Tag Archives: Irish Rail

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Irish Rail 212 Flying Along at Cherryville Junction.

I made this panned view of Irish Rail class 201 number 212 working up-road at Cherryville Junction on 11 January 2003.

Blurred birds help convey the sense of speed as 212 races toward Dublin on 11 January 2003. This is part of my sequence of posts commemorating 20 years of railway photography on Irish railways. Next up is Irish Rail 213.

Panning is an effective technique for conveying motion. For this view I used a short telephoto lens and a comparatively slow shutter speed, probably about 1/60thof a second, while moving the camera in tandem with the locomotive.

Key to making an effective pan is maintaining constant speed and smooth motion.

Novice panners may make the mistake of stopping panning as they release the shutter. This results in a jarring complete blur that produces something less than the intended effect.

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Irish Rail 211, I Never Went Out for it, but here it is! 4 Views.

Ok, I’ll be honest. Irish Rail 211 seemed like part of the furniture. Just a common 201 class diesel. I didn’t make any special effort to put it on film.

Yet, whenever it passed, hauling freight or passenger, I made photos of it.

It’s hard to believe that its been nearly 10 years since I last saw 211 on the move. Yet, when I look at these photos, the scenes tell all.

So much has changed in the interval.

400mm Telephoto view from the top of Ballybrophy bank on 13 May 2000 with an up-road train from Cork to Dublin.
Kent Station Cork on 10 January 2005. Fujichrome Sensia 100 exposed with a Nikon F3 with 180mm lens.
A down road bubble cement train heading to Cork passes Ballybrophy on 25 March 2005. Exposed with a Nikon on Fujichrome Sensia 100.
Irish Rail 211 in the revised orange and yellow livery as photographed at Islandbridge Junction in Dublin on 10 December 2007. Canon EOS-3 with 50mm lens. Note the Bo-Bo towing a failed Enterprise 201.

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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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201 Retrospective: 209 in the Most Unlikely Place.

Continuing my 20 years in Ireland/class 201 numerical retrospective, I’m featuring loco 209 in a most unlikely place.

Hint, if you are not viewing this post on Brian Solomon’s Tracking the Light, you’ll need to click the link or all you’ll see is a view of this locomotive at Islandbridge Junction in Dublin!

Locomotive 209 in the old Enterprise livery at Islandbridge Junction.
Same locomotive, same place, but wearing an interim livery before being painted in the current Enterprise livery, and carrying the number 8209 in stead its old 209 id.
Irish Rail 209 at Wellingtonbridge 24 Nov 2003 working a sugar beet train destined for Mallow Co. Cork. At this time, the line from Waterford to Limerick Junction was shut owing to a bridge collapse at Cahir and sugar beet trains were running via Kildare. As a result, some 201 class locomotives worked beet trains. This was the only time I ever saw an Enterprise 201 on the South Wexford line.

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Class 201 Retrospective: Northern Irish Railways 8208 Everywhere but the Enterprise.

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.

I never saw it in blue.

208 as I first saw it; a thumbnail scan from a slide I made in 1998.
Working a Dublin-Waterford train at Athy in July 2003, shortly after it was renumbered 8208.
For few years 8208 worked in a unusual variation of the Enterprise livery, as pictured here on an RPSI excursion near Clonsilla on the Sligo line in 2009.
NIR 8208 in the latest Enterprise livery working Irish Rail’s IWT liner from Ballina at Memorial Road in Dublin.

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Sun and Cloud, The RPSI Cravens at Claude Road: A Lesson In Patience.

On Satuday 24 March 2018, I shared Dublin’s Claude Road foot-bridge with Paul Maguire and Ciarán Cooney, as we waited for the RPSI Cravens to run from Inchicore to Connolly for a scheduled inspection of the equipment.

It had been completely sunny, but as the time for the train approached, clouds began to dapple the morning sky.

I exposed this view using a Nikon N90S with 180mm Nikkor telephoto lens on Fujichrome Provia100F slide film.

The light was in flux when I released the shutter. Was the train in sun?

