January started with my regular New Year trip to the UK, marred by very dull weather from a photographic point of view.

Heading for Toton

NET 209, South Parade Nottingham, 09-01-2018


209 carries a non-standard livery promoting Nottingham City Council's guide to events in the city, with the centre section advertising the "Winter Wonderland" in the square - which was in the final stages of dismantling at the time the photo was taken!

Brightening the Scene

43082, Castle Bridge Road Nottingham, 09-01-2018


Even on a very dull day, the Stagecoach livery brings a little brightness to proceedings. 43082 brings up the rear of 1D32, 1215 St Pancras - Nottingham as it is checked at the final signal before the station. The track layout is simplified from what I knew, and the linespeeds greater.

Winter Sun

222, Portlaoise, 18-01-2018


222 stands at Portlaoise with the 1125 Portlaoise - Heuston on an unseasonably pleasant January day.

Pioneer Memorial

William Dargan Memorial Garden, Portlaoise,18-01-2018


The small garden proably doesn't look it's best at this time of year, but is being well tended.


Not much happened for me in February, but 071s in different liveries provided some interest.

Different Colours

084, 075, Portlaoise Yard, 12-02-2018


Not the best shot in the world with the light fading and foreground clutter, but an increasingly rare chance to compare the older black and silver with the current battleship grey liveries. The two veterans sit in the yard awaiting their next workings for the PW department.

Of interest is that both have rare livery variations of their respective liveries. 084 is one of two that do not have the three-figure version of the running number under the driver's windscreen, while 075 was unique in not gaining the "plug and socket" IÉ logo on the fromt end.

Celebrity Spray

073, Clonminam, 21-02-2018


The short train runs steadily into Portlaoise from Limerick wagon works, after winter maintenance. Formed slightly differently to usual, with a single spoil flat replacing a tanker flat and a tanker+container one. Whether this formation change is temporary or permenant remains to be seen.

Veteran Survivor

3187, Clonminam, 21-02-2018


Brake force and staff accomodation is provded by this former steam / generator car, new as a mark 1 passenger coach on British Rail.


February ended and march started with a very heavy snowfalll (for Ireland) by the so-called "Beast from the East".  My office closed, but the railway kept running for part of the 1st March, allowing the rare luxury of some snow scenes.  Later in the month, the building of an underbrdge at Sallins resulted in trains terminating at Newbridge, and some unusual movements.

Struggling On

22024, Portlaoise, 01-03-2018


The 0812 Portlaoise - Heuston arrives from Laois Traincare in more-or-less the path of the 0913 :) Speed restrictions and other issues cause problems on days like this, but most of the (few) pasengers I saw seemed accepting of the situation.

Snow and Sunshine

229, Portlaoise, 01-03-2018


The 0900 Heuston - Cork arrives at Portlaoise with a snow-encrusted 229 at the helm. It's arrival fortuitously coincided with the sun forcing its way briefly through the cloud! I'm glad I haven't got to couple it up to anything :)

Creating a Storm

22039, Portlaoise, 01-03-2018


Sunshine and snow showers! 22039 passes Portlaoise at a specially limited spees with the 0700 Tralee - Dublin Heuston, running quite late at this stage but still battling on, creating it's own snowstorm in the process!

It is quite rare in Ireland to get scenes such as this, so the fact that despite falling snow the sun also got through was a welcome bonus.

Turning Short

231, Newbridge, 30-03-2018


Having arrived with the 0925 from Cork, 231 idles to itself before working the 1222 back to the Munster capital. I scored a new bit of track on the inbound working, as I had not travelled over the up to down crossover at the west end of the station before.

The dark clouds were a portent that during my stay to obserrve the repalcement bus services, I had to make much use of the somewhat limited sheter at Newbridge station!

Crossing Over

22036, Newbridge, 30-03-2018


The 1025 from Cork eases across the little used pointwork as it arrives at it's terminus.

Passing Racoon

231. Mountrath Rd Portlaoise, 31-03-2018

231. Mountrath Rd Portlaoise, 31-03-2018


Always carry the camera! A walk into town to do some shopping, and on the return timed perfectly with sun, dark cloud and a racoon! 231 departs Portlaoise with the 1226 Newbridge - Cork, normally an ICR turn. Those concrete fence posts are a bit of a pain!


