Tag Archives: Irish Rail

Shows Irish Rail

Misty Morning at Ballycullane

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.

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Dublin & Kingstown Revisited

In mid-October, I traveled the length of the old Dublin and Kingstown route to meet with my friends in Dun Laoghaire.

The Dublin and Kingstown Railway was opened in 1834 between Westland Row (today Pearse Station) and the harbour in Kingstown (now called Dun Laoghaire).

It was the first railway in Ireland and often claimed as the world’s first suburban railway.

Today, this route is operated as a portion of Irish Rail’s Dublin Area Rapid Transit electric service and hosts InterCity services to/from Rosslare Europort.

I had excellent autumn sun for my spin to Dun Laoghaire and stopped off at a couple of stations to make photos using my Nikon Z6 digital camera.

Approaching Seapoint.
Seapoint station stop.
DART interior.
Dun Laoghaire .
Dun Laoghaire .

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Sugarbeet on the Roll—November 8, 2005.

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.

Scan prior to color and exposure adjustment.
Scan after the first round of corrections.

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Wind & Rain at Galway Station.

Kris and I arrived at Irish Rail’s Ceannt Station in Galway shortly before the rain.

And boy did it rain!

After a walk around the town (taking time to purchase an umbrella) we returned to the station to shelter from sudden and rather violent shower.

I made these three photos with my Lumix LX7.

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Dublin-Belfast Enterprise

Last week Kris and I made three journeys on the joint Irish Rail-NIR Enterprise service that connects Dublin and Belfast.

The first was from Dublin Connolly to Drogheda. The second from Drogheda to Belfast Lanyon Place, and the third was our return from Belfast to Dublin.

These six photos were made during our northbound journeys.

This year the Enterprise marked its 75th year of service.

First Class seating on the Enterprise. Lumix LX7 photo.
There I am! Lumix LX7 photo by Kris Sabbatino.
Tea on the Enterprise. Lumix LX7 photo.
201-class locomotive 207 River Boyne approaches its Drogheda stop leading the Belfast-bound Enterprise. Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens. Nikon NEF file was cropped and adjusted using Lightroom, then converted to JPG for presentation. And, yes, it was about to rain at Drogheda.
Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens.
Generator van on the Enterprise at Belfast Lanyon Place (formerly Belfast Central). Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens.

I made my first trip on the Enterprise back in February 1998.

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Boyne Viaduct at Dusk

On my list for photographs for this trip to Ireland was the famous Boyne Viaduct at Drogheda.

Last Saturday evening, Kris and I walked to the river from the Scholars Townhouse Hotel, and were delighted when a set of Irish Rail class 29000 railcars rolled southward over the bridge.

It was in the ‘blue hour’ just after sunset. To stop the action, I set the ISO on my Nikon Z6 to 8,000. This allowed for a shutter speed of 1/160th of a second at f4.

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Taking a Spin to old Queenstown (Cobh).

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.

Nikon Z6 with Z-series 24-70mm lens.
Nikon Z6 with Z-series 24-70mm lens.
Nikon Z6 with Z-series 24-70mm lens.
Exposed using a FujiFilm XT4 digital camera.
Doodles in training at Cobh. Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm.
Cobh Heritage Centre. Nikon Z6 with AI f2.5 105mm lens.
Cobh Heritage Centre.
Cobh Harbour. Nikon Z6 with AI f2.5 105mm lens. Exposed for highlights.
Nikon Z6 with AI f2.5 105mm lens.
Nikon Z6 with AI f2.5 105mm lens.
Nikon Z6 with AI f2.5 105mm lens.

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Evening on the Cobh Branch.

Thanks to our friends in Cork, the other evening Kris and I made a few photos of Irish Rail’s Cobh Branch near Cork’s Kent Station.

It had rained (and rather hard at that) before the clouds cleared for some intense evening sun. These were great conditions for photos.