I had to wait more than three weeks to find out, since I’ve just received my slides back from the lab.

Irish Rail 084 leads the RPSI  Cravens eastward at Claude Road. File adjusted with Lightroom.

I made some nominal adjustments to contrast and colour balance after scanning.

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I feature Irish Rail and the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland in my new Railway Guide to Europe, which is now available from Kalmbach Books.

Click here to order Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe.

Class 201 Retrospective: Irish Rail 207—River Boyne; 7 photos.

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.

When I first saw 207, it looked like this with a rectangular yellow patch at the ends. I exposed this view on a tour of Connolly shed in August 1999. It was made using a Nikon F3T with 24mm Nikkor lens on Fujichrome Sensia II (100 ISO). File adjusted in Lightroom for contrast and colour balance.
Irish Rail 207—River Boyne on the Enterprise at Belfast Central on 19 April 2000.

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.]

Irish Rail 207 in it’s revised Enterprise livery with larger and brighter yellow ends. This view was exposed at Inchicore works on 15 April 2007. Just over 11 years ago.
Lets just say something was amiss with 207 on 10 December 2007, when Irish Rail 171 towed the failed class 201 (#207) across from Connolly to Inchicore. This view was made from my standard location at Islandbridge Junction in Dublin using a Canon EOS3 loaded with  Fujichrome slide film.

Today, it is one of several locomotives painted in the modern Enterprise livery with asymmetrical purple and scarlet swooshes along the sides.

Another view of Irish Rail 207 from the same vantage point, 9 years after the above image. This one was exposed digitally on 6 October 2016.
Same morning: 6 October 2016.
Nocturnal view at Islandbridge Junction of Irish Rail 207 working the Cork-Dublin Mark4 set on 21 January 2018.

Do you have a favorite class 201 locomotive?

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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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Irish Rail 074 at Limerick; A study in contrast—Four New Photos.

Under the train shed at Limerick’s Colbert Station is dark and gloomy.

Outside it had been raining.

Then the clouds drew back and brilliant midday sun blasted across the city.

Bright sun and inky shadows.

I made these views using my Lumix LX7 on Saturday, 7 April 2018.

Irish Rail 074 catches a wink of light under the train shed at Limerick Colbert Station.
Contrast of light and dark makes for a study in silhouette and vivid daylight. (File adjusted in post processing).
Irish Rail 074 up close and personal.
How many years has it been since Irish Rail last used the gantry for revenue freight at Limerick?

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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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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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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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Working With Glint: Cherry Orchard and a Late Running Liner.

Last week, Irish Rail operated a late IWT liner that departed Dublin in the evening, instead on its normal mid-morning path.

A group of my friends went to Cherry Orchard in the west Dublin suburbs to capture this relatively unusual move. While waiting for the freight, I made views of the evening passenger parade.

The sky was clear of clouds and sun was aligned with the Cork line making some interesting possibilities of glint and silhouette photographs.

In the 1990s, I exposed hundreds of images in this type of dramatic lighting conditions. The characteristics of Kodachrome 25 slide film made it well suited to glint photographs and I had my K25 exposures refined to a high art.

Glint photographs are more difficult to capture digitally, and I find that I have to control contrast and use digital masks/digital applied graduated neutral density filters in post processing to obtain the results that I expect.

An up-cork with a Mark 4 push-pull set catches the evening glint at Cherry Orchard.
I made this view of a down road Intercity Railcar from the north side of the line.

 

Irish Rail’s IWT liner roars toward the setting sun.
Glint light is an excellent means of capturing the drama of railways in motion.

Key to this exercise is underexposing a raw file sufficiently to retain detail in the sky and glinty areas of the image, than lighten shadows while making localized highlight adjustments in post processing.

These photos were made using my FujiFilm X-T1.

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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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I stood here for what? Fool in the Rain: Irish Weather Part 2.

Having a little information can be a dangerous thing.

Irish Rail’s 073 in heritage paint was working the IWT  liner.

It’s just a short walk to Islandbridge Junction.

In theory, if I timed my walk right I wouldn’t have to wait more than a couple of minutes.

