Tag Archives: RPSI

Steam and Semaphores at Cobh, Junction—May 2000.

Cobh Junction on 11 May 2000. Nikon N90S with Fujichrome Sensia II (100 ISO).

Nineteen Years ago, I was traveling with Denis McCabe and Tony Gray to photograph Railway Preservations Society of Ireland’s annual ‘Two Day Tour’.

We stopped along the N25 opposite the water from Cobh, Junction, Glounthaune, Cork, where I used a telephoto lens to expose this view of former Great Northern Railway (Ireland) steam locomotive 171 hauling Irish Rail Cravens carriages on a trip to Cobh.

At the time, an overcast day photo of 171 working tender first didn’t excite me much, and I left this slide with the other ‘seconds’ from that trip

However, in May of this year (2019)—almost 19 years to the day after I exposed the photo—I rediscovered this slide. It was still in the original box in which it was returned to me from the lab. Time has improved my photo and I think it’s pretty neat now.

I scanned it using an Epson V750 Pro flat bed scanner and processed the file using Lightroom.

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The Challenges and Lessons of Main Line Steam—July 2019

My author’s advance copy of July 2019 Trains Magazine just arrived.

Page 17 features my discussion of Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s success with operating regular steam excursions on the mainline and what American operators might learn from RPSI’s example.

I’ve spent 21 years photographing and traveling with the RPSI which has made for a rewarding and enlightening experience.

Here’s the cover of July 2019 Train which features Union Pacific’s world famous 4-8-8-4 ‘Big Boy’.

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RPSI’s The West Awake—Eight Views from the Train.

One of the pleasures of traveling on an historic train is the ability to make photos of the line and passing scenery.

Modern cameras with rear-displays make this much easier since it isn’t necessary to have your eye to the camera to compose photos, while built-in line levels aid in composition.

Adjustable ISO ratings allow selection of more appropriate shutter speeds for action images.

This is a selection of photos I made from Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s The West Awake excursion on 13 April 2019.

Photos were exposed using my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm XT1. The Fuji benefits from an extendible and adjustable rear display that is especially useful on these trips.

Roscommon.

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Faces of Steam: Portraits of RPSI’s train crew.


Working with a Nikon F3 with f1.4 50mm lens loaded with Fomapan 100 Classic, I exposed these portraits of some of the men working Railway Preservation Society’s 18 March 2019 trips from Dublin Connolly Station to Maynooth.

 I processed the film in a non-standard way to obtain a period look while giving photos optimal tonality in a contrasty situations.

First: I pre-soaked film it in a very dilute bath of Kodak HC110 (measured 3 parts per 1000 with water, plus wetting agent) for about 7 minutes at 72 F;

Second: primary developer consisted of Ilford ID-11 1 to 1 with water at 69 F for 6 minutes;

Third: following stop bath, two fixer baths, and a thorough 10 minute rinse, I toned the negatives in a 1-9 selenium solution (outdoors to avoid breathing toxic fumes) for 8 minutes. This was followed by several rinse cycles and a final rinse in distilled water.

Negatives were scanned in colour to retain the selenium tint.

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Irish Rail Class 071 on Parade.

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Saturday’s (13 April 2019) The West Awakerail tour put Irish Rail’s class 071 diesels in the limelight.

Although once regularly used in prominent passenger services, in recent years Irish Rail’s 071 class General Motors diesels have largely been assigned to freight and per-way (maintenance) trains, which makes their prominent use in excursion work of great interest to observers

I photographed 071 locomotives that participated in Saturday’s tour. Engine 074 delivered Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s Cravens carriages from Irish Rail’s Inchicore Works to Connolly Station in Dublin.

Locomotives 082 and 075 had been specially prepared for the tour and set up of multiple unit working, a highly unusual arrangement for these agile six-motor diesels in Ireland.

At Claremorris, the 071 class-leader (number 071 and dressed in retro orange and black paint) took over for the runs to Ballina and Westport.

For 071 enthusiasts, 082 was a special treat because of its extra-loud base roar in the higher throttle positions. While 075 is a curiosity because it is painted in a slightly warmer shade of gray than most of the other members of its class.

I made these photos of the well-maintained 1970s-era General Motors locomotive on parade during The West Awake tour.

Special thanks to everyone at Irish Rail and the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland for making the tour a very enjoyable experience and productive photographic opportunity!

