as it approaches the down starting signal at Carlow in May 1998.

Seven years later, in the Spring of 2005, I was keen to catch 213 on the move, since this was the first Irish Rail class 201 to wear the revised orange livery with bright yellow front end.

I saw this as a big improvement over the original 201 livery.

On 8 April 2005, I photographed 213 in fresh paint with my Contax G2 and 28mm lens on Velvia slide film.
Close up of 213 at Cork’s Kent Station using my Nikon N90S with telephoto lens and Sensia 100 film.
A month later on 8 May 2005, I made this view of 213 light engine at Heuston Station in Dublin. Anyone need a cheap shoe?

And because it fits the theme, I’ve also included a view from April 2006, of 213 descending Ballybrophy-bank racing toward Dublin.

It was on the evening of 17 April 2006 when I caught 213 with Mark3 carriages on the up-Cork passing milepost 62 1/2.

213 hasn’t turned a wheel in many a Spring now. It waits its turn in the sun in a deadline at Inchicore.

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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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Class 201 Retrospective: Irish Rail 206, the first of the Enterprise 201s.

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.

On 4 March 2000 Irish Rail 206 works the Enterprise at Donabate. Exposed on Fujichrome Sensia II (ISO100) using a Nikon F3T.
On 11 May 2005, Irish Rail 2005 was ‘ex works’ following overhaul after its fire, making one of many trips on a Liner (point to point freight). It passes Islandbridge Junction, one of my often used locations. Exposed on Fujichrome using a Contax G2 rangefinder.
Same location, same train on 17 May 2005. Here I’m using a 135mm telephoto lens on my Nikon F3T to bring in the Wellington Testimonial (obelisk).
And almost the same angle on 16 December 2010, this time captured digitally using a Canon EOS 7D. So while these are three photos of the same locomotive on similar trains at essentially the same location, each features a different treatment as result of changes in lighting, season, type of camera, lens focal length, and the angle of composition.

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.

I made this digital photo of 206 at Belfast Central Station on 26 March 2018, working as intended. Lumix LX7 photo. The high angle allows for good detail of the roof, which is not often seen from ground level.

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Western Rail Corridor Train Arriving Limerick

On Saturday, 7 April 2018, I made these photos of an Irish Rail 2800-series railcar working a Western Rail Corridor service from Galway arriving at Limerick’s Colbert Station.

I used my Lumix LX7, then working with the RAW files in Lightroom, made nominal adjustments to colour temperature, contrast and highlight density.

Lumix LX7 photo at Limerick.
Lumix LX7 photo.

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RPSI’s The Branch Line Wanderer-Part 2

Here’s another section of images from last Saturday’s The Branch Line Wanderer, an RPSI excursion that visited various Irish secondary lines.

I exposed these photos using my FujiFilm X-T1.

The trip was operated by Railway Preservation Society of Ireland in conjunction with Irish Rail.

Limerick.
Cloughjordan on the Nenagh Branch.Cloughjordan on the Nenagh Branch.
Cloughjordan on the Nenagh Branch.
Cloughjordan on the Nenagh Branch.
Irish Rail down Mark 4 at Thurles.
Irish Rail up Mark 4 at Thurles.
Sunset from RPSI train near Templemore.

 

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18 New Photos: RPSI’s The Branchline Wanderer—Retro Diesel Train Flashback.

Yesterday, 7 April 2018, Railway Preservation Society of Ireland in conjunction with Irish Rail operated its The Branchline Wanderer.

This covered several lightly traveled lines, including the Waterford-Limerick Junction section, which was a favorite of mine in years gone by.

The trip was well patronized. Despite wildly varying weather, I found numerous opportunities for interesting photos of RPSI’s train, its crew and passengers, and the places we visited.

Special thanks to RPSI’s Operating Crews and Irish Rail staff for an excellent day out.

Bagnalstown.

 

Bagnalstown.

Waterford.
Waterford.
Waterford.
Waterford.
Coach D.
Waterford.

