A decade ago, David Hegarty and I made a project of photographing Irish Rail’s South Wexford line between Rosslare Strand and Waterford.
Sugar Beet traffic ended in January 2006, and regular passenger services were withdrawn five years ago in September 2010.
Yesterday, RailTours Ireland’s Emerald Isle Express (operated in cooperation with the Railway Preservation Society Ireland and Irish Rail) ran as a train of empty carriages across the line. This was probably the first train in months to use the scenic route.
Maximum speed was 15 mph.
Mark Healy and I were among the photographers on site to witness this very unusual move.
In addition to these digital photos, I exposed a handful of colour slides, you know, for posterity.
Today saw a rare movement on a line devoid of regular traffic. Railtours Ireland’s Emerald Isle Express train was operated as empty carriage across the length of the South Wexford line from Rosslare Strand to Waterford.
Railtours Ireland’s Emerald Isle Express is a high-end tour train making a week-long tour of Irish Rail. This position-move was the most direct means of getting the train from Wexford to Waterford and saved a lengthy deadhead via Dublin and Cherryville. It was operated by Irish Rail in conjunction with the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland.
This was the first time I’ve photographed a train on the South Wexford in about six years. This line is storied ground: it was a favorite subject of mine a decade ago when a regular passenger service ran from Rosslare Harbour to Waterford using vintage General Motors diesels, and Cravens carriages like those that traveled the line today.
It was also the route of seasonal sugar beet trains that loaded at Wellingtonbridge, County Wexford for processing at Mallow, County Cork. Between 1999 and 2005, I made more than 50 trips to photograph the sugar beet, a project that resulted in thousands of color slides, black & white negatives, and DAT audio recordings. I could make a book of it.
Today, I traveled down from Dublin with Mark Healy to catch this unusual move. It was strange (and sad) to see this once-familiar line with rusty rails and heavy over growth along the right of way.
While my best photos of the day were exposed on Fujichrome Provia 100F with my trusted Canon EOS 3, I’ve published a few of my digital results here.