Tag Archives: IWT Liner

Glint, Flare and Clouds; Evening in the Gullet.

I realize that today’s title might not catch everyone’s eye.

How about: ‘Clean GM Diesel on a Freight’?

Or, ‘Irish Rail at Rush Hour’ ?

‘Gullet Glint’?

Anyway, this post is about light.

I was waiting on the Up IWT liner (International Warehousing & Transport Ballina, County Mayo to Dublin Northwall container train)with recently painted Irish Rail 071 class diesel number 082.

Just ahead of this Dublin-bound freight was the Up-Galway passenger train with a common set of ICRs (InterCity Railcars).

I was photographing into the sun. My intent was to work the glint effect. (That’s when the sun reflects off the side of the train).

Usually, I find this is most effective when you shade the front element of the lens to minimize flare. Notice the two variations with the ICR.

By shading the front element I’ve prevented the rays of the sun from directly hitting the front element of my lens, thus minimizing the effects of flare.
In this view, exposed moments after the photo above, I’ve allowed the sun to hit the front element to show the effects of flare. This small adjustment can produce very different results. Often I aim to control the amount of flare; a little bit lightens shadows and adds some colour to the scene but too much can result in unpleasant and unnatural looking light streaks or light fog.

By the time the freight reached me clouds had partly shaded the sun leaving only a hint of back-lighting.

All the photos were made using my FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm f2.0 lens. The camera RAW Files were all adjusted for colour balance, colour saturation and contrast using the same ratio of change. (In other words, although I’ve manipulated the final result, all the photos have received the same degree of alteration).

The clouds shaded the sun for me here.
In this image, I adjust the exposure on site to compensate for the clouds blocking the sun.

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Irish Rail Class 071 Works the IWT Liner.

Last week Irish Rail class 071 worked the IWT Liner.

Dressed in the 1970s-era heritage livery, this locomotive has been a popular topic with local photographers.

The bright orange locomotive glistens even on a dull day.

Digital photograph exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 with 27mm lens.

I exposed this view on Friday (1September 2017) from Conyngham Road in Dublin (at the entrance to the Phoenix Park Tunnel) using my FujiFilm XT1 with 27mm pancake lens.

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Irish Rail 220 with IWT Liner at Islandbridge Junction on 17 August 2017.

Clear blue dome. Nice view. Short walk.

Islandbridge Junction near Heuston Station in Dublin.

I exposed this photo of Irish Rail’s IWT Liner (Dublin North Wall to Ballina, Co. Mayo) on the morning of 17 August 2017 using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera fitted with a 27mm pancake lens.

Exposed at f9 1/500th of a second at ISO 400 using a 27mm pancake lens (provides an angle of view equivalent to a 41mm lens on a full-frame 35mm film camera).

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Portrait view of Irish Rail 081 at Islandbridge Junction.

On the morning of 27 March 2017, freshly painted Irish Rail class 071 locomotive number 081 worked the down IWT liner.

I made the time to catch this from my often photographed location at Islandbridge Junction near Dublin’s Heuston Station.

Among the advantages of this spot is good morning lighting on westward trains (where most other places face difficult backlighting), ample elevation and the iconic Wellington Testimonial, which is located in the Phoenix Park on the north side of the River Liffey.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Tracking the Light!

Here’s a variation on a theme: another view of Irish Rail’s IWT liner at Stacumny Bridge near Hazelhatch.

Irish Rail locomotive 088 leads the up IWT Liner at Stacumny Bridge on 13 March 2017. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

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Freshly Painted Irish Rail 232 catches the sunlight at Stacumny Bridge.

Sunlight? What’s that? After weeks of cold, wet, windy weather, we had a rare sunny afternoon in Ireland on Wednesday 8 March 2017.

Irish Rail class 201 number 232 was in fresh paint and working the up International Warehousing & Transport liner from Ballina to Dublin.

I traveled with Colm O’Callaghan to Stacumni Bridge near Hazelhatch on Irish Rail’s Dublin-Cork mainline. This is the section that was rebuilt with quad track a few years ago.

I made these images using my Fujifilm X-T1 with f2.0 90mm prime lens.

While waiting for the up-IWT Liner, I made this view of an Irish Rail ICR (Intercity Rail Car) heading down road from Dublin.
Irish Rail 232 is in fresh green and silver paint. Exposed digitally using FujiFilm X-T1 with 90mm fixed lens.

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Irish Rail Container Pocket Wagons pass Islandbridge Junction.

So do you go out in poor light to catch something unusual? That’s your choice.

Sometimes I hold off for fine weather or good light to make images. Other times I’m faced with catching something in prevailing conditions. The railway doesn’t run for sunshine.

Once a week Irish schedules an extra IWT Liner (International Warehousing & Transport—Dublin North Wall to Ballina, Co. Mayo). In recent months, this has operated with the elusive container pocket wagons (CPWs). But it doesn’t necessarily run every week.

I have plenty of photos from Islandbridge Junction, and no shortage of images depicting the IWT Liner, and while I’ve photographed the CPWs over the years, last week I knew for certain (that’s railway certain, which is at best uncertain) that the CPWs were on due to pass.

So despite flat light, I made the effort.

Irish Rail 075 leads the IWT Liner at Island Bridge Junction, Dublin. Lumix LX7 photo.
Exposed on Tri-X using a Leica IIIA with 50mm Summitar. Processed with two stage developer plus selenium toner.

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Today’s International Warehousing & Transport Liner Identified on the Loco—10 October 2016.

For the last week, Irish Rail class 201 number 231 has been working the International Warehousing & Transport Liner (Dublin North Wall to Ballina, Co. Mayo) with IWT identification marks on the Ballina-end and the sides of the loco.

Photographically this is a boon because it positively distinguishes the IWT liner from other trains.

While last week, I’d either been busy or out of position when 231 worked the train; but this morning I made the effort to catch it from my usual location at Islandbridge Junction in Dublin.

Do I have too many photos from this spot? Undoubtedly, but it’s better to have a publishable image of a distinctive train from an identifiable location, than not to have a photo of the train at all. So, for the sake of a 5-minute walk, I’ve got the IWT Liner looking the part.

For more on IWT see: http://iwt-irl.com

iwt_liner_w_iwt_201_at-islandbridge_jct_dscf5830

Irish Rail's IWT Liner with 201-class diesel 231 decorated for IWT passes Islandbridge Junction at 9:49am on 10 October 2016.
Irish Rail’s IWT Liner with 201-class diesel 231 decorated for IWT passes Islandbridge Junction at 9:49am on 10 October 2016.
Irish Rail's IWT Liner with 201-class diesel 231 decorated for IWT passes Islandbridge Junction at 9:49am on 10 October 2016. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Irish Rail’s IWT Liner with 201-class diesel 231 decorated for IWT passes Islandbridge Junction at 9:49am on 10 October 2016. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

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Irish Rail IWT Liner; A lesson in RAW and JPG.

