On August 10, 2015, David Hegarty and I visited Drogheda, where Irish Rail’s Navan Branch meets the Northern Line.
It was our second visit in two days.
In recent years, I’d been dismissive of the Northern Line as being bland. But, I’ve seen the error of my ways.
In just a couple hours we were treated to a steady parade of trains, and this offered just about the best variety of equipment as anyone can expect to see in modern day Ireland.
The highlight of the day was the arrival of the weed-spraying train, which needed to run around, and the propel back to access the branch.
Our vantage point was the lightly travel road bridge south of the railway station. During our visit there were more dogs across the bridge than cars.
Drogheda is nicely oriented for sun-lit photography through out most of the day. This is the location of a railcar depot (maintenance facility), so in addition to mainline moves, there was considerable activity at the depot, which include the washing of trains.
As with many busy places, the action seemed to come in waves.
By the time of my visit in 2003, Irish Rail’s old Midland Great Western line between Mullingar and Athlone had been out of service for several years. In it’s heyday this had been a relatively busy double track mainline.
On this day the weed spraying train was due for its annual visit, so a man was sent to work the cabin. Thus this incongruous scene of a disused and brushed in line with an active signal cabin.
Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.
One of my all-time favorite Irish Rail subjects was the annual weedspraying campaign. Every spring, a Bo-Bo would be allocated to haul the ancient looking contraption that functioned as the weed spraying train. Over the period of several weeks this would gradually make its way across the network.
Highlights of the campaign typically included travel over a variety of lines closed to traffic and this made for high adventure! [scene censored to protect the innocent]. I also made countless images of the train on regularly used lines.
Yet, finding the train could be a challenge, as it often didn’t hold to its program. Equipment difficulties were among the cause for delay.
On this bright morning in the second week of May, several of us had intercepted locomotive 175 with the spray train at Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary and followed the train toward Waterford. I made this image from the Fiddown bypass just east of the old station at Fiddown. The distant signal for Fiddown gates can be seen in the distance.