Tag Archives: Translink

NIR Downhill, Co. Derry—Two Years Ago.

On this day, 8 Oct 2016, I made this view of an Northern Ireland Railways CAF at Downhill, Co. Derry on its run from Derry/Londonderry to Belfast.

Exposed using my FujiFilm XT1.

A similar view from this sequence appeared in my book Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe. 

The book is available from the Kalmbach Hobby Store and Amazon.

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NI Railways 3021 at Cultra, Co. Down.

No, not on display. Not yet! This was a service train.

It had just begun to rain. So rather than making a potentially bland colour view, I exposed this photograph on black & white film using my Canon EOS 3 with 40mm lens

My choice of film is a bit obsolete:  Fuji Acros 100. I have a few rolls left in my bag.

Afterwards, I hand processed in a Paterson tank with Rodinal Special mixed 1 to 31 with water for 3 minutes 45 second at 68F.

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Northern Ireland Railways at River Foyle Peacebridge.

I arrived from Belfast on this Northern Ireland Railways 4000-series diesel railcar.

With a little more than ten minutes before the train began its return journey from the Derry/Londonderry Station, I hoofed to the pedestrian Peacebridge over the River Foyle to make this photograph.

Although overcast, it was bright, but very windy.

The view from the Derry/Londonderry Peace Bridge. Exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm lens set at 23.5mm; ISO 400, 1/500 second, f5.0.

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Northern Ireland Railways at Helen’s Bay.

Here’s another case of when the station isn’t a station.

The classic old stone station building at Helen’s Bay, County Down is now a salon.

The platforms still serve the railway though.

Exposed digitally using a FujiFilm XT1 with Zeiss 12mm Touit lens.

NIR 4006 bound for Bangor glides into Helen’s Bay.

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NI Railways at Botanic, Belfast.

Sometimes a station name conveys a grander image than what’s really there.

Cherry Orchard in Dublin comes to mind.  Put out visions of lush blossoming trees in a bucolic pastoral setting, and replace it with industrial squalor, palisade fencing, graffiti and garbage. Yet, it’s still a good place to catch trains on the move.

Then we have today’s featured location: NI Railway’s modern station at Botanic in Belfast. For me the name invokes images of flowing beautiful gardens, tall majestic trees and rows of manicured flowers, perhaps a fountain.

Er, not exactly.

While more salubrious than Dublin’s Cherry Orchard (and undoubtedly safer too), Botanic isn’t a wonderland.

But it’s not a bad place to picture trains.

Here’s a couple of Lumix Views.

Lumix LX-7 view, August 2018.
Lumix LX-7 view, August 2018.

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Fool in the Rain, Irish Weather Part 1.

On the way to Belfast from Dublin a couple of weeks ago, the rain lashed down. Instead of changing trains at Portadown, I opted to remain dry a little long and remained on the Enterprise all the way to Belfast Central.

It was still cloudy in Belfast, but the rain had stopped.

I traveled to Great Victoria Street, then changed for an all stops NI Railways train and alighted at Adelaide just as the clouds receded and bright evening light prevailed.

An express to Lisburn passes Adelaide. You’d hardly know that an hour earlier it was lashing rain.
A few minutes later, a 4001-series CAF passes on an all stops service. This pair of photos offers a good comparison between the 3001 and 4001 series CAF railcars employed by NIR.
NIR 4010 slows for its station stop at Adelaide.

I exposed these views with my FujiFilm XT1 fitted with a Fujinon 18-135mm zoom lens.

So I wasn’t a fool in the end; or was I?

If I’d changed at Portadown, I would have arrived at Adelaide sooner and I may have photographed a train with a rainbow.

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Looking Down on Great Victoria Street, Belfast.

Plans are afoot to redevelop Belfast’s Great Victoria Street Station.

Although NI Railway’s platforms are not an architectural wonder, I’ve been making photos of the present arrangement before it changes.

Belfast Great Victoria Street Station from Durham Street.
Great Victoria Street at dusk 1/5 second at f1.8 ISO250 with Lumix LX7.
Inbound NIR train arriving Great Victoria Street at dusk 1/5 second at f2.0 ISO250 with Lumix LX7.
Great Victoria Street at dusk 1/5 second at f1.7 ISO250 with Lumix LX7.

I made these views with my Lumic LX-7 from the Durham Street bridge which crosses above the platforms.

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Psssst . . . hey pal, I rode a bus to get these photographs!