Thursday morning on my way to breakfast, I made this photo of Irish Rail’s IWT Liner (Dublin to Ballina) passing Islandbridge Junction.

I timed my visit well and so only waited a few minutes for the freight to pass.

I’ve often photographed the IWT at this location, so this was really just an exercise.

Soft morning clouds made for some pleasant lighting, but also a post-processing quandary.

My FujiFilm XT1 allows me to simultaneously expose a Camera RAW file and a camera interpreted JPG. Among the features of the Fuji cameras is the ability to select a film-like colour profile for the Jpg.

In this instance I’ve opted for the Velvia profile, which closely emulates the colour and contrast of this popular slide film.

Another colour adjustment is the white balance control. In this situation I selected ‘auto white balance’, which means the camera interprets the color temperature.

When I processed the photos, I wanted to see if I could improve upon the camera JPG by making subtle changes to the Camera RAW file (which has ten times more information imbedded in it than the Jpg, but serves in the same role as a ‘negative’ and is intended for adjustment rather than uninterpreted presentation).

Below are three images; the a JPG from the unmodified Camera RAW, Camera created JPG, and my interpretation of the Camera RAW file.

This is an uninterpreted JPG made directly from the camera RAW file. (The RAW file is way too large for presentation on Tracking the Light.) I have not made any modifications to color profile, color balance, sharpness or exposure. This file is not really intended for presentation.
This is an uninterpreted JPG made directly from the camera RAW file. (The RAW file is way too large for presentation on Tracking the Light.) I have not made any modifications to color profile, color balance, sharpness or exposure. This file is not really intended for presentation.
My in-camera JPG using the FujiFilm digitally applied Velvia colour profile with 'auto white balance' setting. I made no modifications to this file, except to scale it for presentation and add my watermark on the left.
My in-camera JPG using the FujiFilm digitally applied Velvia colour profile with ‘auto white balance’ setting. I made no modifications to this file, except to scale it for presentation and add my watermark on the left.
This is my modified JPG. Starting with the Camera RAW, I imported this into Lightroom and implemented the following adjustments: I masked the sky using a digitally applied graduated filter custom adjust to increase highlight saturation, decrease highlight exposure, and make for cooler colour balance. On a global level, I made minor adjustments to contrast but lightening the shadow areas, reducing highlight exposure and altering the contrast curve. I also made select exposure adjustments to the pilot area on the locomotive. To match the Camera JPG's perceived sharpness, I applied some nominal image sharpening. (This uses edge effects to make the photo appear sharper on the computer screen.)
This is my modified JPG. Starting with the Camera RAW, I imported this into Lightroom and implemented the following adjustments: I masked the sky using a digitally applied graduated filter and custom adjusted to increase highlight saturation, decrease highlight exposure, and make for cooler colour balance. On a global level, I made minor adjustments to white balance (warmed it up) and to contrast by lightening the shadow areas, reducing highlight exposure and altering the contrast curve. I also made select exposure adjustments to the pilot area on the locomotive. To match the Camera JPG’s perceived sharpness, I applied some nominal image sharpening. (This uses edge effects to make the photo appear sharper on the computer screen.) Got all that?

Incidentally, by using Lightroom, I can make adjustments to the RAW files without permanently changing the original data. This is very important since it would be a mistake to modify the original file. That would be like adding colour dyes or bleach to your original slide to ‘improve’ the result.

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Alternate Angle at Islandbridge Junction; Irish Rail’s IWT Liner.

Thursday, 7 April 2016, Irish Rail’s IWT Liner was blocked at Islandbridge Junction. This gave me the opportunity to work some less common angles in addition to my common viewing point (often featured on Tracking the Light).

Irish Rail 219 with Dublin to Ballina IWT liner.
Irish Rail 219 with Dublin to Ballina IWT liner.

By holding my FujiFilm X-T1 above my head at arm’s length and tilting the camera’s live-view panel screen downward, I was able to make this view looking over the wall at the St. John’s Road roundabout in Dublin.

Why not try this more often? Simply because I’m not tall enough to see over the wall, so to make this view I’m actually using the camera to view the scene. It’s tiring work to hold a camera above your head while waiting for trains to appear.

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An Irish Story: Sun and Clouds, Anticipating the Up-liner and the Light.

Lately the sun has been an elusive orb in Irish skies. Too often, I awake to find a slate gray dome above me.

Good Friday (25 March 2016) was different. It was bright sunny morning.

Having the sun and making use of it are two different things.

In the early afternoon, Colm O’Callaghan, Ciarán Cooney and I waited at Lucan South, just east of the Adamstown Station on the quad-track in suburban Dublin.

Our quarry was the up-IWT Liner from Ballina, which was operating with Irish Rail 233, the last 201 class diesel in the old Enterprise-livery. We caught this engine before, but it’s unlikely to survive for long in this old paint.

While the day remained bright, puffy clouds were rapidly blowing across the sky, changing and dampening the light when they blocked the sun

Looking south at Lucan South. Puffy white clouds dot the sky. Nice to have for texture, they can make getting a clean photograph difficult when they block the sun.
Looking south at Lucan South. Puffy white clouds dot the sky. Nice to have for texture, they can make getting a clean photograph difficult when they block the sun.
An Irish Rail ICR races along on the down fast; this is a trailing view. You can see how a bit of cloud shadow darkened the mid-portion of the train.
An Irish Rail ICR races along on the down fast; this is a trailing view. You can see how a bit of cloud shadow darkened the mid-portion of the train.
Hmm, will that cloud get out of the way in time? If it doesn't who can we blame for it? I'll be naming names.
Hmm, will that cloud get out of the way in time? If it doesn’t who can we blame for it? I’ll be naming names.

Anxiously, we watched the signals, and the passing InterCity Railcars. The tapestry above was becoming a maddening mixture of fluff and blue.

The IWT Liner approaches. You can see Adamstown Station in the distance in full sun. A muddy black shadow mucks up the foreground.
The IWT Liner approaches. You can see Adamstown Station in the distance in full sun. A muddy black shadow mucks up the foreground.

Would we get the liner in full sun? After all, that’s what we were out for.

With two cameras around my neck, I was prepared for either eventuality; if it was cloudy, I work with the digital camera; but if the sun came out bright, I’d make a slide. To this aim, I’d set my Canon EOS-3 at f4.5 1/1000th of a second—my full-sun setting for Provia 100F.

