This week Tracking the Light is on ‘auto pilot’ while Brian is traveling.
On 23 March 2019, I set up in Drumcondra along the Royal Canal on Dublin’s north side to photograph trains working the Newcomen Line.
Normally the visually intriguing Newcomen line trackage is only lightly used during midday with most moves scheduled for weekday rush hours.
Instead, Irish Rail typically routes trains on the parallel double-track line via Drumcondra Station; however on the weekend of 23-24 March 2019 works on that line resulted in diversions to the Newcomen Line.
I made these views using my FujiFilm XT1 digital camera.
On 14 May 2003, I exposed this trailing view of Irish Rail’s Sligo Liner rolling west along the old Royal Canal near Enfield, Co. Meath.
The liner was hauling kegs of beer, mostly Guinness. Long after it left my view, I could here the class 071 locomotive with its EMD 12-645 diesel roaring a way in the distance.
I intentionally included some foliage in this photograph. Not only do the leaves help block sun from causing flare by hitting the front element of my lens, but they add a sense of depth that would be lost without them.
When photographing a special train, I like to make the first photograph of the day count as one of the best.
Railway Preservation Society Ireland operated locomotive 461 with an excursion from Dublin Connolly Station to Mullingar on the old Midland route.
This railway was built along the banks of the Royal Canal, and canal-side running characterizes the line.
Hugh Dempsey and I set out from Dublin about an hour ahead of the train, and selected this spot as one of the best.
The sun and clouds cooperated nicely. Yet, the extreme contrast of the scene require a bit of post-processing to control contrast. I made a variety of small changes to adjust the image, including both global and localized contrast adjustment.
I made this pair of images of the daily afternoon Dublin Connolly to Sligo passenger train passing the long closed station at Hill of Down on the old Midland Great Western Railway mainline. Class 071 locomotive number 073 leads Mark II carriages.
The old Midland follows the Royal Canal for many miles west of Dublin. This pastoral route was one of my favorite Irish rail subjects in the early 2000s. Although it wasn’t as busy as other routes, the combination of scenery, friendly signalmen and gatekeepers, and quaint old trains made for seemingly endless photographic possibilities.
At the time most trains were locomotive hauled with vintage General Motors diesels.
In additional to class 071 diesels working Mark II and Cravens passenger consists, the old classes 121, 141 and 181s regularly worked freight.
Today the line is exclusively run with diesel rail cars.
Broadstone Station was the Dublin terminus of Ireland’s Midland & Great Western Railway. This enigmatic railway was built west from Dublin parallel to the suffering Royal Canal, and Broadstone Station was located adjacent to the existing Royal Canal basin in the north city center. M&GWR was among lines consolidated as Great Southern Railways in 1924, a move that sealed the fate of Broadstone; it was closed as a passenger terminal in 1936 (although tracks remained for freight services into the 1970s). The buildings survive as a Dublin Bus depot (garage). The old canal basin was filled in many years ago and is now car park. The canal bridge that once spanned the road adjacent to the station is remembered in period photos on the walls of neighborhood pubs. Soon rails will return to Broadstone in the form of a LUAS light rail extension.
Broadstone Station is a vestige of Irish railways long gone. The station was executed in an Egyptian revival style and completed in 1850. I find the building fascinating, yet difficult to photograph because it is hemmed in by the five inhibitors of urban railway photography: pavement, walls, fences, wires and unkempt brush. On a weekday, cars and buses surround the old structure, which lend to ironic images of a grand decayed station encircled by transport modes that contributed to its redundancy. Making a simple image that captures the grandeur of the station isn’t easy. Here are two of my efforts: one was made with my old Rollei Model T on 120 size black & white film on January 3, 2000. I exposed the other digitally last Tuesday afternoon (February 19, 2013) using my Canon 7D and 40mm pancake lens.