Most of the Portuguese main line network is electrified, which makes diesel hauled trains something of a novelty.
Among the regular diesel hauled trains are freights by Portuguese open access operator Takargo, such as this one led by a Vossloh-built Euro 4000 diesel-electric locomotive.
This unusual looking machine sounds familiar since it is powered by a General Motors Electro-Motive Division designed 12 cylinder 710 diesel engine. The Euro 4000 is a cousin of Ireland’s 201 class locomotive and the America F59PHI, also powered by variations of the 12-710.
I made these photos from the platforms at Porto Campanha.
The millennium was coming to a close. I was just back in Ireland after a few months wandering. I arrived by ferry from Holyhead the night before.
The short days of winter offer moments of stunning low sun against what can often be a stark Irish environment.
It was the height of Irish Rail’s annual sugar beet campaign, so Denis McCabe and I headed first for Wexford (Wellingtonbridge to be specific) then worked our way west, finishing the day at Clonmel, County Tipperary.
Although, we come for the sugar beet, a side attraction were a pair of timber trains that were unloading there.
I was working with three cameras. One was a Nikon loaded with Ilford HP5. Ironically, most of those black & white photos have been squirreled away in my files for the last 16 years.
Here’s a sample of what I did that afternoon at Clonmel. Pretty neat in retrospect, however, what was more significant for me photographically was that this trip inspired a half-decade of intensive photographic adventures to document the sugar beet campaign.
In railway photography timing is everything. In Finland, some of the mystery of when trains operate has been revealed through the miracle of a public service application for smart phones and mobile devices.
Thanks to the careful attention of my guides. Petri and Pietu Tuovinen, and Markku Pulkinen, we arrived at the timber loading terminal at the end of a lightly used VR branch just in time to catch the arrival of this VR empty timber train.
In the lead were a pair of venerable Dv12 diesel-hydraulic locomotives. These are the GP9s of Finland and have worked all types of traffic.
The overgrown branch line with very light rail is a total contrast with Finland’s mainlines, which feature excellent track and manicured infrastructure.
An old light 2-8-0 is positioned near the end of track as a display. Finland was still operating wood-fired steam in revenue service into the 1970s.
For the last decade or so, Irish Rail has focused largely on its passenger operations. These days long distance passenger trains are dominated by fleets of Rotem-built InterCity Rail cars (ICRs), with locomotive-powered trains only working Dublin-Cork (class 201 diesels with Mark 4 push-pull) and Dublin-Belfast (class 201 diesels with De Dietrich push-pull). To the casual observer, it might seem that all the Irish Rail trains are ICRs. Certainly they seem to be everywhere.
Last Thursday and Friday, David Hegarty & I visited midland counties in search of freight trains. These are good days to be out, since Irish rail fields a variety of scheduled freight on its route to County Mayo via Portarlington, Athlone, and Roscommon. This single-track line has a rock and roll profile across undulating countryside.
It’s gorse-season, and the gold-tinged blooming bushes works well with Irish Rail’s ‘safety yellow’ on the front of most trains. Getting the sun out is an added bonus. One minute there’s bright sun, the next its lashing rain. Sometime, I didn’t have to wait that long. They call it Spring. It’s as good an excuse as any.
In addition to these digital photos exposed with my Canon 7D and Lumix LX-3, I also exposed a couple of rolls of film, including the first roll of Fuji Velvia 50 that’s been in my Canon EOS 3 in about six years. When using slide film, I usually work with 100 ISO stock. The Velvia 50 is an accident, and I’ll be curious to see how those slides turn out. Thanks to Noel Enright for logistical advice!