Irish Rail’s 2600-series diesel railcars have been working the Cork-Cobh run since my first visit in 1998, but now these are on borrowed time.

I made these digital photos using my Nikon Z6. I’m curious to see how my Kodak Ektachrome 100 slides will turn out.

It was beginning to rain when I made this photo of 2600-series railcars arriving on Plaform 1 in Cork. Within the hour the skies had cleared.
Less than an hour after the above photo, I made this view of an arriving train from Cobh.
Good ol’ 2616 at Kent Station, Cork.
Cork-bound train from an overhead bridge.

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Kent Station, Cork—10 photos

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.

Our visit to Cork, included a tour of Kent Station, conducted over the course of serveral days.
Our visit to Cork, included a tour of Kent Station, conducted over the course of serveral days.

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Mallow at Dusk

Kris and I took a spin out to Mallow, Co. Cork. Upon arrival we had a chat with some friends and I made a few photos in the twillight glow of evening.

Back in 2005, I spent several evenings at Mallow documenting Irish Rail’s movement of sugar beet.

For these photos, I worked with my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm Z-series zoom lens, white balance set to ‘auto’.

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Dublin to Cork

On Monday, 3 October 2022, Kris and I traveled on Irish Rail’s 1200 Dublin Heuston to Cork (Kent) train.

It was a typically dull day with showers and occasional sun across the Midlands.

We had First Class tickets and traveled in Coach A of a five-piece ICR (InterCity Railcar).

At Cork we were given a warm and very special welcome by Irish Rail.

Heuston Station.
Self portrait with the Nikon in Coach A on the way to Cork.
Cork’s Kent Station upon arrival on platform 4.
The arrivals/departures board at Cork had a special welcome for us!
Cropped version of the above photo.

I made these photos of the trip using my Nikon Z6.

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Spin to Howth

Sunday evening Kris and I took a spin to Howth and back on Irish Rail’s DART from Connolly Station.

I made my first trip to Howth on the DART back in March 1998. On that visit I made photos with a Nikon F3T loaded with Fujichrome Velvia.

For Sunday’s visit, I worked with my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm zoom, while Kris made photos with her Fuji XT4.

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Irish Rail’s Connolly Station

Yesterday, I made this photo of an Irish Rail ICR (InterCity railcar) paused at Platform 4 at Dublin Connolly Station.

It was a comparatively quiet Sunday afternoon and dull outside, but the soft lighting made for a perfect time to portray the modern diesel railcar in the Victorian-era railway station.

Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm Z-series Nikkor zoom.

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August 28, 2012

Ten years ago (August 28, 2012), I made this photo from my standard location overlooking Islandbridge Junction in Dublin of the morning’s down IWT Liner, led by Irish Rail Class 071 number 073.

Working with a zoom lens, I made vertical and horizontal images of the freight as it worked around the bend this was facilitated by my ability to change focal lengths quickly.

My question is: does the ability to change focal lengths rapidly allow for better photos or does it make the photographer lazy?

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Irish Rail at Edgeworthstown-26 March 2005

Among the dozens of rolls of slides that I retrieved from storage at a friend’s house in Ireland was this one exposed of Irish Rail at Edgeworthstown, County Longford back on the 26th of March 2005.

On that day the down midday Connolly-Sligo passenger train terminated at Edgeworthstown and the passengers were transferred to a bus for the remainder of their journey west.

Locomotive 083 was hauling the train.

These were three of the photos I exposed on Fujichrome using a Contax G2 rangefinder.

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Heuston Vignettes

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!

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Locomotives at Inchicore

During April 2022, on an official tour of Irish Rail’s Inchicore Works, I had the opportunity to make photos of locomotives and equipment.

Having been away from Ireland for several years, one of the things that struck me during my week-long visit was the variety of paint liveries on Irish Rail equipment.

Its really a pretty colorful railway!

I made these images using my Lumix LX7, which was my primary camera during this trip.

