The October 2018 Journal of the Irish Railway Record Society features my obituary to American photographer and author Jim Shaughnessy who passed away in August this year.
I paid tribute to Jim and his work, both in America and Ireland, while also explaining how I helped Jim publish his photography in the Journal. Jim was always delighted to be represented in this Irish publication.
The Journal is published thrice annually and I’ve been contributing material for nearly 18 years.
Last night, as advertised, I presented my program to the Irish Railway Record Society in Dublin.
I had a large and receptive audience. There were more bodies than seats.
The program was in two parts, divided by a tea break (as per tradition). After a few slides from America, I focused on the main event: Ireland as I saw it 10 years ago.
I apologize: there were no photos of the DART or 29000-series CAF-built railcars, and I probably offered a disproportionate number of views of the last two operational class 121 diesels.
For those curious about my camera equipment: at the time I was in a transition between Nikon and Canon systems, while I was also making good use of a Contax G2 rangefinder. Color slides were exposed with lens ranging from a 16mm Zeiss Hologon to a 400mm Tokina telephoto.
In 2006, I was more than 2 years away from exposing my first digital photo. I was like the Norfolk & Western in 1953, and still firmly committed to the old technology. Most of the slides were exposed using Fujichrome Sensia2 (ISO 100), although I also used some Fujichrome Velvia 100, Provia 100F, and Provia 400F, as well as the occasional roll of Ektachrome.
On 10 March 2016, I will present an illustrated talk on Irish railways as they were ten years ago—the year 2006—to the Irish Railway Record Society in Dublin.
This will feature some of my best photography from 2006 and include images on the Waterford-Limerick line, Galway Line and Mayo routes, plus Railway Preservation Society Ireland steam trips and many other subjects.
There’ll be plenty of photos of General Motors diesels at work hauling freight and passenger trains.
Th talk will begin at 7:30 pm at the IRRS Dublin premises near Heuston Station.
As a follow up to yesterday’s Extra Post Irish Railway Record Society 071 Railtour 18 July 2015, I’ve put together this selection of images that I made on Saturday’s excellent rail tour from Du blin’s Connolly Station to Ballina and Westport. All were exposed with my Lumix LX7.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My reasons for traveling were largely to visit with friends on and about the train while enjoying a spin around Cork.
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.
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!