Railtours, both enthusiast and upper class, together with a trip to Dublin and a rescue form the highlights in April.

Evening Tour

086, Portlaoise, 07-04-2018


In an effort to produce a better result, I've converted this shot to monochrome and re-edited accordingly. While by no means perfect, I quite like the result! The tour arrives very late and makes an additional stop at Portlaoise - if I'd known I would have set up in a different place and used a tripod!

Wagons Roll

074, Portlaoise, 10-04-2018


A regular working through the station is the weekly as required Limerick - Inchicore wagon movement. This can have all sorts of wagons travelling to and from the workshop at Limerick for repair, or (as in this case) carry wheels or other spares. It can also be a light engine if movements are only required in one direction!

The return train runs easily through Portlaoise station with 074 returing to normal duties after uise on a railtour the previuosu weekend.

Luxury Personified

231, Knockmay, 10-04-2018


The first Belmond of the 2018 season is seen passing Knockmay, Portlaoise from my canteen window during a conveniently timed teabreak - to the amusement of my colleagues! Dedicated loco 216 was indisposed in Inchicore on this occasion, but 231 doesn't look too bad in charge of the luxury train.

Towing In

087+218, Portlaoise, 12-04-2018


The object of the visit. 218 failed a few days earlier in the Cork area, having to be rescued by 215 (which would have been a personal nightmare for me - 215 and 218 on the same train!) Arrangements were made to drag the errant loco back to Inchicore for repairs.

The plan was that they would pause here, and exchange crews with 222 running light engine south to act as Cork standby, but the latter had been delayed departing the capital, and the exchange was done instead at Portarlington. The chance of getting three locos in the station at the same time was therefore lost.

087 still carries the remains of it's "Movember" moustache from November 2016 as it heads north with the dead 201 in tow.

On the Blocks

216, Dublin Heuston, 21-04-2018


It's nine years since I've seen a 201 on the stops at Heuston with a mark 3 set! As it happens, my last trip into the station with such a formation was behind this loco, the rake covering for a failed mark 4 set. Granted, they look a little different now, but even so!

216 awaits the stock to be moved so it can be released from the stops.


3019, Jervis, 21-04-2018


My ride from Heuston. On the Red Line since new, although extended in length during that time, 3019 prepares to depart the Jervis stop. When built, the shopping centre faced unashamedly onto Henry St, and the blank wall here was very much the back of ther building on a rather on a neglected street. Tram users have to go up then down escaltors to access the centre.

Passing the GPO

5016, O'Connell St Dublin, 21-04-2018


An attempt to get the modern tram pasing the iconic and historic GPO. While I managed to avoid getting trampled on while kneeling, the reflection of the spire in the windscreen, the chopping off of part of the portico and the car just in shot mean I'll have to try again - time prevented waiting around on this occasion.

The 5000 series were the longest in the city, but new deliveries are even longer and, like the 3000 series before them, these are to be extended to match the latest arrivals.


Engineers workings add to the variety through Portlaoise as are seen here; a day out to Drogheda was the main trip.  There was also some steam action through Portlaoise, as part of the annual RPSI three day tour.

Short Spoil

085, Mountrath Rd Portlaoise, 04-05-2018


Engineers trains come in all shapes and sizes, providing the modeller with a prototype for everything on even the smallest layouts! Here a short train passes the 51¼ milepost as it propels back into the yard. I arrived as it stopped in the station loop, so I am not sure if it arrived from the south or just had to use the station loop for shunting purposes.

Running In on the Weedspray

079, Portlaoise, 04-05-2018


How often have I hoped for this loco to appear at the head of my passenger train! It is the only one the eluded me in my commuting days, although I missed it by a few minutes on a couple of occasions. My wife and son seldom cease to remind me that I am alone in this omission, as they have both ridden behind it!

The loco shows off it's new paintwork - even the bogies and underframe are still grey rather than track dirt brown - as it eases to a halt in the station. This cycle of the train was in factr the first working after overhaul, and was therefore a gently bedding in working before returing to work on heavy HOBS or Tara workings.

