Tag Archives: NI Railways

201 Retrospective: 209 in the Most Unlikely Place.

Continuing my 20 years in Ireland/class 201 numerical retrospective, I’m featuring loco 209 in a most unlikely place.

Hint, if you are not viewing this post on Brian Solomon’s Tracking the Light, you’ll need to click the link or all you’ll see is a view of this locomotive at Islandbridge Junction in Dublin!

Locomotive 209 in the old Enterprise livery at Islandbridge Junction.
Same locomotive, same place, but wearing an interim livery before being painted in the current Enterprise livery, and carrying the number 8209 in stead its old 209 id.
Irish Rail 209 at Wellingtonbridge 24 Nov 2003 working a sugar beet train destined for Mallow Co. Cork. At this time, the line from Waterford to Limerick Junction was shut owing to a bridge collapse at Cahir and sugar beet trains were running via Kildare. As a result, some 201 class locomotives worked beet trains. This was the only time I ever saw an Enterprise 201 on the South Wexford line.

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Class 201 Retrospective: Northern Irish Railways 8208 Everywhere but the Enterprise.

Next up for my 20 years in Ireland/class 201 numerical retrospective is old 208/8208: to be different, I’m posting views of 8208 (one of two Class 201s owned by NIR for Enterprise service) working a variety of trains but not the Enterprise!

Originally, the locomotive was number 208, and it had been painted in an attractive NIR blue livery, similar to the 111-class diesels.

I never saw it in blue.

208 as I first saw it; a thumbnail scan from a slide I made in 1998.
Working a Dublin-Waterford train at Athy in July 2003, shortly after it was renumbered 8208.
For few years 8208 worked in a unusual variation of the Enterprise livery, as pictured here on an RPSI excursion near Clonsilla on the Sligo line in 2009.
NIR 8208 in the latest Enterprise livery working Irish Rail’s IWT liner from Ballina at Memorial Road in Dublin.

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Lisburn Station on a Sunny Morning.

It was nearly two weeks ago that I exposed these views on a clear cold morning at NI Railway’s Lisburn Station.

There’s nothing like a polarized sky and low sun. The photos almost make themselves.

These were exposed using my Lumix LX7.

Soon afterward I was rolling along toward Portadown.

A clear blue dome; great conditions for photograph.
Lisburn Station is among the best preserved former Great Northern Railway stations.
GNR’s heralds are still in place on the canopy supports.

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Belfast-Dublin Enterprise at City Hospital—4 Views.

On two occasions on 27 March 2018, I made sequences of the Belfast-Dublin Enterprisepassing NI Railway’s City Hospital station.

The Enterpriseservice typically consists of a push-pull De Dietrich sets with a General Motors built 201-class diesel at the Belfast end.

These views were exposed using my FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm lens.

A southward Enterprise passes an NI Railways CAF set at City Hospital station.
A cab control car normally works the Dublin-end of the Enterprise, as pictured here.
Trailing view looking through the arches under Belfast’s Donegall Road toward the north junction connecting Great Victoria Street Station. (at right). That’s Irish Rail class-201 number 207 shoving at the back of the train. Hmm 207, so this is a continuation of yesterday’s post is it?
Horizontal version at the same location.

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Blue and Silver Train on a Gray Day.

I’d arrived at Adelaide Station in Belfast on this NI Railways 4000-series CAF railcar from Portadown.

Although it was windy, spitting rain and dull, and I had made photos at Adelaide at various times in recent months, I exposed this view anyway.

You never know when the common will seem fascinating. Someday something in this scene will be gone, and then the picture may take on new significance.

Lumix LX7 photo at Adelaide in Belfast.

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NI Railways Celebrates 50 Years Today!—1 April 2018

NI Railways marks 50 today!

The other day, I made a few views of the celebration stickers and posters.

Lumix LX7 photo.

To help celebrate, I’m also posting a view I made of an old 80-class railcar at Whitehead back on 19 April 2000.

19 April 2000 at Whitehead. Fujichrome photo exposed with a Nikon.

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Looking Down on Great Victoria Street, Belfast.

Plans are afoot to redevelop Belfast’s Great Victoria Street Station.

Although NI Railway’s platforms are not an architectural wonder, I’ve been making photos of the present arrangement before it changes.

