Tag Archives: trams

Europe’s Most Photogenic Urban Railway? Five Photos—Lisbon Trams.

As far as transit is concerned, Lisbon is the San Francisco of Europe.

Ok, you can nitpick about the methods of propulsion, cables versus juice, but with steep hills, outstanding urban panoramas and quirky twisting trackage in narrow streets and fully functional antique cars, Lisbon’s tram system has lots in common with San Francisco’s famous cable cars.

These cities have lots of parallels too, certainly in layout and appearance, and weather.

I made these photos in the Portuguese capital on a brilliant day in April.

There’s seemingly endless opportunity for photographs. But do you work with the shadows or in the shadows?

Canon EOS 7D digital photo.
View from a Portuguese restaurant. Canon EOS 7D digital photo.

For the tourist, Lisbon’s trams are both transport and an attraction.

Lisbon is among the cities featured in my new book, Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe  available now from the Kalmbach Hobby Store.

https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/book/01304

You can also get my book on Amazon. If you like what you see, please give me a good review! Thanks!

Red trams make a special circuit for visitors. Canon EOS 7D digital photo.

Canon EOS 7D digital photo.

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A Year Ago Today: Rome

On 6 April 2017, I spent the morning in Rome researching for my new book on European Railways.

You can order Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe from Kalmbach Books.

https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/book/01304

These photos were exposed using my Lumix LX7.

Roman City Gate.
Antique Roman trams and city wall.
Narrow gauge interurban tram at Centocelle, which was effectively the end of the line on the day I visited.
An Alstom-built electric railcar at Roma Termini.
Rome’s Airport train at Roma Termini. Then off to the airport to Dublin.

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Square Crossing O’Connell Street—Dublin.

Construction of Dublin’s new Cross City LUAS tram route has resulted in two square crossings. One at Abbey and Marlborough Streets, the other at Abbey and O’Connell Street.

This has opened up a variety of photographic opportunities to get two or more trams in one photo.

I made this view on O’Connell Street looking east on Abbey Street toward the pub called Grand Central.

Exposed digitally using a Lumix LX7.

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Dublin LUAS Cross City First Service Views—26 January 2018.

Over the last few years I’ve posted a variety of photos showing Dublin’s LUAS Cross City tram line under construction and trial/training runs.

In December 2017, this new LUAS service commenced from St. Stephens Green (at the north end of the original Green Line service) to Broombridge on Dublin’s Northside. But, at that time, I was elsewhere.

So last Friday (26 January 2018), Mark Healy and I went for a spin out to Broombridge and back. I made digital photos with my Lumix LX7 and colour slides with my Nikon N90S.

These are a few of my digital views.

Northward tram at O’Connell and Parnell Streets.
Broombridge terminus.
Broombridge terminus. Note the new footbridge construction over Irish Rail’s Sligo line. Broombridge is intended as an intermodal interface between Irish Rail and LUAS.
View from the tram at Broombridge.
Map of the new service on board tram 5020.
In bound tram at Grangegorman.
Out of service 4000-series tram at Grangegorman.
Dawson Street on Dublin’s Southside.
Dawson Street on Dublin’s Southside.

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Swiss Colour—Trams at the Basel Hbf.

25 April 2017, I spent a few minutes making photographs of trams at the transit hub in front of the Basel Hauptbahnhof (main railway station).

In the vertical view I’ve included some flowers in the foreground for colour and depth.

The railway station makes for a nice transportation  backdrop.

Exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm Fujinon zoom lens.
The flowers mimic the colours of the the trams.

 

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Revisiting the Rail Confluence at Rome’s Porta Maggiore.

Back in April (2017), on the advice of Stephen Hirsch I visited the tram junction at Porta Maggiore in Rome, and those photos appeared in an earlier Tracking the Light post.

On my recent trip to Rome with Honer Travers in September we revisited this interesting location where several tram routes cross against the backdrop of a 3rd century Roman Wall and the Porta Maggiore city gate.

For added interest, the approach to Rome Termini runs on the east side of the wall and there’s a constant parade of Trenitalia passenger trains.

I like to use the Roman Wall as a frame.

Lumix LX7 photo. Note the FS train on the far side of the arches.
An out of service tram glides along the wall.
That’s the Porta Maggiore (old city gate) behind the tram.
A few  of the older trams still feature this unusual style of pantograph.
A vestige of a narrow gauge interurban line runs through the wall at Porta Maggiore.

