Tag Archives: signalman

Irish Rail’s Ballinsloe Cabin on its Final Day

On May 23, 2003, I exposed this photo of a signalman setting the points at Ballinsloe Cabin just a few hours before the historic structure was relieved its operational functions as part of the commission of a Mini-CTC system on Irish Rail’s Galway Line.

Exposed on black & white film using my Rolleiflex Model T.
Exposed on black & white film using my Rolleiflex Model T.

It was the end of an era at Ballinasloe, but one that was a long time in coming. On my first visit to the cabin five year earlier I was warned of its impending closure. Delays in installing the Mini-CTC ultimately prolonged the cabin’s closure. By the time I made this image, the signalman I’d visited in 1998 had retired!

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DAILY POST: Irish Rail, Clonmel, County Tipperary, July 2003.

Atmospheric Image of a Rural Branch Line.


In the damp evening gloom on July 18, 2003, Irish Rail’s signalman at Clonmel awaits the arrival of the Waterford-Limerick passenger train. He holds the metal staff that will authorize the train to proceed over the line to Tipperary.

Irish Rail Clonmel
Although the train is small in the frame, the composition focuses the viewer’s attention to the approaching locomotive. So! What is primary subject? The signalman, the station, or the train? Incidentally, I cropped the bottom of the photo to eliminate unnecessary foreground that featured the platform. Normally I object to cropping of images, yet as the photographer I reserve this right.

Often the most telling railway images don’t emphasize a train. In this photo, the Irish Rail General Motors diesel and Cravens passenger carriages are incidental. Here: the evening light, poised signalman eying the approaching train and quiet rural station tell the story.

I exposed this photo on Fujichrome Sensia 100 using my Contax G2 rangefinder with 28mm Biogon lens on a Bogan tripod. It was part of a series of images I made that evening at Clonmel of the signalman, the station and passing trains.


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