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.
Word came over the ‘telegraph’ that an Irish Rail HOBS (high output ballast system) train was on its way over to Islandbridge Junction to run around.
I’ve photographed the HOBS on previous occasions, but its one of the more unusual trains to catch on the move. This time, I thought I’d try a slightly different perspective from my standard location.
Using my Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens, I framed the line up in a tight vertical view prominently featuring the Wellington Testimonial. This massive obelisk rises high above the Phoenix Park. It is claimed to be Europe’s largest, and it can be seen from all around Dublin.
I made several views . Unfortunately, while there was a big patch of blue sky behind me, the sun wasn’t fully out when the train arrived. So I had to do my best to work with what I had.
It didn’t take long for locomotive 088 to run around. Yet, I walked quickly, and I made and series of images of the train heading back into the Phoenix Park Tunnel.
The great thing about this exercise was the minimum time I had to wait around. Thanks to good contacts and prompt running (on the part of the HOBS) I scored several relatively unusual photos in just a few minutes!
So far just three of Irish Rail’s 071 class are operating in the new gray livery. So catching one on the move in sunlight can be a challenge. Ballast trains operate infrequently, and standing at this spot for a month of Sunday’s might not guarantee an image such as this. It helps to live near the line.
The cars make up what Irish Rail calls a ‘High Output Ballast’ train which is known on the railway as the HOBS. Using my Canon EOS 7D, I exposed a series of photos of the train on the curve from the Phoenix Park tunnel at Islandbridge Junction.
The combination of elevation, iconic backdrop and the orientation of the tracks and curve allow for one of the best morning views in Dublin for a westward train. As the sun swings around, many more angles open up down the line.
Yesterday morning (Tuesday April 16, 2013) was sunny and warm, but very windy. Fluffy clouds raced across the sky casting shadows as the rolled along. This is always a tough situation when waiting for a train to pass. Often, it seems the desired train passes just as cloud obscures the sun.
I was lucky; a big cloud was just clearing as Irish Rail 080 exited the Phoenix Park Tunnel. There was more than a two-stop difference between the cloudy and sunny spots. With full bright sun, I caught Irish Rail’s ‘High Output Ballast’ (known on the railway as HOBS) passing Islandbridge Junction.
I made a few Fujichrome slides with my EOS 3 and some digital with the Canon EOS 7D. I’ll have to wait a few weeks for the slides, but here are my digital efforts.
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)
Wellington Testimonial viewed from Islandbridge Junction.
Dublin has lit many of its most prominent architecture for St Patrick’s Day. The Wellington Testimonial in the Phoenix Park is believed to be the tallest obelisk in Europe. In the mid-19th century, when the railway line was built below the park, engineers were concerned that if the line passed to near the monument, it might undermine the massive structure. As a result the Phoenix Park tunnel is ‘S’-shaped, and swings to the west of the obelisk’s base.