I made these photos using my Lumix LX7 digital camera, but also exposed a few colour sldies.

The tram junction sits in the middle of a roundabout (traffic circle) with some of the most irrational driving I’ve ever witnessed. Despite the road chaos, we were able to nip across the street for a gelato (ice cream).

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Bright Morning in Zürich!

It was a clear blue dome and working with my Lumix LX7, I made these photos of trams working the streets of Zürich, Switzerland.

Zürich continues to paint its trams in its classic sky-blue and creamy white livery. This photographs well when the sun is out, but can be challenging on dull days.

The Lumix LX7 when used with the add-on external viewfinder is an excellent tool for urban street photography. I like the LX7 because it allows me to make both Jpg and RAW digital files simultaneously. The RAWs were especially useful here as I could more easily adjust contrast in post processing.

Lumix LX7 photo. RAW file adjusted to improve contrast and shadow detail, then scaled as a Jpg in Lightroom for internet presentation.
Camera Jpg scaled for internet.

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Colour in the Streets; Geneva’s Trams.

Geneva, Switzerland has a remarkable tram network that has melded traditional routes with modern construction.

I made this selection of photographs on my recent visit using both my FujiFilm X-T1 and Panasonic Lumix LX-7 digital cameras.

When making tram photographs I often aim to place the cars in their urban environment.

Geneva’s trams feature a variety of special liveries making for a colourful fleet.

Telephoto view using a FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm lens.
FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Blue and white is the standard livery on Geneva’s tram and bus fleet.
FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
An odd colour for tram; hot pink. Works for Easter I suppose.  FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Tram, bus and trolley bus; FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Lumix LX-7 photo of tram taking a turning loop.
My Lumix LX7 is a great tool for photographing urban night scenes.

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Underground, on the Surface, and on the Elevated: Trams in Köln.

Just a few views from the lens of my Lumix LX7: trams on the roll in Köln during my recent visit.

Köln’s extensive light rail network has endless opportunities for photographs. Over the years I made a few images, but I’ve long felt a more extensive exploration is in the cards.

Someday . . .

At the Dom/Hauptbahnhof station.
Rudolf Platz, Köln.
On an elevated structure approaching Neusser Str.

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LUAS Cross City Progress—March 2017 North Side inspection.

Over the last few years works have been underway in the Dublin city centre to install tram tracks and related infrastructure for the LUAS Cross City extension of the Green Line.

Last week, Mark Healy and I made a walking tour on Dublin’s North Side to inspect progress on this route.

Part of the route uses the former Midland Great Western Railway right of way from its old Broadstone terminus to Broombridge.

Looking south on Marlborough Street.
Marlborough Street.

Looking toward Dominick Street Upper.
Looking toward Broadstone on the old Midland route, now with LUAS tracks.
LUAS at Phibsborough.
Looking toward Broombridge.

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Vienna by Night; Take a Spin on the Tram.

A rainy evening in Vienna; enjoy a Wiener Schnitzel, some Gösser and take spin on the trams.

Vienna features one of the most extensive tram networks in the world, and this is well-integrated with the U-Bahn, S-Bahn and other public transport.

From a photographic perspective it’s hard to go wrong.

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Josefstadt.
Josefstadt.

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I made these images with my Panasonic Lumix LX-7.

Word of warning; when making photos with digital cameras in consistently wet circumstances, try to keep your camera dry!

After several hours of dampness, my Lumix LX-7’s lens fogged up from the inside and I needed to shut it down and give it about 12-hour rest in a dry area.

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Tram Noir—Olomouc, October 2016.

 

A brisk autumnal wind blew through cobblestone streets in Olomouc, Czech Republic.

I wandered with camera in hand, making images of trams grinding along in the dark of night.

These images were exposed on Fuji Neopan 400 using a Canon EOS-3.

I processed the film using Kodak HC-110 diluted 1-64 with water, with an extended pre-soak featuring an extremely dilute developer to help process shadow areas.

By design, my results are grainy and heavily textured to accentuate the effect of harsh lighting on the cobblestones and ancient buildings of the old Moravian capital.