And then for reasons unknown, Irish Rail held the IWT Liner in the Phoenix Park tunnel for 20 minutes. Twenty minutes seems like eternity when some fool is waiting in the rain.

Was it worth it?

Exposed digitally using a FujiFilm XT1 with f2.0 90mm lens. (f2.5 1/500 second at ISO 400)
Screen shot showing camera EXIF data.

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Irish Rail 073 in Heritage Paint at Dublin’s North Wall.

Irish Rail 073 was repainted in 2017 into heritage orange paint.

When I arrived in Ireland 20 years ago, most locomotives were in some variation of this orange-livery. Today, 073 is a novelty.

The bright orange with white trimming makes for a great subject, even on cloudy days since its stands out well from the background.

I made these views last week at Dublin’s North Wall of the arriving IWT Liner.

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

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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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Irish Rail ICR and Sperry Train at Mallow, County Cork.

For me, sometimes black & white film provides the best medium for capturing a scene.

Working with my Nikon N90S loaded with Ilford FP4 black & white film, I exposed this sequence of photographs at Mallow, County Cork.

Soft afternoon sun provided some nice light; just the sort of low sun that allows for tonality and texture to be interpreted on black & white film.

Irish Rail 075 rests in the Mallow yard with the Sperry rail defect detection train.
The addition of a spoil wagon at the back of the Sperry consist was unusual and worth of a few photographs.
Filtered sun makes for contrast and tonality well suited to black & white film. I exposed these views using my Nikon N90S with 35mm f2.0 Nikkor AF Lens.

 

 

An Irish Rail ICR (InterCity Railcar) arrives at Mallow from Cork on its way to Dublin.
Here’s a contrast between the antique looking Sperry train and the sleek ICR.

Previously, I’d struggled with FP4 to get a range of tones that satisfy me. With this roll of film, I used Ilford ID11 stock solution without dilution at 68 degrees F (20C) for 5 minutes, with only a short water bath prior to develoment.

Although, my negatives still required a touch of contrast adjustment in post processing, I’m very happy with the way they turned out.

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Class 201 Retrospective: Irish Rail Class Leader Locomotive 201

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.

On 23 May, 2003, Irish Rail 201 leads a Dublin-Galway train at Athenry. Exposed with a Contax G2 with 28mm lens on Fujichrome Sensia.
It was on 6 April 2005, that I framed Irish Rail 201 in the bridge arch at Thurles, County Tipperary. Exposed on Fujichrome with a Nikon F3 with 180mm Nikkor lens.
Begin in 2005, Irish Rail began applying a variation of its orange and black livery to the 201s that featured largely yellow ends to make the locomotives more visible. Class 201 works a Rugby special at Cherryville Junction in 2006. Exposed on Fujichrome with a Nikon F3 with 180mm lens.

Next in this series, I’ll feature never before published photos of Irish Rail’s very elusive 202.

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20 Years In Ireland: Irish Rail class 201 Retrospective—Introduction

I’ve been exploring and photographing Irish railways since 1998. To mark my twenty years photography, I thought it would be a neat exercise to display images of each of the 201-class General Motors diesels in numerical order.

Irish Rail and NIR together have 34 class 201 diesels. This series of posts will feature the locomotives in numerical order, while imaging them in various ways. Here were have two of the liveries applied to the 201s by Irish Rail.

I realise this is a specialised exercise (Americans may substitute ‘ize’ of ‘ise’ as required), but I though it would fun.

Originally I was going to do this in 2014, which marked the 20th anniversary of the 201-class locomotive in Ireland, but I was foiled by my inability to locate suitable images of locomotive 202! (I went over the derail before leaving the yard, as it were.)

So after some serious closet scouring and sifting though other arrays of old photos resulted my locating of various images of the every elusive Irish Rail 202 (presently stored out of service at Inchicore in Dublin).

Now over the coming weeks, I’ll be making EXTRA posts with images of the 201 in order.

 

Tracking the Light EXTRA Post.