Soldiering On

3187, Portlaoise, 04-05-2018


This veteran has an interesting history. Built as BSK 34012 for British Railways in 1950, it was withdrawn after 21 years passenger service. Sold to CIÉ in 1972, it was converted to a generator / steam heat car for use with the Cravens and other stock, replacing older vans less suitable for the higher speeds being worked. As steam heat declined, with the arrival of mark 2D and mark 3 stock wth their own generator cars, this passed into departmental service for use on this and the Sperry working in 2007, replacing an earlier cascaded passenger vehicle. It worked it's first train in this guise from Portlaoise to Enniscorthy on 10th April that year. At nearly 70 years old, it is one of the oldest vehicles in main line passenger use in the British Isles.

It is seen here arriving at Portlaoise during the regular Spring circuit of the network; this was to be the last such circuit, with MPV 790 taking over, but this turned out to not be th case.

Celebrity Rescue

073, Portlaoise, 08-05-2018


Folllowing a problem with a mark 4 set, 073 was called upon to work it back to Inchicore, complete with 219 dead on the rear. The bright orange loco hammers through the station with that wonderful roar as it heads for Inchicore, with a wave from the crew as they pass.

Dublin Icon

8329, Dublin Connolly, 13-05-2018


I'm not totally sure what service this was. With Binn Éadair, or Howth on the display, it was on the normal southbound platform and was well after any scheduled service - but may have been held to avoid delaying my Drogheda train.

The DART has become an integral part of Dublin lore since its' introdution in 1984, when it was a huge step up in reliability from the aging diesels dragging de-engined railcars around on suburban services. It is however a victim of its' own success, and the frequency now demanded causes problems for other services including the cross-border Enterprise. Unlike the Heuston line, four tracking north to Malahide is not a simple option and the DART Underground, removing conflicts to the north of Connolly, appears to have been abandoned by the politicians, who see the opening of the Phoenix Park Tunnel line to passengers as having ticked the box and solved the connectivity issue across Dublin.

Spring Repaint

29017, Drogheda, 13-+05-2018


The new livery on these sets is somewhat dull compared to the Commuter livery, although it is simpler and cheaper to apply. IMHO, the band around the windows should have been lighter than the base colour, not darker. 29017 is mid shunt at the depot.

Sunday Rest

29115,Drogheda, 13-05-2018


Not required on a Sunday, 29115 is seen stabled outside the depot. It carries the earlier livery which these sets carried from new, and which was also applied to the 2600, 2700 and 2800 Class railcars when they lost their orange.

Pushing the Enterprise

227, Drogheda, 13-05-2018


227 draws to a halt at the rear of the 1100 Belfast - Dublin "Enterprise" service. Thanks to the mark 3 generator car just visible, the engine is no longer runnning continually at high revs, deafening passengers and damaging reliability. While the American approach of keeping things simple is admirable, the need to operate at high revs for head-end power is in no way as good as systems used un Great Britain and elsewhere.

Going Home Alone

4, Portlaoise, 13-05-2018


I always find this loco rather difficult to photograph, with its slightly matt black finish! No 4 runs quietly through Portlaoise light engine to Connolly shed, it's duties on the RPSI "Cork and Kerry" railtour complete.

In Full Cry

85, Portlaoise, 14-05-2018


Possibly the best steam exhaust I've caught on camera. 85 hurries through Portlaoise with the "Cork and Kerry" RPSI three day railtour, with Lar Griffin looking out on the fireman''s side. I was glad it was a few minutes down on this occasion, as my lunch bnreak could not start until 1230, and I had to get down to the station!

Southbound HOBS

081, Portlaoise, 14-05-2018


This was a welcome surprise! After the stream special passed, the signal on the Mountrath Rd bridge had cleared to yellow, so I assumed it was an ICR heading into Laois Traincare. However, central twin headlights appearing round the bend encouraged me back to the platform end! 081 drifts through with a southbound HOBS working. From and to where I am not aware!

