Tag Archives: RPSI

Sun and Cloud, The RPSI Cravens at Claude Road: A Lesson In Patience.

On Satuday 24 March 2018, I shared Dublin’s Claude Road foot-bridge with Paul Maguire and Ciarán Cooney, as we waited for the RPSI Cravens to run from Inchicore to Connolly for a scheduled inspection of the equipment.

It had been completely sunny, but as the time for the train approached, clouds began to dapple the morning sky.

I exposed this view using a Nikon N90S with 180mm Nikkor telephoto lens on Fujichrome Provia100F slide film.

The light was in flux when I released the shutter. Was the train in sun?

I had to wait more than three weeks to find out, since I’ve just received my slides back from the lab.

Irish Rail 084 leads the RPSI  Cravens eastward at Claude Road. File adjusted with Lightroom.

I made some nominal adjustments to contrast and colour balance after scanning.

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I feature Irish Rail and the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland in my new Railway Guide to Europe, which is now available from Kalmbach Books.

Click here to order Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe.

18 New Photos: RPSI’s The Branchline Wanderer—Retro Diesel Train Flashback.

Yesterday, 7 April 2018, Railway Preservation Society of Ireland in conjunction with Irish Rail operated its The Branchline Wanderer.

This covered several lightly traveled lines, including the Waterford-Limerick Junction section, which was a favorite of mine in years gone by.

The trip was well patronized. Despite wildly varying weather, I found numerous opportunities for interesting photos of RPSI’s train, its crew and passengers, and the places we visited.

Special thanks to RPSI’s Operating Crews and Irish Rail staff for an excellent day out.

Bagnalstown.

 

Bagnalstown.

Waterford.
Waterford.
Waterford.
Waterford.
Coach D.
Waterford.

 

Carrick-on-Suir.
Carrick-on-Suir.
Carrick-on-Suir.
Clonmel.
Cahir.
Cahir.
Cahir.

This display  represents the first few hours of photos exposed with my FujiFilm XT1. This was one of four cameras I used on the day. More photos to follow.

 

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Prelude to RPSI’s Branchline Explorer—7 April 2018

If everything has gone according to plan, as you read this I’m traveling upon Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s diesel-hauled Branchline Explorer rail tour.

I made this photo on 6 April 2018 of Irish Rail 071 (in 1970s heritage livery) leading the RPSI preserved Cravens carriages across the River Liffey at Islandbridge in the fading light of the evening.

Thanks to Jay Monaghan!

An Irish Rail ICR working Grand Canal Docks suburban service exits the Phoenix Park Tunnel on 6 April 2018. Irish Rail 071 with RPSI Cravens can be seen in the distance. Exposed digitally using a FujiFilm X-T1 camera fitted with a 90mm f2.0 telephoto lens.
An instant classic: Irish Rail 071 (class leader in retro paint) leads the RPSI Cravens across the River Liffey at Islandbridge in Dublin. Exposed digitally using a FujiFilm X-T1 camera fitted with a 90mm f2.0 telephoto lens.

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Ireland’s Most Colourful Train?

Easter Monday, photographer Jay Monaghan and I were in position at Memorial Road in Dublin to catch the RPSI carriage transfer on its way from Connolly Station to Inchicore.

These were the same carriages featured in yesterday’s post, ‘Steam Crosses Dublin’s Loop Line’.

Getting from Dubin’s city centre to Memorial Road, required a well-timed sprint to catch the 25B bus.

Although we were hoping for Irish Rail 073 in heritage paint, 201-class locomotive 232 in silver, green and  yellow added colour to RPSI’s heritage train.

Irish Rail 232 leads RPSI’s Cravens up the gullet on Easter Monday. Exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Tight telephoto trailing view of the RPSI train heading toward Inchicore Works.
Although the train is slightly more distant, I prefer this training view because the trees to the left of the line aren’t cropped.

So, was this Ireland’s most colourful train on Easter Monday 2018?

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Steam Crosses Dublin’s Loop Line.

This scene presented three visual challenges;

  • Dublin’s Loop Line is a difficult bridge to picture trains upon owing to a high degree of foreground and background clutter, complex lattice girder construction, and brightly coloured graffiti.
  • Tank locomotive number 4 is an awkward mass and largely painted black that makes for a hard subject to picture satisfactorily, even on a good bright day.
  • It wasn’t a bright day; the lighting conditions were flat (low contrast) and bland.

Further complicating matters, there wasn’t more than a few seconds warning before the train entered the scene, so I needed to be poised.

Friends on board assisted my timing by keeping me up to date as to the location of the train.

I made my views from the Rosie Hackett Bridge (opened in 2014) looking down river toward Dublin Port.