The Lumix is compact & lightweight, but versatile and capable of extremely highquality photos despite its small size. It’s Leica lens is extraordinarily sharp.

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Three Trains at Islandbridge Junction.

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.

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Irish Rail 073 at The Box

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).

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Waiting for the DART on Platform 5

Last Monday (25 April 2022) , we arrived at Dublin’s Connolly Station by LUAS tram and made our way to Platform 5 to catch the DART to Blackrock.

The sun was high in the sky as I focused on a northward DART while waiting for our train south.

All photos were exposed digitally using my Panasonic Lumix LX7.

Diesel Railcars Under the Roof at Connolly Station—25 April , 2022.

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.

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Irish Rail 2600 Railcars on the Cobh Branch at Rushbrooke, Co. Cork.

On the morning of October 14, 2014, Ken Fox led me on a tour of Irish Rail’s Cobh Branch.

At Rushbrooke station, I made this view of an outbound 2600 railcar heading toward Cobh from Kent Station, Cork.

Cork seems especially far away as I sit in the dark in rural New Hampshire (waiting for electricity to be restored following a weather related power ‘outrage’).

Exposed using a Canon EOS 7D with 100mm telephoto lens; 100 ISO, f8.0 at 1/500 second.

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Irish Rail 084 at BlackHorse Avenue—Dublin.

As it rains ice outside my window in Conway, New Hampshire, I was thinking back to greener warmer times last summer in Ireland!

It was toward the end of August 2019, when I made this view of Irish Rail 084 working an up-IWT Liner from Ballina, Co. Mayo to Dublin’s North Wall approaching Blackhorse Avenue in Dublin.

Exposed digitally using a FujiFilm XT1 with a 90mm lens.

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Colm O’Callaghan’s Irish Traction Book.

My old friend Colm O’Callaghan has recently published his first book.

This features a selection of his finest color photos of Irish Rail diesels in action.

Below is information on the book and how to obtain it.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Irish-Traction-Iarnród-Colm-OCallaghan/dp/1445688441/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3IBT62VUXEKCA&keywords=irish+traction&qid=1577407995&sprefix=%2Caps%2C195&sr=8-1

https://www.bookdepository.com/Irish-Traction–Iarnrod-Eireann/9781445688442

I exposed this photo of Colm on his 46th birthday standing along side a British Class 46 diesel at a Crewe open house. At the time I was working with Contax G2 rangefinder loaded with Fujichrome Sensia II (100 ISO).
Colm recently retired after many years working for An Post, the Irish postal service. About ten years ago, I made this view of Colm and his famous green van on the South Circular Road in Dublin.

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November Evening at Newbridge.

Last month I made this photograph of a down Irish Rail Intercity Railcar paused at Newbridge on the Dublin-Cork mainline.

I was changing trains on my way to Sallins.

Exposed using a Lumix LX7, file processed in Lightroom and scaled for internet presentation. To make the most of the nocturnal setting, I set my camera to overexpose by 1/3 of stop (+ 1/3 on my exposure compensation dial). This compensates for the specular highlights which tend to skew the camera meter toward underexposure.

In this situation under exposure would result in the image appearing too dark.

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RIP-Tony Renehan

Tony on locomotive 461 in Dublin in May 1998.

It is with sadness and a sense of great loss that I must report the passing of retired Irish Rail engine driver Tony Renehan. Although it has been a decade since Tony retired from Irish Rail, he had continued to travel on rail tours and was a regular face at Irish Railway Record Society slide shows among other events.

Tony was the first Irish Rail driver that I got to know. I met him in May 1998 on the footplate of RPSI steam locomotive 461 where he sat in command of the engine. My first question to him was about the engine’s valves and we immediately stuck up a friendship.

He was a rare individual whose depth and breadth of knowledge spanned numerous subjects; historical, mechanical and others. His interests were broad within the span of railways, and he was always willing to share his knowledge, but wouldn’t bluff his way when he reached the limit of certainty.

