Tag Archives: Irish Rail

Shows Irish Rail

Kent Station, Cork—September 25, 2013 and October 6, 2014.

Now and Then: How Changes to Infrastructure Affect Composition.

Photographic pairs showing locations that have been changed by time are nothing new. Yet, usually there are decades between photo pairs, not just one year.

In the interval between my September 2013 visit to Kent Station, Cork and my subsequent visit in the first week of October this year, the station suffered damage during a fierce storm.

On December 18, 2013, high winds caused the collapse of the historic canopy that had protected the platform serving tracks 1 and 2. In the wind, the old cast iron columns supporting the canopy snapped like toothpicks, and wooden sheathed canopy turned to splinters.

Kent Station, Cork on September 25, 2013. The old canopy is a central element to this image, exposed with my Lumix LX3. I've used the canopy in several ways, including  to block out much of the textureless white sky, and to divide the frame in a meaningful way.
Kent Station, Cork on September 25, 2013. The old canopy is a central element to this image, exposed with my Lumix LX3. I’ve used the canopy in several ways, including to block out much of the textureless white sky, and to divide the frame in a meaningful way.
The canopy is now gone, but that makes it more of story than in the earlier element. Here the ominous sky on October 6, 2014, alludes to the storm some 10 months earlier, while the boxed vestiges on the platform hint at the old cast iron columns. I've made no effort to precisely duplicate my earlier photograph. That would only result in an awkwardly composed contemporary image. Lumix LX7 photo.
The canopy is now gone, but that makes it more of story than in the earlier image. Here, on October 6, 2014, the ominous sky alludes to the storm some 10 months earlier, while the boxed vestiges on the platform hint at the old cast iron columns. I’ve made no effort to precisely duplicate my earlier photograph. That would only result in an awkwardly composed contemporary image. Lumix LX7 photo.

When I arrived off the train from Dublin in the afternoon of October 6, 2014, I was well aware of the change to the canopy, having read about it on RTE’s internet news  and again some months later in the Journal of the Irish Railway Record Society.

However, a change such as this cannot really be fully appreciated until witnessed in person. The old canopy was an important fixture of Kent Station and it altered the quality of light on the platforms, as well as protecting passengers from the elements.

In this September 25, 2013 image the black mass of the canopy helps balance the shapes of the rail cars while shadowing the platform and ground making for a more contrasty image. Lumix LX3 photo.
In this September 25, 2013 image, I’m looking away from Kent Station toward Cobh and Midlton. Here the black mass of the canopy helps balance the shapes of the rail cars while shadowing the platform and ground making for a more contrasty image. Lumix LX3 photo.
I'm nearly in the same place for this photo as I was in the 2013 image above. Without the canopy to add a balancing element, I focused more intently on the 2600-series diesel railcars. The lighting in both photographs is similar.
I’m nearly in the same place for this photo as I was in the 2013 image above. But without the canopy to add a balancing element, I focused more intently on the 2600-series diesel railcars. The lighting in both photographs is similar. Which do you prefer? Lumix LX7 photo exposed on October 6, 2014.

In these photo pairings, my goal wasn’t to make precise comparisons to show the exact nature of the changed scene, but rather to show how the canopy, and the lack there of, affected the way I composed my images. I was keen to show the broken cast iron columns because they now tell the story.

Likewise, someday the semaphores will go. And when they are gone, I’ll no longer be intent to frame trains with them. Some other element of the scene will take their place.

In this September 25,  2013 view I've carefully used the old canopy as a frame for the 2600 railcar departing Kent Station. Notice the relative location of semaphores, lighting masts, and cast iron canopy supports. Lumix LX3 photo.
In this September 25, 2013 view I’ve carefully used the old canopy as a frame for the 2600 railcar departing Kent Station. Notice the relative location of semaphores, lighting masts and cast iron canopy supports. Lumix LX3 photo.
In the above photo, the canopy serves more as a frame than as subject. While in this October 6, 2014 image, the broken cast iron column is an element of interest, especially after you know the story. Imaging the sound it made when it broke! Here an arriving 2600 railcar passes the old semaphores, long may they last! Lumix LX7 photo.
In the above photo, the canopy serves more as a frame than as subject. While in this October 6, 2014 image, the broken cast iron column is an element of interest, especially after you know the story. Imagine the sound it made when it broke! Here an arriving 2600 railcar passes the old semaphores, long may they last! Notice how I’ve included more platform is this more recent image. Lumix LX7 photo.

When you make photos, how do you balance the elements in the scene? Do you focus on just the primary subject or do you adjust your composition to take in secondary elements, such as that offered by the platform canopy and semaphores in these images? Think about it.

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Sunset Under the Shed at Heuston Station, Dublin.

September 20, 2014.

There’s only a few days during the year when the setting sun pierces deep into the darkness of the train shed at Heuston Station.

On the evening of September 20th, I made this image using my Lumix LX7 of the 7pm departure to Cork.

I had my camera set using the ‘A’ aperture priority mode, which automatically selects a shutter speed based on my manual selection of an f-stop. To compensate for the extreme contrast between the darkness shed roof and bright sunlight, I used the manual exposure over-ride to stop down (underexpose). This was necessary if the in-camera meter tries balances the scene it would have led to a total loss of highlight detail.

ISO 80 f2.8 1/80th of a second. RAW file manually adjusted to control contrast and exported as a scaled  Jpg for internet presentation.
ISO 80 f2.8 1/80th of a second. RAW file manually adjusted to control contrast and exported as a scaled Jpg for internet presentation.

An alternative means to select the exposure, would have been to use the camera in ‘M’ mode and manually select both shutter speed and F-stop, but in this situation that would have taken too much time.

I had only a few moments to catch the Station Inspector with his arm raised to give the train the signal to depart.

To make the most of the information captured in this instant, I worked with the RAW file to make some contrast adjustments in post-processing. Using Photoshop, I adjusted contrast locally in highlight areas, while making some over all adjustments to the scene to best portray what I’d seen with my eye.

I wanted to retain the glint effect on the underside of the shed roof while making sure the relatively small silhouette of the Station Inspector wasn’t lost in the direct glow of sunlight.

After making my adjustments I export the file as a Jpg and then scaled this for internet presentation. The camera RAW file is 12.MB, much too large for presentation here, while my scaled image is just 737KB.

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Special Post: Thursday September 18, 2014: Irish Rail 215 works Mark4 set.

New Photos!

Last week I posted photos of freshly painted Irish Rail class 201 number 215 working the IWT liner. Today, it worked to Cork and back. I photographed it a little while ago passing Islandbridge Junction.

Irish Rail 215 works at the back of a Mark4 set from Cork. I panned this using my Canon EOS 7D with 40mm pancake lens at 1/40th of a second at f10, ISO 100. 12:45pm on September 18, 2014.
Irish Rail 215 works at the back of a Mark4 set from Cork. I panned this using my Canon EOS 7D with 40mm pancake lens at 1/40th of a second at f10, ISO 100. 12:45pm on September 18, 2014.
Irish Rail 215 works at the back of a Mark4 set from Cork, seen approaching Heuston Station in Dublin at 12:45pm on September 18, 2014. Lumix LX-7 ISO 80, f3.5 1/500th second.
Irish Rail 215 works at the back of a Mark4 set from Cork, seen approaching Heuston Station in Dublin at 12:45pm on September 18, 2014. Lumix LX-7 ISO 80, f3.5 1/500th second.

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The Marble City Rolls in the Evening—Part 3

A Long Delay Results in an Unexpected Opportunity.

We waited at milepost 17 near Sallins for the return of locomotive 461 with Railway Preservation Society Ireland’s The Marble City rail tour from Kilkenny.

After a bit of a delay, I’d became curious and tried phoning people on the train. After a few phone calls I learned that tragedy had delayed the excursion.

It was reported that Irish Rail’s regular Intercity train from Waterford was involved in a fatality on the line and the steam special was stranded at Athy while the Gardai (An Garda Síochána is the Irish name for Ireland’s national police force) conducted an investigation.

I was told by an RPSI member on the train that it would be at least 8pm before the train was on the move.

Lumix LX7 view of the line looking toward Dublin.
Lumix LX7 view of the line looking toward Dublin.

Instead of giving up and returning to Dublin, fellow photographer Hugh Dempsey and I opted to remain trackside. After all, only the Waterford trains were affected, so there would be plenty moving to photograph. And there’s the element of curiosity, just how late would the train be?

I took the opportunity to update some local people who had turned out to watch the steam special of its misfortune.

Later, a local man took pity on our prolonged wait, and dropped down to us with cups of hot tea and biscuits (cookies). In the mean time there was some nice evening light to photograph the ordinary procession of Irish Rail trains.

The Cork-Dublin Mark4 works toward Dublin with a 201-class diesel locomotive at the back. This meets an ICR working downroad. Canon EOS 7D photo.
The Cork-Dublin Mark4 works toward Dublin with a 201-class diesel locomotive at the back. This meets an ICR working downroad. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Experimenting with the pan technique I exposed this view of a downroad ICR at milepose 17. With the same types of trains running every few minutes in the evening, I had lots of opportunity to try different angles. Lumix LX7 view.
Experimenting with the pan technique I exposed this view of a downroad ICR at milepose 17. With the same types of trains running every few minutes in the evening, I had lots of opportunity to try different angles. Lumix LX7 view.
A blast of evening sun illuminates an old CIE 20 foot container along the line. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
A blast of evening sun illuminates an old CIE 20 foot container along the line. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
An uproad ICR at milepost 17. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
An uproad ICR at milepost 17. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
An uproad ICR catches a wink of evening sun.  Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
An uproad ICR catches a wink of evening sun. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.

Finally, at 9:18pm I got word that The Marble City with 461 had reached Cherryville Junction and was making its dash for Dublin—some four hours behind schedule.

The light was fading fast when I made this view of an uproad Irish Rail ICR at milepost 17. What could expect of the steam special?
The light was fading fast when I made this view of an uproad Irish Rail ICR at milepost 17. What could expect of the steam special?

It passed us just before 10pm, which made for a rare summer evening view of an Irish steam special. Most RPSI trips run in daylight! Using film I’d have been out of luck, but thanks to advances in digital photograph I was able to make a distinctive image.