Belfast Great Victoria Street Station from Durham Street.
Great Victoria Street at dusk 1/5 second at f1.8 ISO250 with Lumix LX7.
Inbound NIR train arriving Great Victoria Street at dusk 1/5 second at f2.0 ISO250 with Lumix LX7.
Great Victoria Street at dusk 1/5 second at f1.7 ISO250 with Lumix LX7.

I made these views with my Lumic LX-7 from the Durham Street bridge which crosses above the platforms.

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Holywood Sunset?—Febraury 2018.

At Holywood, NI Railways skirts the Lagan estuary on its way from Belfast to Bangor.

Although a mostly overcast afternoon,  hints of colour and the occasional shaft of light appeared in the evening sky.

I’d been trying to put the pieces of a lighting puzzle together where I could feature an NIR train with the dramatic sky, but I didn’t manage to get what I envisioned.

By the time I found the optimal location for a photo with a train, the really dramatic light had faded.

I exposed these views with my Lumix LX7.

Sunset over the Lagan looking toward Belfast. Exposed with m Lumix LX7.
Train on the left; dramatic light on the right. (And no suitable location on the far side of the tracks.)
This location would have made for a perfect angle of a train with the dramatic sky, but by the time I reached this spot the light had faded. You can’t win all the prizes.

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Psssst . . . hey pal, I rode a bus to get these photographs!

What?

It’s true.

Last week I traveled around Northern Ireland on a Translink Adult Zone 4 iLink day card, which allows for unlimited travel on NI Railways and Translink buses for a flat fee of £16. This offers great value and travel flexibility.

I arrived at Coleraine from Derry and wanted to make a photo of a train arriving at Portrush. Rather than take the branch train and wait around at Portrush for an hour to photograph the next arrival, I opted to board a bus.

Not only did the bus take less time than the train, but arrived before the connecting branch train was supposed to depart. This gave me time to explore my angles and set up my photo.

Portrush still features classic mechanical signaling, although on my visit the signal cabin was ‘switched out’. (In other words the cabin was not involved in controlling train movements on the line, which is a normal situation when there’s only one train at a time working between Coleraine and Portrush.)

Semaphores against a background of the North Atlantic/North Channel.
I selected a low angle to better feature the semaphore blade, while waiting to carefully position the train as an element in the photo between the home signal (in the distance) and cabin at left. Contrast and colour adjusted in post processing.

Once the train arrived I made a few photos of it in the station, then boarded for the return trip to Coleraine (and on to Belfast).

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Derry, Snow and a Tricky Exposure.

The other morning I arrived in Derry, Northern Ireland with an aim to photograph NI Railways from the Peace Bridge over the Foyle.

Snow covered the distant hills while areas at right were deep in shadow. Complicating matters were clouds rolling across the morning sky, and NI Railway’s silver trains with bright yellow fronts, and reflective river waters to the left that were rapidly alternating from light to dark as clouds passed over.

Rapidly changing lighting conditions combined with these exposure extremes left me with few options to produce an ideal exposure.

If I set my Lumix in manual (M) mode, I risked getting the exposure completely wrong at the moment the train entered the optimal place in the scene.

However by using the aperture-priority (A) mode, I found the camera’s preset metering tended to over expose the snow and train.

On my second attempt, I used the aperture-priority mode with a manual override to dial down 1/3 of stop, which compensated for the dark areas in the scene while doing a better job of retaining highlight detail.

My first attempt: a trailing view of a Belfast-bound NI Railways CAF train-set. The light was changing as the train passed through the scene. I found that the camera set in ‘A’ mode resulted in clipped highlights. While this was less than ideal, I was able to adjust the exposure in post processing using Lightroom.
This is my second attempt. A Derry-bound train is rolling toward me. I’ve dialed down the exposure by 1/3 of a stop to compensate for the bright yellow nose on the train, the bright sky and the snow covered hills in the distance. There was about 40 minutes between these two views. Both exposed using my Lumix LX7.

So, I wonder how my colour slides from the same place will look?

 

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Seven Views From The Train—13 February 2018.

Nothing fancy here. Just some views I made from NI Railways trains using my Lumix LX7.

Sometimes you get great scenes in the rolling panorama from a moving train. I’m not proud, when I see a nice view I make a photo.