Rather than work with a zoom, I opted for my fixed focal length 90mm telephoto on my FujiFilm X-T1. This gave me a wider aperture, allowed for shallow depth of field to help distinguish the train from its background, and is a very sharp lens  corner to corner.

DART electric suburban trains made for opportunities to make practice photos to test exposure, depth of field, focus and composition.

As the train clattered across the bridge I made several exposures, trying to minimize the distractions of bridge infrastructure and background clutter.

My first view of RPSI No. 4 on the bridge. This subtly shows Dublin port in the distance and features traffic on the south quays.
This is probably the best of my efforts. I adjust the contrast locally to help emphasize the smoke from the engine. I suppose that’s cheating in some eyes, but all I did was enhance the smoke to help show direction and that the engine was working and not static.
How about this view of RPSI’s nice painted Cravens carriages? The rippled patters in the Liffey was an attraction of this angle.

Although these are nice attempts, I’m not 100 percent satisfied, but without better light and an elevated view, I’m not sure how I could have made substantially better photos.

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RPSI’s The Midlander in Colour.

As a follow-up to my black & white posts: On Sunday, 18 March 2018, I also worked with my two digital cameras to expose a few choice photographs of Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s The Midlander on its run from Connolly Station Dublin to Maynooth.

Also see: https://wp.me/p2BVuC-5nz

Telephoto view at Connolly. This is a colour photograph, but has the contrast and texture of a black & white image. Are the red signals an improvement or a distraction?
Looking back at the train from tank engine number 4.
Irish Rail 073 in heritage paint brought the RPSI train over from Inchicore Works to Connolly Station.
Engine No. 4 hauled the excursion.

An NI Railways CAF train arrives at Connolly substituting for the normal Enterprise set.
Approaching Glasnevin Junction in Dublin.
Working the Midland route toward Maynooth.
Running around at Maynooth.
Number 4 with its admirers at Maynooth.

My new book ‘Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe features RPSI trains in its section on Ireland.

This is due out in May 2018 and may be pre-ordered from Kalmbach Books: https://kalmbachhobbystore.com

For details on  RPSI and passenger excursions see: https://www.steamtrainsireland.com

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Steam on Retropan.

On one level, it seems appropriate to make images of steam locomotives and their environment with Retropan. ‘Retro on Retro’ right?

Yet, I know many old-school black & white photographers would object to the essential qualities of Retropan black & white film, which by design is comparatively soft and grainy.

Yes, there are sharper films; and of course there’s colour, not to mention digital, but the reason I chose Foma Retropan for these photos was because of the gritty quality it offers.

Someone might ask why does the RPSI run a steam locomotive, when there are more efficient diesel railcars available?

Connolly Station, exposed on Retropan 18 March 2018.
Connolly Station, exposed on Retropan 18 March 2018.

Ooo! Look an efficient diesel railcar. And it’s on Retropan too! Drumcondra, Dublin.
Approaching Glasnevin Junction, Dublin.
Maynooth.
Locomotive number 4 at Maynooth. Notice the modern signal in the distance and the bright lamps on the locomotive.

 

Psssst! I also made some colour slides, and a whole bunch of colour digital image on the same day.

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My new book ‘Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe features RPSI trains in its section on Ireland.

It is due out in May 2018 and may pre-order the book from Kalmbach Books: https://kalmbachhobbystore.com

For details on  RPSI and passenger excursions see: https://www.steamtrainsireland.com

Atmosphere under the old Roof.

A couple more Tri-X views from Connolly Station of last Sunday’s RPSI steam trip to Maynooth.

See my earlier post: Snow! Steam! Action!

https://wp.me/p2BVuC-5nz

Exposed on Kodak Tri-X using a Nikon F3 with 35mm lens.
Exposed on Kodak Tri-X using a Nikon F3 with 35mm lens.

For details on RPSI steam and diesel excursions see: Railway Preservation Society of Ireland.

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Snow! Steam! Action!

It was cold and snowy at Dublin’s Connolly Station last Sunday.

While snow complicated Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s planned trips to Maynooth, it made for ideal conditions to expose black & white photos.

Using my Nikon F3 with 35mm and 135mm lens, I made these images on platform 3.

My new book ‘Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe features RPSI trains in its section on Ireland.

It is due out in May 2018 and may pre-order the book from Kalmbach Books: https://kalmbachhobbystore.com

For details on  RPSI and passenger excursions see: https://www.steamtrainsireland.com

RPSI No 4.

All were exposed using Kodak Tri-X black & white film, which I processed in Ilford ID-11 (1-1 at 68 degrees F for 7 minutes 45 seconds, plus extended presoak with very dilute HC110 to pre-activate development.)

I scanned the negatives  using an Epson V500 flatbed scanner.

RPSI No 4.

More snowy steam images images to follow!