Few men could match his understanding of railway locomotives. On many occasions we met, sometimes over a pint of stout, to discuss the details of locomotives and their operations. I was always interested in what Tony had to say, because no matter how familiar I was with the subject, Tony always had a level of insight, an angle or a question that pushed the envelope of knowledge one step further.

Tony at Banteer, Co. Cork on locomotive 186 in 2006.

I’ll miss our conversations and discussions. And the file remains open on topics he’d sent me to learn more about, but on I which hadn’t yet reported back.

Rest in Peace, Tony!

On the eve of retirement in Jan 2009.
At Nancy Hands on Park Gate Street in Dublin in 2011.

Surprise at Ballinasloe—Three Photos.

I really wasn’t expecting what I saw! (Click on Tracking the Light to see the whole story and photos).

It was the second time in as many months that I arrived by train at Ballinasloe, County Galway.

In September, the reason for my arrival was to photograph the Steam Dreams excursion operating with Railway Preservation Society of Ireland engine number 4.

See: http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/2019/09/14/steam-on-the-midland-at-ballinasloe/

Last week, Ballinasloe was to be the jumping off point for the latest of my Bord na Mona adventures (to be covered in Tracking the Light in the future).

Irish Rail’s Galway line wouldn’t be an operation characterized by variety. Except for the very occasional excursion, the vast majority of movements consist of the common 22000-series Intercity Railcars (ICRs).

So, when I positioned myself at the Dublin end of the down platform, my intent was to document the ICR that I’d arrive upon with Ballinasloe’s handsome Midland Great Western Railway station.

Why was the up-home signal green? We’d just crossed the up-Galway at Athlone.

As the 0735 Dublin to Galway train pulled away, I was startled and surprised to see a pair of 2800-series railcars ready to depart up-road. What was this?

After I made my photos, it occurred to me that this was the weekly equipment transfer for the Ballina Branch. Ah, yes. And perhaps, I should have known.

I’m happy that I had camera in hand to picture this relatively unusual movement. Sometimes, even when you think you know what to expect, something sneaks up and surprises you!

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Irish Rail 225 on the 0800 to Cork.

This morning, Irish Rail 201-class diesel-electric number 225, recently overhauled after years of inactivity, worked the down 0800 Dublin Heuston to Cork passenger train.

From what I hear, this is the first time this nearly quarter-century old locomotive has worked a passenger train since returning to service.

I made these photos a few minutes ago at Islandbridge Junction while out for my morning walk.

Exposed using a FujiFIlm XT1 with 27mm pancake lens.

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Suburban Trains Pass at Sallins.

Most passengers were heading toward Dublin in the morning. I was heading into the country. That was my train at left.

Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.

Most were undoubtedly heading off to work.

I was heading off to make photos.

But wait, was that work? Not in a conventional sense, but I worked diligently at making the best photos I could. Sallins was just the jumping off point—more soon!

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Classic Dublin with Low October Sun—Claude Road.

Monday, 28 October 2019 was a bright day in the Irish capital.

Although the main focus of the day was catching Irish Rail’s IWT Liners and the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s Haunted Expresses, the weather was conducive to making captivating photos of the more pedestrian trains.

Photographer Jay Monaghan and I had spent the day traveling around Dublin, grabbing angles of the passing trains.

In the afternoon we made our way to the Claude Road footbridge west of Drumcondra Station and set up for the outbound RPSI train.

While waiting, I made this view of an outbound ICR (intercity railcar) working the afternoon Dublin to Sligo service. In the distance is the Croke Park stadium. Further, are the iconic ‘Chimneys’ or ‘Stacks’ for the Poolbeg Generation Station.

135mm view with a FujiFilm XT1.
Wideangle photo exposed with a Lumix LX7.

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Irish Rail 225 Back On the Roll!

After nearly a decade hiatus from revenue service, Irish Rail class 201 number 225 is again working trains.