It was a photo finish. As the liner approached the light changed from dark to light.

I made some telephoto views with the FujiFilm X-T1; but as the IWT liner reached us the clouds began to part and I exposed a single frame of Fujichrome with my Canon. That photo remains latent in the camera. Did I get it right? It will be some weeks before I know the answer; I wont have the film processed until May.

As the freight rolled into view the clouds receded. I made this dappled-light photograph digitally. To retain a bit of detail in the sky, I have a graduated neutral density filter in front of my lens. The winning view will be my colour slide exposed using a 40mm lens. I hope I got the exposure right.
As the freight rolled into view the clouds receded. I made this dappled-light photograph digitally. To retain a bit of detail in the sky, I have a graduated neutral density filter in front of my lens. The winning view will be my colour slide exposed using a 40mm lens. I hope I got the exposure right.

Tracking the Light is Daily.

 

 

Irish Rail: An Early March 2016 View From Stucumny Bridge in Eight Photos!

This quiet overhead crossing of the quad-track is just past the 8 ¾ milepost from Dublin’s Heuston Station.

It offers an open view of the line with a favorable angle for down (traveling away from Dublin) trains mid-morning.

Milepost 8 3/4 as measured from Heuston Station, Dublin. Here an ICR passes en route to Portlaoise. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Milepost 8 3/4 as measured from Heuston Station, Dublin. Here an ICR passes en route to Portlaoise. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
An up ICR is only minutes away from Heuston Station. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
An up ICR is only minutes away from Heuston Station. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Cross lit view of another up ICR. The wire across the line south of bridge can be problematic.
Cross lit view of another up ICR. The wire across the line south of bridge can be problematic.
Always nice to catch an old 071 working the IWT liner. Here 088 does the honors. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Always nice to catch an old 071 working the IWT liner. Here 088 does the honors. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
These days you can often IWT boxes on the liner of the same name.
These days you can often IWT boxes on the liner of the same name.

It takes a tuned interest in Irish Rail’s operations and a bit of luck. to time a visit to coincide with passage of the weekday IWT Liner (International Warehousing & Transport container train between Dublin and Ballina) and the more elusive HOBS (high output ballast system).

Getting the clouds to cooperate is trickier yet again.

Clear blue sky for the down Mark4 to Cork. But in Ireland the clouds cross the sky at an alarming rate. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Clear blue sky for the down Mark4 to Cork. But in Ireland the clouds cross the sky at an alarming rate. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
A mix of sun and cloud greeted the up HOBS. It can drive you batty. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
A mix of sun and cloud greeted the up HOBS. It can drive you batty. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
And there it goes! Soon the HOBS will be stabled in the old Guinness sidings at Heuston. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
And there it goes! Soon the HOBS will be stabled in the old Guinness sidings at Heuston. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

A couple of weeks ago Colm O’Callaghan and I spent a strategic 45 minutes at Stucumny Bridge.

Even if you fail at catching the freight on the move, there’s always a steady parade of passenger trains.

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Irish Rail’s IWT at Islandbridge Junction; Lee Graduated ND Filter Experiment.

Last Friday, 11 March 2016, I went up to my favored Irish local location; Islandbridge Junction. This is a handy place for me.

This is great place to catch a freight train exiting Dublin’s Phoenix Park Tunnel on a bright clear day, yet can be visually problematic on a dull day.

On this day, I thought it would be a good place to experiment with a Lee graduated neutral density filter as a means of controlling contrast and allowing for a more effective overall exposure.

The filter I use offers subtle 2/3s of a stop gradation. This is adjustable both up/down and rotationally left/right.

I made a few test photos with and without the filter to gauge my exposure before the IWT arrived with Irish Rail 088 in the lead.

A similar effect can be accomplished digitally, yet the digital effect doesn’t add information to the RAW file, but only makes a visual adjustment in the final image.

In other words to apply the filter digital may be viewed as a ‘correction’ rather than an in-camera technique. Yet, it is often easier to apply a filter in post-processing than in the field.

I’ve used both methods depending on the circumstance.

Below are some results.

Test photo to gauge comparative exposure. This was made without the filter. My concern is getting adequate exposure in both the sky and foreground.
Test photo to gauge comparative exposure. This was made without the filter. My concern is getting adequate exposure in both the sky and foreground.
Test exposure with the graduated filter. Here I've been able to lighten the foreground slightly while holding detail in the sky.
Test exposure with the graduated filter. Here I’ve been able to lighten the foreground slightly while holding detail in the sky.
Here's a test view using the filter. I've achieved a good overall balance. (Sorry, the filter won't make the sun come out.)
Here’s a test view using the filter. I’ve achieved a good overall balance. (Sorry, the filter won’t make the sun come out.)
Here we have the ultimate objective. To make a balance image of Irish Rail's IWT Liner. It really about making the most of a gray engine on a gray day.
Here we have the ultimate objective. To make a balance image of Irish Rail’s IWT Liner. It really about making the most of a gray engine on a gray day.

This gives a nice overall of my experiment, but in the middle of all this I got a little greedy. Using my zoom lens on the FujiFilm X-T1, I made a tight view of the IWT (with the filter).

As is often the case with last second changes, I didn’t get my exposure quite right. My feeling was that the RAW file was about 1/3 of a stop too dark.

Nice try, but my exposure was a bit dark.
Nice try, but my exposure was a bit dark.
I imported my RAW file into Lightroom and made a variety of small corrections. First I altered the level. I also lightened up the entire image slightly and warmed up the color temperature. Is this an improvement?
I imported my RAW file into Lightroom and made a variety of small corrections. First I altered the level. I also lightened up the entire image slightly and warmed up the color temperature. Is this an improvement?

As with most of my photography, I consider this a work in progress. In all likelihood, before long I’ll be back at Islandbridge Junction to further refine my experiment.

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Irish Rail by the rules at Hazelhatch, September 2015.

Sometimes I try to play by the rules.

It was rare glorious sunny day back in September 2015. Irish Rail had a full complement of trains on the move. Catching clean 071 class diesel 077 with the second IWT Liner was a bonus.

I exposed these photos along the Dublin-Cork line at Hazelhatch (about ten miles southwest of Dublin). Special thanks to John Cleary, who advised me on the day’s program, provided road-based transport and suggested some angles.