Returning Wheels

085, Portlaoise, 22-05-2018


The 1210 Inchicore - Limerick wagon transfer runs once a week as required, usually on a Tuesday in the Belmond season. It transfers wagons on maintenance between the two sites, as well as seen here new and freshly turned wheels. Here we see 085, with the sort of train modellers love as a prototype - it fits on any layout! - passes south with the return working in the spring sunshine. A similar working operates weekly between Limerick and Waterford, to allow wagons off the Waterford - Ballina circuit to be moved to Limerick for maintenance.

Preparing to Spray

082, Portlaoise PW Yard, 31-05-2018


082 is the only named member of the class. It is seen with the weedspray set in Portlaoise after arriving from Mallow earlier in the day.


Just one shot this month - the Belmond in sunlit glory!

Sunlit Luxury

216, Portlaoise, 04-06-2018


It takes a sunny day for this train to show at it's best! Running a few minutes early, the driver gives a cheery wave and toot as the luxury train glides through Portlaoise on it's way from Charelville to Galway.

This working was a private hire of the train, running in the usual Thursday path. It will result in a same day turnround tomorrow, when it will arrive at Heuston in the morning then depart on it's normal week long tour in the afternoon.


Another spin to Dublin on a Sunday - a while since I've visited so often! - along with an inspection working through Portlaoise.

Inspecting the Line

700, Portlaoise, 12-07-2018


One end of the machine has this camera attachment - or is it an anti-trespass weapon?! The inspection car rattles through the station heading for Dublin.

This car is now almost vintage, being built in 1974 and therefore 44 years old at this point. Much modified with updated equipment, it is testament to the build quality and maintenance that it continues in a vital role today.

Just Round from Heuston

087, Dublin Connolly, 14-07-2018


Last time I saw an 071 here, there were two of them and they were orange! This working is however a step up in class. Having arrived in Heuston from the Westport line, the Belmond Grand Hibernian undertakes some rather convoluted shunting in order for an 071 to be at the correct end to bring the set round to Connolly; the dedicated 216 then follows, to be on the correct end to work to Belfast.

Heading for Belfast

9003, Dublin Connolly, 14-07-2018


The 1320 Dublin Connolly - Belfast Central departs with driving trailer 9003 on the rear. Introduced in 1998, recent refurbishment has updated the interiors and tried to address reliability issues with the sets.


A summer visit to family n the UK conicided with a local diesel gala - by chance (honestly!).  Also a first visit to Crewe for many years, much quieter than I remember when using rover tickets in the 80s.

Matlock Bound

156410, Duffield, 11-08-2018


156410 is one of the first of the type with EMT to undergo modifications to allow continued use past the RVAR deadline in 2020, involving altered door controls, toilet and information displays. The freshly overhauled 156 departs Duffield on it's way to Matlock in bright morning sunshine.

Met-Camm Splendour

50253+29303+50170, Wirksworth, 11-08-2018


Looking the part with no loco attached, the original liveried class 101 set stands at Wirksworth. The changes to this site since my last visit are immense, and the railway is well on the way to becoming a major line in the preservation world.

It's one of those things that, when they were common on the network in the 80s we ignored them - they were a means of getting to something more interesting. Now, given the standard of some of their replacements, we realise what we have lost!

Push-Pull Exile

33103, Wirksworth, 11-08-2018


33103 stands at Wirksworth after arriving with the 1522 from Duffield. I never had haulage from a 33/1 in BR service - I have to admit I tended to avoid the Southern Region as third rail EMUs were not high on my list of priorities!

Brush Survivor

31601, Wirksworth, 11-08-2018


31601 idles on the long rake after arrival with the 1622 from Duffield. Class 31s were not my favourite in BR days, although their limited power and high weight certainly produced the sound effects trains over five coaches! They were quite common for me though, on the Norwich - Birmingham and south Trans-Pennine corridors before the Sprinter "revolution".

Rods in Harness

08704+08605, Duffield, 11-08-018


Journeys end, as the pair stand at Duffield with the 1715 from Wirksworth. With a 15mph maximum speed, not the most exciting journey of course, but the novelty factor alone was worth it - there were very limited opportunities to get these "in the book" in BR days!