 

Carrick-on-Suir.
Carrick-on-Suir.
Carrick-on-Suir.
Clonmel.
Cahir.
Cahir.
Cahir.

This display  represents the first few hours of photos exposed with my FujiFilm XT1. This was one of four cameras I used on the day. More photos to follow.

 

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Prelude to RPSI’s Branchline Explorer—7 April 2018

If everything has gone according to plan, as you read this I’m traveling upon Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s diesel-hauled Branchline Explorer rail tour.

I made this photo on 6 April 2018 of Irish Rail 071 (in 1970s heritage livery) leading the RPSI preserved Cravens carriages across the River Liffey at Islandbridge in the fading light of the evening.

Thanks to Jay Monaghan!

An Irish Rail ICR working Grand Canal Docks suburban service exits the Phoenix Park Tunnel on 6 April 2018. Irish Rail 071 with RPSI Cravens can be seen in the distance. Exposed digitally using a FujiFilm X-T1 camera fitted with a 90mm f2.0 telephoto lens.
An instant classic: Irish Rail 071 (class leader in retro paint) leads the RPSI Cravens across the River Liffey at Islandbridge in Dublin. Exposed digitally using a FujiFilm X-T1 camera fitted with a 90mm f2.0 telephoto lens.

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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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Class 201 Retrospective: Irish Rail 205 on the Move.

To mark my twenty years photographing Irish Railways, I’m posting images of each of Irish Rail’s 201-class General Motors diesels in numerical order.

A dozen years ago, I wouldn’t have found anything noteworthy in my photos of Irish Rail 205 at work. But that’s part of the point of this exercise.

You never know which photos will become interesting over time. The common becomes unusual; the normal become curious; the routine will seem exciting.

Irish Rail’s signalman at Castlerea hands the staff to the driver of engine 205 as it passes the cabin on its way up to Dublin on 9 April 2005.
Irish Rail 205 crests Ballybrophy bank on 3 June 2006 on its way to Cork from Dublin. Exposed on Fujichrome using a Contax G2 rangefinder with Zeiss 28mm Biogon lens.

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Class 201 Retrospective: Irish Rail 204 in four photos.

The unremarkable 204.

Not as rare to my lens as 202, but not as common as say 201, 205, or the seeming omnipresent 215. Today, views of 204 on the move are still pretty neat since it’s been more than eight years since it turned a wheel.

These are all Fujichrome photos, since I never photographed 204 at work using a digital camera. Maybe someday it will return to service. But even then I might take it on slide film for old time sake.

Can you spot the ‘bad’ photo? (read the captions)

Irish Rail 204 races down road at Ballybrophy on 7 April 2007.
Nearly 12 years ago, freshly paint Irish Rail 204 passes Cherryville Junction.
One for the bin? Here we have a fascinating photo of Irish Rail in transition; I exposed this view almost ten years ago to the day: March 2008. Locomotive 204 leads Mark 3s west at Islandbridge Junction as a new Mark 4 set rolls up-road; at left is a four-wheel ballast train led by a pair of Bo-Bos (class 141/181 General Motors diesels), with another Bo-Bo at right working as a station pilot. Look to the upper right in the yard and you’ll see a set of new Rotem ICRs. But this was bad photo: never mind all the railway action, I committed a compositional faux pas; I chopped the top of the Wellington Testimonial in the Phoenix Park! That’s it, pitch the photo! Nothing to see here!
On another day, Irish Rail 204 leads the Platin-Tullamore cement. I was disappointed that an 071 didn’t work the train, but I’m sure glad I made this photo anyway!

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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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Snow! Steam! Action!

It was cold and snowy at Dublin’s Connolly Station last Sunday.

While snow complicated Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s planned trips to Maynooth, it made for ideal conditions to expose black & white photos.

Using my Nikon F3 with 35mm and 135mm lens, I made these images on platform 3.

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

RPSI No 4.