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RPSI Driver Training Special at Laytown.

A rare sunny Sunday in Ireland. It was clear from dawn to dusk.

Making it extra special was Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s driver training special using tank engine No. 4 and the preserved Cravens carriages.

This worked the Northern line between Connolly Station in Dublin and Drogheda.

I was traveling with William Malone and Honer Travers.

We decided to visit the viaduct at Laytown, which offers a good place to catch a steam locomotive at work.

I made this view using my Lumix LX7, but also exposed a sequence of Fujichrome colour slides with my Nikon N90S and 35mm lens. We’ll have to wait to see those.

My Lumix LX7 is a nifty tool for making action photos of train. Although a small camera, it has the ability to produce both RAW and JPG files and features a remarkably sharp lens.

I find that engine number 4 photographs best from a broadside angle. It looks awkward viewed head-on.

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RPSI Train with Irish Rail 081 at Enfield.

It was nearly 20 years ago that I traveled on this Irish Railway Preservation Society special from Connolly Station Dublin to Mullingar.

The train paused for a crossing with an up-passenger at Enfield, and I made this view from the main road bridge.

It was my first trip to Enfield, and I returned many more times over the years. The signal cabin and mechanical signaling were the big attraction for me.

Exposed on Ilford HP5 using a Nikon F2 with 24mm lens. Processed in ID11 and scanned using an Epson V750 flatbed scanner.

 

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RPSI’s Munster Double—Retro-Orange 071s on Parade.

Saturday 14 October was a great day out; Railway Preservation Society of Ireland operated its Munster Double Railtour from Connolly Station in Dublin to Cork and Tralee.

The attraction of this trip was the highly unusual multiple-unit operation of two class 071 diesels together. Both of Irish Rail’s 071s in heritage paint were selected for the trip, which was an added bonus for photographers.

Honer Travers and I joined the trip at Connolly Station and during the course of the day I made dozens of digital images. Below is just a small section.

Connolly Station, Dublin. Lumix LX7 photo.
Connolly Station, Dublin. Lumix LX7 photo.
Island bridge Junction, Dublin, looking toward the famous ‘box’ along the St. John’s Road where many of my sunny day photos are made. Lumix LX7 photo.
Kent Station, Cork. FujiFIlm XT1 with 28-135mm lens.
FujiFilm XT1 photo.
Mallow, County Cork. Lumix LX7 photo.
Mallow, County Cork. Lumix LX7 photo.
Mallow, County Cork. Lumix LX7 photo.
Irish Rail 073 detailed view at Killarney.
Killarney. County Kerry. Lumix LX7 photo.
Tralee. FujiFilm XT1 with 28-135mm lens.
Tralee. FujiFilm XT1 with 28-135mm lens.
Tralee. FujiFilm XT1 with 28-135mm lens.
Tralee. Lumix LX7 photo.
Tralee. FujiFilm XT1 with 28-135mm lens.
Paused at a red signal in Killarney, Lumix LX7 photo.
Connolly Station in the evening. Lumix LX7 photo.

Tomorrow I’ll focus on the passengers and people participating in operations.

 

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Steam and Rain—shallow focus and black & white.

It’s undoubtedly all wrong. It was nearly dark and raining steadily when I exposed these photos of former Great Northern Railway (of Ireland) V-Class 4-4-0 number 85 Merlin at Lisburn.

This is a follow up post from my digital views of the same evening titled Steam in the Rain: RPSI Steam & Jazz at Lisburn—25 August, 2017 that appeared on Tracking the Light a couple of weeks ago. Honer Travers had brought me down to Lisburn to watch 85 arrive and introduce me to the crew.

Working in low light, exposed these photos on Fomapan 100 Classic using my battle worn Nikon F3 with an old non-AI f1.4 50mm lens.

My exposure times ranged from 1/30th to 1/8th of a second, and all photos were made handheld. I processed the film in Ilford Perceptol stock solution for 5 minutes 45 seconds at 71 degrees F.

By panning vertically I aimed to convey a sense of motion. Notice that the buffer beam on 85 is sharp.
Trailing view at the footbridge in Lisburn.

1/8th of second at f2.

By using the lens wide open, I was working with shallow depth of field and a comparatively soft overall view. While the slow shutter speed allowed for motion blur. These are not conditions conductive to making razor sharp images. So I had no intentions of doing so.

Sometimes making softer, more interpretive images better conveys the spirit of the scene than clinically sharp images with over the shoulder light.

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Steam in the Rain: RPSI Steam & Jazz at Lisburn—25 August, 2017.

Lisburn is a surviving gem among old Great Northern Railway stations in Northern Ireland.

RPSI’s steam crew apologized for the weather, but there was no need. Steam locomotives make for excellent subjects when photographed at dusk in the rain.