Exposed at 9:51pm on July 27, 2014 with a Canon EOS 7D with f2.0 100mm lens, set at ISO 3200 1/80th of a second at f2.0. White balance set for ‘daylight.’ To keep the locomotive sharp, I panned slightly. I processed the camera RAW file in Photoshop to lighten the image slightly and improve contrast.
Exposed at 9:51pm on July 27, 2014 with a Canon EOS 7D with f2.0 100mm lens, set at ISO 3200 1/80th of a second at f2.0. White balance set for ‘daylight.’ To keep the locomotive sharp, I panned slightly. I processed the camera RAW file in Photoshop to lighten the image slightly and improve contrast.

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Irish Rail—May Bank Holiday Monday.

Action at Kildare.

Here’s a dozen images: On Monday May 5, 2014, I traveled to Kildare, and spent the day making photos of Irish Rail’s operations.

Irish Rail
Irish Rail 22000-series ICR heading down road at Kildare on May 5, 2014. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.

The goal was to photograph the Up and Down IWT (International Warehousing and Transport) Liners (running to and from Dublin from Ballina), with a hope that the elusive timber trains might operate.

Irish Rail’s timber is elusive enough, so far as I’m concerned. It only operates two or three days a week, and often seems to get canceled when I’m out for it.

The weather was mixed; a bit of rain in the morning, a few bursts of sun in the afternoon. In other words, a typical May day in Ireland, if a bit on the cold side. The foliage was lush and green.

The down IWT liner (Dublin-Ballina) ran later than I anticipated, while the up IWT was more or less as expected.

Timber trains made their appearance as hoped. Since the timber must run around at Kildare station to change direction (it runs from Waterford to county Mayo, and there’s no direct chord at Cherryville Junction to facilitate a move for trains moving from the Waterford Line to the West), this allows opportunity to catch the timber train twice.

Irish Rail's Rotem Intercity Rail Cars are the standard equipment on most intercity passenger services. Trains passing Kildare serve Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Galway, and Mayo lines. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 40mm lens.
Irish Rail’s Rotem Intercity Rail Cars are the standard equipment on most intercity passenger services. Trains passing Kildare serve Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Galway, and Mayo lines. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 40mm lens.
Irish Rail 220 leads Monday's Dublin-Ballina IWT liner seen west of Kildare, near Cherryville Junction. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Irish Rail 220 leads Monday’s Dublin-Ballina IWT liner seen west of Kildare, near Cherryville Junction. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
trailing view of the Dublin-Ballina IWT liner as it approaches the signals for Cherryville Junction. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
trailing view of the Dublin-Ballina IWT liner as it approaches the signals for Cherryville Junction. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Not long after the down IWT the up IWT came into view. An ICR has just passed down road and is approaching Cherryville Junction. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Not long after the down IWT the up IWT came into view. An ICR has just passed down road and is approaching Cherryville Junction. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
An ICR catches a burst of sun as it nears Kildare station. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
An ICR catches a burst of sun as it nears Kildare station. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Hark! Is that the drone of an 071? Yes, it is. Irish Rail 075 is a battle-worn veteran with many years of hard service. It leads an empty timber train from Waterford. This will run around at Kildare and head down road toward Mayo for reloading. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Hark! Is that the drone of an 071? Yes, it is. Irish Rail 075 is a battle-worn veteran with many years of hard service. It leads an empty timber train from Waterford. This will run around at Kildare and head down road toward Mayo for reloading. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
The Dublin-Cork Mark 4 hurtles down road at Hybla Bridge near Monasterevin. The empty timber wasn't far behind. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 40mm lens.
The Dublin-Cork Mark 4 hurtles down road at Hybla Bridge near Monasterevin. The empty timber wasn’t far behind. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 40mm lens.
Patience prevailed: Irish Rail 072 wails away with the laden timber heading toward Kildare to run around. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 40mm lens.
Patience prevailed: Irish Rail 072 wails away with the laden timber heading toward Kildare to run around. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 40mm lens.
Trailing view of the laden timber at Hybla Bridge.
Trailing view of the laden timber at Hybla Bridge.
The need for the timber train to run around leaves ample time to reposition on the Waterford Line south of Cherryville Junction. As the crow flies, this location is only about 4 miles from Hybla Bridge.
The need for the timber train to run around leaves ample time to reposition on the Waterford Line south of Cherryville Junction. As the crow flies, this location is only about 4 miles from Hybla Bridge.
Last shot of the day: Irish Rail 072 leads the laden timber at Oghill, milepost 36. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Last shot of the day: Irish Rail 072 leads the laden timber at Oghill, milepost 36. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.

All in all, it was a productive day photographically.

 

Since most of Irish Rail’s passenger services are now provided by common 22000 series Rotem-built InterCity Railcars (ICRs), I’ve only included at few of the many passenger trains that passed that day.

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Railcar Sunset.

Irish Rail, Heuston Station, Dublin.

A railcar sunset? No, it’s not a metaphor, it really was a railcar at that time of day.

On April 15, 2014, I was passing the Heuston shed and notice that the soft orange light of the setting sun had illuminated this cavernous space. Lucky for me, there was a train approaching platform 4. (If it had been lined to any of the other platforms this photograph wouldn’t have worked.)

Using my Lumix LX3, I made this panned view. It captures the motion while helping to visually separate the front of the train from the interior ironwork. The low light allows for a pleasing glint effect without becoming overbearing or distracting.

ICR_arriving_Heuston_mod1_P_2

Lumix LX3 photo; f2.2 1/50th ISO 80. Contrast and exposure adjusted in post processing.

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Tomorrow: narrow alleys and narrow gauge.

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Sperry Train-Under Clear Skies

Irish Rail—April 18, 2014.

Irish Rail 22000-series Intercity Railcars make a daily transfer at Islandbridge Junction on the morning of April 19, 2014. It was here that I photographed Irish Rail's elusive Sperry Train back on August 30, 2012.
Irish Rail 22000-series Intercity Railcars make a daily transfer at Islandbridge Junction on the morning of April 18, 2014. It was here that I photographed Irish Rail’s elusive Sperry Train back on August 30, 2012.

Good Friday has a long-standing tradition of being a special day on Irish Rail. The weather is usually fine, and there’s always something interesting on the move.

This year Good Friday again met, and exceeded, expectations. The previous day had been a disappointment.

On Thursday, April 17, 2014, my friend Colm O’Callaghan and I had been out for the Irish Rail Sperry train. (Previously in Tracking the Light, I’ve highlighted this elusive rail-defect detection train, see: Sperry Train at Islandbridge Junction on August 30, 2012). On that day, we waited in vain under increasingly cloudy skies. As it turned out the Sperry’s plan for the day was cancelled.

When Good Friday dawned clear and bright, I wondered if there was anything on the move. I’d set out for the shops to get some breakfast, but had the wisdom to bring some of my cameras with me.

On the way, I stopped at my familiar Islandbridge Junction overlook (near Heuston Station), where I noted that a railcar transfer was in progress. I made some photographs. Then, I heard from Colm: the Sperry train was expected to depart Dublin’s North Wall after 10am! Wheels were turning!

My morning shopping trip was suspended as we headed ‘down road’ to find places to intercept one of Ireland’s most difficult quarries. This Sperry rail-defect detection train only makes a few trips a year, and it had changed its program on a moment’s notice!

Irish Rail class 071 General Motors diesel locomotive number 082 leads the Sperry consist near Straffan on the Dublin-Cork mainline. Exposed with my Canon EOS 7D and 20mm lens.
Irish Rail class 071 General Motors diesel locomotive number 081 leads the Sperry consist near Straffan on the Dublin-Cork mainline. Exposed with my Canon EOS 7D and 20mm lens.
Trailing view at Straffan. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Trailing view at Straffan. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
The Sperry train had gone to Sallins to run around, and in this view was returning up-road toward Heuston Station. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
The Sperry train had gone to Sallins to run around, and in this view (near Hazelhatch) it was returning up-road toward Heuston Station. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Lumix LX3 photo at milepost 11 3/4 near Hazelhatch. Sperry’s detection equipment is in the yellow container riding on a flat wagon. Immediately behind the locomotive is the weed spraying van, where the Sperry crew can ride to monitor equipment. The yellow tank wagons at the back of consist are normally used for the weed-spraying train and are included with the Sperry consist  to assist with braking.
Lumix LX3 photo at milepost 11 3/4 near Hazelhatch. Sperry’s detection equipment is in the yellow container riding on a flat wagon. Immediately behind the locomotive is the weed spraying van, where the Sperry crew can ride to monitor equipment. The yellow tank wagons at the back of consist are also normally used for the weed-spraying train and are included with the Sperry consist to assist with braking.

Our quick action and careful thought paid off. As it turned out, the Sperry was working up and down on the quad track section of the Cork line. So, we had several excellent opportunities for photography. Assisting our efforts were regular updates and communications from like-minded photographers up and down the line from our positions. (Thanks guys!).

For me the day’s highlight followed a tense moment at Stacumny Bridge (near Hazelhatch), when the up-road IWT Liner (Ballina to Dublin container train) and the Sperry train (working down road) approached us simultaneously! This had all the ingredients for a photographic disaster.

While waiting for the 3rd pass of the Sperry train we caught the daily down IWT Liner (Dublin-Ballina containers). This is a favoured location at Stacumny Bridge near Hazelhatch. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
While waiting for the 3rd pass of the Sperry train we caught the daily down IWT Liner (Dublin-Ballina containers). This is a favoured location at Stacumny Bridge near Hazelhatch. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Anticipation! When both the Dublin bound IWT liner and Sperry train appeared simultaneously, I changed my plan. Both trains are moving! Lumix LX3 photo.
Anticipation! When both the Dublin bound IWT liner and Sperry train appeared simultaneously, I changed my plan. Both trains are moving! Lumix LX3 photo.
Irish Rail 081, leads the Sperry train down road. It was making multiple trips to scan different tracks on the quad track section between Cherry Orchard and Hazelhatch. Sperry's train examines rails for internal defects. Lumix LX3 photo.
Irish Rail 081, leads the Sperry train down road. It was making multiple trips to scan different tracks on the quad track section between Cherry Orchard and Hazelhatch. Sperry’s train examines rails for internal defects. Lumix LX3 photo.
Sperry rail-defect detection equipment is housed in this specially outfitted container that rides on a flat wagon. This is the important part of the train. Note Sperry's logo on the back of the container. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Sperry rail-defect detection equipment is housed in this specially outfitted container that rides on a flat wagon. This is the important part of the train. Note Sperry’s logo on the back of the container. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Trying to position for two moving trains in opposite directions takes skill and a lot of luck. We were very lucky. In the end, while I didn’t get what I’d anticipated, instead, made a once in a lifetime photograph: the near perfect rolling meet between the liner and Sperry train under full sun! Yea!