For some of these I’ve uses a comparatively slow shutter speed. For others I try to freeze the motion. In general, I try to avoid or minimize reflections in the windows by paying careful attention to my angles.

It helps to have a relatively clean window.

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Belfast Great Victoria Street in four Views

Plans are afoot to redevelop Belfast’s railway hubs. With this in mind, the other day I made a few views around Great Victoria Street Station to document the way it looks now, before the changes.

Documentation is a large part of my photography, and it always helps to anticipate change.

NI Railways CAF-built trains at Belfast Great Victoria Street.
Among Belfast’s infamous icons is the Europa Hotel seen here above NI Railway’s CAF railcars at Great Victoria Street.
It was a rainy morning when I exposed this view with my Lumix LX7.
0710 (710am) train to Derry on platform 2 at Great Victoria Street. Lumix LX7 photo.

I look back with satisfaction at photographs I made in the 1980s at Boston’s South Station that show the terminal before it evolved into the modern transportation center that it is today.

Yet, I also regret not making better images of the classic semaphores at South Station that controlled train movements at the terminal.

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NI Railways—Lisburn Sunset: Variations on a theme.

Here are colour and black & white views at NI Railway’s Lisburn station exposed at sunset in late January 2018. Both original images were exposed within a few moments of each other.

The colour photo was exposed in RAW format using my Lumix LX7 digital camera, while the black & white image was made on Kodak Tri-X exposed using a Nikon F3 with 24mm Nikkor lens. (Film processed in ID11 1-1 for 8 minutes at 20C (68 F).

I imported the files into Lightroom and made a series of contrast adjustments to better balance the sky with the train, station and platforms.

I made my changes to compensate for limitations of the recording media while aiming for greater dynamic presentation.

Below are both the unaltered files, Lightroom work windows, and my penultimate variations, which are aimed to demonstrate the changes, the means of alteration, and my results.

Unaltered RAW file (except for scaling necessary for internet presentation). Exposed with a Lumix LX7. I have not yet interpreted the data captured by the camera.
Lightroom work window showing some of the corrections and adjustments that I’ve made to the camera RAW file. I’ve also manually leveled my image.
My final output from the altered RAW file. This shows my adjustments to contrast and exposure.
Unmodified scan of my original black & white negative (reversed to make a positive image). I have not yet made corrections to the file. Note the muddy shadows and overall flat contrast.
Lightroom work window showing level correction.
Lightroom work window showing various global contrast controls and changes. I’ve also made localized changes to the sky using a digitally applied graduated filter (shown with lateral lines across the sky) and a radial filter (not shown)  to the front of the train. Notice the relative position of central sliders at right.
Final black & white output—original image exposed on Kodak Tri-X. Notice how the film image does a better job of rendering detail in the sky.

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NI Railways—Lisburn Station Details in Color.

Last week, using my Lumix LX7 I exposed these detailed views of the old Great Northern Railways (of Ireland) station at Lisburn, County Down.

I also made a few photos with a Nikon F3 with 24mm lens on Kodak Tri-X. I’ll need to process those and scan them before I can present those here.

Sunset over the station’s chimneys. Lumix LX7 photo.
Schedule alteration notice. Don’t be waiting for that last train!
Evidence of the old order.
Belfast-bound CAF railcar departing Lisburn.

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NI Railway’s Lisburn Station at Dawn.

The early hours are often a cosmic time for photography.

Last week I visited NI Railway’s Lisburn Station with Honer Travers to catch a morning train into Belfast.

There was just a hint of colour in the sky and mist covered the ground. A wisp of smoke from the station chimney makes for a classic touch.

I exposed these views with my Lumix LX7 handheld.

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Views of a Level Crossing and Some Sheep; Moira—Part 2 (four new photos)

This is a follow up to yesterday’s post on NI Railway’s Moira Station.

I’m always looking for a different angle, and I found a variety of ways to photograph Moira last Sunday.

The vantage points for these photos were all within a one-minute walk of each other.

Exposed digitally using a FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.
Exposed digitally using a FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.
Lumix LX7 digital photograph.
A view from the road near the station. Lumix LX7 photo.

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Sunday at Moira

Last Sunday, I spent several hours photographing NI Railways and Enterprise trains at Moira, a station on the old Great Northern Railway’s Belfast-Dublin route.

