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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A few weeks back on a trip to Belfast, I exposed these views of NI Railway’s CAF-built diesel railcars crossing the River Lagan.
To convey a sense of motion I panned the trains using a relatively slow shutter speed with a medium telephoto lens. By using an even panning motion I was able to keep the train sharp with the background is blurred.
A couple weeks ago, I met fellow photographer Jay Monaghan in Cabra to document the passing of Belmond’s luxury tour train that was making it’s scheduled move to Dublin’s Connolly Station.
Using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera, I opted for this portrait-oriented (vertical) telephoto view to accentuate the Dublin Mountains. In contrast to my view, Jay executed a very nice wide-angle photograph that better shows the cutting and the length of Belmond’s train.
The Grand Hibernian uses 10 custom refurbished former Irish Rail Mark3 carriages, making it the longest regularly scheduled passenger train in Ireland.
In this instance an Irish Rail class 071 diesel is working the train, but for most moves Irish Rail 216 specially painted in Belmond navy-blue is assigned to it.
In season, Belmond’s high-end excursion train makes tours of Irish railways.
Irish Rail crosses the Barrow at Monasterevin, again near Bagenalstown, and finally with a large bridge between Waterford and Campile near Great Island.
Largely forgotten is the long closed bridge northeast of New Ross on the line that once went to the Junction at Macmine via Palace East in County Wexford. More than half a century has passed since the last scheduled train over this bridge.
I made these pastoral views from a road high above the Barrow looking in a westerly direction.
Tracking the Light is on autopilot while Brian is traveling.
Last year Irish Rail cleared its cuttings on the northern approach to the Phoenix Park Tunnel in Dublin in preparation for introduction of a regular passenger service over the line to Grand Canal Docks.
This work had the secondary effect of improving a number of photo locations, such as this view from the Dublin’s Old Cabra Road.
Last week on advice from Colm O’Callaghan, I opted to work from this vantage point to photograph an Irish Rail empty ‘Spoil train’ [that carries debris left over from line works etc] that had been scheduled to run to the North Wall in Dublin.
Shortly before the focus of my effort came into view an empty Irish Rail passenger train arrived and was blocked at the signal outside the tunnel.
My question to you: are the photographs made more interesting by the presence of the passenger train?
Tracking the Light Intends to Post Every Day, 365 days a year.
Five alternative views of Ireland’s Bord na Mona railway.
Here I’m trying something different: Working with an old Leica IIIa fitted with an ancient screw-mount Nikkor 35mm lens, I exposed some Fomapan 100 black & white film.
Instead of my normal process, I opted to soup the film in Ilford Perceptol. I mixed the stock solution from powder. Recommended development time was 8 minutes, but I cut this to 6 minutes, then after complete processing (stop, fix, hypo-clear and wash) I toned the negatives with a 1-9 Selenium solution to boost highlights (and then rewashed).
It was my first time working with Perceptol; overall I was pleased with the results, which yielded fine grain, broad tonality and a somewhat softer over-all image than what I’d been getting using ID-11.
This camera-lens-film-developer combination seems to have worked well with the rustic Bord na Mona narrow gauge industrial railway. I’ve opted to display a handful of the dozen or so monochrome images I exposed that day.
Tracking the Light takes a different approach today.
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On Monday, 13 March 2017, I photographed Irish Rail 071 in heritage paint working the Sperry rail-defect detection train. (The Sperry equipment is in a yellow container at the middle of the train).
I’d planned these photographs at ‘the Gullet’ (west of Islandbridge Junction between Dublin Heuston and Inchicore) on the previous Friday, but the train was canceled. Patience and persistence paid off in the end. (There’s your tips for the day).
Bord na Mona (Irish peat board) operates an extensive network of narrow gauge industrial railways in the Irish midlands.
It has been nearly two years since I last explored this fascinating diminutive railway in action.
It helps to have the sun to photograph Bord na Mona, as the bog can be outright dreary on a dull wet day.
The sun seemed to have emerged from the lingering blanket of dampness that lately has prevailed across Ireland, so Denis McCabe and I made a foray to Shannonbridge, County Offaly location of the busiest Bord na Mona railway operation.
Bord na Mona trains come clattering along, often running in pairs or groups, but patience is often needed to find trains on the move.
Check out Tracking the Light’s archives for previous posts on the Bord na Mona.
It was here at Colbert Station Limerick that I boarded my first Irish Rail train, a two piece push-pull led by a 121 Class General Motors diesel. That was just about 19 years ago (February 1998).
The other day, I decided to travel by train to Limerick. Unfortunately on the way out I discovered that my ‘connection’ at Limerick Junction was a bus. Poor show Irish Rail. (Can I blame them for the rain too?)
On the return, my train operated (hooray!). Waiting to board, I made a few photos of the old station, which uses of the traditional terminal head-house and iron train shed arrangement.
Out front it has been cleaned up a bit, but for the most part the station looks much the way it did on my first visit all those years ago. No 121 though.
All photos were exposed using my Lumix LX7 in February 2017.