Tag Archives: Lanesborough

Irish Narrow Gauge and an Amazing Sky.


A week ago, Friday 8 March 2019, toward the end of our exploration of Bord na Mona’s Lough Rea narrow gauge network near Lanesborough Co. Longford, the sky grew textured and glowed with evening magnificence.

I made this view of an empty Bord na Mona train crossing the bog on its way to reload.

The trick making this photo work was to expose for the sky while letting the train go relatively dark. I was working with Ilford HP5 black & white film, and during processing, I used two developers followed by selenium toning of the negatives to extract the maximum shadow detail.

My intent was a moody and stark view of the train against the textured sky.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Narrow Gauge in the Rain: Atmosphere, Charm and Action!


They said we were mad driving to the Irish Midlands in a March rain to look at bog trains.

But we did anyway.

And we did very well.

Friday March 8, 2019, Paul and Jay Monaghan and I made a foray toward Lanesborough, County Longford to observe Bord na Mona’s Lough Rea system in action.

For me this was repeat of similar trip three weeks earlier.

Here’s a hint: Bord na Mona has one of the coolest train sets in Europe.

The whole operation is like a big garden railway. Well, except that it runs in a bog.

Here’s another hint: just because rain is forecast, doesn’t mean it will rain all day!

More soon!

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

Lanesborough in Colour—more Bord na Mona narrow gauge.


Last Friday’s (15 February 2019) adventure on Ireland’s Bord na Mona at Lanesborough Co., Longford proved well-timed and we caught many narrow gauge trains on the move.

Below are some more of the digitally exposed colour photos made with my FujiFilm and Lumix LX7 cameras.

Any favorites?

Lumix LX7 photo.
FujiFilm XT1 photo with 18-135mm lens.

Also check out:

FujiFilm XT1 photo with 18-135mm lens.

FujiFilm XT1 photo with 18-135mm lens.

FujiFilm XT1 photo with 18-135mm lens.

Lumix LX7 photo.

FujiFilm XT1 photo.

FujiFilm XT1 photo with 18-135mm lens.

FujiFilm XT1 photo with 90mm lens.

Lumix LX7 photo.

FujiFilm XT1 with 27mm pancake lens.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Irish Narrow Gauge on the Roll!


Last Friday, Denis McCabe, Stephen Hirsch and I paid a visit to Bord na Mona’s (Peat Board) three-foot gauge industrial railway feeding the Lough Rea Power Station at Lanesboroughin County Longford.

My first visit to Lanesborough portion of the extensive Irish Bord na Mona network was back in 2013. This is my favorite Bord na Mona operation for a variety for a reasons. It’s the most accessible by road, by far the most scenic (as bog railways go), and has great variety.

See: http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/2013/10/16/bord-na-mona-lanesborough-october-2013-part-1/

On Friday, we hit the ground running, finding the elusive ash train on the move at Derraghan More gates.

So we were on the trail seeking empty and laden peat trains on the roll. It was a busy day and lots of photographs resulted! Stay tuned . . . 

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Bord na Mona freight three years ago this day!

A pair of Bord na Mona loaded trains work west toward Lanesborough, County Longford on August 9, 2013.
A pair of Bord na Mona loaded trains work west toward Lanesborough, County Longford on August 9, 2013.

I made this image on Ireland’s three-foot gauge Bord na Mona (Peat Bord) near Lanesborough on this day three years ago.

To compress the space and make the most of the two trains following one another in close succession, I used my Canon 7D fitted with a 200m telephoto lens.

Tracking the Light is on Autopilot while Brian is Traveling!

Ireland’s Bord na Mona at Lanesborough, October 2013—Part 3

Intense Activity is Followed by Quiet Periods.

Bord na Mona.
A pair of laden trains work a double track section near Lanesborough. Digital image exposed using a Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens.

A close view of the second of two laden trains. Lumix LX3 photo.
A close view of the second of two laden trains. Lumix LX3 photo.

By virtue of its operations, Bord na Mona peat trains tend to operate in pairs. This suits both loading and switching, since trains often need to reverse into or out of temporary loading spurs.

So, when one train appears, its ‘buddy’ is usually close at hand. Sometimes these operate very closely, often only a few yards apart, other times they might separated by five or ten minutes.

Mid-morning, laden trains return toward Lanesborough while empty train prepare to head out to loading areas in the surrounding bogs. The result is that a parade of trains tend to converge on double track sections near the Lough Rea Power Station.

Once the loads are in and the empties have gone out, the line is again quiet, although maintenance trains will occasionally appear during these lulls. After lunch the whole sequence repeats.

Bord na Mona
A Bord na Mona gatekeeper closes the level crossing as a pair of laden trains approach. There are only a handful of manned crossings on the Bord na Mona network. Most crossings are operated by the train drivers. Lumix LX3 photo.

Bord na Mona
First of two trains crosses the highway at Derraghan More on the main road from Mullingar to Lanesborough. This is pretty and rarely visited part of Ireland. Lumix LX3 photo.