All were exposed using Kodak Tri-X black & white film, which I processed in Ilford ID-11 (1-1 at 68 degrees F for 7 minutes 45 seconds, plus extended presoak with very dilute HC110 to pre-activate development.)

I scanned the negatives  using an Epson V500 flatbed scanner.

RPSI No 4.

More snowy steam images images to follow!

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Dublin’s Elusive Super Milk Tram.

Well it’s the only time I’ve seen it .(so far)

I was on Abbey Street, when I heard the familiar Dong-Dong warning of a LUAS tram . . .

this wasn’t a red line tram, but rather a car working the new Green Line Cross City route on Marlborough Street.

So there it was in all its creamy-whiteness; the red-white-blue Avonmore Super Milk Tram!

LUAS Tram 5010 painted for Avonmore Super Milk passes the Abbey Theatre.
Avonmore Milk Tram in the Dublin City centre.

Lucky for me I had my Lumix LX7 at the ready.

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Class 201 Retrospective: Old reliable, 203.

As part of my 20 years in Ireland/201 numerical retrospective, I’ll offer just a couple views of Irish Rail 203.

My memories of this engine are largely the blast a horn and the rush of air as it passed with Mark 3 carriages in tow on the Dublin-Cork line.

My first summer photographing trains in Ireland was characterised by gray days and dirty 201s. I don’t recall why, but Irish Rail had let its fleet become manky at that stage. Irish Rail 203 blasts through Hazel Hatch mid summer 1998. Exposed on Fujichrome Sensia 100 with a Nikon F3 and 135mm lens.
On 23 Jan 2005, Irish Rail 203 approaches Cherryville Junction with a down train from Dublin. Exposed on Fujichrome Velvia with a Contax G2 with 28mm Biogon lens.

One instance stands out about the others though: I was showing some American friends around the island; we’d borded the Cu na Mara Mark3 international set at Heuston behind locomotive 215 destined for Galway. We got as far as Hazel Hatch, when 215 coiled up and we were sent into the loop to await a rescue loco from Inchicore.

Guess which engine was sent to bring us to Galway? (This is not a trick question).

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Class 201 Retrospective: The Elusive 202

Also See: Irish Rail 202! Hooray!

Here’s the backstory: In the dozen or so years between 1998 and when Irish Rail withdrew and stored a portion of its relatively modern EMD-built 201-class locomotives (numbers 201-205, 210-214), I spent a lot of time wandering the system making photos.

Some locomotives were common; I must have a hundred photos of class leader 201 on the roll (featured in the first 201 Retrospective installment). And every time I turned around, I seem to find 215 leading a train.

Of the 35 201s, I found that engine 202 was by far the most elusive.

Several years ago, I scoured my files and located just 3 colour slides of 202.

A subsequent review of black & white negatives turned up another image (displayed in my October 2017 post, linked above).

I knew there must be more. Irish Rail 202 was among the 201s to receive the improved orange and black livery with bright yellow ends. I simply had to have made photos of it in that livery!

So, as I was trolling through hundreds of boxes of slides over the last few months, I kept an eye open and lo and behold! I found several more images of the elusive locomotive.

My questions are: why was 202 so elusive? Was it simply luck of the draw that I rarely saw it on the move? Was 202 hiding somewhere? Was it especially unreliable and spent most of the time at Inchicore awaiting repair?

You might wonder why I didn’t find these photos sooner. The answer has several considerations; at the time of exposure the photos didn’t make my final cut. While there’s nothing horribly wrong with these photos, there’s minor technical flaws that resulted in me discounting them.

Also, the significance of these images wasn’t evident to me at the time of exposure and so remained in the little green boxes and hadn’t been transferred to my preferred files. Lastly, I don’t organize my slides by locomotive number, so finding a specific engine photo can be challenging.

On 5 May 2006, I made this view of Irish Rail 202 at Portarlington. If you look carefully, you’ll notice that the photo isn’t level. That was the initial reason I rejected it. Easy enough to fix digitally now, but a no-go for the slide show!