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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Irish Rail Sperry Train at Kent Station Cork.

A couple of weeks ago Irish Rail’s Sperry train made a visit to Cork.

This train is essentially comprised of the weed-spraying consist with the addition of a container that carries the Sperry ultrasonic rail-defect detection equipment.

I made these views of the unusual train under the train shed at Cork’s Kent Station. The spoil wagon in the consist was a novelty.

I’ve often photographed trains under Kent Station’s curved train-shed, which is one of the most distinctive locations on Irish Rail.

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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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Irish Rail in the Snow in Dublin—Today, 28 February 2018.

Snow is a real rarity in Dublin. After a little more than an inch, a ‘red warning’ was issued.

Irish Rail kept its passenger trains on the move, although some were running a little behind schedule.

I braved the arctic conditions and hoofed it up to my usual spot. If all goes well, I may head out again later on.

Photos exposed this morning using my FujiFilm XT1.

A Grand Canal Docks ICR features one of the recently introduced yellow coupler covers designed to keep snow off the coupler.
ICR’s pass at Islandbridge Junction.
Irish Rail 231 in the ‘raccoon’ livery works the up-cork on its final leg to Dublin Heuston Station.
Irish Rail snow removal team.
Snow falling at Islandbridge Junction.
Irish Rail 221 light engine.
ICR’s pass at Islandbridge Junction.

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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Irish Rail’s IWT Liner on a Saturday

I was traveling with Denis McCabe.

‘So where do we go?’

‘Try Cherryville first,’ I offered.

It was a bit brushed in and completely backlit. But we knew that.

‘How about Monasterevin? If we go to the bridge over the Barrow the sun will be side on.’

And so it was. We caught a the parade of Saturday morning passenger trains (I posted one of these yesterday). But then it clouded over.

‘Not much use here when there’s a white sky.’

So we moved up to the station.

We didn’t wait there long before the headlight of an 071 appeared.

In short order we caught the IWT Liner passing on its way to Ballina, County Mayo.

After  exposing a few colour slides,  I made a burst of digital images using my FujiFilm XT1.

Owing to the high contrast scene, I opted to make some exposure and contrast adjustments in post processing. I did this within the parameters of the histogram and so retained all the detail captured in my RAW file.

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Irish Rail Crossing the Barrow at Monasterevin.

I made this broadside view of an Irish Rail InterCity Railcar (ICR) crossing the River Barrow at Monasterevin.

To stop the action, I set my FujiFilm XT1 manually as follows: ISO 400, Shutter Speed = 1/1000th second, f-stop = f6.3.

I was working with a fixed focal length 90mm telephoto (a ‘prime’ lens which is not a variable focal length ‘zoom’).

The XT1’s digital format this is roughly equivalent to a 135mm lens on 35mm film.

A high shutter speed is necessary for stop action photography when photographing at a right angle to the subject’s direction of travel.

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RPSI Train with Irish Rail 081 at Enfield.

It was nearly 20 years ago that I traveled on this Irish Railway Preservation Society special from Connolly Station Dublin to Mullingar.

The train paused for a crossing with an up-passenger at Enfield, and I made this view from the main road bridge.

It was my first trip to Enfield, and I returned many more times over the years. The signal cabin and mechanical signaling were the big attraction for me.

Exposed on Ilford HP5 using a Nikon F2 with 24mm lens. Processed in ID11 and scanned using an Epson V750 flatbed scanner.

 

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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.

Tracking the Light is Daily.

 

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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Irish Rail 202! Hooray!

What? you say.

It’s the elusive 202, found lurking in my archives!

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.

I have many hundreds of photos of the 201s in action, hauling passenger and freight trains all over the Irish Rail network.

Some locomotives were common; I must have a hundred photos of class leader 201 on the roll. And every time I turned around, I seem to find 215 leading a train. Actually, I still do! Old 215 is among the 201-class still on the move, albeit in the modern green and silver paint instead of classic orange, yellow and black.

Of the 35 201s, I found that engine 202 was by far the most elusive. A few years ago when scouring my vast collection of more than 15,000 colour slides picturing Irish Rail, I located just three images of 202.