Trailing view of the up IWT liner at Stacumny Bridge, April 19, 2014. Lumix LX3 photo.
Trailing view of the up IWT liner at Stacumny Bridge, April 18, 2014. Lumix LX3 photo.

The downside: by the end of the day my poor old Panasonic Lumix LX3 developed a minor intermittent electrical fault. While, I was still able to make photographs with it, its reliable performance is now in question. After near five years of hard service, my favorite ‘everywhere camera’ may need to be replaced! In the meantime, I’ve got my Canon EOS 7D, plus Canon film cameras and my old Nikons to fall back on.

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Steam to Mullingar, March 23, 2014, Part 2—Daily Post.


Views at the old Midland Station

Locomotive 461 arrives at Mulligar on March 23, 2014.
Locomotive 461 arrives at Mulligar on March 23, 2014.

In its heyday, Mullingar was an important station on the old Midland Great Western Railway. Here, the large signal cabin controlled the junction between Sligo and Galway routes. There were goods yards and locomotive sheds. It was a busy place.

Today, it’s little more than a big station serving Irish Rail’s Sligo Line. Yet, vestiges of its former glory remain. While the double line junction at the Dublin-end of the station was removed in 2003, and the signal cabin ceased to function as a block post on the Sligo line in 2005, the cabin remains. So do the platforms for the old Galway Road.

The Galway road continues toward Athlone, but vanishes into the weeds after it leaves the station. It has been more than a decade since the last train traveled the line, and that was only the annual weed-spraying run.

Semaphores and other antique infrastructure dot the plant.

The arrival of locomotive 461 allowed me opportunity to photograph the signal cabin and the old Galway side of Mulligar Station.

For me this was a flashback. Not to the glory days of the Midland Great Western, but to the late 1990s early 2000s, when I first visited Mullingar. So much had changed since then, yet so much more remains at Mullingar than many other places on Irish Rail.

Here’s just a few photos from the many images I exposed on Sunday, March 23, 2014.

Levers in Mullingar Cabin.
Levers in Mullingar Cabin.
Mullingar Cabin.
Mullingar Cabin.
Locomotive 461 as viewed from Mullingar Cabin.
Locomotive 461 as viewed from Mullingar Cabin.
Driver Ken Fox at Mullingar.
Driver Ken Fox at Mullingar.
On the platforms at Mullingar.
On the platforms at Mullingar.
Looking west on the old Galway Road, Mullingar cabin and station on the right.
Looking west on the old Galway Road, Mullingar cabin and station on the right.
461 navigates the old yard. Here a few mechanical semaphores remain active.
461 navigates the old yard. Here a few mechanical semaphores remain active.
461 goes for spin on the turntable at Mullingar.
461 goes for spin on the turntable at Mullingar.
The light changed from sunny to hazy. 461 works back up through the old yard.
The light changed from sunny to hazy. 461 works back up through the old yard.
Resting on the disused Galway side of Mullingar station, 461 takes water in preparation for its run back to Dublin.
Resting on the disused Galway side of Mullingar station, 461 takes water in preparation for its run back to Dublin.
Visions of another era. Lumix LX3 photo.
Visions of another era. Lumix LX3 photo.
On the footplate.
On the footplate.

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Tomorrow: views at Mullingar 14 years apart!

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Irish Rail Trip to Co. Mayo—Daily Post.

Traveling Across Ireland by Train.

Heuston Station departure board shows the 0735 Galway train with connections to Mayo. I was heading to Foxford, one of the smallest stations on the route. I used a slow shutter speed to capture the LED sign. My exposure was f2.5 at 1/40th of a second.  LEDs are not a constant light source and flicker on and off many times a second. While this isn't perceptible to the naked eye, when photographed a higher shutter speeds the lights may be caught instead of on, which makes it hard to read the signs.
Heuston Station departure board shows the 0735 Galway train with connections to Mayo. I was heading to Foxford, one of the smallest stations on the route. I used a slow shutter speed to capture the LED sign. My exposure was f2.5 at 1/40th of a second. LEDs are not a constant light source and flicker on and off many times a second. While this isn’t perceptible to the naked eye, when photographed at higher shutter speeds the lights may be caught instead of on, which makes it hard to read the signs.

On March 13, 2014, I bought a day-return from Dublin Heuston to Foxford, Co. Mayo, and traveled on the 7:35 am Galway train. My train was well patronized, but I had no difficulty finding a seat.

Rotem-built 22000 series Intercity Rail Cars are Irish Rail's standard passenger consist for most services. On March 13, 2014, ICRs destined for Waterford and Galway were side by side on the platforms at Heuston Station. Lumix LX3 photo.
Rotem-built 22000 series Intercity Rail Cars are Irish Rail’s standard passenger consist for most services. On March 13, 2014, ICRs destined for Waterford and Galway were side by side on the platforms at Heuston Station. Lumix LX3 photo.
Another view of Rotem ICRs at Heuston. My train is the closest to the camera. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.
Another view of Rotem ICRs at Heuston. My train is the closest to the camera. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.

It was foggy in Dublin. Ensconced in my seat, I observed that my train departed Heuston precisely on time and soon was rolling down-road at track speed.

My train was a four-piece Rotem-built Intercity Rail Car, of the type that is now standard for most Irish Rail Intercity services.

Except for some rough spots west of Kildare, the ride quality was comfortable and smooth.

Interior of the Rotem ICR at Heuston Station. Exposed with my Lumix LX3.
Interior of the Rotem ICR at Heuston Station. Exposed with my Lumix LX3.

At Portarlington, we diverged from the Dublin-Cork mainline and traveled on the single track branch toward Athlone. At Clara we crossed (met) an uproad train.

I changed trains at Athone. Here another four piece ICR was waiting to continue the journey toward Co. Mayo. At Castlerea we met the Ballina-Dublin IWT liner, a train I’ve often photographed.

It was as foggy in Athlone as it had been in Dublin. I changed to the ICR on the left. This was destined to Westport.
It was as foggy in Athlone as it had been in Dublin. I changed to the ICR on the left. This was destined to Westport. Notice the LED display boards are impossible to read in the photo. This is an affectation of using a faster shutter speed. A few of the LEDs are on, but many are off. Lumix LX3 photo exposed at f2.1 1/500th. Since the trains are stationary, I probably should have manually set the shutter speed to about 1/30th to better capture the destination boards.

Upon reaching Manulla Junction, I again changed trains, this time for the 2800-series railcar that works the Ballina Branch. Years ago this would have been a single General Motors class 141/181 Bo-Bo diesel electric with a short Craven set.

When I arrived in Foxford I was met by my friend Noel Enright. We spent the rest of daylight photographing trains and visiting friends. I’ll post those adventures soon! Stay tuned.

Interior view of the 2800-series railcar I traveled on between Manulla Junction and Foxford. Lumix LX3 photo.
Interior view of the 2800-series railcar I traveled on between Manulla Junction and Foxford. Lumix LX3 photo.
Foxford, County Mayo. This 2800 will terminate at Ballina, several miles to the north. Lumix LX3.
Foxford, County Mayo. This 2800 will terminate at Ballina, several miles to the north. Lumix LX3.
Noel Enright poses with the driver of my train.
Noel Enright poses with the driver of my train.

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Several Shades of Grey In Colour—Tracking the Light Daily Post.

Experiment in Post Processing.

On March 6, 2014, I was poised to make an image of Irish Rail 085 (in relatively fresh grey paint) using my Canon EOS 7D with 40mm lens. Before the train arrived, I made my requisite test exposure.

I always do this. A test exposure insures the camera is working and is set properly. It also allows me to fine tune my settings to optimize the amount of  information captured.

In this case, I realized that to obtain the best exposure and retain sky detail, I would necessarily need to allow the ground and primary subject to be bit dark. However, since I can adjust this in post processing, I opted for the darker exposure.

I could have simply used the ‘levels’ or ‘curves’ feature in Photoshop to lighten the image. This is my normal quick adjustment. However, I thought I’d experiment. So I made series of localize contrast adjustments using the ‘Magnetic Lasso’ tool.

My aim was to even out the relative exposure of various areas, and specifically to reduce the extreme contrast between the sky and the train’s shadow areas, with an ultimate goal of presenting the scene in the final image as it appeared to me at the time of exposure.

I had no intention of exaggerating or distorting the effect of the overcast morning, but rather to correct for some of the inherent limitations of the camera system.

Below are a series of images that illustrate the steps of my contrast adjustment. I’ve intentionally grossly exaggerated adjusted areas as to make the process more obvious. My actual adjustments were relatively subtle. It is my feeling that if the process becomes obvious, the end result will seem artificial.