Down Irish Rail InterCity Railcar at Hazelhatch. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Down Irish Rail InterCity Railcar at Hazelhatch. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

Irish_Rail_2nd_IWT_Liner_at_footbridge_Hazelhatch_Station_close_DSCF3273

Irish_Rail_2nd_IWT_Liner_at_footbridge_Hazelhatch_Station_tight_DSCF3275

Photos by the rules:

  • Sunny day; tick!
  • Sun at least 30 degrees above the horizon and over right shoulder and positioned for evenly-lit three-quarter view; tick!
  • Rolling stock nearly free from shadows; tick!
  • Polls and wires minimized; tick!
  • View of railway wheels; tick!
  • shutter speed fast enough to stop the action; tick!
  • Trees and fences safely in the distance; tick!

Bonus qualifications: nominal elevation, clearly identifiable location and clean equipment.

Points subtracted: zoom lens used instead a prime ‘standard lens’. Digital used instead of film. Colour used instead of black & white. Evidence of people in some of the photos (minus two points, Tsk!)

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Tracking the Light Extra—IWT crosses in front of my bus to the airport

Posted live from Dublin Bus. I’m on the 747 bus on the way to the airport. The Wednesday-only second IWT liner (Ballina to Dublin Port) just crossed the road. I had a perfect vantage point from my  seat on the top deck.

I using my Lumix LX7, I exposed these views.

What fantastic luck!

IWT at the North Wall waiting to cross the road. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.
IWT at the North Wall waiting to cross the road. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.
View from the 747. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.
View from the 747. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.
3:15 Pm September 30, 2015. Dublin Port.
3:15 Pm September 30, 2015. Dublin Port.
View from Dublin Bus. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.
View from Dublin Bus. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily (but rarely from a bus)

Tracking the light EXTRA: Irish Rail 233 works IWT on evening path

Most days Irish Rail’s Dublin-Ballina IWT Liner (International Warehousing and Transport; see: http://iwt-irl.com) departs the North Wall in the morning, typically between 9:20 and 11 am.

Today, it was set back to an evening path, much like the traditional liners that ran nightly up until mid-2005.

An added bonus was Enterprise painted Irish Rail 201 number 233.

This was like turning the clock back ten years or more.

5:54 pm, 23 September 2015.  Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the North Wall in Dublin. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
5:54 pm, 23 September 2015. Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the North Wall in Dublin. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
7:08pm, 23 September 2015.  Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the Gullet in Dublin.
7:08pm, 23 September 2015. Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the Gullet in Dublin. Lumix LX7 photo
Containers into the sunset! 7:08pm, 23 September 2015. Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the Gullet in Dublin. Lumix LX7 photo
Containers into the sunset! 7:08pm, 23 September 2015. Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the Gullet in Dublin. Lumix LX7 photo

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Freshly Painted Enterprise 8208 on Irish Rail’s IWT Liner.

Prelude: on Friday, August 14, 2015, General Motors-built 201-class 8208 worked the Dublin to Ballina IWT liner. I’d photographed that move on the quad-track near Cherry Orchard.

I was interested in this recently painted locomotive, which, of-course, is styled for the Dublin-Belfast express passenger service, and not freight.

Day of action: On Saturday, I saw reports of 8208 working the up-IWT liner. This was an otherwise dull afternoon. I crossed the War Memorial Park on foot. No Vikings with their long boats today.

I found my spot, and was poised at the Con Colbert Road bridge over the three track-line in a cutting (known colloquially as ‘the Gullet’). Moments before the liner appeared, the sun briefly emerged from the clouds. Lucky me! And so this Saturday-freight eased up to the ‘Bridge of Signals’ giving me plenty of time to expose photographs.

First, I made a few strategically composed color slides with my Canon EOS 3 with 100mm lens, then exposed some digital photos with my Lumix LX7

Saturday 15 August 2015; Lumix LX7 digital photograph.
Saturday 15 August 2015; Lumix LX7 digital photograph.
Saturday 15 August 2015; Lumix LX7 digital photograph.
Saturday 15 August 2015; Lumix LX7 digital photograph.

Not bad for few minutes away from the computer on a weekend afternoon.

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Good Friday at Kildare.

It’s become a tradition to visit Kildare on Good Friday. This day has a history of seeing a good number of freights as well as passenger trains.

Kildare offers a good place to photograph freights running between Waterford and Ballina, since trains need to reverse direction here owing to the lack of a direct connection in the westward direction at Cherryville Junction.

On Good Friday, April 3, 2015, there was the added bonus of a locomotive exchange for the laden timber. Locomotive 071 (the class leader) had come down from Inchicore in Dublin and waited for the arrival of the timber from Ballina (with engine 078).

Although the weather wasn’t the best, I had ample opportunity for photographs. All of these images were exposed between 10:48 and 12:08 am using my Fuji Film X-T1 digital camera.

A Dublin bound ICR takes the passing loop at Kildare at 0948. A down ICR is making its station stop.
A Dublin bound ICR takes the passing loop at Kildare at 10:48 am. A down ICR is making its station stop. Engine 071 waits on the up main.
The down ICR accelerates away from Kildare.
The down ICR accelerates away from Kildare.
At 10:02 Irish Rail 075 passes with the down IWT liner (Dublin to Ballina).
At 10:57 am Irish Rail 075 passes with the down IWT liner (Dublin to Ballina).
Irish Rail 071 pulls forward to run through the crossovers at the west end of the station to allow the laden timber to pull into the station.
Irish Rail 071 pulls forward to run through the crossovers at the west end of the station to allow the laden timber to pull into the station.
The laden timber was holding west of the station waiting for the light engine to pull forward.
The laden timber was holding west of the station waiting for the light engine to pull forward.
Here the timber is pulling forward at 10:03 am. Locomotive 071 will couple on to the Waterford-end of the train.
Here the timber is pulling forward at 11:03 am. Locomotive 071 will couple on to the Waterford-end of the train.
At 10:21 the up Mark 4 from Cork approaches Kildare.
At 11:21 the up Mark 4 from Cork approaches Kildare.
At 10:29 locomotive 221 with the 10 am Dublin-Cork Mark4 passes Kildare. The laden timber holds on the up-road waiting for a path.
At 11:29 locomotive 221 with the 11 am Dublin-Cork Mark4 passes Kildare. The laden timber holds on the up-road waiting for a path.
An up-road ICR takes the loop at 10:31 am.
An up-road ICR takes the loop at 11:31 am.
Telephoto view of the same up-road ICR.
Telephoto view of the same up-road ICR.
Finally, after the passage of several more passenger trains, the laden timber departs Kildare, taking the crossover from uproad to downroad. The time was 10:58 am.
Finally, after the passage of several more passenger trains, the laden timber departs Kildare, taking the crossover from uproad to downroad. The time was 11:58 am.
Locomotive 219 leads the up IWT liner at 12:08 pm.
Locomotive 219 leads the up IWT liner at 12:08 pm.