The point of this exercise is that sometimes the content of a photo becomes more interesting as time passes. The photo of a fairly ordinary locomotive at work has greater interest after that engine is withdrawn from traffic.

So what’s wrong with this photo. A 201 with Mark3s at Cherryville, at the time it couldn’t get any more common than that! As a result this slide stayed in the box for almost 12 years. Now, I’m really glad I made the picture!

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Sunset at Craigmore Viaduct.

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.

LX7 photo from the train.

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.

Lumix LX7 ISO80, f8 at 1/1000th second, 60mm setting on the zoom.
Lumix LX7 ISO80, f8 at 1/1000th second, 60mm setting on the zoom.

Thanks to Honer Travers and William Malone with whom I was traveling.

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RPSI Driver Training Special at Laytown.

A rare sunny Sunday in Ireland. It was clear from dawn to dusk.

Making it extra special was Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s driver training special using tank engine No. 4 and the preserved Cravens carriages.

This worked the Northern line between Connolly Station in Dublin and Drogheda.

I was traveling with William Malone and Honer Travers.

We decided to visit the viaduct at Laytown, which offers a good place to catch a steam locomotive at work.

I made this view using my Lumix LX7, but also exposed a sequence of Fujichrome colour slides with my Nikon N90S and 35mm lens. We’ll have to wait to see those.

My Lumix LX7 is a nifty tool for making action photos of train. Although a small camera, it has the ability to produce both RAW and JPG files and features a remarkably sharp lens.

I find that engine number 4 photographs best from a broadside angle. It looks awkward viewed head-on.

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Sun on the Bog; Nice Light on Bord na Mona—February 2018.

This is a follow-up to Friday’s post:

February 2018 Foray into the Irish Bog in search of Narrow Gauge freight. [https://wp.me/p2BVuC-5jR]

The Irish Midlands are famously cloudy.

However, when the evening sun shines it makes for some wonderful photographic opportunities.

In February, Denis McCabe and I waited out the clouds, and caught two pairs of laden Bord na Mona trains in bright sun.

These images were exposed near Rathangan, Co. Kildare.

FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.
FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.
FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.
FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.
FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.
FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.
FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.

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Tracking the Light Extra: Views from today’s 1320 Enterprise to Belfast.

I’d booked on the 1120 to Belfast, but the first Dublin-Belfast Enterprise to depart Dublin Connolly since Thursday was today’s 1320 (that’s 1:20 pm)

Ground transport was still non-functional when I left Islandbridge, so I made my way through the slush to Connolly on foot, mostly following the rusted over LUAS tracks.

There was a big crowd for the train at Connolly. We were slow on the DART route to Malahide, then nominally delayed at Drogheda when a disruptive passenger fought with Irish Rail staff.

All and all it was an interesting trip! I’m posting from an NI Railways CAF on its way to Great Victoria Street.

I made these views using Lumix LX7.

On my walk to Connolly I passed this scene on Abbey Street.
Connolly was frosty.
I was happy to see the Enterprise ready on Platform 2.
It was nice to be welcomed, but a little information would have been nice. Reminds me of a story my late friend Bob Buck used to tell about a woman passenger inquiring of the Boston & Albany Station agent at Framingham. ‘I asked you for information but all you give me is bullshit!’
Passengers were anxious to get on the train.
Finally a friendly member of staff came along and opened the doors.

Hmm, snow on the platforms!
I’m checking the level of snow on the DART and lines from the North Wall.
NI Railways CAF Railcars at Portadown a few minutes ago. LX7 photo.

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Tracking the Light EXTRA! A Dozen photos: Irish Transport at a Standstill.

Heavy Snow Shuts Irish Rail, LUAS and Bus Services.

Today, 2 March 2018, public transport was suspended across the Republic of Ireland. Irish Rail stopped operating trains yesterday afternoon.

Earlier today I made a cursory inspection of Dublin’s Heuston Station.

