British Railways Region Colours on Coaches

MrSir

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I'm trying to figure out what liveries were used on what coaches in which regions, and I'm mainly trying to figure out what region the 'Blood and Custard' livery was used in and also which livery/ies were used in the London Midland and Scottish regions or if it didn't even work like that. It's just really hard to find much information on these types of things because most of the best pictures seem to not have much description or they're in black & white.
 
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Irascible

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Blood & Custard was used everywhere, afaik - the regional liveries ( I think only WR & SR, although there was that green/cream for something so I'm probably missing someone ) came a bit later, and then maroon came along after that.
 

Cowley

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Blood & Custard was used everywhere, afaik - the regional liveries ( I think only WR & SR, although there was that green/cream for something so I'm probably missing someone ) came a bit later, and then maroon came along after that.

The green and cream livery was a BR version of the LNER Tourist livery and we had a thread on that recently:


The blood and custard livery has always intrigued me a bit because I’ve seen so many different shades of it at various preserved railways. I’d love to know what the original specifications were.
 

Irascible

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The green and cream livery was a BR version of the LNER Tourist livery and we had a thread on that recently:

That much I knew ( at least that it was ex-LNER ) I just don't know when & where under BR, whether it was even a choice in the 50s or much much later.

The blood and custard livery has always intrigued me a bit because I’ve seen so many different shades of it at various preserved railways. I’d love to know what the original specifications were.

The same problem as "what colour is Rail Blue" I guess. There's a suggestion it was near BS colour 540, but I'd like to see some sort of identity manual equivalent from the 40s. Was the suburban all-over crimson the same colour? ( that must have been awfully bright for about 10 minutes until it got soot all over it ). Isn't this the sort of thing RMWeb would cover? I'm not a modeller but that site is generally quite a resource for history.
 
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MrSir

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Blood & Custard was used everywhere, afaik - the regional liveries ( I think only WR & SR, although there was that green/cream for something so I'm probably missing someone ) came a bit later, and then maroon came along after that.
Interesting, do you know roughly what year or part of the decade the regional liveries came out? And mainly, what livery/ies were used most commonly in the West Midlands?
 

Irascible

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Interesting, do you know roughly what year or part of the decade the regional liveries came out? And mainly, what livery/ies were used most commonly in the West Midlands?

Not sure when the SR took up green again ( should be easy to find, there's lots of SR websites! ) The WR started painting the stock for it's named trains in about 1956, so I'd imagine some of it's Birmingham & Birkinhead expresses would have been painted. Everything else would have been blood & custard for main-line passenger or all-over crimson for locals, and I suppose a few left-over LMS & GWR vehicles. Bright red & coal-fired steam power does not really mix well, so you'll find all sorts of colours in photos even before allowing for colour film processing not being particularily accurate back then...

Edit: 1956 for SR green too. All-over maroon - the common livery for every region - *also* arrived in 1956
 
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Cowley

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That much I knew ( at least that it was ex-LNER ) I just don't know when & where under BR, whether it was even a choice in the 50s or much much later.



The same problem as "what colour is Rail Blue" I guess. There's a suggestion it was near BS colour 540, but I'd like to see some sort of identity manual equivalent from the 40s. Was the suburban all-over crimson the same colour? ( that must have been awfully bright for about 10 minutes until it got soot all over it ). Isn't this the sort of thing RMWeb would cover? I'm not a modeller but that site is generally quite a resource for history.

I think the green and cream was introduced on the Mallaig line for the steam specials sometime around 1985?
There was also the Lord of the Isles set of mk2s and associated ex class 101 observation car on the Kyle of Lochalsh line in the early 1990s but I’m not sure when they were painted?
 

yorksrob

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The Southern Regions EMU's stayed green throughout nationalisation until rail blue came in.
 

hexagon789

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There was also the Lord of the Isles set of mk2s and associated ex class 101 observation car on the Kyle of Lochalsh line in the early 1990s but I’m not sure when they were painted?
In time for the Summer (May) 1989 timetable
 

Beebman

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The Southern Regions EMU's stayed green throughout nationalisation until rail blue came in.

I believe that there was a change of shade in the late 50s from a lighter malachite green to the darker standard BR EMU livery.

Incidentally I've read that many ex-SR loco-hauled coaches retained green throughout the red and cream era as the Southern Region had a policy of re-varnishing stock if there was no need for a repaint. I've also seen at least a couple of colour pictures of individual ex-LNER coaches still in teak livery around 1955/6.
 