Tomorrow: Good Friday highlight, a freshly painted locomotive in freight service at Cherryville Junction.

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Tracking the Light Extra Post: Irish Rail 071 leads Saturday’s IWT Liner at Islandbridge Junction.

I exposed these photos with my Fuji X-T1 a little while ago (7 March 2015). Compare these photos made in soft afternoon sun with my image of the same freight train at the same location last Saturday (28 February 2015)

Locomotive 071 is the class leader; one of Irish Rail’s 18 General Motors-built model JT22CW dual-cab six-motor diesel-electrics.

To make the most of slight diffused afternoon light, I opted to use the camera’s ‘Velvia’ colour profile, which emulates the characteristics of Fuji’s slide film of the same name.
To make the most of slight diffused afternoon light, I opted to use the camera’s ‘Velvia’ colour profile, which emulates the characteristics of Fuji’s slide film of the same name.
The 18-135mm zoom lens on the Fuji X-T1 allows to rapidly change the its focal length.
The 18-135mm zoom lens on the Fuji X-T1 allows to rapidly change the its focal length.
Here's last week's Saturday down IWT Liner (International Warehousing & Transport container train from Dublin's North Wall to Ballina, County Mayo).
Here’s last week’s Saturday down IWT Liner (International Warehousing and Transport container train from Dublin’s North Wall to Ballina, County Mayo).

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SPECIAL POST: Irish Rail 206 in a New Livery; February 25, 2015.

A little while ago, I caught Irish Rail 206 wearing a fresh new dress leading the afternoon IWT Liner from the top of the Phoenix Park Tunnel in Dublin. I made these photos with my Fuji X-T1.

Irish_Rail_IWT_liner_w_loco_206_in_new_paint_DSCF0767 Irish_Rail_IWT_liner_w_loco_206_in_new_paint_MOD1_DSCF0773

I think the new photography mode is: ‘ISO 6400 and be there’. It was pretty dark. This was my first glimpse of the locomotive in this new livery. I’m sure there’ll be ample opportunity to catch it in better light, but thanks to improved technology I was able to make the most of the moment.

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Fuji X-T1 and Irish Rail’s IWT Liner.

It helps to be near the tracks. In Dublin, my oft-photographed location at Islandbridge Junction is only a five minute walk away.

It wasn’t the brightest day, last week when I made the opportunity to make a few photographs of Irish Rail’s Dublin (North Wall) to Ballina IWT Liner. This is a freight train that I’ve photographed very often owing to its operational regularity and proximity. It was the perfect subject to try out my new Fuji X-T1.

Irish Rail ICRs were plentiful. Time for a test photo. Fuji X-T1 with 18-135mm lens at 18mm; ISO 1250 f4.9 at 1/500th of a second in 'Velvia' mode.
Irish Rail ICRs were plentiful. Time for a test photo. Fuji X-T1 with 18-135mm lens at 18mm; ISO 1250 f4.9 at 1/500th of a second in ‘Velvia’ mode.

I wandered up to my location as Irish Rail was shuffling some 22K series ROTEM-built Intercity Railcars (ICRs). While these are a dime a dozen (or is that ten euro cents for ten?) and the light was flat, I put the camera to use. What better time to practice?

I felt that the 'Velvia' setting was too saturated for the overcast scene, so I switched to 'Provice and opened up by about a third of stop for a slightly lighter image. The IWT liner was routed through Platform 10 around the ICRs.
I felt that the ‘Velvia’ setting was too saturated for the overcast scene, so I switched to ‘Provia’ and opened up by about a third of stop for a slightly lighter image. The IWT liner was routed through Platform 10 around the ICRs.
The flexibility offered by the 18-135mm lens and other controls allowed me to quickly adjust my perspective as the IWT Liner got closer. It wasn't moving very fast.
The flexibility offered by the 18-135mm lens and other controls allowed me to quickly adjust my perspective as the IWT Liner got closer. It wasn’t moving very fast. I’ve made many photos here, but this was my first catch of a gray 071 work the IWT. If I’d been using actual Provia 100F slide film my exposure would have been about f2.8 at 1/125th. Tough lighting for midday.

The liner made its appearance and I exposed a burst of images in ‘Provia’ mode. (The Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera has traditional Fuji film profiles programmed into it.)

As luck would have it, the liner wasn’t moving very quickly and it looked as if it wouldn’t stay ahead of the 11 am passenger train to Cork, so my friend and fellow photographer Colm O’Callaghan traveled to Hazelhatch at the end of the quad-track.

We made it in enough time to watch the 11am passenger overtake the IWT Liner and made some photos of the train.

Irish Rail's IWT liner ambles toward Hazelhatch. An ICR is working uproad toward Dublin on the quad track mainline. Fuji X-T1. By using the tilting rear screen, I was able to hold the camera over my head and compose this scene in 'live view'.
Irish Rail’s IWT liner ambles toward Hazelhatch. An ICR is working uproad toward Dublin on the quad track mainline. Fuji X-T1. By using the tilting rear screen, I was able to hold the camera over my head and compose this scene in ‘live view’.

My Fuji X-T1 has a tilting rear display, a first for me. This allowed me to hold the camera high over the railing on the footbridge at Hazelhatch and frame up a series of images.

But is the image sharp? I was entirely relying on the camera's autofocus. This is a cropped view of the above image. Other than cropping/scaling it is unmodified.
But is the image sharp? I was entirely relying on the camera’s autofocus. This is a cropped view of the above image.
Here is an even tighter crop of the same file. While I exposed RAW and Jpg files simultaneously, this crop is taken from the Jpg. I'll explore the RAW files later.
Here is an even tighter crop of the same file. While I exposed RAW and Jpg files simultaneously, this crop is taken from the Jpg. I’ll explore the RAW files later.

After the train passed, I could hear the class 071 diesel-electric roaring away in ‘run-8’ (maximum throttle) for at least five minutes. I grew up to the sound of turbocharged EMD diesels, so its always a treat to hear an old 645E3 working.

When I got home, I pored over the files fresh from the X-T1. These were some of the first action shots with my new camera. Not too bad considering the dull light. More to come!

Best of the lot; using the RAW file, I lightened this image slight and made nominal localized contrast adjustments in post processing.
Best of the lot; using the RAW file, I lightened this image slightly and made nominal localized contrast adjustments in post processing.

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Special Post: More views of Irish Rail 215

Sunlight and a Clean Locomotive.

As a follow up to yesterday’s special post, I’ve included a few more photos. Since Monday, Irish Rail’s freshly painted class 201 number 215 has been working the IWT Liner between Dublin and Ballina, Country Mayo.

