Yes all true, but I’d traveled down to catch the return leg of steam hauled The Marble City rail tour operated by the Railway Preservation Society Ireland.
Earlier in the day I’d photographed the train departing Dublin (as featured in yesterday’s Tracking the Light post The Marble City Tour at Islandbridge.)
I departed Dublin Heuston on the 1430 suburban train heading for Sallins. I was fortunate to travel on a five-piece intercity rail car (ICR), which was comfortable and mostly empty.
Arriving Sallins, County Kildare at 2:55pm, I had time for a leisurely bacon and cabbage lunch at the Lock 13 Pub—located along the Grand Canal a short walk from the station. I’d arranged to meet fellow photographer Hugh Dempsey after 4pm to explore some track side locations nearly in anticipation of photographing locomotive 461 with The Marble City.
The special was scheduled to depart Athy at 2:55 pm and according to Irish Rail company literature would depart Kildare at precisely 5:23 pm and 30 seconds. Armed with this information we scouted a bridge near milepost 17 and waited.
The usual procession of up and down passenger trains passed, mostly using the common Irish Rail Rotem-built ICRs—like the one I’d traveled down on.
The weather changed from sunny to pouring rain rather suddenly; uncomfortable, but not unusual.
We’d expected The Marble City to pass by about 5:50pm. More ICRs up and down, but no sign of the steam. By 6:30pm we were wondering what had gone wrong.
After another hour we learned that there had been a fatality on the line south of Cherryville Junction (where the line to Kilkenny and Waterford diverges from the mainline to Cork) and 461 with The Marble City was being held at Athy! Oh no.