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olomouc_trams_15-oct_2016_bw-at_night_brian_solomon_331633

olomouc_trams_15-oct_2016_bw-at_night_brian_solomon_331635olomouc_trams_15-oct_2016_bw-at_night_-brian_solomon_331650Tracking the Light posts daily.

Postcards from Prague—Trams at Night.

You know you’re having a photographically productive trip when you have a week’s worth of keepers after the first evening out.

Prague, Czech Republic is among the world’s great tram cities.

It’s hard to beat for its variety of cars and paint liveries, combined with stunning urban scenery, a large of number of routes and extensive route mileage (kilometerage?), plus intensive frequency of operation.

I’ve visited before, but I’m still stunned by observing the incredible number of trams gliding through the streets. This is among the most interesting urban railways, anywhere.

Here’s just a few photos from my Lumix LX7 exposed on a rainy evening in Prague.

tram_at_night_prague_p1520920

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tram_at_night_prague_p1520973

tram_at_night_prague_p1520996

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Transcending a Century

Here’s another contemporary black & white view on Dublin’s O’Connell Street.

In the window of Ulster Bank is a view from 1916 showing the ruins of Dublin’s General Post Office, destroyed during the 1916 Easter Rising. Old trams grind along near the old terminus at Nelson’s Pillar.

A child looks at us across the void of time.

Modern pedestrians are a focused on their phones or the ATM at the side of the bank.

Today, tracks are being re-built on O’Connell Street, and after a long absence tram service is expected to resume in 2017.

Exposed on Ilford HP5 using a Nikon F3 with 24mm Nikkor lens. Do you think this photo would as effective in colour.
Exposed on Ilford HP5 using a Nikon F3 with 24mm Nikkor lens. Do you think this photo would as effective in colour.

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Illustration in Bordeaux-Four New Images.

Illustration versus documentation: Often I set out to document a scene. My process and techniques are focused toward making images that preserve the way a scene or equipment appear. Often, but not today.

Creation of an illustration may not be intended as documentation. An illustration is created to convey a message; perhaps that needed for advertising, art, or publicity.

While photographing in Bordeaux, I found that the juxtaposition of the modern trams against both modern and historic architectural backdrops looked remarkably like artist’s/architect’s impressional drawings.

So, as an exercise in illustration, I’ve intentionally manipulated the camera RAW files to make them appear more like the artist’s impressional drawings, such as those often displayed as visions of the future.

Bordeaux_tram_DSCF6360

Tram_Bordeaux_DSCF6543

Specifically, I altered the contrast and de-saturated the color palate to mimic a water-color tinted image. I did not destroy the original files, and so I have the benefit of documentation and illustration with the same photos.

Bordeaux_tram_DSCF6444

Bordeaux_tram_DSCF6463

Questions:

Have I done anything fundamentally different here than with images created (augmented) by the manipulation of digital files to produce super-saturated colors, plus intensely contrast adjusted effects that result in dream-like sky-scapes?

Is a posed railway publicity photo that was heavily re-touched by air-brushing or similar alteration to be considered documentation?

In a later post, I’ll explore Bordeaux’s tram network in fully saturated color.

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Antwerp in the Rain; Trams and Bountiful opportunities for Eclectic City Scapes—16 new Photos.

It was a rainy Monday when I arrived in Antwerp. Working with my Lumix LX7, I spent several hours riding the Lijn trams and making photos.

Does the rain and gloom ad atmosphere to this eclectic Flemish port city? There’s a lot of history here.

Lijn has been buying new low-floor articulated Flexity-2 trams to replace its antique fleet of four-axle PCCs, so I was keen to catch the older cars at work while I still can.

(See related posts: Gent Revisited—Trams, Castles and Cobble StonesGent in Six PhotosTrams of Gent Part 2Trams in Basel, Switzerland; 21 April 2016).

A modern Flexity2 tram glides through the rain in Antwerp. Lumix LX7 photo.
A modern Flexity2 tram glides through the rain in Antwerp. Lumix LX7 photo.
Complicated track work makes for a more interesting urban image.
Complicated track work makes for a more interesting urban image. The PCC is almost incidental to the scene.
There are plenty of eclectic establishments in Antwerp where you can grab a bite to eat an enjoy a glass of beer while watching the tram cars grind along cobblestone streets.
There are plenty of eclectic establishments in Antwerp where you can grab a bite to eat an enjoy a glass of beer while watching the tram cars grind along cobblestone streets.
Antwerp enjoys a complex transport system with tram lines on many streets. However, expansion of the tram subway may soon reduce the number of surface services in some parts of the city center.
Antwerp enjoys a complex transport system with tram lines on many streets. However, expansion of the tram subway may soon reduce the number of surface services in some parts of the city center.