Pioneer Hoover

50050, Eastcroft, 13-08-2018


Ironically, I didn't have a digital or scanned pic of this loco a few days earlier on the occasion of my 50th birthday! 50050 is shunted at Eastcroft yard.

Back in the early 80s we'd often go down in the evening and sit on the heating pipe from the incinerator feeding the district heating scheme (somewhere near the orange trailer in the background) and watch the activity, in those days 08s, 20s, peaks, 47s and occasional more exotic fare. The rumour was you had to leave before 9pm, as the BTP patrolled the area at that time! Not sure how true it was - our respect for the officers of the law was probably somewhat greater than held by youngsters today, and we didn't wait around to find out!

Northern Thameslink

319375, Crewe, 18-08-2018


My first sighting of a 319 north of Bedford! In my regular visits to Crewe in the 80s, this would have been a 304 on a stopping service to Manchester. Now cascaded 319s have replaced (newer) class 323s, and electrification has allowed the extension of the service through to Liverpool. Hopefully no-one from here for Merseyside will be tricked into using this service though - it will take them rather longer than they expect!

Derby Dogbox

153318, Crewe, 18-08-2018


The platform for Stoke, Derby and (in the past) Nottingham and Lincoln since before I remember. 153318 waits to work the 1407 to Tutbury & Hatton.

Services to Nottingham have long since disappeared, in part due to congestion at Derby with services having to cross the layout, but also as a revenue grab by the former Central Trains franchise by routing passengers from Nottingham to Liverpool, North Wales and the North West via Manchester. The loss has made some journeys (eg Lincoln to Stoke) almost unviable with multiple changes.

Full Tilt Northwards

390044, Crewe, 18-08-2018


390044 departs north from platform 5 - I believe for Manchester. This was my first live sighting of the new livery on these sets, and to say I was less than impressed was an understatement. Clearly the DfT are going down the aircraft route of white with a few vinyls for as much as they can get away with.

Thunderbird on Standby

57304, Crewe, 18-08-2018


"Pride of Cheshire" is seen in arguably the county's main station! Converted to act as Thunderbird for the Pendolino fleet and named Gordon Tracey after a character in the show, 57304 is now a member of the DRS fleet. It is seen opposite platform 12 at Crewe station.

Bombardier Pride

221115, Crewe, 18-08-2018


Carrying Bombardier vinyls, 221115 stands in platform 6 at Crewe. Not being a fan of these sets (to the point of using slower stopping trains to avoid them when I lived in Derby and had to travel to Birmingham) I find it amusing that the manufacturer wants to proclaim their involvement :) That said, it is governemnt policy and industry practice that encouraged the introduction of these too-short trains at network clogging frequencies giving franchisees an unfair proportion of the revenue - so-called ORCATS raids.

Banger Blue Lives On

08220, Longport, 18-08-2018


Class 08s seem to have been going on for ever - the basic design dates back to the 1930s. They are an increasingly rare sight however, as shunting reduces and train engines are used for remaining moves. To see a rail blue liveried example was therefore a welcome reminder of times past! 08220 stands at Longport.

Dating from 1956, it originally carried the pre D number series ID of 13290. Withdrawn as log ago as 1986, it spent time at both Carnforth and Ruddington, before returning to commercial service here.


A chance sighting of 073 running light was the main capture this month.

Orange Marvel

073, Portlaoise, 10-09-2018


As part of trying to improve my editing techniques, I produced the HDR version of the previous shot. Still on a learning curve!


Tours for the main interst this month, again both RPSI and Belmond.  A special Belmond working became the first mark 3 worked train to call for passenger purposes since 2009 with a party of Americnas discovering their heritage.

On Tour

088, Portlaoise, 13-10-2018


A view of the whole train as it waits for the right away.

Welcome on Tour

216, Portlaoise, 16-10-2018


The blue 201 heads through the station with the 1425 Heuston - Cork leg of the tour.

Private Hire

234, Portlaoise, 25-10-2018


The 0910 Inchicore - Limerick Junction working heads through Portlaoise, with Intercity liveried 234 adding some colour to proceedings on a dull day. The train would continue in passenger dervice on to Mallow, before returning to Dublin, and was a private charter for an American group.