1Irish_Rail_085_w_Panel_tra
This is a JPG from the camera RAW file. I made no adjustments to the picture other than convert and scale the file for internet presentation). I intentionally exposed the scene to retain detail in the sky, recognizing that with a digital image detail is lost when an area is over exposed, while it is easy to adjust contrast and brightness after the fact in darker areas.
2Irish_Rail_085_w_Panel_tra
Using the ‘magnetic lasso’ tool I selected the lower area of the photo and adjusted contrast and exposure using the ‘curves’ tool. Please note, I’ve exaggerated the selected area; my actual adjustments were subtle.
3Irish_Rail_085_w_Panel_tra
For the next step, I again used the magnetic lasso to select the darkest shadow areas of the locomotive and wagons, then lightened this selection using the ‘curves’ feature.
4Irish_Rail_085_w_Panel_tra
Although the sky had sufficient detail, I felt that it would be best to make this area slightly darker as a interim step in preparation for an overall lightening of the image. To avoid an unnatural darkening of the Wellington Testimonial, I carefully excluded this from the sky area. I then lowered the contrast and darkened the sky using the ‘curves’ feature.
5Irish_Rail_085_w_Panel_tra
This is the image following the global lightening. While this is very close to how I saw the scene, I felt it still required nominal contrast adjustment as it appears slightly ‘flat’ (contrast levels too low).
6Irish_Rail_085_w_Panel_tra
This is my final image following my multi-step contrast adjustment experiment. Notice, that while the sky is relatively bright, I’ve retained detail in the clouds.

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Daily Post: Claremorris, County Mayo, February 1998.

General Motors Diesel in Ireland.

Irish Rail class 181 General Motors diesel number 185 catches the afternoon sun at Claremorris, County Mayo in February 1998. Exposed on Fujichrome with a Nikon F3T fitted with 24mm lens, exposure calculated with a handheld Sekonic Studio Deluxe photocell.
Irish Rail class 181 General Motors diesel number 185 catches the sun at Claremorris, County Mayo in February 1998. Exposed on Fujichrome with a Nikon F3T fitted with 24mm lens, exposure calculated with a handheld Sekonic Studio Deluxe photocell.

This was among my first Irish Railway photographs. I’d hired a car in Limerick and was exploring. At the time I knew very little about Irish Rail, but I was fascinated by the Ballina branch passenger train.

What caught my interest here was the juxtaposition of the General Motors diesel with the Claremorris station sign. It was the name of the town in Irish that fascinated me. I also liked the old Irish Rail logo, which seemed to represent the double junction at Claremorrris.

I’d never have imagined then, that this would just one of the thousands of Irish railway photographs I’d expose over the next 16 years!

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DAILY POST: Timber and General Motors, June 10, 2006

Westport, County Mayo, Ireland.

This pair of images will never be repeated. Here we have Irish Rail’s afternoon passenger to Dublin consisting of  Mark 3 set led class 201 number 222 (known colloquially as the ‘Bishop Tutu’).  That same afternoon, at about 3:40pm an empty timber with a mixed pair of 121/141s arrived from Waterford.

Irish Rail at Westport

The afternoon Westport-Dublin passenger is ready to depart Westport on June 10, 2006. Nikon F3 with Nikkor f2.8 24mm lens.
Irish Rail empty timber train.
Irish Rail 146 and 134 arrive at Westport with an Empty Timber from Waterford on June 10, 2006. Nikon F3 with Nikkor f2.8 24mm lens.

What was unusual that day was an electrical power cut had required the use of portable generators at the station, making for an unusual discordant cacophony at the normally peaceful location.

Despite the racket, I went about making photographs. Here, I carefully composed both views from the footbridge by the signal cabin using the same angle to show the contrasting trains in the classic scene. It was the end of an era. Soon all would change.

Since that time, Irish Rail has retired the small General Motors diesels. The 121s made their final runs in 2008, the 141s finished a couple of years later. The Mark III passenger carriages were withdrawn from traffic; today passenger trains to Westport run with Irish Rail’s Rotem-built 22000-series railcars.

I exposed both photos on Fujichrome with my Nikon F3 fitted with a 1960s vintage Nikkor f2.8 24mm lens.

I returned to Dublin on the evening passenger train, also with Mark 3s and a 201 class General Motors diesel.

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DAILY POST: Black & White Scrapbook


Scans of Prints Showing Limerick Junction

Irish Rail
A Dublin bound train has the starting signal to depart Limerick Junction. In the lead is a Class 201 General Motors diesel number 215 (again!). Limerick Junction North Cabin is at the left. Exposed with a Rollei model T on black & white film.

On May 16, 2001, I was on my way from Dublin to Kilarney by train. Rather than take the most efficient route, I aimed to wander a bit on the way down.

I changed trains at Ballybrophy for the Nenagh Branch to Limerick, then traveled from Limerick to Limerick Junction where I’d time my arrival to intercept the weekday 10:34 Waterford to Limerick cement train.

At the time I was making good use of my Rolleiflex Model T to document Ireland and Irish railways in black & white.

I’d process my negatives in my Dublin apartment and make 5×7 proofing prints at the Gallery of Photography’s darkrooms at Meeting House Square, Temple Bar. Often, I schedule one day a week for printing.

Over the course of a half dozen years, I exposed several thousand black & white images, and made hundreds of prints. Sometimes I’d give prints to friends on the railroad. On more than one occasion I’d later visit a station or signal cabin and find my work displayed on the wall.

However, most of the prints remain stored in boxes. While this may help in their preservation, it doesn’t allow people to enjoy the images.

Here I’ve displayed just a few photos, where instead of scanning the negatives, I’ve scanned prints and this shows both my cropping of the image and the borders. I developed a distinctive border style for my square images that I felt worked well with the format.

In the dozen years that have passed since I exposed these photos, Limerick Junction and the trains that serve it have changed dramatically. The semaphores, cement trains and Class 121 diesels are all gone.

Irish Rail 133 works the Limerick Junction-Limerick push-pull set as the train departs the Junction on May 16, 2001. After this train departed, the signalman in the cabin gave the cement train the signal to cross the Cork line (at right), then reverse into Limerick Junction.
Irish Rail 133 works the Limerick Junction-Limerick push-pull set as the train departs the Junction on May 16, 2001. After this train departed, the signalman in the cabin gave the waiting cement train the signals to cross the Cork line (at right), then reverse into Limerick Junction.
Here a pair of Class 121s leads the 10:34 Waterford-Limerick empty cement across the 'square crossing' at Limerick Junction. In America, we'd probably call this the 'Diamond at Limerick Junction'. Although this image was exposed as a square, I cropped the negative in printing to better focus on the railway infrastructure. The top third or so of the original negative just show clouds.
Here a pair of Class 121s leads the 10:34 Waterford-Limerick empty cement across the ‘square crossing’ at Limerick Junction. In America, we’d probably call this the ‘Diamond at Limerick Junction’. Although this image was exposed as a square, I cropped the negative in printing to better focus on the railway infrastructure. The top third or so of the original negative just show clouds.
The Cement train crew gets off the engines after stabling the train in the sidings. After exposing these photos I boarded a train for Mallow and Tralee.
The Cement train crew gets off the engines after stabling the train in the sidings. After exposing these photos I boarded a train for Mallow and Tralee.

 

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SPECIAL CHRISTMAS MORNING POST: Heuston Station Dublin.


Christmas Morning, Nine Years Ago.

 Dublin is a quiet place on Christmas morning. Almost everything is shut. The roads are relatively empty. The buses aren’t running. There are scant few people on the normally busy streets. And the railways are asleep.

Irish trains don’t run Christmas Day. And Dublin’s terminals are locked up tight. It’s a strange sight to see Heuston Station by daylight with nothing moving around it. This normally busy place is unnaturally quiet.

Dublin's Heuston Station
Heuston Station on Christmas morning 2004, exposed on Fujichrome using a Contax G2 rangefinder fitted with a 16mm Zeiss Hologon flat field lens. Exposure and focus were done manually.

Yet, what better time to make architectural views of the 1840s-built terminal?

There are no buses or LUAS trams to interfere with the station’s classic design. Cars are relatively few. You can stand in the middle the street to compose photos with little chance of being run over.

Dublin's Heuston Station.
One of the peculiarities of the 16mm Zeiss Hologon is its flat field. When kept at a level with the subject this prevents vertical line convergence, however when not level, verticals suffer from extreme convergence; yet the lens doesn’t suffer from barrel-distortion, a characteristic of many wide-angle lens designs. It can be used to make distinctive architectural views.

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DAILY POST: Focused on the Details

 Irish Rail Close-up and Real.

Footbridge at Clonmel, County Tipperary on November 19, 2004. Exposed with a Nikon F3 on Fujichrome slide film.
Footbridge at Clonmel, County Tipperary on November 19, 2004. Exposed with a Nikon F3 on Fujichrome slide film.

It would be something else if it were unreal, no?

I’ve always liked to make macro views of railways. Examining the texture, colors, and shape of the equipment, track and structures allows for better appreciation of the subject.

One of the best times to make close ups and detail photographs is under dramatic lighting; low sun or stormy light, where richer qualities make for more pleasing tones. Even the most mundane and ordinary subjects seem more interesting with great light.

Yet, detailed views can also make use of dull days when by focusing on texture and using extreme focus can compensate for flat lighting.

Irish Rail made for an especially good subject for detailed images, in part because there was so much antique equipment to photograph. Well-worn infrastructure is inherently fascinating. Here out in the open metal has been doing a job for decades and often it shows the scars from years of hard work, like an old weaver’s time weathered hands.

I’ve made hundreds of Irish Rail close-ups over the years. Here a just a few. Look around railways near you and see what you find! Sometimes the most interesting photographs can be made while waiting for trains.

Distant signal for Nicholastown gates. Nikon F3 with 180mm lens, Fujichrome slide film.
Distant signal for Nicholastown gates. Nikon F3 with 180mm lens, Fujichrome slide film.
Signal cabin interior at Rathmore. I like lever 23 the most.
Signal cabin interior at Rathmore. I like lever 23 the most. Exposed with a Contax G2 fitted with a 16mm Hologon, focused manually.
Crows congregate on the Carrick on Suir footbridge on December 11, 2004. I made this image with my Nikon F3 with a 180mm Nikkor telephoto while waiting for an empty sugar beet train. Do you think the crows care about blue NIR diesels?
Crows congregate on the Carrick on Suir footbridge on December 11, 2004. I made this image with my Nikon F3 with a 180mm Nikkor telephoto while waiting for an empty sugar beet train. Do you think the crows care about blue NIR diesels?
On Spring evening, Enfield cabin catches a fading wink of sunlight.
On Spring evening, Enfield cabin catches a fading wink of sunlight.
Irish Rail.
Irish Rail 175 basks in the November sunlight at Mallow, County Cork. Canon EOS 3 with 24-70mm zoom lens.