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Portraits and Train Views from RPSI’s 13 April 2019 Tour.


During the course of yesterday’s Railway Preservation Society of Ireland The West Awakerail tour to County Mayo I exposed dozens of portraits of the crew, passengers and observers, along with views of the train from many angles.

This selection was exposed using my FujiFilm XT1 digital camera.

Thanks to Irish Rail and the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland for a well-planned rail excursion!

For more about the RPSI click the link below:

https://www.steamtrainsireland.com

Irish Rail 074 delivers the RPSI train to Connolly Station.
Connolly Station.

Photographers at Athlone.


Castlerea.


Ballyhaunis.

Claremorris.

Claremorris.

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The West Awake Rail Tour—13 April 2019—Some Lumix views.


Yesterday, the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland operated its The West Awake rail-tour in conjunction with Irish Rail.

A special feature of the tour was the unusual multiple-unit operation using a pair of General Motors-built 071 diesels that hauled RPSI’s Cravens to County Mayo.

At  Claremorris the pair of 071s were replaced with locomotive number 071 (class leader) in retro orange for further excursions to Ballina and Westport.

For more about the RPSI click the link below:

https://www.steamtrainsireland.com

During the trip I made numerous digital photos using my Lumix LX7.

Below are a dozen of my finest Lumix LX7 views. I’ll post more photos soon! The best are yet to come!

Special thanks to everyone at RPSI and Irish Rail for an excellent excursion to the west of Ireland!

Irish Rail 074 delivers the excursion train to Connolly Station for boarding. The early start resulted in an opportunity for making photos in rosy morning light. Lumix LX7 photo.

Connolly Station.


Multiple working with 071 diesel is unusual.


Friends at Connolly Station.

The West Awake approaches Islandbridge Junction; a different view of my usual spot!
Photo stop at Athlone.


Athlone.


Double header at Roscommon!


Enjoying the trip!


Discussing the finer points of railways.


Westport through the glass.

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Westport.

Elusive ‘Raccoon’ leads the RPSI Cravens Transfer at the Gullet.

I made this photo on the morning of 18 March 2019 using my FujiFilm XT1.

I’ll admit that if you’re not closely familiar with Irish Rail’s Dublin operations my title to today’s Tracking the Light post might seem cryptic.

Two of the Irish Rail 201 class General Motors diesels, 231 and 233, are painted in a minimalist silver, black and yellow livery. These are colloquially known in the enthusiast community as ‘raccoons’ (or ‘badgers’).

Engine number 233 has been shy lately and rarely seen out on the mainline.

RPSI stands for the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland.

RPSI owns an historic set of Cravens-built passenger carriages.

These are stored/maintained at Irish Rail’s Inchicore works (repair shops), and when they are required for an excursion, Irish Rail makes a transfer run across Dublin to deliver them to Connolly station for boarding.

The graded three-track line from Islandbridge Junction to Inchicore runs through a cutting along Con Colbert Road known as ‘the Gullet’.

While I’ve covered most of this previously, I figure it doesn’t hurt to review the esoteric every so often to avoid confusion.

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Irish Steam: RPSI at work with Great Northern Railway 85—18 March 2019.

Connolly Station.

Connolly Station.

Here are some more digital photographs from Monday’s (18 March 2019) Railway Preservation Society of Ireland steam trips behind Great Northern Railway 85.

Runs were scheduled to depart Dublin Connolly Station at 1100 and 1505 and operated between Irish Rail’s regularly scheduled trains.

RPSI’s trips were very well patronized.

Special thanks to everyone at RPSI and Irish Rail for a great railway experience!

Check out RPSI’s site for details about mainline steam and diesel trips in Ireland: https://www.steamtrainsireland.com/programme-of-public-trains

Maynooth.
Hi-tech adjustments at Maynooth.

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Steam and Semaphores: Another Vintage View at Killucan.

—Not seeing semaphores? Click the link to Tracking the Light to get the full view and story—

I made this vertical (portrait) view of a driver’s training special on Irish Rail’s Sligo Line at Killucan back in April 2003

Railway Preservation Society of Ireland tank engine No 4 had run around its train at Killucan and then received the signal to reverse back on the main road (line). The driver had opened the regulator (throttle) and the engine had begun to move when I released the shutter, framing the engine in a cloud of its own effluence.