Wednesday's IWT Liner passes Islandbridge Junction near Heuston Station, Dublin. Thin cloud diffused the sun. Lumix LX7 photo.
Wednesday’s (September 10, 2014)  IWT Liner passes Islandbridge Junction near Heuston Station, Dublin. Thin cloud diffused the sun. Lumix LX7 photo.
Today's (September 11, 2014) Ballina to Dublin IWT near Clodalkin-Fonthill Station. Lumix LX7 photo.
Today’s (September 11, 2014) Ballina to Dublin IWT near Clodalkin-Fonthill Station. Lumix LX7 photo.

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Special Post: Irish Rail 215 in Fresh Paint

Clouds then Sun.

Sometimes when your mind is pre-occupied with the problems of the world, the best medicine is go trackside and focus on something trivial (like hoping for sun light on a freshly painted locomotive).

Yesterday (September 9, 2014), I was poised for photography at an over-bridge near Lucan South in the Dublin suburbs. Colm O’Callaghan, Noel Enright, John Cleary and I were anxiously waiting for Irish Rail’s Up-IWT liner led by class 201 diesel number 215 (which had made its first trip in fresh paint the day before and was on its return run).

Although it was a dry bright day, a group of fair weather clouds were loitering in the sky between us and the sun . At one point all four of us were staring skyward hoping the cloud would move.

Irish Rail's Mark4 from Cork on September 9, 2014. Canon EOS 7D with f2.0 100mm lens. 1/1000th of second at f3.5 ISO 200.
Irish Rail’s Mark4 from Cork on September 9, 2014. Canon EOS 7D with f2.0 100mm lens. 1/1000th of second at f3.5 ISO 200.
Canon EOS 7D with f2.0 100mm lens. 1/1000th of second at f5.6 ISO 200.
Canon EOS 7D with f2.0 100mm lens. 1/1000th of second at f5.6 ISO 200.

The Cork-Dublin passenger passed in cloudy light; but the Inter City Railcar behind it was blessed with sun. But then clouds returned. I fussed with my light meter.

As the freight approached, the clouds parted and the sun-light seemed to roll across the landscape.

I fired off a burst of digital images using my Canon EOS 7D, followed by a couple of Fujichrome Provia 100F colour slides with my EOS 3 with 40mm pancake lens.

 Fresh out of the paint shop: Irish Rail 215 leads the Ballina to Dublin IWT liner. This is the first 201 class diesel on the road to wear the new Irish Rail logo (on the side of the engine). Canon EOS 7D with f2.0 100mm lens. 1/1000th of second at f5.6 ISO 200.

Fresh out of the paint shop: Irish Rail 215 leads the Ballina to Dublin IWT liner. This is the first 201 class diesel on the road to wear the new Irish Rail logo (on the side of the engine). Canon EOS 7D with f2.0 100mm lens. 1/1000th of second at f5.6 ISO 200.

If there was one problem with the last burst of sunlight it was that I may have overexposed my slides by 1/3 of stop. But I won’t know until I have the film processed in a few weeks time.

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Enterprising the Liner

Views from Dublin, July 2014.

I was waiting with Ciarán Cooney for the up-IWT liner when I made this photo of the  Cork-Dublin Mark4 push-pull in the Gullet on approach to Heuston Station. Lumix LX7 photo.
I was waiting with Ciarán Cooney for the up-IWT liner when I made this photo of the Cork-Dublin Mark4 push-pull in the Gullet on approach to Heuston Station. Lumix LX7 photo.
The Mark4 set was blocked at the signals in the Gullet, while an outbound Inter City Rail  departed Heuston Station.
The Mark4 set was blocked at the signals in the Gullet, while an outbound Inter City Rail departed Heuston Station.
Irish Rail class 201 diesel numbe 224 worked the back of the Mark4. Locomotives typically face Cork on the Mark4. Lumix LX7 photo.
Irish Rail class 201 diesel numbe 224 worked the back of the Mark4. Locomotives typically face Cork on the Mark4. Lumix LX7 photo.
Not long after the Mark4 had passed, the IWT Liner with locomotive 206 came into view. While not unheard of, it's a bit unusual to find an Enterprise painted class 201 working freight in 2014. Stranger things have happened, but I was happy enough to catch this in the sun. Lumix LX7 photo.
Not long after the Mark4 had passed, the IWT Liner with locomotive 206 came into view. While not unheard of, it’s a bit unusual to find an Enterprise painted class 201 working freight in 2014. Stranger things have happened, but I was happy enough to catch this in the sun. Lumix LX7 photo.

Most weekdays, Irish Rail’s IWT Liner works between Dublin’s North Wall and Ballina carrying intermodal freight. Class 201 General Motors diesels are most common, although Class 071 diesels work it occasionally.

In the last week of July, locomotive 206 dressed in the Enterprise livery for work on the Dublin-Belfast express passenger service, made several trips on the IWT Liner.

This offered a refreshing visual change, from the relatively monotonous parade of trains out of Dublin on the Cork line. On several occasions, I intercepted 206 in its freight duties. Making exposures with my Canon EOS 7D and Lumix LX7.

Another day, another liner. Locomotive 206 works around from the North Wall with the IWT liner heading for Ballina, County Mayo. Lumix LX7 photo.
Another day, another liner. Locomotive 206 works around from the North Wall with the IWT liner heading for Ballina, County Mayo. Lumix LX7 photo.

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Irish Rail, September 27, 2013

 

Sun, Freight and the PWD.

Every so often the sun shines in Ireland. When it does, it helps to be in position to make photographs. As it happened, on Friday September 27, 2013, Colm O’Callaghan and I were at Stacumny Bridge, near Hazelhatch in suburban Dublin.

Irish Rail passenger train
A six piece 22000-series Intercity Rail Car glides up road at Stucumny Bridge, September 27, 2013. Exposed with an Canon EOS 7D.

Our aim was to photograph the down IWT (International Warehousing and Transport) liner which had an 071 class diesel leading. Stacumny Bridge is a favorite location to catch down-road trains mid-morning because of the broad open view of the tracks and favorable sun angle. I’ve post photos from this location on previous occasions.

While waiting for the liner, we got word of an up road wagon transfer. And caught that a few minutes before the liner came down. Then we heard that there was a permanent way department (PWD or ‘Per way’) ballast train coming up road as well. This was one of the elusive high output ballast trains (HOBS) I’ve mentioned in other posts.