Lijn_Antwerp_P1450608

Could a bus be as photogenic in such a setting?
Could a bus be as photogenic in such a setting?

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Among the advantages of photographing on a cold wet day is that there tend to be few people on the streets to get in your way. Not to be antisocial, but masses of urban humility can be a problem when composing tram photos.
Among the advantages of photographing on a cold wet day is that there tends to be few people on the streets to get in your way. Not to sound  antisocial, but masses of urban humility can be a hindrence  when composing tram photos.

Lijn_Antwerp_P1450622

Near the main railway station there's a tram loop.
Near the main railway station there’s a tram loop used by route 11 cars.
This level crossing is a great place to catch the action.
This level crossing is a great place to catch the action.
I don't think everyone was quite as enthusiastic about tram tracks and cobblestones as I was.
I don’t think everyone was quite as enthusiastic about tram tracks and cobblestones as I was.

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Curbside running makes it easier to board the cars.
Curbside running makes it easier to board the cars.
Here's my car now!
Here’s my car now!

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White trams navigating narrow dark cobble-stone streets makes for some interesting contrast. So, would shafts of sun have improved these images?

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Trams in Basel, Switzerland; 21 April 2016.

On the morning of 21 April 2016, I had a few minutes to make photos of Basel’s trams using my Lumix LX7.

Low clear morning sun helped make my brief efforts a photographic success.

Perhaps on future visit, it would be nice to re-explore the Basel network to a greater extent.

This side-lit view favors the tram's modern profile.
This side-lit view favors the tram’s modern profile.
Sun and shadows in Basel on 21 April 21, 2016.
Sun and shadows in Basel on 21 April 21, 2016.
A modern tram waits for passengers at Basel's SBB Bahnhof.
A modern tram waits for passengers at Basel’s SBB Bahnhof.
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Here I was aiming to feature the Swiss flag.

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Shadowed view offers different contrast.
This shadowed view offers different contrast than images in direct sun.

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The Lost Slide File: Trams ala Baltic: Tallinn, Estonia 2001

It was a week before September 11, 2001. I’d taken the ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn. During my first couple of days I rode around on the tram exploring the city.

Comfort class on a Tatra. Exposed with my Contax G2 rangefinder on Sensia 100 slide film.
Comfort class on a Tatra. Exposed with my Contax G2 rangefinder on Sensia 100 slide film.

In short 2001 was a very intensive year photographically. A week after ‘9-11’, I’d headed off to Spain in search of General Motors diesels and TALGO trains.

When my Estonian slides came back from the processing labs, I’d quickly picked out key images and the rest were filed away, largely unedited along with a host of other trips from the same year.

For years, I wondered what had happened to the Tallinn tram photos. I recalled riding the trams, but the slides were not mixed in with my other Estonian photos.

Trams by the Baltic sea at the Kopli terminus. Contax G2 rangefinder photo exposed on Sensia 100 slide film.
Trams by the Baltic sea at the Kopli terminus. Contax G2 rangefinder photo exposed on Sensia 100 slide film.

Complicating matters, I returned to Estonia a year later for an even more extensive trip and many of my photos of railway operations around Tallinn were exposed in 2002.

Last week, I found these images along with the photos I made in Spain, Finland, and Ireland, plus those along New York’s Southern Tier, northern and central Pennsylvania, the Berkshires of Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Charlottesville, Virginia and Vermont, all of which were exposed over an 8 week span.

They didn't paint cars like this in Soviet times! Contax G2 rangefinder photo exposed on Sensia 100 slide film.
They didn’t paint cars like this in Soviet times! Contax G2 rangefinder photo exposed on Sensia 100 slide film.
Near the main railway station. Contax G2 rangefinder photo exposed on Sensia 100 slide film.
Near the main railway station. Contax G2 rangefinder photo exposed on Sensia 100 slide film.
Contax G2 rangefinder photo exposed on Sensia 100 slide film.
Contax G2 rangefinder photo exposed on Sensia 100 slide film.

I’m glad I kept notes to sort it all out!