Bord na Mona
An older locomotive with working siderods handles at maintenance train near Lanesborough in October 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.

A panel train at a remote level crossing near Mount Dillon. Bord na Mona is like an enormous model railway and uses fixed track panel sections to reach peat harvesting areas. Lumix LX3 photo.
A panel train at a remote level crossing near Mount Dillon. Bord na Mona is like an enormous model railway and uses fixed track panel sections to reach peat harvesting areas. Lumix LX3 photo.

 

For the photographer the bursts of intense action is both opportunity and a challenge. Everything seems to happen at once, making for chances to catch two or more trains in a photo. However, if you are out of position, you could miss everything.

Headlights are often not illuminated in daytime and sometimes it is the sound of a train that gives you advanced notice.

The bogs are quiet enough. Listen for the sounds of Wagon Master locomotive roaring along with a syncopated clatter of wagons. The trains don’t travel very fast, but you need to be ready for when they arrive.

Bord na Mona
A pair of empties at Derraghan More on the way out to the bog for loading. Digital image exposed using a Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens.

Bord na Mona
Lumix LX3 view of the same pair of empties at Derraghan More. October 2013.

Back lit trailing view features some nice evening clouds. Lumix LX3 view.
Back lit trailing view features some nice evening clouds. Lumix LX3 view.

See yesterday’s post for more on Bord na Mona’s Lanesborough netwrok:

Bord na Mona, Lanesborough, October 2013—Part 1

Bord na Mona, Lanesborough, October 2013—Part 2 

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/

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Bord na Mona, Lanesborough, October 2013—Part 2


Close Ups, Details and Alternate Views: A Look Beyond the Obvious.

While photographing Ireland’s Bord na Mona narrow gauge last week, I was looking for different angles. I’ve made nearly a dozen trips to the Bord na Mona in the last year and I wanted to capture the essence of the operation up close.

Bord na Mona
Link and pin coupler between track panel bogies. Lumix LX3. Notice the photographer’s shadow.

This is a gloss free industrial railway. It’s like a big beat-up tin plate train set that has seen lots of use, and doesn’t adhere to prototype railroading in any normal conventions.

Tracks are laid down here and there. Curvature is very tight, in many places there’s no ballast. Junctions appear with little notice. And the trains bounce along at a grinding amble.

Points. Lumix LX3 photo.
Points. Lumix LX3 photo.

Bord na Mona
Level crossing warning. Lumix LX3 photo.

Bord na Mona.
Track panel train. Lumix LX3 photo.

Track panels and panel train. Reminds me of Lionel or American Flyer. Somewhere out in the bog must be the world's largest Christmas tree! Lumix LX3 photo.
Track panels and panel train. Reminds me of Lionel or American Flyer. Somewhere out in the bog must be the world’s largest Christmas tree! Lumix LX3 photo.

Bog tracks. Lumix LX3.
Bog tracks. Lumix LX3.

Photographing an empty. Lumix LX3 photo by Brian Solomon.
Fellow photographer documenting  an empty train near Derraghan Cross. Lumix LX3 photo by Brian Solomon.

Bord na Mona
Tight telephoto view of an empty train scuttling along behind a Wagon Master locomotive. Canon 7D with 200mm lens.

A cow observes an empty train. Lumix LX3.
A cow observes an empty train. Lumix LX3.

See previous posts for more views on the Bord na Mona:

Bord na Mona, Lanesborough, October 2013—Part 1

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/

Enhanced by Zemanta

Bord na Mona, Lanesborough, October 2013—Part 1

A Busy, Bright and Clear Day Visiting Irish Narrow Gauge.

A laden Bord na Mona approaches Lanesborough in October 2013. Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens. Photo unmodified except for scanning.
A laden Bord na Mona approaches Lanesborough in October 2013. Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens. Photo unmodified except for scaling.

Last week, Mark Healy and I made another venture to photograph Bord na Mona’s (Peat Board) three-foot gauge industrial railway. This time we chose the network focused on feeding the Lough Rea Power Station at Lanesborough in County Longford.

Although we departed Dublin under cloudy skies, by the time we reached the Midlands, the clouds parted and we enjoyed most clear sunny weather for the remainder of the day.

Empty train heads out for reloading against a backdrop of the Lough Rea Power Station at Lanesborough. Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens. Photo unmodified except for scanning.
An empty train rocks and rolls as it heads out for reloading against a backdrop of the Lough Rea Power Station at Lanesborough. Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens. Photo unmodified except for scaling.

From past experience, I’ve found that clear days are by far the best time to photograph Bord na Mona’s trains at work. The heavily harvested moon-like landscape of the peat bogs doesn’t translate as well on dull days. Also, the brown and cream livery on the locomotives and aluminum peat wagons look best with sun on them.

Finding a clear day in the Irish Midlands isn’t so easy. The weather is famously dull and changeable. On more than one occasion I’ve found that a forecast for fine weather proved overly optimistic.

Bord na Mona
Backlit view of a laden Bord na Mona train as it approaches the highway bridge at Derraghan Cross in October 2013. Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens. Photo unmodified except for scaling.