Titfield

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To quote from British Rail Designed 1948 - 1997 by David Lawrence: "It may never be possible to provide a complete guide to the colours used for British Railways / British Rail vehicle liveries and architectural painting schemes. Records are fragmented and much has been expended by railway historians on conjecture which can not always be substantiated".

Rail Blue was originally (as an experimental colour) BS381C 103 (CMYK 49 7 0 55) then (second experiment) BS381113 (CMYK 48 11 0 55) but created as BS381C 114 (CMYK 100 12 0 70).

The BR Design panel "collaborated" with ICI Paints for Rail Blue.
 

Gloster

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The regional liveries of chocolate and cream for the Western and green for the Southern were introduced from April 1956 on, with the SR being slightly behind the WR. At the same time the LMR was going for all maroon, while the ER was a bit later (it was suggested it was still considering a teak livery). While the SR painted just about everything green, the WR only used chocolate and cream on prestige trains (with a few spare vehicles) and the rest were in maroon: chocolate and cream needs extra work to keep clean. (Source: Keith Parkin’s HMRS book on Mark 1s.)
 

Bedpan

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I grew up on the Southern in the 50s and 60s and in general terms I don't remember loco hauled sets being anything other than green. I say in general because there were often one or two blood and custard (and later maroon) carriages that had found their way into a train. As far as I know, in the mid 50s, the main line loco hauled sets at least were all blood and custard except that at some point some Western Region expresses had chocolate and cream coaches as had been mentioned above. I'm not sure how many though, I remember to this day going on holiday on the Cornish Riviera express in 1960 or 1961 and being disappointed at not having any chocolate and cream carriages in the train. The blood and custard would have slowly given way to maroon across the network as the 50s turned into the 60s but I didn't see how quickly this happened as "our" trains on the Southern remained green.
 

delt1c

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The blood and custard was quickly changed to Maroon as it soon became apparent that keeping the custard arera presentable in the steam era was difficult. Maroon being easier to keep presentable
 

Taunton

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I believe that there was a change of shade in the late 50s from a lighter malachite green to the darker standard BR EMU livery.

Incidentally I've read that many ex-SR loco-hauled coaches retained green throughout the red and cream era as the Southern Region had a policy of re-varnishing stock if there was no need for a repaint. I've also seen at least a couple of colour pictures of individual ex-LNER coaches still in teak livery around 1955/6.
Indeed, the SR repainted stock into early 1950s red/cream, or even more so local stock to red, rather reluctantly. "Repainting" comprised a fully authorised works paint job into the disliked different colours, where "revarnishing" was any general touching up, or partial repaint, and used far more paint than varnish. Once there was an element of regional autonomy allowed in 1956, aided of course by not many Southern vehicles entering other regions, it was however amazing how full repainting back to green was authorised, and non-green SR vehicles vanished very quickly.

The blood and custard was quickly changed to Maroon as it soon became apparent that keeping the custard arera presentable in the steam era was difficult. Maroon being easier to keep presentable
This is rather disregarding the GWR having had a similar livery with cream around the windows for ALL stock, for the previous 100 steam-era years.

The WR chocolate/cream revival from 1956 was for named expresses only, all else to maroon. This led of course to a great upsurge in newly named expresses, plus all their relief vehicles were so attired. These inevitably then turned up all around, while the mainstream train got relieved by maroon vehicles. Given that it was normal for extra relief vehicles to be attached last minute, even mid-journey, as required, generally a Hawksworth SK on the rear of a Mk 1 formation, it was unusual to find a fully-liveried named express.
 

randyrippley

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Just a slight divergence. but in the mid 1960s the rump of the Portland branch over the Weymouth backwater viaduct was used for storing old wooden-bodied non-corridor stock. Both red and green rakes, but noticeable in that the all-red was carmine, not maroon, while the green was Southern "bright" malachite, not the later darker BR shade. No idea how long they'd been parked up - they didn't seem to move for years.

=========note===========
edited to correct crimson to carmine
Crimson lake = maroon
Blood & custard was carmine & cream, not crimson & cream and those old coaches were all-over carmine
 
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delt1c

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This is rather disregarding the GWR having had a similar livery with cream around the windows for ALL stock, for the previous 100 steam-era years.
That may well be but it is documented in many publications as one of the reasons for the change.
 
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gg1

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On a related note, it was only around a 10 year gap between the abolition of Blood & Custard and the introduction of Blue & Grey but I don't recall ever seeing the two liveries in the same photo. Was there ever a brief window when the two liveries could potentially be seen side by side or had all the Blood & Custard coaches been repainted by that point?
 

yorksrob

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Just a slight divergence. but in the mid 1960s the rump of the Portland branch over the Weymouth backwater viaduct was used for storing old wooden-bodied non-corridor stock. Both red and green rakes, but noticeable in that the all-red was crimson, not maroon, while the green was Southern "bright" malachite, not the later darker BR shade. No idea how long they'd been parked up - they didn't seem to move for years.