Irish Rail class 071 diesel.
Irish Rail 071 class diesel number 079 leads a wagon transfer up road at Stucumny Bridge. Up road is toward Dublin, down road away. Exposed with an Canon EOS 7D and 40mm pancake lens.
Irish Rail freight.
Irish Rail 081 leads the down IWT Liner (International Warehousing and Transport container train Dublin to Ballina) approaching Stacumny Bridge near Hazelhatch on September 27, 2013. Exposed with an Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.
HOBS.
Irish Rail 0117-071 leads a High Output Ballast (HOBS) train up road at Stacumny Bridge on Septemeber 27, 2013. Exposed with an Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.

Although an annoying small cloud softened the light at Stacumny when the HOBS roared up road. We pursued the train up to Dublin and caught it again reversing into the old Guinness sidings at Heuston Station.

For the all hours scouring the countryside for photos on dull days, it’s rewarding to catch a clattering of interesting action in just over an hour on a bright day. This is down to watching the weather, combined with patience and persistence and a good bit of luck.

Irish Rail Dublin.
The engine has run around in preparation to reverse the HOBS into the old Guinness sidings at Heuston Station, Dublin. A Mark 4 set passes the train. September 27, 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.
Irish Rail HOBS at Islandbridge Junction near Heuston Station, Dublin. Lumix LX3 photo.
Irish Rail HOBS at Islandbridge Junction near Heuston Station, Dublin. Lumix LX3 photo.
Irish Rail 0117-071 reverses the empty HOBS into the old Guinness sidings at Heuston Station. The locomotive will 'hook off'  for work elsewhere, while the ballast train will remain stabled in the sidings over the weekend. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Irish Rail 0117-071 prepares to reverse the empty HOBS into the old Guinness sidings at Heuston Station. The locomotive will ‘hook off’ for work elsewhere, while the ballast train will remain stabled in the sidings over the weekend. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Tomorrow: Tracking the Light looks back 13 years at Stacumny Bridge. What a change!

Tracking the Light posts new material on a daily basis.

 

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Irish Rail Freight April 25-26, 2013

Seeking Liners and the Ever Elusive Timber-train.

For the last decade or so, Irish Rail has focused largely on its passenger operations. These days long distance passenger trains are dominated by fleets of Rotem-built InterCity Rail cars (ICRs), with locomotive-powered trains only working Dublin-Cork (class 201 diesels with Mark 4 push-pull) and Dublin-Belfast (class 201 diesels with De Dietrich push-pull). To the casual observer, it might seem that all the Irish Rail trains are ICRs. Certainly they seem to be everywhere.

 

Last Thursday and Friday, David Hegarty & I visited midland counties in search of freight trains. These are good days to be out, since Irish rail fields a variety of scheduled freight on its route to County Mayo via Portarlington, Athlone, and Roscommon. This single-track line has a rock and roll profile across undulating countryside.

UP IWT liner
Irish rail’s ‘up IWT liner’ (Ballina to Dublin) passes the 44 1/2 mile post near Portarlington. Gorse blossoms on both sides of the tracks. Canon 7D with 200mm f2.8 lens.
Dublin-Ballina IWT liner
First of two Dublin-Ballina IWT liners on Thursday, April 25, 2013. Canon 7D with 40mm pancake lens.

 

Irish Rail Timber near Portarlington
On on April 25, 2013, Irish Rail class 201 diesel number 219 leads a laden timber at mp44 1/2 near Portarlington. Canon 7D with 40mm pancake lens.

It’s gorse-season, and the gold-tinged blooming bushes works well with Irish Rail’s ‘safety yellow’ on the front of most trains. Getting the sun out is an added bonus. One minute there’s bright sun, the next its lashing rain. Sometime, I didn’t have to wait that long. They call it Spring. It’s as good an excuse as any.

Irish Rail freight.
Second IWT liner from Dublin to Ballina, north (west) of Portarlington on the branch to Athlone. Thursdays is a busy day for freight in Ireland, we caught six freight moves on April 25, 2013. Irish Rail 234 is the highest number 201 class diesels. The next day we photographed it again at Clara, Co. Offaly. Canon 7D with 20mm lens.

 

Ballina to Dublin IWT approaches the station at Clara on Friday April 26, 2013. That's 234, again. Lumix LX3 photo.
Ballina to Dublin IWT approaches the station at Clara on Friday April 26, 2013. That’s 234, again. Lumix LX3 photo.
Not so lucky with the twice weekly DFSD liner. The rain caught me here. Luckily I had an Opel for shelter! This is from the main road between Athlone and Knockcroghery. Canon 7D with 200mm f2.8 lens.
Not so lucky with the twice weekly DFSD liner. The rain caught me here. Luckily I had an Opel for shelter! This is from the main road between Athlone and Knockcroghery. Canon 7D with 200mm f2.8 lens.
IWT liner at Donamon.
This sounded great; its the down IWT liner roaring along with a 1970s-era class 071 near the former station of Donamon (west of Roscommon). Canon 7D with 40mm pancake lens.
Irish Rail empty timber train.
Last train of the day; the empty timber from Waterford near Donamon. After we caught this train, we were given good advice on an even nicer location a couple of miles further west. We’ll be back! Canon 7D with 100mm f2.0 lens.

In addition to these digital photos exposed with my Canon 7D and Lumix LX-3, I also exposed a couple of rolls of film, including the first roll of Fuji Velvia 50 that’s been in my Canon EOS 3 in about six years. When using slide film, I usually work with 100 ISO stock. The Velvia 50 is an accident, and I’ll be curious to see how those slides turn out. Thanks to Noel Enright for logistical advice!

Ballina to Dublin IWT approaches the station at Clara on Friday April 26, 2013. That's 234, again. Lumix LX3 photo.
Ballina to Dublin IWT approaches the station at Clara on Friday April 26, 2013. That’s 234, again. Lumix LX3 photo.
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Irish Rail’s IWT Liner passing Cherry Orchard— March 21, 2013

Class 071 Hauling Containers.

 

This time last week (Thursday March 21) I was getting ready to fly to Brussels. My bag was packed; my passport and tickets were organized. Then word came over the telegraph that an 071 was to work Irish Rail’s second Dublin-Ballina IWT Liner (International Warehousing and Transport)

As previously mentioned on Tracking the Light (see: Irish Rail at Clondalkin, February 21, 2013), Irish Rail runs a weekday container train between Dublin and Ballina. On Thursdays, traffic demands a second Dublin-Ballina train.

In recent months, Irish Rail has largely assigned its common 1994-1995 General Motors 201-Class diesels to this freight service, and the older General Motors 071-Class have only worked it infrequently. So, when I heard that Irish Rail 075 was on the train, I was keen to make some photos.