The attractions of this location include a preserved signal cabin and a footbridge at the Dublin-end. Another benefit is the level crossing with a local road at the Dublin end. The barriers protecting the road drop 3-4 minutes before trains pass, which provides ample warning to prepare for photography.

This is especially helpful if you are sitting in a car nearby trying to edit texts and photos for a book on deadline.

Moira cabin is preserved. I made several views of the old box including this one with a crow in flight.
A NI Railways 3000-series CAF set approaches its station stop at Moira on its way from Belfast to Portadown, Northern Ireland.
Soft sun accentuates the front of the train and the signal cabin at Moira.

I exposed these photos using my FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm f2.0 telephoto lens.

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Lumix LX7 at Belfast Central.

I had a few minutes between trains at Belfast Central, so in the interval I made a few photos with my Lumix LX7.

To compensate for less than ideal lighting I made nominal adjustments to the RAW files in post processing using Light room.

Essentially I lightened the shadows, brought down the highlights in the sky, and boosted colour saturation while slightly increasing overall contrast.

Douglas Adams once wrote something to the effect: ‘There’s no language that has a word that means “as pretty as an airport”‘.
An inbound NI Railways train.
Red ‘tail lamps’ indicate that this is a trailing view.
NI Railways 8209 on the Belfast-Dublin Enterprise.
No flash was used in the exposing of this photo.

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When at Station isn’t a Station: Belfast & Northern Counties Railway Derry Station.

Four Photos:

The old Belfast & Northern Counties Railway Derry Station is adjacent to the contemporary Translink/NI Railways’ station.

Where the modern station is a functional utilitarian facility with all the charm of a small town bus station, the old station sits as an elegant vestige of former times when a railway station was viewed as a city gateway and endowed with suitable architecture.

Maybe someday the old station building will be a station again?

I made these photos using my Lumix LX7.

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On the Roll to Derry on NI Railways.

It had been a long time since I’d last traveled NIR’s Belfast to Derry railway line (in the original version of this post, I’d described this as the ‘Derry Road’ but several readers wrote into correct me, as the phrase ‘Derry Road’ refers to the long abandoned GNR route to Derry and not the present NIR line), and while I’ve been over the whole line between Derry and Belfast in stages, I’d never before actually traveled all the way from Belfast to Derry.

So, two weeks ago, Honer Travers and I organized a day out to Derry. We began our rail journey at Lisburn and traveled to Belfast Great Victoria Street where we changed trains.

After a wander in Derry, we returned by rail the way we had come.

I made these photos using my Lumix LX7.

Interior view of a 4000-series CAF train.
Holding the Lumix above my head I made this interior view.
Interior view of a 4000-series CAF train.
Rolling toward Derry, Northern Ireland.
Interior view of a 4000-series CAF train. Although only moderately busy when we departed Belfast, by the time the train arrived at Derry it was packed.
Outside NI Railways’ Derry station.
An NI-Railways train rolls along the Foyle on its return trip to Belfast. In the distance is Derry’s Peace Bridge.
View of the line along the Foyle looking toward Derry’s station from the Peace Bridge. Would this be a better photo with a train?
A panoramic composite photo exposed with my Lumix LX7 from the platform at Derry.

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NI Railways on the Roll—Panned Views Crossing the Lagan.

A few weeks back on a trip to Belfast, I exposed these views of NI Railway’s CAF-built diesel railcars crossing the River Lagan.

To convey a sense of motion I panned the trains using a relatively slow shutter speed with a medium telephoto lens. By using an even panning motion I was able to keep the train sharp with the background is blurred.

Exposed at f 22 for 1/60th of a second. 135mm focal length.
Exposed at f20 for 1/60th of a second.

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Enterprise on the Move.

The Dublin-Belfast Enterprise service is a joint effort of NI Railways-Translink and Irish Rail.

I’d bought my tickets on-line from Irish Rail’s website.

It was a rainy weekday at Dublin’s Connolly Station when Honer Travers and I boarded the train for Portadown.

After arrival at Portadown we changed for a NI Railways local train.

I exposed these photographs using my Lumix LX7.