It’s true.

Last week I traveled around Northern Ireland on a Translink Adult Zone 4 iLink day card, which allows for unlimited travel on NI Railways and Translink buses for a flat fee of £16. This offers great value and travel flexibility.

I arrived at Coleraine from Derry and wanted to make a photo of a train arriving at Portrush. Rather than take the branch train and wait around at Portrush for an hour to photograph the next arrival, I opted to board a bus.

Not only did the bus take less time than the train, but arrived before the connecting branch train was supposed to depart. This gave me time to explore my angles and set up my photo.

Portrush still features classic mechanical signaling, although on my visit the signal cabin was ‘switched out’. (In other words the cabin was not involved in controlling train movements on the line, which is a normal situation when there’s only one train at a time working between Coleraine and Portrush.)

Semaphores against a background of the North Atlantic/North Channel.
I selected a low angle to better feature the semaphore blade, while waiting to carefully position the train as an element in the photo between the home signal (in the distance) and cabin at left. Contrast and colour adjusted in post processing.

Once the train arrived I made a few photos of it in the station, then boarded for the return trip to Coleraine (and on to Belfast).

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Belfast Great Victoria Street in four Views

Plans are afoot to redevelop Belfast’s railway hubs. With this in mind, the other day I made a few views around Great Victoria Street Station to document the way it looks now, before the changes.

Documentation is a large part of my photography, and it always helps to anticipate change.

NI Railways CAF-built trains at Belfast Great Victoria Street.
Among Belfast’s infamous icons is the Europa Hotel seen here above NI Railway’s CAF railcars at Great Victoria Street.
It was a rainy morning when I exposed this view with my Lumix LX7.
0710 (710am) train to Derry on platform 2 at Great Victoria Street. Lumix LX7 photo.

I look back with satisfaction at photographs I made in the 1980s at Boston’s South Station that show the terminal before it evolved into the modern transportation center that it is today.

Yet, I also regret not making better images of the classic semaphores at South Station that controlled train movements at the terminal.

Tracking the Light Looks Back to Look Forward.


Enterprise on the Move.

The Dublin-Belfast Enterprise service is a joint effort of NI Railways-Translink and Irish Rail.

I’d bought my tickets on-line from Irish Rail’s website.

It was a rainy weekday at Dublin’s Connolly Station when Honer Travers and I boarded the train for Portadown.

After arrival at Portadown we changed for a NI Railways local train.

I exposed these photographs using my Lumix LX7.

Ticket barriers at Dublin’s Connolly Station, exposed with a Lumix LX7 digital camera.
The Enterprise uses specially appointed equipment dedicated to the service.
First Class features 1 x 2 seating.
My Lumix LX7 is an excellent tool for making interior views of railway carriages.
Drizzly weather on the way north.
Cross-platform transfer at Portadown.
An NI Railways CAF-built 4000-series diesel railcar at Portadown. This was a very well-patronized local train.

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DAILY POST: Northern Ireland in November 2005.

NIR in Transition.

NIR Translink
Coleraine, County Antrim on November 29, 2005. New 3001 class railcars lurk in the shadows while an older 80 class railcar set basks in the morning sun.


In November 2005, Translink NI Railways (operator of railway services in Northern Ireland) was in a transitional phase equipment-wise. New 3001 class railcars had been recently introduced, yet many of the older 80-class and Castle class railcars were still on the move.

I drove to Belfast from Dublin, and spent two days riding around on NIR trains making photographs. For the most part the days were sunny and brisk.

At that time of year, the sun in the northern latitudes tends to stay relative close to the horizon throughout the day, which can result in a stark contrasty light.

These images were exposed on Fujichrome at Coleraine, where the Port Rush branch diverges from the Belfast-Derry/Londonderry line.

Like NIR, I too was undergoing an equipment transition; I’d just recently bought a Canon EOS 3, but was still using my older Nikon F3T and N90S for many photographs.

NIR Coleraine signal cabin, November 29, 2005.
NIR Coleraine signal cabin, November 29, 2005.
NIR Translink.
Silhouette at NIR’s Coleraine signal cabin, November 29, 2005.
NIR Translink.
NIR Coleraine station, November 29, 2005.
80 class railcars at Coleraine.
80 class railcars at Coleraine.
With a puff of exhaust, an 80-class railcar accelerates away from Coleraine station.
With a puff of exhaust, an 80-class railcar accelerates away from Coleraine station.


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