I had two hours before I needed to aim for Dublin Airport—plenty of time. On the downside, the weather wasn’t so cooperative. It was overcast, very windy, and spitting rain. Not my favorite conditions, but I’ll make photos in just about any circumstances. So, when my friend Colm O’Callaghan suggested we make the effort, I grabbed my travel bag and cameras and headed out the door.

This would require only a very short wait, or so we thought! When we arrived at Cherry Orchard, an industrial area in the west Dublin suburbs, the telegraph informed us that the second IWT was still in the yard at the North Wall. In other words, it hadn’t left yet, and was still at least 20 minutes away. An hour ticked by. In the mean time we caught the Ballina-Dublin ‘up IWT’ liner with a 201-class.

Then my phone rang; a client needed a photo immediately. A difficult proposition considering that the photo was buried on a hard-drive that I hadn’t planned to access for another week! My plans changed, I had to head home and address this request before making for the airport. My two-hour cushion had just been eroded. Still no IWT liner, and time was running out.

We gave up and were about to leave, when the telegraph came to life: the IWT had passed Islandbridge! It was on its way and not far off. Unfortunately, a clattering of passenger trains preceded it. Another 10 minutes gone. Finally, we heard the approaching roar of a 12-645 turbocharged diesel! Our perseverance paid off: 075 with the ‘down IWT’.

 

Irish Rail class 071 diesel.
Irish Rail 075 leads the 2nd IWT Liner at Cherry Orchard on Thursday March 21, 2013. Photo exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens, contrast and color balance adjusted in Photoshop.
Irish Rail 075 leads the 2nd IWT Liner at Cherry Orchard on Thursday March 21, 2013. Photo exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens, no post-processing adjustment, except for scaling.
Photo exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens, no post-processing adjustment, except for scaling.

I dashed home, sent off the requested photo, then made for Dublin Airport on the 747 Airport Bus. Stay tuned for my photographs of Belgian railways . . .

Trailing view of the 2nd IWT Liner at Cherry Orchard.
Trailing view of the 2nd IWT Liner at Cherry Orchard.

I’ll be presenting my illustrated talk “Ireland through American Eyes 1998-2008 My first Decade in Ireland” to the London area Irish Railway Record Society on April 18, 2013.

The program begins at 1900 (7pm) upstairs at the Exmouth Arms, 1 Starcross Street, LONDON NW1, (advertised as a 5 minute walk from London’s Euston station). A nominal donation of £3.50 is asked of non-IRRS members (members £2.50)

For more on the IRRS see: http://www.irrs.ie/

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Irish Rail at Clondalkin, February 21, 2013

Irish Rail passenger train
An Irish Rail six-piece Intercity Railcar works down road at milepost 4 1/4 near Clondalkin. Canon 7D with 100 f2.0 lens. ISO 200 1/500th second at f5.6.

 

This morning (February 21, 2013), Dublin dawned frosty and dull. On Thursdays, Irish Rail runs a pair of intermodal freight liners between Dublin port and Ballina, County Mayo for shipping company IWT (International Warehousing and Transport). Today, the first of the two IWT Liners (as the freights are generally known) departed the yards at the North Wall just after 9:31 am. As it was led by a common 201-class diesel and the weather remained especially dull outside, I opted to let it pass undocumented, as I’ve often photographed this train in nice light. The second train, however, was running with Irish Rail 074, one of the 1970s-era General Motors-built 071 class diesels, which is of greater interest to me. So this afternoon, my friend Colm O’Callaghan and I went to a favored spot near Clondalkin in the western suburbs at milepost 4 ¼ , where we waited patiently in Baltic conditions. While the temperature was a balmy 3 degrees Celsius (about 37 Fahrenheit), the biting wind and general dampness made it feel much colder. Just ten days ago I was out in much colder conditions at Palmer, Massachusetts (USA), where it was about -17 degrees Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit), and it hadn’t felt so bad. There’s nothing like a raw Irish day to cut through you.

IWT Liner
Irish Rail 074 leads the second Dublin-Ballina IWT liner near Clondalkin on February 21, 2013 at 1:20 pm. Canon 7D with 40mm pancake lens; ISO 200 1/500th at f5.0.

Clondalkin is on the short stretch of quad-track mainline between Cherry Orchard (no cherries near the place!) and Hazelhatch that was expanded from the old double-line at the end of the Celtic Tiger-era boom years. The slight curve at the end of a long tangent in an area of industrial estates makes for an interesting setting to capture trains on the roll. However, it isn’t the nicest place to stand around exposed on a cold day. Complicating photography are high palisade fences and other fencing on the bridge that requires some creative solutions to overcome. While waiting for the down IWT liner, we witnessed the usual parade of passenger trains, all running to time, on the new Irish Rail time table.

The mildly overcast conditions encouraged us to make a cross-lit view of the liner from the north side of the line, rather than the more traditional three-quarter angle from the south side. I like the north side view on a dull day because it offers a better angle on the quad track and signaling.

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Gallery Post 5: colourful morning at Stucumny Bridge, Monday 4 November 2012

The morning of 5 November 2012 finds Railway Preservation Society Ireland’s former Dublin & South Eastern 2-6-0 461 approaching Stacumny Bridge (east of Hazel Hatch station) on Irish Rail’s quad-track mainline west of Dublin. Photo by Brian Solomon

This morning (Monday 5 November 2012) was unusually colourful for Irish Rail; on a railway primarily populated by Rotem-built 22000-series Intercity City Railcars and Class 201 (General Motors model JT42HCW) diesels with Mark IV trains,  the course of just a few minutes saw passage of Railway Preservation Society Ireland’s historic 2-6-0 461 (on trial from Inchicore) followed by the weekday IWT intermodal liner  (Dublin North Wall to Ballina, County Mayo) led by class 071 number 083 (General Motors model JT22CW). While it was a mostly sunny, a thin band of cloud managed to dull the light for 461, but bright sun prevailed for the liner. Stacumny is just a short jaunt for me (thanks to a lift from a friend). By noon I was home in Dublin, where I spent the afternoon processing B&W film. By constrast this morning’s efforts were made with my Canon 7D with 200mm lens. I also exposed some Provia 100F, but that will be in the camera for a while yet.

Just a few minutes behind the steam locomotive was Irish Rail’s weekday IWT Liner led by 071 class diesel-electric number 083. Photo by Brian Solomon

Brian Solomon will be giving an illustrated talk titled: “Ireland  from an American Perspective 1998-2003” at the Irish Railway Record Society’s Heuston Station premises in Dublin at 7:30pm on Thursday November 8, 2012. Admission free.