Ticket barriers at Dublin’s Connolly Station, exposed with a Lumix LX7 digital camera.
The Enterprise uses specially appointed equipment dedicated to the service.
First Class features 1 x 2 seating.
My Lumix LX7 is an excellent tool for making interior views of railway carriages.
Drizzly weather on the way north.
Cross-platform transfer at Portadown.
An NI Railways CAF-built 4000-series diesel railcar at Portadown. This was a very well-patronized local train.

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NI Railways: Castlerock Semaphore Finale—October 2016. Six Photos.

Among the last active installations of ‘somersault’ signals has survived on NI Railways at Castlerock, County Derry, Northern Ireland.

The somersault is an antique variety of two-aspect semaphore where the signal arm and spectacle (lens) frame are separate pieces and move in opposite directions when the aspect changes. The name stems from a description of the signal motion.

Earlier this month Denis McCabe, Stephen Hirsch and I traveled from Dublin to pay a final visit to this classic signal installation and make photographs of modern NI Railways railcars with the antique hardware.

New NI Railway’s signalling is underway on this section of the Coleraine-Derry line. It is my understanding that in early November, NIR plans to close Castlerock’s cabin (signal tower) and the signals will be removed from service as part of a larger re-signalling scheme that will also eliminate this station as a passing point.

The starting signal to Derry has been cleared by the signalman at Castlerock.
The starting signal to Derry has been cleared by the signalman at Castlerock.
This rear view of the same signal provides a sense for how the signal works. Unlike the more common semaphore arrangement, the arm and lens housing are separate pieces, but interlocked for coordinated movement.
This rear view of the same signal provides a sense for how the signal works. Unlike the more common semaphore arrangement, the arm and lens housing are separate pieces, but interlocked for coordinated movement.
An NIR railcar from Derry to Belfast approaches Castlerock. I've intentionally focused on the old signal, rather than the NIR railcar. Fear not railcar enthusiasts, I have sharp photos of NIR railcars on the move! Exposed using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
An NIR railcar from Derry to Belfast approaches Castlerock. I’ve intentionally focused on the old signal, rather than the NIR railcar. Fear not railcar enthusiasts, I have sharp photos of NIR railcars on the move! Exposed using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Looking toward Belfast at Castlerock from the down platform. Soon this view will be forever altered, as the platform I'm standing on will no longer be served and the signals will be removed.
Looking toward Belfast at Castlerock from the down platform. Soon this view will be forever altered, as the platform I’m standing on will no longer be served and the signals will be removed.
A Derry-bound NIR railcar approaches Castlerock as viewed from the footbridge.
A Derry-bound NIR railcar approaches Castlerock as viewed from the footbridge.
A trailing view of the Derry-bound train. Exposed using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
A trailing view of the Derry-bound train. Exposed using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

Although, I’d visited Castlerock previously, it had been a few years since I last photographed these old signals at work.

Special thanks to Colin Holliday reminding me of the pending changes to Castlerock signaling!

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Downhill, Co. Derry, Northern Ireland—Shafts of Light with some Ocean Side Cliffs (and a wee NIR railcar down below).

Some of Ireland’s finest rail-side scenery is in the North. At Downhill, Co. Derry massive vertical cliffs rise high above the Belfast-Derry line, with the great expanse of the North Atlantic beyond.

In October, lighting can be a bit tricky, as the same cliffs that make the scene and offer elevation also block the sun much of the day.

One trick: filtered sun (that is with thin cloud) makes for a less contrasty scene. By carefully exposing for the shaft of light at the center of the image, and then impose a digital graduated neutral density filter at the top of the frame, I was able to produce a balanced over-all image.

A distant view where the subject is but a spec in a vast scene.
A distant view where the subject is but a spec in a vast scene.
Using my 18-135 zoom, I've remained at the same cliff-side vantage point, but pulled back the focal length. Here the NI Railways 4001-series railcar is more prominent.
Using my 18-135 zoom, I’ve remained at the same cliff-side vantage point, but pulled back the focal length. Here the NI Railways 4001-series railcar is more prominent.
The photographer's quandary: with a wide view, you can include the ocean, but the cliffs seem smaller relative to the whole scene.
The photographer’s quandary: with a wide view, you can include the ocean, but the cliffs seem smaller relative to the whole scene.