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Brussels Trams Catch the Sun

Light makes all the difference. The current livery used by Brussels trams is silver and bronze. This tends to look sedate on dull days, and makes photographing the trams challenging, as they too readily blend in with the city’s architecture.

However, this silvery livery catches the sun nicely, especially when slightly backlit.

Exposure isn’t exactly intuitive.

Are you better to overexpose (allow more light) to capture detail in the deepest shadows and risk blowing out the silvery highlights? Or, instead, underexpose slight to retain highlight detail and let the shadows go dark.

STIB PCCs on the 39/44 Route in Brussels. Here I'm shading the lens with an overhead bridge to minimize flare. Lumix LX7 photo.
STIB PCCs on the 39/44 Route in Brussels. Here I’m shading the lens with an overhead bridge to minimize flare. Lumix LX7 photo.
A similar view exposed of a Bombardier Flexity Tram using my FujiFilm X-T1. File carefully adjusted in post processing.
A similar view exposed of a Bombardier Flexity Tram using my FujiFilm X-T1. File carefully adjusted in post processing.
Bright sun finds three variety of Brussels trams.
Bright sun finds three variety of Brussels trams.
Silver and bronze is a distinctive combination of colours but can require very careful exposure. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Silver and bronze is a distinctive combination of colours but can require very careful exposure. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
A STIB T2000 tram. in bright sun.
A STIB T2000 tram. in bright sun.
A PCC pauses at the Route 39 terminus at Ban-Eik. If you only had time to ride one tram route in Brussels, this might be a good one. It has interurban characteristics in addition to street running and heads a good distance out of the city. Lumix LX7 photo.
A PCC pauses at the Route 39 terminus at Ban-Eik. If you only had time to ride one tram route in Brussels, this might be a good one. It has interurban characteristics in addition to street running and heads a good distance out of the city. Lumix LX7 photo.

I’ve chosen the latter course. With the caveat, that from the moment of exposure I intended to work the digital files in post-processing using Lightroom to control contrast for final presentation.

I’ve treated each of the files slightly differently, but in general, I’ve reduced the highlight exposure and boosted the shadow areas to allow for a more pleasing rendition.

I also made a few colour slides.

What do you think?

Route 39 PCC at the Montgomery terminus. I used my LX7 to make this subway view. Notice how the tram's livery looks very different when viewed by artificial light.
Route 39 PCC at the Montgomery terminus. I used my LX7 to make this subway view. Notice how the tram’s livery looks very different when viewed by artificial light.
A Bombardier Flexity catches the noon-time sun near the Brussels Tram Museum. (I'd hoped to visit the museum inside, but it was closed. Maybe next time . . . ).
A Bombardier Flexity catches the noon-time sun near the Brussels Tram Museum. (I’d hoped to visit the museum inside, but it was closed. Maybe next time . . . ).

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Charleroi—40 Minutes of Nice Light

I’ve passed through Charleroi, Belgium at various occasions over the years. For me it is a place similar to Newark, New Jersey.

Like Newark: Charleroi offers connections between transportation modes and is the location of an important secondary airport and  has a light rail-subway that blends an historic network with modern construction.
Also, both city’s environments are characterized by post-industrial backdrops.

On Thursday, October 1st, a change of trains at Charleroi afforded me a 40-minute window to make photos. Rich polarized sun at the end of the day made for some nice lighting to capture the city’s trams and SNCB trains.

SNCB station at  Charleroi  Sud. Lumix LX7 photo.
SNCB station at Charleroi Sud. Lumix LX7 photo.
TEX Tram at Charleroi Sud. Lumix LX7 photo.
TEX Tram at Charleroi Sud. Lumix LX7 photo.
TEC tram catches a wink of sun on 1 October 2015. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
TEC tram catches a wink of sun on 1 October 2015. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
SNCB station at Charleroi Sud. Lumix LX7 photo.
SNCB station at Charleroi Sud. Lumix LX7 photo.
SNCB station at Charleroi Sud. Lumix LX7 photo.
SNCB station at Charleroi Sud. Lumix LX7 photo.
My train to Ottignie at the SNCB station at Charleroi Sud. Lumix LX7 photo.
My train to Ottignie at the SNCB station at Charleroi Sud. Lumix LX7 photo.

Low sun offers contrast and rich lighting that is well suited to making dramatic railway images.