For this excursion, I brought four cameras. Yes, four. In addition to the two digital cameras (Lumix LX3 and Canon EOS 7D), I had my Canon EOS-3 and a Rollei Model T 120-size camera both loaded with Fujichrome Provia 100F.

There’s certain types of images that I still like to put on film. Also, while I expose a lot of digital images (and make multiple back-ups of each and every file) I’m very reluctant to trust digital imaging for long term applications.

So, in the event of a digital apocalypse, I’d like to have a few Bord na Mona photos on color transparency film for posterity.

My film has yet to be processed, so here are a few of my recent digital results.

Bord na Mona
An empty scuttles below the road at Derraghan Cross. Lumix LX3 photo.

A pair of laden trains amble toward Mountdillon on their way to Lanesborough. Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens. Photo unmodified except for scaling.
A pair of laden trains amble toward Mountdillon on their way to Lanesborough. Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens. Photo unmodified except for scaling.

 

A bit of foliage at Mountdillon. Canon EOS 7D with f2.0 100mm lens. Photo unmodified except for scaling.
A bit of foliage at Mountdillon. Canon EOS 7D with f2.0 100mm lens. Photo unmodified except for scaling.

A lone locomotive with a per-way vehicle rests quietly on the bog. The turf has been exposed for harvesting and blackened by recent rains. This can make for some very tricky exposures. I used my handheld Minolta Mark IV light meter to help gauge the settings. Also, I made several test photos to keep the tones within an acceptable range. Simply using the camera meter resulted in a washed out locomotive and a lightly colored bog. Lumix LX3
A lone locomotive with a per-way vehicle rests quietly on the bog. The turf has been exposed for harvesting and blackened by recent rains. This can make for some very tricky exposures. I used my handheld Minolta Mark IV light meter to help gauge the settings. Also, I made several test photos to keep the tones within an acceptable range. Simply using the camera meter resulted in a very washed out locomotive and a lightly colored bog. 
Lumix LX3 Photo.

Tune in tomorrow for more highlights from this most recent Bord na Mona adventure!

Also see previous Tracking the Light posts on Bord na Mona, including: More Adventures with Ireland’s Bord na Mona—September 2013Bord na Mona, Lanesborough, August 10, 2013, Irish Bog Railways—Part 5, August, 2013, and Irish Bog Railways—Part 3, March 2, 2013.

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/

Enhanced by Zemanta

Bord na Mona, Lanesborough, August 10, 2013

A Pleasant Summer’s Day Exploring an Irish Narrow Gauge Railway.

Bord na Mona trains.
Laden Bord na Mona trains approach Lanesborough, County Longford on the morning of August 10, 2013. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Last winter, I made several visits with my friends to Bord na Mona’s network focused on the Lough Ree Power Station at Lanesborough, County Longford. (See: Irish Bog Railways—Part 2 February 16, 2013Irish Bog Railways—Part 3, March 2, 2013), On Saturday, August 10, 2013, I returned for another day of photography on this fascinating system.

Having explored various Bord na Mona railways (see: Irish Bog Railways—Part 1Irish Bog Railways—Part 4, August, 2013), I find that the lines around Lanesborough are the most interesting and photogenic. Here variety of scenery and operations are exceptionally conducive to my photography.

Summer offers more pleasant temperatures and longer days, but also brings more foliage, taller grass and other challenges that I didn’t experience in February!

Bord na Mona trains.
A tractor cuts road-side hedges near Lanesborough. Taller grass made this location more difficult than in February. Canon EOS 7D photo.

I think its safe to say that I didn’t get bored with Bord na Mona. From the first moment trackside, the railway seemed to be buzzing with trains. The section of double track running east from Lanesborough toward Mountdillon was especially busy.

 

Bord na Mona trains.
Empties work the double track east of Lanesborough on August 10, 2013. The Lough Ree Power Station looms in the distance. Canon EOS 7D photo.

I even had another opportunity to catch one of the ash trains on the move. (See: Bord na Mona’s Ash Train). Perhaps my bold proclamation of its elusivity has tipped the scales in my favor—a sort of reverse jinx, as it were.

Or maybe, its my persistence. It’s nice to get a lucky catch, but likewise, the more time spent trackside, the better the odds of seeing the unusual, as well as the elusive, the rare, and the obscure. Having a better sense for when trains run helps too!

Bord na Mona trains.
An empty Bord na Mona ash train passes Mountdillon on its way back to the Lough Ree power station at Lanesborough. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Bord na Mona trains.
Running meet on the double track between Mountdillon and Lanesborough. An empty rake of peat wagons meets an empty ash train. The intense clattering of narrow gauge trains gives the network a feeling of a large model railway.

Bord na Mona
An empty rake near Derreghan Cross Roads with the expanse of harvested boglands on the right.

 

Bord na Mona
Empty trains take a passing siding at Derraghan More on the way out to be reloaded. Canon EOS 7D.

Bord_na_Mona_
An empty rake waits for a pair of laden trains near Derraghan More. Canon 7D photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta