I’m waiting for someone to call me out on title redundancy.
Actually, according to my notes, this Irish Rail permanent way consist is called the ‘rail trucks.’
It was nine years ago that I joined my friend Colm O’Callaghan on an adventure to the west Dublin suburbs to catch this elusive train on the move.
We set up at near Clondalkin looking east toward the Park West and Cherry Orchard station on the recently opened quad track section of the Dublin-Cork main line.
I made this view using my Canon EOS 7D with an f2.0 EF 100mm USM prime telephoto lens. Exposure was f5.6 1/500 at 200 ISO. I adjusted the file using Adobe Lightroom. Below are three variations, each described in the caption.
At various stops along the way, I made digital photos using my old Canon EOS7D with a 28-135mm lens.
Although I’ve previously published some of these photos on Tracking the Light, for this post I’ve re-edited my selection and made a variety of up-to-day post processing adjustments using Adobe Lightroom, which I didn’t use back in 2013.
It was a typical Irish overcast day on 3 May 2014. Using my Canon 7D, I made this selction photos of Irish Rail.
Last night, I imported my nine year old Canon CR2 RAW files into Lightroom and re-profiled them as an exercise.
Three of the four photos below were adjusted for color, contrast, and exposure. One of the images was the in-camera JPG.
One of the great advantages of working with digital RAW files in post processing is the ability to lighten the shadow areas. This small adjustment can significanly improve the appearance of photos made in dull overcast lighting.
Last night Kris and I watched a Sci-Fi film about time travel.
Afterwards, I thought about how each of my slide binders offers a form of time travel.
Lately on Tracking the Light, I’ve been offering windows in time. Each that looks back through my photographs; one week, five years, etc.
I look at this photo and I think how much has changed since I exposed this frame of Fujichrome.
I was standing at ‘the box’ at the St John’s Road in Dublin on the evening of 29 April 2007. I made the image with a Nikon F3 with 24mm Nikkor lens.
Much of these scene has changed in the intervening years. The old baracks behind the train was demolished and replace by an upscale housing complex. The view of the tracks looking west has been obscured by brush and bushes (don’t ask which is which). And, these days I rarely exposed Fujichrome in Dublin with a Nikon F3.
Irish Rail’s Mark4 sets still work the Dublin-Cork run though. So that’s something.
April 13, 2019: I traveled on Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s The West Awake rail tour that operated on Irish Rail from Dublin to Claremorris, Ballina and Westport, Co Mayo and featured rare multiple-unit operation of 071 class diesels.
I made these views using a FujiFilm XT1 mirrorless digital camera.
The Fuji’s built-in color profiles provided excellent color and contrast for the soft directional lighting characteristic of the West of Ireland. I made minor adjustments to color and contrast in post processing that effectively tweaked the images for improved appearance here.
It was the second day of a two-day Irish Railway Record Society diesel tour on Irish Rail.
After the first day, the train had laid over at Killarney where a bunch of us made the most of this famous tourist town.
On that morning, I arrived back at the station in time to catch the tour for its run to Tralee and back to Killarney (before continuing via Mallow, Limerick Junction and Waterford on its circuitous return trip to Dublin). Some of the tour passengers opted to rest a little longer a Killarney and so skipped the excursion to Tralee. Understandable (After all it was a soft day).
Approaching Farranfore on the return run to Killarney, the rain turned to snow. While waiting for the signal to clear, I made this sequence of photos from the vestibule of the train using my FujiFilm XT-1 digital camera.
Twenty-Five years ago, I was exploring Irish Rail, and seeing this amazing railway for the first time.
Dublin’s Pearse Station impressed me. The capacious Victorian train shed with a mix of electric and diesel trains reminded me of Philadelphia’s great termini; Broad Street and Reading Terminal.
But also because it was the oldest big city station in continuous use. The station opened in 1834 and although greatly altered over the decades, this had always served as a Dublin hub.
Today, it is rare to find a diesel here, except on permanent-way trains, and more rarely on RPSI diesel tours. Yet, back in 1998, it was a common sight to find a 201-class General Motors diesel-electric working a push-pull Mark3 set in suburban service. The sound of the big GM was amplified under the shed.
I made this photo on Fujichrome Sensia (100 ISO) using a Nikon F3T with 24mm Nikkor wide-angle lens. Looking at this photo today, it amazes me how few people were on the platform.
After landing at Farranfore, I spent a week in Tralee, then another driving around the West in a hired Citroen Saxo, before enbarking on a rail journey at Limerick for Dublin.
This was argueably the most significant train trip of my adult life. I never intended to visit Dublin. But upon arrival there, I realized that I’d found a special place.