The other afternoon, I made these photos with Denis McCabe and Stephen Hirsch which feature a Derry to Belfast NI Railways railcar. While I worked primarily with my FujiFilm X-T1, I also exposed a few 35mm colour slides using my old Canon EOS-3 with 100mm lens.

 

As of this posting, those slides remain latent (exposed, but unprocessed), so we’ll need to wait to see if I got my exposure correct. (My notes read f7.1 at 1/250th of a second, which is consistent with the reading from my Minolta Mark4 handheld light meter, but a bit on the dark side for the camera meter).

 

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NI Railways—Belfast

September 26, 2014.

Great Victoria Street, Belfast. Exposed with a Lumix LX7. I also made a similar view on Fujichrome Provia 100F.
Great Victoria Street, Belfast. Exposed with a Lumix LX7. I also made a similar view on Fujichrome Provia 100F.

 

It had been nearly four years since my last visit to Northern Ireland, so during the course of my recent exploration of Belfast with my cousin Stella (as mentioned in yesterday’s post) I took a few minutes to photograph NIR’s trains.

 

After arriving at Belfast Central on the Enterprise from Dublin, we changed to an NIR local bound for Great Victoria Street.

 

Later in the day we reversed this exercise on the return to Dublin. In the meantime, I also made a few photos from a location I previously explored along the River Dargan.

 

Photographing NI Railways [http://www.translink.co.uk/Services/NI-Railways/] is relatively easy, since there is ample access from public places and trains run on interval frequencies to most destinations.

 

In addition to these digital photos, I also exposed a handful of colour slides with my Canon EOS 3.

My first up close experience with a 4001 class railcar.
My first up close experience with a 4001 class railcar.
Interior of a CAF-built diesel railcar. Lumix LX7 photo.
Interior of a CAF-built 3001 series diesel railcar. Lumix LX7 photo.
An NIR train crosses the River Lagan in Belfast. Lumix LX7 photo.
An NIR train crosses the River Lagan in Belfast. Lumix LX7 photo.
Wide angle view of the River Lagan on September 26, 2014.
Wide angle view of the River Lagan on September 26, 2014.
A bit of glint; NIR 3020 arrives at Great Victoria Street in the evening light. Lumix LX7 photo.
A bit of glint; NIR 3020 arrives at Great Victoria Street in the evening light. Lumix LX7 photo.
Waiting to depart Great Victoria Street in the afternoon.
Waiting to depart Great Victoria Street in the afternoon.
Contrasty evening light at Belfast Central. To compensate, I adjusted the image locally and globally using Photoshop. Hopefully the result is more pleasing. Lumix LX7 photo.
Contrasty evening light at Belfast Central. To compensate, I adjusted the image locally and globally using Photoshop. Hopefully the result is more pleasing. Lumix LX7 photo.

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DAILY POST: Northern Ireland in November 2005.


NIR in Transition.

NIR Translink
Coleraine, County Antrim on November 29, 2005. New 3001 class railcars lurk in the shadows while an older 80 class railcar set basks in the morning sun.

 

In November 2005, Translink NI Railways (operator of railway services in Northern Ireland) was in a transitional phase equipment-wise. New 3001 class railcars had been recently introduced, yet many of the older 80-class and Castle class railcars were still on the move.

I drove to Belfast from Dublin, and spent two days riding around on NIR trains making photographs. For the most part the days were sunny and brisk.

At that time of year, the sun in the northern latitudes tends to stay relative close to the horizon throughout the day, which can result in a stark contrasty light.

These images were exposed on Fujichrome at Coleraine, where the Port Rush branch diverges from the Belfast-Derry/Londonderry line.

Like NIR, I too was undergoing an equipment transition; I’d just recently bought a Canon EOS 3, but was still using my older Nikon F3T and N90S for many photographs.

NIR Coleraine signal cabin, November 29, 2005.
NIR Coleraine signal cabin, November 29, 2005.
NIR Translink.
Silhouette at NIR’s Coleraine signal cabin, November 29, 2005.
NIR Translink.
NIR Coleraine station, November 29, 2005.
80 class railcars at Coleraine.
80 class railcars at Coleraine.
With a puff of exhaust, an 80-class railcar accelerates away from Coleraine station.
With a puff of exhaust, an 80-class railcar accelerates away from Coleraine station.

 

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