Also see: Irish Rail at Ballybrophy, June 2006Irish Rail Freight April 25-26, 2013 and Looking Back on Irish Railways 1998-2003

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DAILY POST: Irish Rail at Ballybrophy, June 2006.

Views of Action and Architecture

Ballybrophy is a rural station on Irish Rail’s Dublin-Cork main line. It’s probably the smallest community on the route to retain an active passenger station and survives as result of it being the connection to the Nenagh Branch.

Most trains blitz the place at track speed. A few miles east of the station is a summit known as the top of Ballybrophy Bank. Here a lightly used road crosses the line on a bridge which offers a nice view for Cork trains.

Irish Rail
A Dublin-bound train led by an 071-Class flashes through Ballybrophy. What this photo can’t convey is the sound. I could hear this General Motors locomotive in full ‘run-8’ (maximum throttle) for several minutes before the train appeared into view. Powered by a 12-cylinder 645 turbocharged diesel, this machine makes a characteristic drumming sound that permeates the landscape. The sound receded as the train charged to ‘the top of Bally Bank’. Contax G2 rangefinder with 28mm Biogon lens.

I’ve made many visits to Ballybrophy over the years, both to ride the Nenagh Branch and to photograph trains on the mainline.

These images were exposed on an unusually sunny June 3, 2006 using my Contax G2 rangefinder.

 

The classic old stone railway station at Ballybrophy is a treasure. There’s plenty of time between trains to study the architecture. Contax G2 with 45mm lens.
The classic old stone railway station at Ballybrophy is a treasure. There’s plenty of time between trains to study the architecture. Contax G2 with 45mm lens.
Freshly painted Irish Rail 215, a General Motors-built 201 class diesel, leads a Cork-bound train that has just crested ‘Bally Bank’ on its down-road run. Contax G2 with 28mm Biogon lens.
Freshly painted Irish Rail 215, a General Motors-built 201 class diesel, leads a Cork-bound train that has just crested ‘Bally Bank’ on its down-road run. Contax G2 with 28mm Biogon lens.

The classic old stone railway station at Ballybrophy is a treasure. There’s plenty of time between trains to study the architecture. Contax G2 with 45mm lens.

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DAILY POST: Sugar Beet at Thomastown, November 2003


NIR 112 Leading Empties Under a Stormy Sky.

 Irish Rail’s 2003-2004 didn’t go as planned. Just as the season was gearing up, the Cahir Viaduct on the Limerick Junction-Waterford line collapsed under laden cement train, closing the line and forcing the detour of sugar beet trains via the much longer Waterford-Cherryville Junction route.

This complication for Irish Rail was a boon for photographers as it resulted in sugar beet trains running in places where they didn’t normally go.

This was especially timely, because the portion of line from Athy to Waterford West was still under control of traditional signal cabins with mechanical semaphores and the electric train staff system. But not for much longer! An all-color light mini-CTC control system was being installed and was finally commissioned in Spring 2004.

I began the morning of November 29, 2003 in Dublin, where it was cold, dark and very wet. It was one of those days where horizontal rain is the norm and it never gets bright enough for the street lights to shut off.

Despite the bad weather, a fellow photographer and I headed toward Cherryville Junction by road with visions of intercepting sugar beet trains on their diversionary route. Somewhere between Kildare and Cherryville, the ever-elusive NIR 112 (on long term loan to Irish Rail) roared uproad with an empty beet train returning from Mallow to Wellingtonbridge.

We reversed direction, and went to Kildare, where I exposed a ‘record shot’ of the train. My exposure was noted at f2.8 1/8th of second. (What some of us would call ‘f-dark at a week’ meaning; ‘hopeless exposure for a moving train.’)

Undaunted we pursued this unusual train toward Waterford, taking advantage of crossings with other trains on the single track line. Near Thomastown, we passed through a front.

This was like a line drawn across the sky! To the north it remained foul and dark, to the south clear, cold and bright! We made our way to an overhead accommodation bridge on the Dublin side of Thomastown station where I exposed this view of the train approaching the home signal.

Northern Ireland Railways 112 is a General Motors diesel built to the specification of Irish Rail’s 071 class. In 2003, it was on loan to Irish Rail and worked a great variety of trains. On the morning of November 29th, I made this view of it approaching Thomastown with an empty sugar beet train. The home signal was placed unusually high and setback from the line for sighting reasons.
Northern Ireland Railways 112 is a General Motors diesel built to the specification of Irish Rail’s 071 class. In 2003, it was on loan to Irish Rail and worked a great variety of trains. On the morning of November 29th, I made this view of it approaching Thomastown with an empty sugar beet train. The home signal was placed unusually high and setback from the line for sighting reasons.

I count this among my truly unusual Irish railway photographs.

Also see Tracking the Light’s:  Irish Rail at Taylorstown Viaduct, December 8, 2001 and  Irish Rail, Wellingtonbridge, County Wexford, December 2005.

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DAILY POST: Irish Rail, Clonmel, County Tipperary, July 2003.

Atmospheric Image of a Rural Branch Line.

 

In the damp evening gloom on July 18, 2003, Irish Rail’s signalman at Clonmel awaits the arrival of the Waterford-Limerick passenger train. He holds the metal staff that will authorize the train to proceed over the line to Tipperary.

Irish Rail Clonmel
Although the train is small in the frame, the composition focuses the viewer’s attention to the approaching locomotive. So! What is primary subject? The signalman, the station, or the train? Incidentally, I cropped the bottom of the photo to eliminate unnecessary foreground that featured the platform. Normally I object to cropping of images, yet as the photographer I reserve this right.

Often the most telling railway images don’t emphasize a train. In this photo, the Irish Rail General Motors diesel and Cravens passenger carriages are incidental. Here: the evening light, poised signalman eying the approaching train and quiet rural station tell the story.

I exposed this photo on Fujichrome Sensia 100 using my Contax G2 rangefinder with 28mm Biogon lens on a Bogan tripod. It was part of a series of images I made that evening at Clonmel of the signalman, the station and passing trains.

 

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DAILY POST: Irish Rail Weed Spraying Train, Fiddown


The Old Weed Sprayer was Good Sport.

One of my all-time favorite Irish Rail subjects was the annual weedspraying campaign. Every spring, a Bo-Bo would be allocated to haul the ancient looking contraption that functioned as the weed spraying train. Over the period of several weeks this would gradually make its way across the network.

Weed Spraying train
Irish Rail 175 leads the Weedspraying train near Fiddown in May 2003. Exposed on Fujichrome using a Contax G2 Rangefinder with 45mm lens. Slide scanned with Epson V600; the contrast was manipulated globally and locally in post production to improve overall appearance of the image. The chevrons on the front of the locomotive were icons of the weed-spraying campaign.

Highlights of the campaign typically included travel over a variety of lines closed to traffic and this made for high adventure! [scene censored to protect the innocent]. I also made countless images of the train on regularly used lines.

Yet, finding the train could be a challenge, as it often didn’t hold to its program. Equipment difficulties were among the cause for delay.

On this bright morning in the second week of May, several of us had intercepted locomotive 175 with the spray train at Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary and followed the train toward Waterford. I made this image from the Fiddown bypass just east of the old station at Fiddown. The distant signal for Fiddown gates can be seen in the distance.

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DAILY Post: Irish Rail at Taylorstown Viaduct, December 8, 2001


A Classic Photograph from A Dozen Years Ago Today.

It was just 12 years ago—December 8, 2001—that I stood in the damp grassy field overlooking Taylorstown Viaduct, Co. Wexford, to make this image of freshly painted General Motors 141s leading an empty sugar beet train toward Wellingtonbridge.

Irish Rail General Motors diesels
Irish Rail 148 and 173 lead an empty sugar beet train at Taylorstown on December 8, 2001. I made this image with my Nikon F3 with 105mm Nikkor lens on Fujichrome. Exposure calculated manually with a handheld light meter.

Sugar beet season typically ran from late September until just after Christmas and was a great time to make Irish Rail freight photographs. Operations were focused on loading trains at Wellingtonbridge and tended to result in a series of daylight movements over the scenic South Wexford line.

Between 1999 and 2006, with the help of my Irish friends, I made dozens of trips to photograph, record and experience the sugar beet season. The weather wasn’t always fine; often it was dark and rainy but there were sunny moments like in the scene pictured here.

Unfortunately, sugar beet operations ended in early 2006, and a few years later Irish Rail closed the line between Waterford and Rosslare Strand to regular traffic. The bridge and tracks remain, but movements on the line are now very rare. The locomotives and wagons were scrapped a few years ago.

Also see: Irish Rail, Wellingtonbridge, County Wexford, December 2005

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Daily Post: Irish Rail, Wellingtonbridge, County Wexford, December 2005

A Look at the Final Beet Season.

Irish Rail
Venerable four wheel beet wagons are fully laden with freshly harvested sugar beet at Wellingtonbridge in December 2005. Exposed with Nikon F3T with 180mm lens on Fujichrome.

Between September and January Irish Rail moved sugar beet from a loading facility at Wellingtonbridge to a processing factory in Mallow county Cork. In the last beet season, six days a week Wellingtonbridge loaded six to seven trains.

This was Irish Rail’s most intensive freight operation and operated with a fleet of ancient looking four-wheel beet wagons.

Short sidings at Wellingtonbridge required the shunting of most laden trains. On this frosty clear autumn afternoon, I made a variety of images on Fujichrome with my Nikon F3T to capture the atmosphere of this operation.

What sticks in my mind were the background sounds of conveyors dumping freshly harvested beet into the old wagons and the signal cabin with its mechanical signals and Victorian-era electric staff machine and bells. The scene is all quiet today.

Irish Rail locomotive 072 (built by General Motors in La Grange, Illinois.) shunts sugar beet wagons to assemble a train destined for Mallow.
Irish Rail locomotive 072 (built by General Motors in La Grange, Illinois.) shunts sugar beet wagons to assemble a train destined for Mallow. The loading equipment is behind the engine.
Irish Rail 072 during shunting maneuvers at Wellingtonbridge.
Irish Rail 072 during shunting maneuvers at Wellingtonbridge.
The short four-wheel wagons made for uniform looking trains. Cross-lit these offer a 'picket fence' look that I've always found appealing in railway image.
The short four-wheel wagons made for uniform looking trains. Cross lighting these wagons offered a ‘picket fence’ effect that I’ve always found appealing in railway images.