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Rails through the Street at Mainz at Dusk—8 photos!

During my Rhein travels in September, I had the opportunity to make a few photographs of the narrow gauge tram network at Mainz.

In the fading light of that day, I exposed these photos using my FujiFilm X-T1 and Lumix LX-7.

Mainz is one of dozens of German cities with an active tram network. Someday, I hope to be able explore it fully.

Panning and low angles a nice trick from making more dramatic tram pictures.

Lumix LX7 of a tram in Mainz. Here I've composed the photo to emphasize the track work and street paving. LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 of a tram in Mainz. Here I’ve composed the photo to emphasize the track work and street paving. LX7 photo.
A slight pan sets the tram apart from the background. LX7 photo.
A slight pan sets the tram apart from the background. LX7 photo.
Spot the subject. LX7 photo.
Spot the subject. LX7 photo.
Narrow gauge for narrow streets. Fuji film X-T1 photo.
Narrow gauge for narrow streets. Fuji film X-T1 photo.
Tram with fountain. LX7 photo.
Tram with fountain. LX7 photo.
Panning helps compensate for a slower shutter speed while conveying motion.
Panning helps compensate for a slower shutter speed while conveying motion. LX7 photo.
Passengers are part of the scene. LX7 photo.
Passengers are part of the scene. LX7 photo.
LX7 photo.
LX7 photo.

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Gent in Six Photos

The other day I posted a selection of images at Gent, Belgium. I made dozens of photos on my recent visit in late March 2015 and I thought I’d post a few more of the most interesting images.

Gent Lijn 24 PCC with castle. Lumix LX7 photo.
Gent Lijn 24 PCC with castle. Lumix LX7 photo.
Fuji X-T1 photo at Gent, Belgium.
Fuji X-T1 photo at Gent, Belgium.
Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.
View from the 22. Lumix LX7 photo.
View from the 22. Lumix LX7 photo.
Brand new low-floor tram on the streets of Gent. Lumix LX7 photo.
Brand new low-floor tram on the streets of Gent. Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.

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Gent Revisited—Trams, Castles and Cobble Stones

At the end of March 2015, I furthered my exploration of Gent, Belgium, a small city that features a fascinating narrow-gauge tram network operated by Lijn.

This is an enchanting place to wander around and make photographs.

PCC viewed through castle gate. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1.
PCC viewed through castle gate. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1.
PCC detail. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1.
PCC detail. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1.
Exposed with a Fuji X-T1.
Exposed with a Fuji X-T1.

Trams operate on frequent intervals on several intertwined routes with sections of single track, numerous level crossings, and a seemingly endless back drop of classic architecture.

Trams serve the main railway station (Gent Sint Pieters) making possible an all rail journey from myriad points across Europe. I arrived from Brussels on an IC train.

I’ve previously featured Gent in a pair of Tracking the Light posts published on August 27 and 28, 2013. See: Trams of Gent—Part 1 and Trams of Gent Part 2

Tram with castle. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1.
Tram with castle. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1.
Tram with castle. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1.
Tram with castle. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1.

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Historic Trams: Porto.

Classic four-wheelers.

Porto is an ancient and attractive city built along the River Douro. It was urbanized in Roman times, so relatively modern features such as electric trams, are really just a contemporary gloss on a place with a long history.

I think it’s important to put the timeline in perspective. There’s old, and there’s ancient! Car 131 is a one hundred year old Brill. While car 218 dates from the World War II era. Both add to the city’s charm.

Trams congregate in Porto. Car 131 on the right is a Brill product, now more than 100 years old. Lumix LX3 photo.
Trams congregate in Porto. Car 131 on the right is a Brill product, now more than 100 years old. Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.
Technology from an earlier time. Lumix LX3 photo.
Technology from an earlier time. Lumix LX3 photo.

 

There are three historic routes in service. Two wind through steep and narrow streets in the city center. The third works the river-front. The sound of the clanging bells is a thread to another era.

While riding one of the cars, I overheard an elderly British woman explaining that her great grand-parents lived in Napoleonic times. Napoleon was routed from Porto by the British Duke of Wellington.

Wellington was born in Ireland (although he famously disparaged his birthplace) and in the Dublin’s Phoenix Park, across the river from my apartment, stands the Wellington Testimonial (that celebrates his military victories). I can view this giant obelisk from my window. So there you go!

Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.
Real old tram; really interesting ancient city. Canon EOS 7D with 100 mm lens.
Real old tram; really interesting ancient city. Canon EOS 7D with 100 mm lens.

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London Transport Museum

 

Historic Vehicles on Display at Covent Garden, London.

London Transport Museum
The London Transport Museum offers interpretive display of old transit vehicles. It is popular with kids and tourists. Lumix LX3

I’ve visited the London Transport Museum on several occasions, owing to its convenient location at Covent Garden in central London, and my general interest in transport.

Central to the public displays are a variety of historic conveyances ranging from horse-draw omni buses and horse cars to tube trains, buses, a double deck tram and a lone trolley bus.

London Transport Museum
Old double deck buses on display. I found it remarkable how small these buses are in comparison with those working London’s streets today. Lumix LX3

Perhaps more important than the equipment is the context the museum offers. London is one of the most transit friendly cities in the world and has a long history of offering public transport.

This year the London Underground is celebrating its 150th anniversary. As part of the city celebrations, the London Transport Museum has a display of Underground posters.

 

On my July 2013 visit, I made a few photos of the equipment on display at the museum using my Lumix LX3.

London Transport Museum
Vintage London Tube car on display at the London Transport Museum. Lumix LX3 photo.
London Transport Museum
This Victorian-era tube train displays a relative dearth of windows. Lumix LX3 photo.
London Transport Museum
Looking down a set of stairs on a double deck tram. How was the use of steps regulated when the tram operator was at the front of the car? Anyone? Lumix LX3 photo.

 

 

 

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London Tramlink

 

Greater London’s Modern Streetcar.

Croydon Tramlink
Croydon Tramlink features street running in the classic tradition. Canon EOS 7D photo.

In my last post I covered the Docklands Light Railway (DLR). Today, I’m focused on the London Tramlink (an network centered on Croydon and previously known as the Croydon Tramlink). Here the terminology can get a bit confusing because while ‘Light Rail’ and ‘Trams’ are sometimes used to describe the same type of service, in London these services are distinctly different.

The DLR is an automated grade-separated rapid-transit type of service, but features stations that very close together while taking advantage of very tight curvature. By contrast, London Tramlink features street running and is largely a ground-level operation, with drivers on each car.

Where the DLR uses trains consisting of ‘light rail vehicles’ adapted on modern streetcar design, Tramlink uses trams or ‘streetcars’ and generally runs these singly, with a driver (or operator, if you prefer) on each car.

However, while the styles of operation vary, both systems provide intensive localized rapid transit that is fully integrated with the London transport network. Both systems also have lines on former ‘heavy rail’ rights of way.

I first experienced the Tramlink in January 2006. On a particularly bleak winter day, I rode most of the existing network and made a few color slides. The lighting was flat and very dull, so my photos from that effort have remained in the processing boxes.

Croydon Tramlink
A tram passes Lloyd Park. Lumix LX3 photo.

Last week, I had few hours to spare between appointments, and since it was sunny and bright, I opted to revisited the Croydon tram lines with the specific goal of making photos.

I was surprised to learn that the paint livery had changed. In my 2006 visit the trams were red and white, last week they were largely green and white, although there were a few running around in advertising colors. Also, there were some newer trams augmenting the older cars, which added to the variety.

I made photos with both my Lumix LX3 and Canon EOS 7D. All of these images were exposed in just a couple of hours. Thankfully, the trams operate on a close headway allowing for plenty of photo opportunities.

Croydon Tramlink
A tram approaches Lloyd Park on the line to New Addington. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D and 28-135mm lens.
Croydon Tramlink
A tram at Lloyd Park on the line to New Addington. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D and 28-135mm lens.

 

East Croydon
Contrasts in modern design; a tram at East Croydon. Lumix LX3 photo
Tramlink_modern_Tram_closeview_IMG_0637
One of Tramlink’s new Stadler Rail Variobahn Trams glides along near East Croydon. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Croydon Tram
This tram was difficult to miss in its iridescent special livery.
London Tramlink
Another unusually painted tram was this car which wore a scheme similar to the red and white that I remember from my earlier trip. Lumix LX3 photo.
Tramlink
Older trams such as this one were built by Bombardier. The Tramlink was well patronized. Canon EOS 7D Photo.

 

 

 

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