Yesterday, Monday 28 October 2019, photographer Jay Monaghan and I walked up to Cabra and patiently waited for 225 that was leading the down IWT Liner (North Wall in Dublin to Ballina, County Mayo.)

Giving the train an extra bit of color were 11 hot-pink ‘ONE’ 40-foot containers, which are relatively new to Irish Rail.

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Glint on the Water!

Last week during my exploration of Irish Rail’s Cobh Branch with Ken Fox, I made this photo looking across the water toward Marino Point as a 2600 railcar made its way toward Cork.

I was working my FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm zoom lens extended to its maximum.

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Stop the Car!

Often I have a pretty good idea what’s on the program. Yet, sometimes when traveling, I come across completely unexpected.

So for me this was a surprise: The Linmag Railgrinder at Banteer, County Cork.

So let’s back up: last week it was dull and drizzly. I was traveling by road with Ken Fox in rural north county Cork. As we approached Irish Rail’s Banteer Station, one of the railway’s smaller halts, I spotted this Linmag rail grinder in the sidings east of the station platforms,  I said, ‘whoa! Stop the Car!’

Ken found it amusing, when I leapt out, cameras in hand, to photograph this interesting rail maintenance equipment.

Irish Rail doesn’t own its own modern rail grinder so it contracts Linmag to profile its rails.

I exposed these views using my FujiFilm XT1.

See: https://www.linmag.com

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Cobh Junction‑Glounthaune, Co. Cork—Revisited.

The trackage arrangement at Irish Rail’s Cobh Junction, Glounthaune gives the location great photographic interest.

Here the Cobh Branch and Midleton lines divide.

Historically, the line to Midleton (left) had continued to Youghal and was envisioned as a scheme to continue on to Waterford. Later the Cobh Branch (right) was built to reach the old port at Queenstown (Cobh).

The Cobh Branch developed as double-track suburban route, and ultimately the priority of the lines at the junction was reversed.

By the 1980s route via Midleton to Youghal had languished and allowed to go fallow. Ten years ago, after decades of inactivity, Irish Rail rebuilt and revitalized the route as far as Midleton. Today both lines are busy with passenger trains.

A Cobh Branch train bound for Kent Station, Cork approaches Glounthaune station.

This week, Ken Fox gave me a tour of Cork area railways, including trips along the Cobh and Midleton routes.

I made this view from the station footbridge at Cobh Junction, Glounthaune using a FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.

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Lumix LX100 at Littleisland, Co. Cork.

Sunday, 13 October 2019, I exposed this view of an Irish Rail 2600-series railcar at Littleisland on the Cobh Branch destined for Kent Station, Cork.

For me this was a test of the Lumix LX100 that Denis McCabe lent me.

The scene is cross-lit; so the sun is off-camera to my left, leaving the railcar on the ‘Dark Side’ while the signal cabin is brightly illuminated. Complicating the contrast are the fluffy white clouds and a polarized sky above.

This image was adjusted from the camera-RAW file using Lightroom. I darkened highlight areas to obtain greater detail, while lightening shadow regions, and used a digitally applied graduated neutral density filter to better hold detail in the sky.

Two points: I find the RAW files from Lumix LX100 exceptionally sharp; and the files have very good dynamic range which gives me plenty of room to make adjustement in situations with extreme contrast.

More Lumix LX100 photos soon!

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The Cobh Rambler—Crew Portrait at Mallow

Before Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s  The Cobh Rambler  departed Mallow on Saturday evening (5 October 2019) for Dublin, I was given an important task. 

A group portrait was hastily organized for me to expose.

Sometimes gathering railwaymen for a portrait is like herding cats, but there’s a long tradition in posing them in front of locomotives.

Smiling alongside locomotive 232 leading The Cobh Rambler are some the RPSI members and Irish Rail employees that made our excursion a roaring success.

For this photo I used my FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm zoom lens.

Special thanks to everyone that made  The Cobh Rambler  a great day out!

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