This was my reunion with Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s engine 85, a Great Northern compound 4-4-0.

Great Northern Railway (of Ireland) engine 85 is named Merlin. It was one of five V-class compounds, all of which were named for birds of prey.

Honer Travers arranged my visit to Lisburn to witness the arrival of the scheduled Steam & Jazz special from Belfast, and introduced me to members of the crew (some of whom I’d met on previous occasions).

Working with three cameras, I made dozens of atmospheric images in the course of about 15 minutes. These photos were made digitally with my FujiFilm XT1 and Panasonic Lumic LX7. In addition, I exposed a handful of black & white photos using a Nikon loaded with Fomapan Classic.

RPSI’s Steam & Jazz excursion arrives from Belfast in a steadily drizzling rain.
Cold, windy, wet and dark, but great for atmospheric photos. It helps to have a FAST lens, in this case an f2.0 90mm Fujinon telephoto.
Number 85 runs around at Lisburn. Fuji XT1 photo.
Exposed with a FujiFilm XT1, notice the effect of shallow depth of field and selective focus.
Lumix LX7 photo at Lisburn.

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Steam at Bray Head on Easter Monday.

Sometimes the railway photo isn’t about the train.

I made this pair of photos at Bray Head, County Wicklow, Ireland on Easter Monday 2017.

Railway Preservation Society engine No 4 was working trips from Dublin to Graystones, so I made the trek out along the head to capture these timeless views.

Although I made a few digital images, I prefer these black & white photos.

These were exposed on Ilford HP5 using a Leica IIIA and processed in Perceptol (1:1 for 14 minutes at 69 degrees F). No toning. Although, I think a dip in selenium would improve the contrast a bit.

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RPSI Gone Retro.

The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland is naturally historically minded, obviously. But in this situation I’ve used a vintage 1930s Leica IIIa with period Nikkor 35mm lens to expose traditional black & white film.

All of these photos were made on RPSI’s diesel tour to Galway and Kilkenny on 8 April 2017.

For some images I used Kodak Tri-X processed in Iford ID11 and toned with selenium, for others I worked with Ilford FP4 (ISO 125) which I processed in Agfa Rodinal Special.

You’ll spot subtle differences in tonality.

Kodak Tri-X, rated at ISO 320 and processed in a two bath developer then toned with selenium for 9 minutes mixed 1 to 9 with water.
Kodak Tri-X, rated at ISO 320.
Portarlington. Kodak Tri-X, rated at ISO 320
Ilford FP-4 processed in Agfa Rodinal Special.
Kodak Tri-X, rated at ISO 320
Kodak Tri-X, rated at ISO 320
View from the train near Woodlawn. Ilford FP-4 rated at ISO 125.
Focused on the train at Attymon. Ilford FP-4 rated at ISO 125.
My view of the train at Attymon in black & white. I’ve got a tight shot in colour. Ilford FP-4 rated at ISO 125.
Galway. Ilford FP-4 rated at ISO 125.
Galway. Ilford FP-4 rated at ISO 125.
Galway. Ilford FP-4 rated at ISO 125.
Ballinasloe. Ilford FP-4 rated at ISO 125.
Portarlington. Kodak Tri-X processed in Ilford ID11 and toned with selenium. Note the extreme range of exposure latitude. 
Kilkenny. Ilford FP-4 rated at ISO 125.
At the end of the day in Connolly Station, Dublin. Ilford FP-4 rated at ISO 125.

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Portraits, engine photos and station-scapes with my Lumix LX7 on 8 April 2017.

Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s Trip to Galway and Kilkenny—Part 2.

More photos from my Lumix exposed Saturday 8 April 2017, on the RPSI’s The Marble Tribesman Diesel Tour that ran from Dublin Connolly Station to Galway via Portarlington and Athlone then to Kilkenny via Kildare.

Galway. (something behind me must be more interesting than old 081 beneath the shed!).
Irish Rail’s 081 catches the sun at Galway. Not much left of the sidings in the goods yard here.
Galway.
Photo at Woodlawn, County Galway.
Welcome to Woodlawn! (Thanks to Stephen King for pointing out the sign).
Kilkenny.

Kilkenny.
Detail of 081 at Kilkenny.
Kilkenny.
Station stop at Athy, County Kildare.
Reviewing photos from the stop at Kilkenny.
A surprise birthday song for barman Jon Nabb (left).
Jon opens a gift.

Also surprised for his birthday was RPSI’s Fergus (left).
We arrived back at Connolly Station at dusk after more than 12 hours on the road.
Engine 088 having been uncouple from the train waits to run around at Connolly Station, Dublin.
Group portrait of Irish Rail staff and hangers on at Connolly.

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