The beat is dead, long live the beat!

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Irish Rail, Stacumny Bridge, June 17, 2000.

 

Looking back at a Place Transformed.

During my fifteen years in Ireland, few railway locations have changed as much as the area around Hazelhatch. I made this photo of a single 121 leading the empty gypsum train (destined for Kingscourt) on June 17, 2000 from Stucumny bridge.

Irish Rail 128 w ety Gypsum at Stacumny Bridge 2000 Brian Solomon photo 2009241

It was my first visit to Stucumny. I was there with Colm O’Callaghan and Mark Hodge, who were well familiar with the spot.  It was a Saturday afternoon and there was an air show going on at the nearby Baldonnel Aerodrome. While waiting for the up gypsum we watched the airborne acrobatics.

Compare this photo with those exposed at the same location last week. (see yesterday’s post: Irish Rail, September 27, 2013)

The gypsum traffic left the rails in 2001. Locomotive 128 was cut up in early 2003. During the late 2000s, Irish Rail added two tracks to the Cork line between Cherry Orchard and Hazelhatch.

Cues that link this image with modern ones include the old barn/castle to the right of the tracks and the high voltage electric lines in the distance.

I exposed this image with my Nikon F3T on Fujichrome Sensia 100.

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Irish Rail, Cork, September 2013

Kent Station and Cobh and Midleton Lines.

Irish Rail
Kent Station, Cork. Lumix LX3 photo.

Last week, I traveled by train from Dublin to Cork to make photographs and visit with friends. I was traveling light and only brought two cameras, my Lumix LX3 and Canon EOS 3. In addition to some Velvia 100F, I also played around with some Fuji 400 color print film I had stored in the refrigerator.

Initially I focused my attention on Kent Station, which features a unique curved train-shed that make it one of the most interesting railway structures in Ireland. Signaling at the Cobh-end still retains a few mechanical semaphores.

Kent Station, Cork. Lumix LX3 photo.
Kent Station, Cork. Lumix LX3 photo.
New Irish Rail logo.
New Irish Rail logo.

 

Later, I worked east making a variety of images at Glounthuane (Cobh Junction) where Cobh and Midleton lines come together. The Midleton line had been closed for decades and was only reopened for passenger service in 2009. Years earlier, I’d explored the then derelict line.

Earlier this year, I featured a series of posts on Irish Railway Record Society’s locomotive hauled Dublin-Cobh-Midleton excursion. See: Irish Railway Record Society Trip to County Cork, 20 July 2013; Sun Scorched Irish Extravaganza—Part 4.

Where that visit was blessed with bright sun through out the day, on this recent trip I experienced more ordinary Irish weather.

Irish Rail signs at Glounthaune, Cork. Lumix LX3 photo.
Irish Rail signs at Glounthaune, Cork. Lumix LX3 photo.
Irish Rail
Irish Rail 2600-series rail car at Glounthaune, Cork. Lumix LX3 photo.
Irish Rail
Irish Rail train to Cobh near Fota, Cork. Lumix LX3 photo.
Irish Rail
Irish rail train departing Midleton, Co. Cork. Lumix LX3 photo.
Irish Rail
Irish Rail 2600s passing North Esk, Co. Cork. Lumix LX3 photo.

 

Here are a few views from the two cameras. Special thanks to Ken and Janet Fox and Donncha Cronin for location advice and local transportation. Also thanks to John Gunn Camera shop on Wexford Street in Dublin for color negative film processing and prints.

Cork
Kent Station, Cork. September 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.

 

Irish Rail Mark 4 at Kent Station, Cork. Exposed on Fuji 400 ISO color negative film (C41 process) using a Canon EOS 3 with 28-135 mm lens.
Irish Rail Mark 4 at Kent Station, Cork. Exposed on Fuji 400 ISO color negative film (C41 process) using a Canon EOS 3 with 28-135 mm lens.

Tracking the Light posts new material daily. Please spread the word and share Tracking the Light with anyone who may enjoy seeing it!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

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Steam to Kilkenny, August 25, 2013—Part 4

Irish Rail Vignettes: Trains From the Train.

RPSI Kilkenny excursion
Approaching Carlow. Canon EOS 7D Photo.

Traveling by special train allows unusual perspectives of otherwise ordinary operations. It allows for images of technological contrasts and angles not normally possible.

The RPSI’s vintage Cravens are ideal rolling platforms from which to make photos because the windows open. Also, since the train travels at more conservative speeds, you have more time to absorb and record the passing scenes.

I’ll often work with a zoom lens and fast shutter speed (1/500th of a second or higher) as to quickly frame an image and stop the action.

Other opportunity for photos are when the train stops for water, to collect or discharge passengers, and other long pauses at station platforms.  All of these images were exposed during the The Marble City express excursion on August 25, 2013.

Inchicore works, Dublin
Stored 201 class diesels at Inchicore. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Irish Rail 081 shunts the RPSI Cravens at Kilkenny as an ICR arrives from Waterford. It's very rare to see a locomotive in Kilkenny since all the regular passenger trains are multiple units and the freight avoids the station. Canon EOS 7D Photo.
Irish Rail 081 shunts the RPSI Cravens at Kilkenny as an ICR arrives from Waterford. It’s very rare to see a locomotive in Kilkenny since all the regular passenger trains are multiple units and the freight avoids the station. Canon EOS 7D Photo.
Irish Rail 081 shunts the RPSI Cravens at Kilkenny
Irish Rail 081 shunts the RPSI Cravens at Kilkenny

 

Mark 4 at Kildare.
Cork to Dublin Mark4 races up-road at Kildare on August 25, 2013. Canon EOS 7D photo.

 

Cork to Dublin Mark4 races uproad at Kildare with 201 class 232 pushing at the back  on August 25, 2013. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Cork to Dublin Mark4 races uproad at Kildare with 201 class 232 pushing at the back on August 25, 2013. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Double ended 2700 class railcar 2751 at Inchicore. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Double-ended single 2700-class railcar 2751 at Inchicore. Canon EOS 7D photo.
GAA supporters line the platform at Drumcondra Station.
GAA supporters line the platform at Drumcondra Station. Lumix LX3 photo.
A 29000-series railcar departs Connolly Station.
A 29000-series railcar departs Connolly Station.

 

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Steam to Kilkenny, August 25, 2013—Part 2

 

Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s “The Marble City.”

Portrait at Athy with the Lumix LX3.
Portrait at Athy with the Lumix LX3.

I was impressed by the efficiency of the trip. Irish Rail employees and RPSI volunteers cooperated to bring the trip off and ensure everyone on board had a safe and enjoyable trip.

As on other recent Irish excursions, I tend to focus on the people as well as the equipment. These trips are as much about the people as either the destination or the equipment.

Yet, it’s always interesting to see how people react to the steam locomotive. Passing Drumcondra Station in suburban Dublin, I watch the expressions of Irish Rail’s regular passengers as 461 puffed through with our excursion. These ranged from total bewilderment, as if a ghost from the past drifted across their bedroom, to nods of approval, and the occasional wave.

At every stop, passengers and passers by flocked to see the engine. The swarms of people are as much part of the scene as the engine and crew.

Yet, I found plenty of time to make close-ups of the equipment too. Check tomorrow’s post for some close-up views.

RPSI 461 at Kilkenny.
On the footplate of 461. Canon EOS 7D photo.
RPSI trip to Kilkenny.
RPSI train hosts. Lumix LX3 photo.
RPSI trip to Kilkenny.
Checking tickets in the traditional fashion. Canon EOS 7D photo.
RPSI trip to Kilkenny.
Driver Ken Fox has been on the footplate for many miles.
An RPSI member assists with servicing the locomotive.
An RPSI member assists with servicing the locomotive.
RPSI trip to Kilkenny.
Steam locomotives make for great photo subjects. Lumix LX3 photo.
RPSI trip to Kilkenny.
On 461’s footplate. It’s hard work, but has great rewards. Canon EOS 7D photo.
RPSI trip to Kilkenny.
Planning to inspect the locomotive with an expert eye. Lumix LX3 photo.
RPSI trip to Kilkenny.
At Athy 461 hadmany fans. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Tune in tomorrow for some nuts and bolts.

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Steam to Kilkenny, August 25, 2013

Passengers enjoying the spin behind steam. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Passengers enjoying the spin behind steam. Canon EOS 7D photo.

 Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s “The Marble City.”

Locomotive 461.
461 at Connolly Station, Dublin.

On Sunday, August 25, 2013 locomotive 461 hauled a well-patronized Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s excursion from Dublin’s Connolly Station to Kilkenny via Cherryville Junction.

As is often the case this time of year in Ireland, it was a largely gray day. Steam locomotives present a difficult subject on warm dull days. As a result, I opted to travel on the train, rather than stake out a spot in the countryside to try for the one ‘master shot’.

This gave me ample opportunity to make close-ups of the locomotive, its crew, and friends traveling with the train. As well as pictures from the window.

I’d intended to bring my trusty old Nikon F3 to make a few color slides, but on the previous evening, I’d been making time exposures of Dublin and the trusty old battery in the F3 gave up the ghost. Failing to follow my own advice, I didn’t have a spare. (Although I have plenty of spare cameras).

As a result all of my images of “The Marble City” trip were exposed digitally. Some with my Lumix LX3, others with my Canon EOS 7D with 28-135 zoom. Check Tracking the Light over the next few days to view some of my results.

Steam to Kilkenny, August 25, 2013
Overseeing boarding at Connolly Station, Dublin. Lumix LX3 photo.
RPSI trip August 25, 2013
Locomotive driver Ken Fox greets RPSI’s members on the platform at Connolly. Lumix LX3 Photo.
RPSI trip August 25, 2013
This RPSI safety vest shows the signs of steam service. Lumix LX3 photo.
RPSI trip August 25, 2013
After leaving Dublin, ‘The Marble City’ was overtaken by the Dublin-Cork train at the end of the quad track on the down road at Hazelhatch. (Up tracks are to the left of the platform) Canon EOS 7D photo.