One was from the window of a Mark 3 carriage at Roscommon, one was an image at Limerick Junction of Bo-Bo 176 towing 202 with flat wheels up-road, and the best of the lot was a rainy day image of 202 with a Tralee-Mallow-Cork service near Rathmore, County Cork.

How 202 so thoroughly eluded me during this period baffles me.

Anyway, the other day I was scanning some previously unprinted 120-size black & white negatives, when I found this view of 202 working down-road at Kildare with Irish Rail’s Mark 2 Airbrake carriages. (Which were withdrawn from active service shortly after this photo was exposed).

Irish Rail 201-class locomotive 202 leads Mark 2 Airbrake fitted carriages and a ‘Dutch-van’ downroad at Kildare on 16 August 2002. Exposed on 120 Tri-K using a Rollie Model T with Zeiss Tessar lens. Engine 202 was distinguished from the others in its class because of the different style of type-face on the road number on the front of the locomotive. Do you have photos of 202 on the move? It still exists, stored at Inchicore with other surplus 201 class locomotives.

There are some other rare images on this roll, but this for me is the rarest!

I’ll need to locate the colour slides from that day and see what I find.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

 

 

Irish Rail at Glounthaune—Two Views.

Earlier this month I made a visit to Cork to present a program on railway photography to the Irish Railway Record Society.

Honer Travers and I spent an afternoon in Glounthaune where I made these photos on Kodak Tri-X using my Nikon N90S with f2.0 35mm lens.

My film processing was very traditional: Kodak D76 (mixed 1 to 1) for 7 minutes 15 seconds at 68F. I agitate very gently to minimize the effect of grain.

Routine operations, such as Irish Rail’s Cork suburban trains, offer great opportunity for creative railway photography. In both of these images, I’ve worked with foreground, middle-ground and background by using shallow depth of field to create a sense of depth.

An Irish Rail 2600-series railcar works toward Glounthaune from Kent Station, Cork.
A Cork-bound railcar accelerates away from its station stop at Glounthaune.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

 

Irish Rail Heuston Monochrome—September 2017.

Using my old battle-worn Nikon F3T (yeah, that one) fitted with a 1960s-era Nikkor f.14 50mm lens, I exposed a sequence of images in the evening light at Irish Rail’s Heuston Station in Dublin.

I was especially pleased with this view of one of Irish Rail’s Mark 4 sets beneath the train shed. Low light made for contrasty silhouette with lots of texture and exceptional dynamic range.

This was exposed on Kodak Tri-X (black & white negative film) using a fairly wide aperture.

During early October 2017, I processed the film using two-stage development, initially soaking the film in an extremely dilute mix of Kodak HC110 designed to begin development while allowing great shadow detail and greater overall tonality. For my primary development, I used Ilford ID11, diluted 1-1 with water for 8 minutes at 68 degree F. This was followed by a 30 second stop bath and two fixer baths, 1st rinse, hypo-clear batch, 2nd rinse, then 8 minutes in a weak bath of selenium toner (1 to 9 with water), 10 minute final rinse and drying.

I scanned the negatives using an Epson V500 flatbed scanner, with some very nominal final adjustment using Lightroom.

Although my digital cameras feature black & white modes, and I can easily de-saturate a digital file to make a monochrome image, I don’t feel that digital imaging would yield a completely comparable image to this one  made the old fashioned way.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Incidental Photographs from the Munster Double.

Rail tours offer the opportunity to make incidental photos of the railway.

I made these digital photos of Irish Rail while traveling on last weekend’s Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s Munster Double.

Sunrise with the DART as v viewed from RPSI’s Munster Double Railtour departing Connolly Station on the morning of 14 October 2017. Lumix LX7 photo.
Irish Rail Mark4 departs Kent Station in Cork on October 17, 2017. FujiFilm XT1 photo.
Kent Station, Cork. Lumix LX7 photo.
Irish Rail ICR departs Tralee on 14 October 2017. FujiFilm XT1 with 28-135mm lens.

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