The semaphores were removed in conjunction with Irish Rail’s conversion of the Sligo line to operation using Mini CTC signaling during 2005, a change that closed Killucan cabin, among other classic signal cabins on the route.

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Monochrome at Mallow—13 October 2018.

More monochrome film photos: Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s autumn tour at Mallow, County Cork last Saturday.

These were exposed on Kodak Tri-X using my Canon EOS-3 with 40mm pancake lens and processed in Ilford ID11 developer.

Black & white film is well suited to making atmospheric images on dull days.

Mallow, Co. Cork.

Irish Rail’s Noel Enright at Mallow, Co. Cork.

Irish Rail’s Noel Enright gives the green flag at Mallow, Co. Cork.

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One Week Ago: RPSI Special Rolls through Cork’s Kent Station.

This day last week (13 October 2018), I traveled on and photographed Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s autumn diesel tour called The Southwestern.

Damp dark weather may make it difficult to expose over the shoulder lit three quarter views, and it may ruin Lumixes (See: Final Frame? Lumix LX7 Coils Up), but it’s ideal for making black & white photos on film.

Working with my battle-worn Canon EOS-3 with a 40mm pancake lens, I exposed this view of the train at Cork’s Kent Station using Kodak Tri-X.

On Monday, I processed the film using Ilford ID11 mixed 1-1 with water. Following a presoak with exceptionally dilute HC110 to initiate development, I gave the film 7 minutes and 30 seconds in the ID11 at 68F (20C) with intermittent agitation.

I scanned the negatives using an Epson V500 flatbed scanner and made nominal contrast adjustments using Lightroom.

Kodak Tri-X view of Cork’s Kent Station on 13 October 2018.

More monochrome images to follow!

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Railway Preservation Society Ireland—Fall Tour: Ten Lumix Views.

I described the failure of my trusty Lumix LX7 in yesterday’s post:
Final Frame? Lumix LX7 Coils Up

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

Despite its failure on the day of the tour, I’d made good use of the camera right up to the end. This versatile picture making device had been a staple of my camera bag for more than four years.

Below are a selection of photos from Saturday 13 October 2018 of RPSI’s The Southwestern rail tour that operated from Dublin Connolly to Cork, then via Limerick, Ennis and Athenry and back to Dublin.

On these rail tours I tend to focus on the people as much as the equipment.

Blocked outside of Mallow.

Operational discussion at Mallow.

 

Kent Station, Cork.

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More Rain; 8 More Views of the RPSI Train.

It was cloudy in Dublin; it was lashing rain in Ennis.

At no time did we see the sun.

Yet, it was a rewarding trip, and I’m happy with my photos.

I made these views of Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s ‘The Southwestern’ diesel tour using my FujiFilm XT1.

Portarlington.

Limerick.

Ennis, Co Clare.

Athenry, Co. Galway.

Athenry, Co. Galway.

Athenry, Co. Galway.

Connolly Station in Dublin.

More to follow!

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Faces, Places and Engines—RPSI’s The Southwestern Tour—10 Views.

Although it was dark, wet and cold, I made a lot of photos of yesterday’s Railway Preservation Society of Ireland ‘The Southwestern’ tour.

These views were exposed using my FujiFilm XT1.

For me these tours are as much about the people as where we go or the equipment we travel on.

More photos soon!

Crew van.

Crew van.

Noel Enright at Mallow.

Limerick.

Limerick.

Ennis.

The gang at Gort.

 

Noel gives the green flag at Athenry.

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Colourful Sunday at Connolly.

Sunday, 16 September 2018 found unusual variety at Irish Rail’s Dublin Connolly Station.

Adding colour  to Irish Rail’s parade of local and long distance trains was Belmond’s Grand Hibernian that arrived from Dundalk, and departed a half an hour later bound for Waterford. As this high-end cruise train was departing, a HOBS (ballast train) was heading from the northern line into the North Wall with Irish Rail 077.

But the most unusual train was Rail Preservation Society of Ireland’s heritage Cravens, which arrived from Inchicore behind one of Northern Ireland Railways Enterprise class 201 diesels.  While the train was expected, the locomotive was a surprise.

Belmond’s Grand Hibernian arrives at Connolly station led by the specially painted Irish Rail 216.

Dublin-Belfast Enterprise is on platform 2, a 29000-series CAF railcar is on platform 3, and the Belmond train on 4.

The 10am Enterprise departs as Irish Rail 083 has coupled up to the Belmond for the trip to Waterford.