 

Lumix LX3 photo.
Passengers enjoying the spin behind steam.
Startled cattle run alongside the train near Bagenalstown. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Startled cattle run alongside the train near Bagenalstown. Canon EOS 7D photo.

 

More to come!

 

 

 

 

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Irish Rail Gray 077 Leads Ballast Train

 

A Rare Move to Catch in Full Sun.

As a follow-up to my post Irish Rail Ballast Train at Islandbridge, Dublin, April 16, 2013 , I offer these views of a ballast train at the same location on August 2, 2013.

Irish Rail ballast train.
Irish Rail 077 leads the empty HOBS at Islandbridge Junction on August 2, 2013. The iconic Wellington Testimonial in Dublin‘s Phoenix Park looms above the train. Canon EOS 7D photo.

So far just three of Irish Rail’s 071 class are operating in the new gray livery. So catching one on the move in sunlight can be a challenge. Ballast trains operate infrequently, and standing at this spot for a month of Sunday’s might not guarantee an image such as this. It helps to live near the line.

The cars make up what Irish Rail calls a ‘High Output Ballast’ train which is known on the railway as the HOBS. Using my Canon EOS 7D, I exposed a series of photos of the train on the curve from the Phoenix Park tunnel at Islandbridge Junction.

The combination of elevation, iconic backdrop and the orientation of the tracks and curve allow for one of the best morning views in Dublin for a westward train. As the sun swings around, many more angles open up down the line.

Irish Rail Gray 077 Leads Ballast Train
A landscape view of Irish Rail’s HOBS at Islandbridge Junction near Heuston Station in Dublin on August 2, 2013. Canon EOS 7D photo.
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Irish Rail’s Tara Mines Run

Fortuitous View From Dublin Bus, 23 July 2013.

Last Tuesday, 23 July 2013, I boarded Dublin’s Airlink Bus (Route 747) on O’Connell Street. I was on my way to London.

The 747 takes a somewhat circuitous route through the Dublin City center. After encircling Bus Aras (Dublin’s central intercity bus station) it wanders along the north quays and then passed the North Wall on its way toward the Port Tunnel.

On this portion of the route, the bus crosses Irish Rail at grade on the line that runs down the Alexandra Road into the port. I was on the upper deck of the 747, and as we approached the crossing I withdrew my Lumix LX3 from my bag.

Most travelers on an airport bus would dread the possibility of being delayed by a freight train. However, I was delighted when the traffic light turned red in front of the bus, and I notice a man in an Irish Rail orange vest with a red flag hovering by the street corner. This could only mean one thing . . .

Tara Mines Run
Irish Rail’s empty Tara Mines train eases across the road as viewed from the Airlink Bus on 23 July 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.

And there it was! Great! Acting quickly, I opened the side window of the bus and positioned my camera. In a moment’s time, Irish Rail’s 071-class locomotive, number 081 eased across the road with the empty Tara Mines train in tow. The flagman walked the train over the crossing to insure maximum safety. I exposed the sequence of photos displayed here.

Freight train viewed from double decker bus in Dublin.
This image reminds me of a photo my father made in the 1960s of an Erie-Lackawanna caboose seen crossing a road from the inside of an old GM bus in New Jersey. Lumix LX3 photo.

It was only a momentary delay. Soon the traffic light returned to green and the bus continued on its way. Oddly, I don’t think any of the other bus passengers shared my enthusiasm for the fortuity of the train’s passing. Can’t please everyone, I suppose.

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Sun Scorched Irish Extravaganza—Part 4

 

Close-ups and Details.

Sometimes special events make for great opportunities to make detailed photos of equipment, structures and settings.

Last Saturday’s Irish Railway Record Society excursion from Dublin to Cork, Cobh and Midleton was an opportunity for visual exploration.

Check previous posts for other images of this historic trip.

Detail of class 071 diesel.
Irish Rail diesel number 073 catches the sun at Kent Station Cork on 20 July 2013. Canon EOS 7D photo.

 

Driver Ken Fox works the ground at Cork.
Driver Ken Fox works the ground at Cork.

 

Kent Station, Cork.
Railway Preservation Society Ireland’s Cravens catch the sunlight at Kent Station Cork on 20 July 2013.

 

Brake cylinder on locomotive 071.
Brake cylinder on locomotive 071.
 92 60 0117071-7
Freshly painted Irish Rail locomotive 92 60 0117071-7 catches the sun at Heuston Station in Dublin. Its still just old 071 to me! Lumix LX3 photo.
Heuston Station
Irish Rail’s Rotem-built intercity rail cars arrive at Heuston Station on the morning of 20 July 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.

 

Handbrake on locomotive 071. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Handbrake on locomotive 071. Canon EOS 7D photo.

 

Heuston Station, Dublin. Lumix LX3 photo.
Heuston Station, Dublin. Lumix LX3 photo.
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Sun Scorched Irish Extravaganza—Part 3

 

Classic Views of an Historic Irish Trip.

 

In previous posts I focused on the human side of Irish Railway Record Society’s Dublin-Cork excursion on 20 July 2013.

However, I also made my own share of classic views showing Saturday’s railway excursion at identifiable locations. I’ve displayed a few view here. In addition to digital image I also exposed color slides at key locations.

 

 

See posts from the last few days for more views of Irish Railway Record Society’s 20 July 2013 diesel hauled trip on Irish Rail to Cork, Cobh and Midleton.

Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Irish Rail 071 and 073 with IRRS Special at Templemore on 20 July 2013.
Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Irish Rail class 071 number 073 led the excursion on the Cork-Cobh leg of the trip. It is seen during a photographers stop at Rushbrooke, County Cork. The best classic views were made from a nearby road bridge. The train was well spotted for photos. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.

 

Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Irish Rail 071 catches the sun at Cobh, County Cork on 20 July 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.
Irish Rail_071_Cobh_Vert_IMG_0250
A vertical three-quarter view (or near to it) of Irish Rail 071 at Cobh, County Cork on 20 July 2013. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
At Kent Station Cork, engine 071 runs around the train and will follow to Middleton. There doesn’t appear to be anyone in my photo and who’s that shouting? oops. 😉
Kent Station, Cork
Irish Rail 073 reflects into a Mark 4 train at Kent Station in Cork on 20 July 2013. Canon EOS 7D photo.

 

Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Operation to Midleton required a bit of shuffle owing to a lack of run around facilities. Presently this is the end of the branch. Normally the only equipment on the line are double-ended railcars. Photos of locomotive hauled trains here are highly prized and photographers vied for position to get the best views. Locomotive 073 which brought the train from Cork can be seen in this distance. Canon EOS 7D photo.

 

A bit of color: 201-class General Motors diesel number 209 (painted for the Dublin-Belfast Enterprise) on a Mark 4 set at Cork on 20 July 2013.
A bit of color: 201-class General Motors diesel number 209 (painted for the Dublin-Belfast Enterprise) on a Mark 4 set at Cork on 20 July 2013.
Irish Rail 071 catches the sun at Cobh, County Cork on 20 July 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.
Twin 071s couple on to the excursion at Kent Station Cork. The view from the Dublin-end of the shed is among the best in the city. Lumix LX3 photo.

 

Irish Rail 2800s.
Irish Rail’s 2600-series railcars pause at the back of the train shed in Cork. These are typical of the trains normally assigned to Cork suburban services. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Irish Rail 086 rests with a ballast train at Lisduff as viewed on the return trip of the IRRS special.
Irish Rail 086 rests with a ballast train at Lisduff as viewed on the return trip of the IRRS special. Lumix LX3 photo.

 

 

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Sun Scorched Irish Extravaganza—Part 2

More views of Irish Railway Record Society Trip to County Cork, 20 July 2013.

There’s a long history of special trains with unusual locomotives, rare events, or otherwise noteworthy occurrences of railway operations that have encouraged railway photography.

Saturday’s trip to Cork and Midleton was no exception. (see yesterday’s post).

Among the photographic events was the rare locomotive hauled consist on Cobh and Midleton Branches. The Cobh branch has been exclusively a railcar operation since the mid-2000s, while the Midleton line has only seen railcar operation since its reopening a few years ago.

 Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Our train pauses at Templemore for photographers on the morning of 20 July 2013. Canon EOS 7D photo. A strategically placed bit of greenery adds depth to the image. (And, yes, I have photos without it).
Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Fans snap freshly painted 071 class leader at Templemore on 20 July 2013. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Enjoying the spin.
Enjoying the spin.

In time-honoured tradition, at every photo stop, photographers rushed to snap images of the train. Occasionally, an individual entranced by the fresh paint on locomotive 071 or fascinated by some other peculiarity of operation or equipment, would wander haplessly in front of a line of eager photographers. Shouts of ‘Hey!’ ‘Oy!’, ‘Down in front!’ and the like would ensue.

Especially amusing was when a particularly oblivious passenger or passerby would drift with their backs to the anxious photo line (time is precious on these outings as only a few minutes are allowed at each stop), and proceed to linger staring in wonder at the train. In such cases a diplomat would be elected to negotiate a solution.

 Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
‘Down in front!’
 Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
RPSI staff make necessary arrangements with Irish Rail staff at Kent Station Cork.

A Cobh, I was queried by a German woman as to why so many people were photographing the train. It didn’t appear in the slightest bit unusual to her. Significance is in the eye of the observer. I explained that, ‘locomotives were never operated on this line, and the locomotive that brought the train down was in fresh paint, and that the train had carried the photographers for this purpose.’ She seemed satisfied with that.

While I made plenty of images of the train, 071 and 073 and etc, I also focused on the people. From my experience, images of people surrounding the train tend to be more interesting than the train, and tend to have greater value in the end.

 

 Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Photographs provide clues to memories that may last a lifetime. Someday everyone and everything maybe gone, yet we can remember the thrill of the day as a result of pictures. At Cobh, two young lads get their image made with the driver of locomotive 071. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Kent Station Cork;
Kevin, a tracking the Light follower, proudly displays his model of Irish Rail’s 071 in the new livery.

