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.
Service Notice: Brian will be traveling for the next few days. New Tracking the Light posts will go up daily, but email notices may be delayed. To see the most recent posts, please check: http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/
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.
Yesterday, I presented scaled camera JPGs of Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s The Western Explorer, which operated from Dublin’s Connolly Station on 22 October 2016.
Today’s selection, are photos made using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera, but using the Camera RAW files and manipulating the data in Lightroom to present a more pleasing image.
Using contrast controls, I’ve maximized detail in highlights and shadows while adjusting colour saturation and exposure to produce more refined final images.
The day of trip featured fine weather and fluffy/lacey clouds decorated a largely blue sky. To bring in sky detail, it was necessary to locally adjust exposure and contrast using a digitally applied graduated filter.
In other instances, I manually lightened shadow areas, that without such adjustment would appear too dark and lacking in necessary detail.
Yesterday (22 October 2016) the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland in cooperation with Irish Rail operated a diesel-hauled excursion making a circle trip from Dublin’s Connolly Station.
Among the goals for the tour was a fundraising effort to help restore RPSI’s 1960-era class 121/141 General Motors diesels to traffic.
To emphasize the roll of heritage diesels, Irish Rail locomotive 071 (class leader) wearing the retro 1970s ‘Super Train’ livery worked from Dublin to Limerick, with engine 084 (in modern gray and yellow) bringing the train back up to Dublin.
My interest was in capturing the spirit of the day. In addition to photographs of the equipment, I focused on people; Irish Rail employees, RPSI volunteers and organizers, and passengers.
My cameras were busy all day. I made more than 500 digital images; so I’ll be editing my files for some hours yet.
This first round of photographs is a selection of camera-JPGs from my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera. Since the JPGs don’t require much work (except for scaling) these are easier to put up quickly. Later I’ll present a selection of images made from Camera RAW files, and finally a few views with my Lumix LX7.
As is often the case, I also exposed some 35mm slides, but those remain latent for the moment.
I’m traveling to Cork on Irish Rail’s 0830 Dublin-Heuston to Tralee scheduled train.
Tomorrow (Monday October 3, 2016.), I’ll be presenting a variation of my slide program Irish Railways Looking Back Ten Years to the Cork Branch of the Irish Railway Record Society in the Metropole Hotel in Cork City at 8pm.
Here are a few views exposed with my Lumix LX7 at Heuston Station and on the train-posted LIVE from the train thanks to Irish Rail’s WiFi.
By the way, just in case anyone is curious; Irish Rail 071 in the retro ‘super train livery’ is at the yard in Portlaoise with a spoil train.
Tracking the Light is Daily!
Tracking the light will be on ‘Autopilot’ for the next couple of days, but will continue to display new material every morning.
The Emerald Isle Express is an annual tour train operated Rail Tours Ireland in cooperation with Irish Rail and the Railway Preservation Society Ireland.
I had advanced notice of this year’s schedule and planned to catch it running along the Irish Sea south of Dublin on its way down the old Dublin & South Eastern route toward Rosslare Europort.
I rode the DART electric suburban train to Dalkey then hoofed it out toward Sorrento Point, where my planned location turned out to be fouled by undergrowth and related shadows.
‘Uh oh.’ Time to move to plan B.
More walking brought me to this footbridge between Dalkey and Killiney.
Although supremely picturesque, the maze of direct current overhead wires and related masts make finding a suitable angle difficult.
I wanted to include more of the Irish Sea to the right of the train, but putting the train too far to the left didn’t really work as an effective composition. Ultimately I settled on a more conservative angle. Soft sun helps reduce the distraction of the wires.
A minor disappointment; I’d hoped that Irish Rail engine number 071 (in bright orange heritage paint) would lead the train. Instead, I settled for that old stalwart; Irish Rail engine 078.
There’s a certain thrill to having two trains approach simultaneously.
Saturday, Denis McCabe, David Hegarty and myself had selected a bridge near Mosney (mp25) on the old Great Northern Railway Dublin-Belfast line as a good place to catch Belmond’s Grand Hibernian cruise train.
The Belmond train departed Dublin Connolly behind an Irish Rail local passenger train and its progress was slowed when it encountered restrictive signals.
Another Irish Rail local was scheduled in the Dublin direction.
A sunny September Saturday afternoon in Dublin; what better time to make a visit to the airport. Not to travel to distant cities, but simply to watch and photograph the parade of commercial aircraft.
Lots of different airlines make for a colourful parade of planes.
I used this as an opportunity to test my FujiFilm X-T1’s various auto-focus settings.
The ‘C’ (continuous) setting seemed to produce the sharpest results, but introduced a slight delay from time I pressed the shutter-button until the actual moment of exposure. I found the delay difficult, but so long as I could anticipate the delay I was able to work around it.
Another challenge was trying to keep the camera level while panning the rapidly moving planes.
Cork’s railways were once vastly more complex than they are today.
Over a three-day span beginning 7 May 2016, I was given a thorough tour of Cork’s historic railways that included: a walking tour of the route of the old Cork City Railway; a cycle tour of the route of the Cork, Blackrock & Passage; and a detailed look at the numerous railway terminals that once served this southwestern Irish city.
I made numerous photographs composed to document railway settings as they are today. In many instances service was discontinued decades ago and the lines lifted and so the role of the railway is more conceptual than literal.
Thanks to Ken Fox, Donncha Cronin, Brian Sherman, Kevin Meany and Richard Lee for their expert guidance and historical knowledge.