A DART suburban train accelerates away from Connolly.

I wasn’t expecting this combination! One of NIR’s Enterprise painted 201s with the RPSI heritage train.

You can’t be two places at one time! But here we have a photographers conundrum, Belmond’s Sunday departure for Waterford occurred as a the more elusive HOBS (ballast train) takes the switch at East Wall Junction for Dublin’s North Wall. (notice the 071 diesel at far right).

I departed for points north before steam locomotive number 4 arrived to take the scheduled RPSI excursion from platform 5. All the while, engine 85 in Great Northern blue, which was intended for the day’s RPSI excursion was stuck on Connolly’s turntable!

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Steam at Drogheda—Sunday, 16 September 2018; Five Digital Photos.

Working with two digital cameras, I made these images at Irish Rail’s Drogheda Station. This is a classic Great Northern Railway (Ireland) railway station with a curved platform, antique brick buildings and elegant old-school platform canopies.

But it also features more modern elements too, such as palisade fencing and a diesel railcar depot and wash.

Is it honest to exclude the modern elements and just focus on the antique? Or is it better to allow for mix of new and old? After all the photos were made digitally in 2018, not on film in the days of yore.

RPSI’s Cravens carriages are paused on the platform at Drogheda. How do you feel about the orange safety vests and modern signage?

Telephoto view looking toward Dublin from the footbridge.

There’s a vintage signal display at Drogheda station on the platform.

Detail of engine number 4. So how about the Nike footwear at the top of the image?

Drogheda signal cabin lacks the classic charm of its Victorian ancestors, but it is part of the modern scene, so there it is!

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Mix and Unmatched at the Gullet—Variety on Irish Rail.

Who said that Irish Rail is boring?

Patience and being-there can make the difference.

On the Evening of 16 September 2018, the Railway Preservation Society Ireland’s Cravens transfer (train  i.d. H260) ran from Connolly to Irish Rail’s Inchicore Works. Rather than run with an 071 class locomotive, as is often the case, it was assigned locomotive 216 specially painted for Belmond’s Grand Hibernian.

Exposed with a FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.

Gullet glint! Trailing view of RPSI’s Cravens transfer. Exposed with a FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.

The following morning, the up Grand Hibernianfrom Waterford passed the same location with Irish Rail class 071 number 083 in the lead.

While Belmond’s train often runs to and from Waterford with an 071 class locomotive, this still presents a bit variety on a railway that tends to favour uniform train sets.

All  of these photos were exposed at ‘The Gullet” (the three track throat to Islandbridge Junction) from Memorial Road in Dublin.

Lumix LX7 photo.

Trailing view looking toward Islandbridge. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.

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Mainline Steam: RPSI No.4 at Mosney—16 September 2018.

Gauzy autumn light is perfect for photographing black steam locomotives on the move.

Yesterday, Railway Preservation Society of Ireland operated steam excursions between Dublin, Drogheda and Dundalk. Plans to work with engine 85 were foiled by difficulties with the turntable at Connolly Station.

Instead RPSI engine No.4 did the work.

Paul Maguire and I drove to a remote overhead bridge near Mosney.

I exposed this view using my FujiFilm XT1 with 27mm pancake lens. To make the most of the scene, I imported the RAW file into Lightroom and adjusted it for contrast and saturation, using a digitally applied graduated neutral density filter to bring in sky detail.

RPSI engine No.4 has a roll-on working north toward Drogheda.

Learn more about the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland:

https://www.steamtrainsireland.com

As I was preparing this post, Dublin’s Radio NOVA was talking about the excursion on FM.

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Great Northern Railway 85 at Killarney.

The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland operated a steam charter last week using former Great Northern Railway engine  85 Merlin.

Rich afternoon sun and a colourful train made for easy photos at Killarney on 3 September 2018.

These views were among the digital photos I exposed with my FujiFilm XT1.

I was playing with scale and focus while working with the light to make the most of shadows.

Which is your favorite?

Learn more about the RPSI: https://www.steamtrainsireland.com

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Old School: Steam and Coal Dust.

What better place to work with black & white film than on the locomotive footplate?

Last week, I made these steam portraits and views of Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s engine 85 at work using my battle worn Nikon N90S with f2.0 35mm lens loaded with Kodak Tri-X.

Processing the film was the tricky part.  I did this by hand the old fashioned way.

