This northern town is a port city on the Gulf of Bothnia where iron ore from mines north of the Arctic Circle is trans-loaded to ships. There’s a traditional passenger station that serves sleeping car trains that originate here for Stockholm and points south; a coach yard and sidings.
Markku Pulkkinen, Matti Mäntyvaara, Asko Räsänen and I arrived in early afternoon. We had lunch in the station restaurant and observed the action.
The combination of low-level platforms, ground-level switching activities to make up trains, and conventional locomotive hauled consists made for some proper old-school railroading! And that’s just the way we like it. Only the Kiruna-Narvik service appeared to be provided by a modern wedge-shaped electric multiple unit.
The low northern sun provided some great light for photographs, and I made the most of our visit working with my FujiFilm X-T1 and Lumix LX7 to make digital photos.
I was bemused when a young British girl complained to her father when he went to make a photo of the Rc6 electric on a sleeping car train, ‘Daddy, don’t do that! Why do you make a photo of the train?’ Surely this child needs to be sent to camp for re-education! I blame the internet and/or television.
Finland is a great place to make railway photographs. Two of my favorite features of the country are the long days of summer, (in late July the sun remains above the horizon to well after 10 pm), and the overnight sleeping car trains.
Low rich sun light and long unusual-looking consists of sleeping cars and auto-carriers make for many photographic possibilities.
During my visit three night trains served Oulu in each direction daily. These run between Helsinki and northern cities at Kemijärvi, Kolari, and Rovaniemi.
Not every evening is clear and bright. Too often it rains. But last Saturday evening the sky was free of clouds and the air was clear, making for nearly ideal conditions.
These views are of IC 266 (Rovaniemi – Helsinki) led by a pair of Soviet-built Sr1 electrics. At Oulu cars are added to the train using a Dv12 diesel, which provides ample time to make photographs of the train arriving and standing at the station.
My host, Markku Pulkkinen, explained the train’s daily routine, suggested locations for photographs, and provided transportation. I made these images with my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera. The challenge of working with very low sun is navigating the shadows successfully.