Sperry Arrival

076, Portlaoise, 25-10-2018


The second special working of the day. 076 brings the Sperry set into Portlaoise with a positioning move from North Wall.

Still in Service

3187, Portlaoise, 25-10-2018


Reverese shot of the elderly mark 1 as the train heads into the station loop and onwards into the yard.

Cork Train

4001, Portlaoise, 25-10-2018


4001 leadsthe late running 1225 Cork - Heuston into Portlaoise.

Mark 3 Return

Belmond Grand Hibernian, Portlaoise, 25-10-2018


I last caught a mark 3 train from here on an up Cork, replacing a non-available mark 4 set, on 15th June 2009. Strangely, the loco was 216, the normal loco for this set. The train is seen waiting while the guests partake of a Guinness or two.

Awaiting Departure

234, Portlaoise, 25-10-2018


The once common sight of a mark3 formed train behind a 201 waits for departure time at Portlaoise.


A rainy visit to the station for a rare 2600 Class movement; the bonus of an engineers working was worth the drowning!

Engineering in the Rain

075, Portlaoise, 09-11-2018


With the rain lit up by the headlight beam, 075 runs into the station before diverging into the station loop. This loco was quite distinctive when in the bllck and silver livery, as it never recieved the IÉ logo on the nose ends. After overhaul however, it is now back to standard.

Unit Transfer

2602+2601, Portlaoise, 09-11-2018


Having heard this was running late, I sheltered in the station building. At the scheduled time, I heard the distinctive horn and realised it was running in! Low light, a rush out, and rain ensure that this is very much a record shot as the 2600 Class leader heads for Limerick.


A visit to Kildare, two rescues and possibly the last movement of the Sperry / Weedspray set make for an interesting conclusion to the year.

Liner to Dublin

087, Kildare, 03-12-2018


087 wheels a lightly loaded 1105 Ballina - Dublin North Wall IWT container service through Kildare.

Unit Refreshed

22308, Kildare, 03-12-2018


I was pleased this one turned up! 22008 is the first set to undergo a refresh, which includes more prominent indication of the correct doors for access to the wheelchair and cycle areas. This consists of differently coloured doors, and large pictograms.

While welcome, as in this case if the intending customer has no advance indication of the set formation a mad dash along up to nine cars along a busy platform may still be needed. Ideally, it should be part of station announcements and also information displays toi allow passengers to get themselves in at least roughly the correct place before the train arrives.

Fast Overtaking

222, 22309, Mountrath Rd Portlaoise, 03-12-2018


The setting sun illuminates 222 as it overtakes 22009 standing in the station loop at Portlaoise this evening. 222 is working the 1500 Heuston - Cork, while 22009 has worked the 1420 Heuston - Portlaoise, and is awaiting both the Cork train and the 1547 Empties from Laois Traincare to pass before itself running on to Laois Traincare.

Dead Move

076+077, Portlaoise, 06-12-2018


A sigh of relief from me as the 22040 running empty off the 1220 Heuston - Portlaoise drags clear, revealing the 071 pair on the 1000 Mallow - Portarlington spoil train. This should have run (from Cork) on Tuesday, but 077 failed in section between Cork and Mallow, causing some anount of chaos in the process. It was moved to Mallow on Wednesday, before continuing on today.

End of an Era?

079, Clonminam Bridge, 13-12-2018


Very much a record shot - the brightness of the headlight shows how dark it really is, and my lens isn't the fastest! 079 accelerates away from Portlaoise with the 0905 Portlaoise - Lisduff Sperry, for the last time this season and, if the rumours are correct, possibly the last time ever. This will bring to the end use of one of the oldest mark 1 coaches still in active main line service.

201 Rescue

220+223, Portlaoise, 19-12-2018


At last the local clears the section, and 220 opens up to continue the run to Inchicore.

Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019!

22134, Mountrath Rd Portlaoise, 31-12-2018


And it's goodbye 2018! The 1000 Heuston - Cork heads away from Portlaoise in the hands of 5ICR 22034. Happy New Year everyone - here's to 2019!

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