All of Dublin lay in my future. For more than 20 years, I rented apartments in Dublin. And the city was my conceptual office and research library where I wrote many of my books and as used base to travel around Europe.
Between 1998 and 2019, I made tens of thousands of photographs documenting Irish railways.
On the morning of 23 November 2004 a thin mist covered the ground near Ballycullane, County Wexford. A laden Irish Rail sugarbeet freight had just passed and I could still hear the drumming of the Class 071 diesel at it worked Taylorstown Bank.
I made this trailing view of Irish Rail’s per way gang using a Nikon F3 with Nikkor f2.8 180mm lens. The camera was loaded with Fujichrome Sensia II (100 ISO slide film). Note the lamps at the back of the freight.
It was Irish Rail’s final sugarbeet season, although no one knew it at the time.
We set up at Charleville Junction on the Dublin-Cork line on the Cork-side of Limerick Junction to catch V250, a laden train led by locomotive 081.
I made this view on Fujichrome. It sat in a closet in Dublin for nearly 15 years and I only recently retrieved it from storage.
Last night I scanned the slide using a Nikon LS-5000 slide scanner and then adjusted the hi-res TIF file using Adobe Lightroom to correct color temperature and color balance while making minor contrast and exposure corrections.
Below is the file before adjustment and after. In both images presented here, I scaled the files as JPGs.
Last week, Kris and I traveled from Cork Kent Station on Irish Rail’s 2600-series railcars to Cobh—the town formerly called ‘Queenstown’—a place well-known for its role in Transatlantic transportation.
Among other things, Queenstown was the last port of call for the ill-fated Titanic, which sunk 110 years ago.
The old railway station building now houses the Cobh Heritage Centre.
I made my views with my Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera. Kris made the photo of me at Cobh station with her Fujifilm XT4.
Our visit to Cork, included a tour of Kent Station, conducted over the course of serveral days.
Over the years, I’ve often featured this Victorian-era gem on Tracking the Light. It is unusual for its sharply curved train shed.
I was impressed by the frequency of passenger trains serving the station. There is a steady procession of trains to and through the station with regular departures for Dublin, Cobh, Mallow, Middleton, and Tralee.
I made these photos using my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens.
During my visit to Dublin last month, I stayed the Ashling Hotel across the Liffey from Irish Rail’s Heuston Station. This gave me ample opportunity to revisit this old haunt during my wanders around the city.
Working with my Lumix LX7, I made this selection of views around the station during my final 24-hours before flying to Boston.
I’d made my first photos at Heuston upon arriving by train from Galway in February 1998, more than 24 years ago!
Toward the end of April, for the second morning in a row, I was in position at ‘the box’ on St Johns Road in Dublin to witness the passing of Irish Rail’s down IWT liner.
It was a cosmic alignment. The sun came out just as three trains converged upon Islandbridge Junction. The first was an ICR that emerged from the Phoenix Park Tunnel and stopped across from Platform 10. The second was an ICR heading toward the tunnel.
Then the down IWT liner emerged from the tunnel weaved around both ICRs on its way through the junction.
Sometimes, it helps to be in place at the best spot and just wait out the action.
Exposed in April 2022 using a Lumix LX7 digital camera.
It was like old times again! Last week, Irish Rail’s General Motors diesel 073 in retro paint was working the down IWT Liner (Dublin North Wall to Ballina, County Mayo).
I’d met fellow photographer Jay Monaghan along Dublin’s St Johns Road. The sun had cleared away the clouds, and while I went to the famous ‘Box’ that overlooked the wall, Jay took a position closer to track level.
In my Nikon F3, I had a fresh roll of Kodak Ektachrome 100. I fitted the camera with a telephoto lens to make a classic photo, portrait format to feature the Wellington Testimonial. As the liner came around the corner at Islandbridge Junction, I exposed a couple of color slides, and then popped off a sequence of digital photos with my Lumix LX7.
After long last, I was photographing a freight from my old spot.
These digital photos were made in April 2022, but they reminded me of my efforts from years gone by! (I sent the slides in for processing on Monday and hope to get them back next week).
I first visited Irish Rail’s Connolly Station in February 1998.
That seems like a lifetime ago and the station facilities have been greatly altered since my early visits.
On Monday, 25 April , 2022, we transfered from the LUAS to Irish Rail’s DART at Dublin’s Connolly Station and on the way between the tram and the train, I exposed this Lumix LX7 photo 29000 and 22K series railcars under the old roof.
Although these are common varieties of trains in Ireland, there’s a certain thril of seeing them again in an historic setting, which reminds me that the common today will someday seem captivating. Everything changes and it helps to have been away for spell to better appreciate the effects of change.
An open eye can produce creative vision and a record for history.