To make the most of highlight and shadow detail, I used multiple-stage split-development, followed by selenium toning to give highlights the silvery edge.

After processing, I scanned the negatives using an Epson V500 flatbed scanner.

So in the end presentation my silver photos are digital after all.

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Steam Portraits-Faces of the Footplate.

A locomotive is hardly an ideal portrait studio.

Or is it?

Shafts of filtered light and a dark background make for a fascinating setting, while the opportunity to make silhouettes against the daylight provide a contrast.

The men of the footplate proudly wear the coal dust, cinders and ash that identify them.

I made these portraits of the crew on board Great Northern Railway of Ireland 85 on its excursions last week.

Driver Ken Fox adjusts the regulator on locomotive 85.

Lumix LX7 portrait.

Lumix LX7 portrait.

FujiFilm X-T1 with 12mm Touit lens.

Lumix LX7 portrait.

Special thanks to everyone at the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI) and at Irish Rail for making my locomotive journeys possible.

For details about the RPSI and scheduled steam and diesel trips see:

https://www.steamtrainsireland.com

Check out: Room with a View: The Challenges on Photographing from/on a Steam Locomotive Footplate—12 Photos.

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Irish Rail 079 leads RPSI Cravens.

On Monday, 3 September 2018, Irish Rail 079 worked Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s preserved Cravens carriages, running as an empty train from Dublin’s Inchicore Works to Connolly station.

This was a scheduled move to position the heritage train for RPSI’s private charter to Killarney, County Kerry with steam locomotive 85 (featured in earlier Tracking the Light Posts).

Working with my FujiFilm XT1 and 90mm lens, I photographed from the north end of Connolly platform 1 & 2.

The train was slightly backlit. To compensate, I made nominal adjustment to the Fuji RAW file to lighten shadows in post processing, then exported as a scaled JPG for internet presentation.

Irish Rail’s Ken Fox is at the throttle of General Motors-built class 071 number 079 approaching Dublin Connolly station.

For details about the RPSI and scheduled steam and diesel trips see:

https://www.steamtrainsireland.com

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Room with a View: The Challenges on Photographing from/on a Steam Locomotive Footplate—12 Photos.

Earlier this week it was organized for me to travel on the footplate of Great Northern Railway of Ireland 85.

The thrill of experiencing a steam locomotive cab on the main line is a rare privilege.

My job was to make photographs and stay out of the way.

Locomotive driver Ken Fox works on the left side of the engine as it rolls through Tipperary countryside.

Locomotive 85 is a three cylinder compound  4-4-0, a 1932 product of Beyer Peacock.

The compound arrangement is what intrigued me, but like the low droning throb sounding  from the 20 cylinder diesel powering an EMD SD45, this element of the steam equipment is beyond my ability to picture.

Instead, I had to settle for making images of the crew at work and the locomotive in motion.

Fireman’s view near Mountrath on the Cork Line.

12mm Zeiss Touit view of the fireman shoveling coal.

Fireman’s view of a Mark 4 train up road near Thurles. Special viewing equipment on my Fuji XT1 made images like this possible.

Fireman’s view. Working the injector.

View of the firebox.

The footplate offers a rough ride, while swirling coal dust and locomotive exhaust complicate photography and the handling of sensitive equipment. The lighting is at best difficult. Staying out of the way often means that I wasn’t always  able to get the angle I really wanted and needed to make due with where I was able to stand.

Driver side view.

Feeding the fire. Lumix LX7 photo.

The locomotive is bathed in smoke and dust.

Special thanks to everyone at the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI) and at Irish Rail for making my locomotive journeys possible.

For details about the RPSI and scheduled steam and diesel trips see:

https://www.steamtrainsireland.com

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Great Northern Compound Under Steam at Portarlington—Five Photos!

Yesterday (3 September 2018), sunny skies greeted Great Northern Railway Ireland 85, a 4-4-0 three-cylinder compound locomotive operated by Railway Preservation Society of Ireland, when it paused at Portarlington, County Laois to take water.

This classic Irish express passenger locomotive was working a chartered train from Dublin Connolly to Killarney.

I exposed these images using my FujiFilm XT1 fitted with 12mm Zeiss Touit lens.

The photos here were scaled without modification from camera JPG files using the Velvia color profile.

An active contrast of modern and antique at Portarlington.

85’s safety valves lift making for an awesome sight.