Drifts covered the line at Islandbridge Junction; trains were idle at the Heuston yards; the LUAS tram tracks were completely covered, and buses were idle at the Conyngham Road bus garage.

Snow covers Irish Rail tracks at Islandbridge Junction in Dublin. 2 March 2018.
Irish Rail’s Liffey Bridge at Islandbridge, Dublin on 2 March 2018.
Irish Rail trains idled at the Heuston Station yards. 2 March 2018.
Irish Rail trains idled at the Heuston Station yards. 2 March 2018.
Irish Rail trains idled at the Heuston Station yards. 2 March 2018.
Snow covers the normally busy LUAS tram tracks at Heuston Station. Irish Rail’s terminal is shut.
LUAS display at Heuston.
LUAS tracks lay beneath a blanket of snow on Steevens Lane.
All is quiet at Heuston Station. 2 March 2018.
Dublin Bus stop at Parkgate Street. 2 March 2018.
Dublin Bus stop at Parkgate Street. 2 March 2018.
Idle buses at Conynham Road Garage. 2 March 2018.

I’ve heard that there’s greater amounts of snow inland. In many places roads are impassible. Air travel has been grounded.

Reports from Northern Ireland indicate that NI Railways continues to provide service, possibly with some delays.

My photos were exposed digitally using Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm XT1 cameras.

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February 2018 Foray into the Irish Bog in search of Narrow Gauge freight.

Since 2012, Denis McCabe and I have made detailed exploration of Bord na Mona’s three-foot gauge railways networks.

See: Irish Bog Railways—Part 1 [https://wp.me/p2BVuC-8J]https://wp.me/p2BVuC-oR

Irish Bog Railways—Part 3, March 2, 2013 [https://wp.me/p2BVuC-oR]

Irish Narrow Gauge: Bord na Mona Approaching Sunset [https://wp.me/p2BVuC-28X]

These photos are from our most recent foray. We caught this pair of empty trains working their way east from Clonbulloge to a loading area near Rathangan.

Bord na Mona typically operates trains in pairs to ease the loading process.

Moon-like landscape on the bog east of Clonbulloge.

Fair weather clouds were gradually giving way to sunshine.

Images were exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm f2.0 lens.

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Eight Digital Snow Scenes from Dublin.

Here’s another selection of snow scenes from Dublin exposed during the freeze of 27-28 February.

Today (1 March 2018) the snow continues to fall and a blizzard is expected for later in the day.

Irish Rail is reported to be shutting down from 2 pm.

LUAS approaching Heuston Station in a snow squall. Lumix LX7 photo.
Heuston Station at dusk. Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.
Heuston Station. Lumix LX7 photo.
1125 Cork-Dublin arriving at Heuston about 18 minutes late. FujiFilm XT1 photo.
Snow in the Gullet: 1500 Dublin to Cork at Memorial Road in Dublin. FujiFilm XT1 photo.
FujiFilm XT1 photo.
Snow in the gullet. Lumix LX7 photo. 

 

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It was Twenty Years Ago Today that I made my First Trip on Irish Rail.

On 27 February 1998, I traveled on Irish Rail from Limerick to Dublin, changing at Limerick Junction and Kildare.

Today also marks the anniversary of my first visit to Dublin.

I made these photos at Limerick Junction on 27 February 1998 while changing trains. Since that day, I’ve made hundreds of railway trips around Ireland and exposed countless thousands of photos.

Posted from Dublin on 27 February 2018.

Irish Rail 128 with a Mark3 push-pull set  had just arrived at Limerick. I traveled on this train; it was my first Irish Rail experience. I was astounded that a ‘switcher’ had hauled the train! (Irish Rail’s 121 class diesels were built by General Motors and based in part on the SW-series switchers, but were geared for mainline speeds.) Exposed on Fujichrome using a Nikon F3 with 135mm lens.
Now this was promising! Rail freight on the move at Limerick Junction. At the time I didn’t know if I was looking toward Dublin or away from it. Turns out that the train on right was the ‘Up Ammonia’ from Cork. (Dublin was at my back) Live and learn! My connecting  train was to arrive from Cork after the Up Ammonia had passed. Exposed on Fujichrome using a Nikon F3 with 135mm lens. 