 

 Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Photographers vie for positon at Kent Station Cork.
 Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Aiming for the best angle at Midleton on 20 July 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.
Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Staff water the train at Kent Station, Cork. Lumix LX3 photo.

 

RPSI staff servicing the train at Cork. Lumix LX3 photo.
RPSI staff servicing the train at Cork. Lumix LX3 photo.
 Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Not everyone is bothered to get every photo. Some prefer to relax and enjoy the journey. Lumix LX3 photo.
 Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Irish Rail employee (and Railway Preservation Society Ireland member) Kevin Walker enjoyed the view from a Cravens window on the Irish Railway Record Society’s outing.
 Sun Scorched Irish Extravaganza—Part 2
Irish Rail staff conducted the trip professionally and efficiently, keeping to schedule despite abnormally complex arrangements necessary for the trip.

 

Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Driver Ken Fox on 071 at Cork.
 Sun Scorched Irish Extravaganza—Part 2
Driver Ken Fox greets passengers after arrival at Heuston Station. Lumix LX3 photo.

 

Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
At the end of the day, Heuston, Station. Lumix LX3.

For more photos see yesterday’s post.

More to come tomorrow!

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Irish Railway Record Society Trip to County Cork, 20 July 2013

Sun Scorched Irish Extravaganza—Part 1

I traveled on the Irish Railway Record Society’s “Special Train” consisting of locomotive hauled Cravens carriages to Kent Station Cork, with side trips Cobh, and Midleton operated on 20 July 2013.

Irish Rail 071 at Heuston Station, Dublin.
Photographers crowd toward the Cork-end of the platform at Heuston to catch snaps of freshly painted 071 on the special train to Cork.

My reasons for traveling were largely to visit with friends on and about the train while enjoying a spin around Cork.

Tracking the Light followers, Noel Enright and Mark Healy at Heuston Station, Dublin on 20 July 2013.
Tracking the Light followers Noel Enright and Mark Healy at Heuston Station, Dublin on 20 July 2013.
Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Gerry is fellow traveler on many railway adventures. Did he tell you the story about the priest, the minister and the rabbi? Canon EOS 7D photo.
Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Tracking the Light reader Stephen Hirsch displays his new Lumix camera. Lumix LX3 photo.

The special was unusual. The carriages were Railway Preservation Society’s former Irish Rail Cravens. It’s been nearly seven years since the old Cravens were withdrawn from regular service, thus ending Irish Rail’s routine use of traditional steam heated stock.

More usual was operation of a pair of Irish Rail’s General Motors-built class 071 diesel-electric locomotives. In the last few years, most Irish Rail trains have been operated with various classes of self-propelled rail cars. The exceptions being Dublin-Cork push-pull trains and the Dublin-Belfast Enterprise, both of which routinely call for class 201 diesels.

Thus, the 071 diesels have been largely relegated to freight and per-way (maintenance) service. The days of 071s roaring in ‘run 8’ (maximum throttle) down the Cork mainline hauling Mark II, Mark III or Cravens carriages in regular service is a memory.

Pairs of 071s were never common and multiple working of 071 virtually unknown (although it has been known to have occurred, at least once). So the ability to travel behind a pair of 071s was indeed very unusual. On Saturday’s trip only one of the locomotives was working at a time.

Also, this trip featured freshly painted 071-class leader, now officially known as ’92 60 0117071-7′ in an effort to comply with European common numbering. It’s still just engine 071 to the rest of us.

So far as I know, this was the first scheduled passenger service with an 071 in Irish Rail’s new gray and yellow livery. While, I’d previously photographed 077 (pardon me for not using its full European number) in this paint, this was my first opportunity to make photographs of 071 in gray.

Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Irish Railway Record Society special on 20 July 2013 pauses at Rushbrooke, Co. Cork on its way to Cobh. Irish Rail 073 leads a former British Rail steam heat van and Cravens carriages. Canon 7D photo.
Cobh (pronounced 'Cove') was the last port of call for the Titanic. Canon 7D Photo.
Cobh (pronounced ‘Cove’) was the last port of call for the Titanic. Canon 7D Photo.
Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Locomotive 071 couples to the excursion at Cobh. The train had been brought from Kent Station Cork by 073. Lumix LX3 photo.

 

Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Enthusiasts grab photos of locomotive 073 at Kent Station in Cork. Lumix LX3 photo.
Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
During an engine change friends chat on the platform at Kent Station in Cork, 20 July 2013.

 

Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Irish Rail driver Ken Fox at Kent Station, Cork. Lumix LX3 photo.

I was impressed with the time keeping. I enjoyed the company on board the train and on the platforms. All of Irish Rail’s and IRRS staff performed admirably, efficiently, and safely. On the trips to Cobh and Midleton, and especially on the return run to Dublin, driver Ken Fox showed exceptional professionalism and skill of operation.

Yet, what impressed me the most, and by far the most unusual aspect of the trip, was they call here ‘wall to wall sun’. Although, I’m told there’s been a spell of good weather in Ireland, I cannot recall the last time I’ve taken an entirely cloud free railway trip in Ireland!

More to come in future posts . . .

 

Irish Railway Record Society special, 20 July 2013.
Irish Rail 071 at Midlton County Cork. First grey 071 at Midleton? Comments anybody? Lumix LX3 photo.

 

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Two Freights 24 Hours Apart


Orange Engine at Stafford Springs, Ct., 
and Irish Rail’s IWT Liner in Dublin.

 

New England Central diesel
New England Central 3015 in fresh Genesee & Wyoming corporate colors passes the Stafford Historical Society in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.

 

Dublin
Irish Rail’s IWT liner passes Islandbridge Junction in Dublin.

Last week I made these photos, nearly exactly 24 hours apart (one in the morning, the other in the afternoon).

The first image shows New England Central’s freshly painted GP402-L 3015 leading a southward freight at Stafford Springs, Connecticut. I was delighted to finally get this elusive orange engine operating on a road-freight in daylight.

The next image was made in Dublin, after a trans Atlantic crossing courtesy of Aer Lingus. This shows locomotive 073 struggling along with the second IWT Liner at Islandbridge Junction near Heuston Station in Dublin, Ireland.

Later, I heard through the grapevine  that 073 failed a few miles down the line and require assistance.

Both images were made with my Canon EOS 7D. Also both feature 1970s-era General Motors diesels singly hauling freight under bright sunny skies.

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Happy Birthday Tracking the Light!

 

Tracking the Light’s first full year.

Benburb Street LUAS Crash
Benburb Street LUAS Crash

 

It was exactly one year ago (July 19, 2012) that Tracking the Light made its debut.

In the last year this site has had nearly 24,000 visits.

Of the nearly 235 posts, the following topics have been the most popular:

1)    Gallery Post 1: Sperry Train at Islandbridge Junction on August 30, 2012 

2)    LUAS Tram Crash on Benburb, Street Dublin September 10, 2012 

3)    Installment 1: Central Vermont Railway at Windsor, Vermont

4)    Gallery Post 2: Looking Back on Irish Railways 1998-2003

5) Tracking the Light Extra! Breaking Views!

Irish Rail 0117077 leads a wagon transfer over the River Liffey at Islandbridge at 4:25pm on April 10, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.
Irish Rail 0117077 leads a wagon transfer over the River Liffey at Islandbridge at 4:25pm on April 10, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.

Among the posts that drew the least interest:

1) Sunset at Bonn, Germany, August 1998

2) Chicago & North Western Station, Chicago August 1984

 

Deutche Bahn InterCity train 522 Berchtesgadener Land (Berchtesgaden—Hamburg) catches the glint of the setting sun at Bonn, Germany. Compare this view with that of Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited catches the glint at Palmer, May 28, 1986. (posted December 7, 2012). Exposed on Fuji Sensia II (ISO 100) slide film using a Nikon F3T fitted with f2.8 135mm lens. Exposure calculated manually with a handheld Sekonic Studio deluxe light meter (approximately f8 1/500 sec).
Deutche Bahn InterCity train 522 Berchtesgadener Land (Berchtesgaden—Hamburg) catches the glint of the setting sun at Bonn, Germany. Compare this view with that of Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited catches the glint at Palmer, May 28, 1986. (posted December 7, 2012). Exposed on Fuji Sensia II (ISO 100) slide film using a Nikon F3T fitted with f2.8 135mm lens. Exposure calculated manually with a handheld Sekonic Studio deluxe light meter (approximately f8 1/500 sec).
Chicago, August 19, 1984. Exposed on Kodak Safety Film 5063; bulk loaded Tri-x 400, exposed at ISO 400, processed in Microdol-X.
Chicago, August 19, 1984. Exposed on Kodak Safety Film 5063; bulk loaded Tri-x 400, exposed at ISO 400, processed in Microdol-X.

As a result of my careful marketing analysis, I’ve determine the best ways for Tracking the Light to go viral are:

1)   Encourage Sperry to plan a safely staged ‘derailment’ on Dublin’s LUAS route (to demonstrate the dangers of hidden rail fractures, perhaps) using former a Central Vermont Railway switcher painted in Irish Rail grey and then photograph it on a dull day using my Lumix LX-3. (Along the lines of the theatrically arranged ‘cornfield meets’ of the late Victorian era.)

2)    Hire a Korean guy with sunglasses to dance around near the tracks. (Gangnam Style) —hey, with more than 1.5 Billion hits, something must be working, right??

3)    Offer free Twinkies to all Tracking the Light subscribers.

4)    Plan a merger with LeakyWiks.

5)    Encourage everyone who enjoys the site to spread the word (and links) with their friends and urge regular visitors to subscribe! (there’s a box for comments toward the bottom of the posts and a box to tick that enables the subscription feature—admittedly this is a bit Kafkaesque, and hopefully I’ll find a better means of enabling subscriptions soon!)

 

Incidentally, my elaborate plans to import a German electric for demonstration were to be aborted, unfortunately Amtrak didn’t get the memo! 😉

Thanks again for checking Tracking the Light!

Brian Solomon

 

railroad tracks.
Chicago & North Western’s Chicago-Omaha mainline at sunset.
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