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Seven Enterprising Views.

Or rather, a few views of and from (and otherwise relating to) the Dublin-Belfast 0735 Enterprise service.

All exposed using my Lumix LX7 on 8 February 2018.

Departure board Connolly Station.
Push-pull driving trailer on the Enterprise.
View crossing the River Boyne at Drogheda.
Near the border.
Electronic visual artifact on the interior sign.

Enterprise at Portadown.

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Tracking the Light Special: Irish Rail 071 in Heritage Paint—Now.

At 1007 (10:07 am) this morning (8 February 2018), Irish Rail’s 071 (class leader of the popular 071 class of General Motors-built diesel locomotives) passed Islandbridge Junction with the down IWT Liner.

Exposed using my FujiFilm XT1with 90mm Fujinon lens. It’s a bit misty in Dublin. Image scaled from in-camera Jpeg without post processing contrast or exposure adjustment.

This locomotive was repainted in 2016 into the attractive 1970s-era livery.

Although, I’ve made a number of photographs of this locomotive in heritage paint before, it’s always nice to see it on the move. I’m told it had been laid up for the last few months and it’s only back on the road this week.

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Islandbridge Junction: Dark and Darker.

Not all photos are made on bright sunny days.

Here are two views of Irish Rail class 207 in the Enterprise livery working the back of the Cork-Dublin Mark4 push-pull approaching Heuston Station in Dublin.

One was made on a dull afternoon. The other on a frosty evening a day later.

In both instances I exposed photos using my FujiFilm XT1 with a Fujinon Aspherical ‘Super EBC XF’ 27mm ‘pancake’ lens.

Exposed at f3.2 1/500th second at ISO 500.
Exposed at f2.8 1/30th second at ISO 6400 panned.

I have a number of photos of this locomotive, but in my 20 years photographing the 201 class at work in Ireland, it remains among the most elusive of the fleet.

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Dublin LUAS Cross City First Service Views—26 January 2018.

Over the last few years I’ve posted a variety of photos showing Dublin’s LUAS Cross City tram line under construction and trial/training runs.

In December 2017, this new LUAS service commenced from St. Stephens Green (at the north end of the original Green Line service) to Broombridge on Dublin’s Northside. But, at that time, I was elsewhere.

So last Friday (26 January 2018), Mark Healy and I went for a spin out to Broombridge and back. I made digital photos with my Lumix LX7 and colour slides with my Nikon N90S.

These are a few of my digital views.

Northward tram at O’Connell and Parnell Streets.
Broombridge terminus.
Broombridge terminus. Note the new footbridge construction over Irish Rail’s Sligo line. Broombridge is intended as an intermodal interface between Irish Rail and LUAS.
View from the tram at Broombridge.
Map of the new service on board tram 5020.
In bound tram at Grangegorman.
Out of service 4000-series tram at Grangegorman.
Dawson Street on Dublin’s Southside.
Dawson Street on Dublin’s Southside.

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Rainbow with Dublin’s LUAS-3 Photos.

On 2 October 2017, I was walking the LUAS Red Line in Dublin. The sun was out but a dark cloud was fast approaching from the north.

I could I see the rain coming.

While watching the sky, I met fellow photographer Ciarán Cooney. He too was watching the lighting conditions unfold, but was heading for the tram.

He said to me, “I have bad luck with rainbows. I suppose I’ll see this on Tracking the Light!”

A minute later he boarded the LUAS tram that appears in these images.

Lumix LX7 photo, Dublin, Ireland.
A LUAS Red Line tram on Benburb Street in Dublin. Lumix LX7 photo.
Less tram, more rainbow.

Tracking the Light posts daily.