Does anyone know how the bright red livery came about ?

I've seen pictures of branchline steam sets painted red on the Southern Region, but the livery itself doesn't seem to be discussed much.
 

Beebman

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On a related note, it was only around a 10 year gap between the abolition of Blood & Custard and the introduction of Blue & Grey but I don't recall ever seeing the two liveries in the same photo. Was there ever a brief window when the two liveries could potentially be seen side by side or had all the Blood & Custard coaches been repainted by that point?

I'm sure I've seen a colour photo somewhere of a train with one Blood & Custard coach in the rake which is dated 1964 but unless it somehow met up with the XP64 set then I doubt it survived in that livery long enough to be seen with any Blue & Grey coaches. The latest dated photo I've seen of any rolling stock in Blood & Custard is of ex-GWR railcar W20W which was stored out in the open in Worcester Yard in that livery well into 1965 (awaiting preservation at the K&ESR) but again apart from maybe the XP64 set (if it ever went that way) I doubt it stayed there long enough to be seen with any passing Blue & Grey coaches.
 

Gloster

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On a related note, it was only around a 10 year gap between the abolition of Blood & Custard and the introduction of Blue & Grey but I don't recall ever seeing the two liveries in the same photo. Was there ever a brief window when the two liveries could potentially be seen side by side or had all the Blood & Custard coaches been repainted by that point?
According to Parkin, a few isolated examples remained in Blood & Custard until 1964, which makes it just possible that they were seen with the XP64 set. However, it seems unlikely that they lasted until Rail Blue appeared on the rest of the fleet.
 

30907

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Indeed, the SR repainted stock into early 1950s red/cream, or even more so local stock to red, rather reluctantly. "Repainting" comprised a fully authorised works paint job into the disliked different colours, where "revarnishing" was any general touching up, or partial repaint, and used far more paint than varnish. Once there was an element of regional autonomy allowed in 1956, aided of course by not many Southern vehicles entering other regions, it was however amazing how full repainting back to green was authorised, and non-green SR vehicles vanished very quickly.
From memory : most non-corridor stock by the late 50s seems to have been in red, and there were some Maunsell sets still in c/c at withdrawal around 1959.
By contrast, the BR standard corridor sets didn't start getting green until 1959, apart from the Royal Wessex set - those are detailed on www.bloodandcustard.org.
 

gg1

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I'm sure I've seen a colour photo somewhere of a train with one Blood & Custard coach in the rake which is dated 1964 but unless it somehow met up with the XP64 set then I doubt it survived in that livery long enough to be seen with any Blue & Grey coaches. The latest dated photo I've seen of any rolling stock in Blood & Custard is of ex-GWR railcar W20W which was stored out in the open in Worcester Yard in that livery well into 1965 (awaiting preservation at the K&ESR) but again apart from maybe the XP64 set (if it ever went that way) I doubt it stayed there long enough to be seen with any passing Blue & Grey coaches.
According to Parkin, a few isolated examples remained in Blood & Custard until 1964, which makes it just possible that they were seen with the XP64 set. However, it seems unlikely that they lasted until Rail Blue appeared on the rest of the fleet.
Thanks both :)
 

Taunton

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I'm just going on recollections of SR stock in the West Country from about 1960 onwards, most of which apart from the Exmouth line was corridor of varying vintages back to Maunsell's time, and seemed to have become green very quickly. Certainly by the time west of Salisbury was transferred to the WR at the end of 1962 it was all green again, with the notable exception of bogie parcels vans, which seem to have stuck with the red livery.

The GWR diesel railcars were about 50-50 to the end between red/cream and green, the latter seeming to be only the more repaints. They were consolidated in the end at two bases, Southall and Worcester, and accounts from both show this mixture. Quite how they qualified initially for the express stock when they were fully in branch line use is not apparent.

The last GWR-pattern passenger stock built, a series of auto-trailers for 14xx push-pull locos in the 1950s, seem to have had every livery imaginable - chocolate/cream, red/cream, lined maroon, plain crimson, so there were all sorts of odd combinations.
 

Irascible

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Does anyone know how the bright red livery came about ?

I've seen pictures of branchline steam sets painted red on the Southern Region, but the livery itself doesn't seem to be discussed much.

Isn't that just 50s all-over crimson? crimson & cream without the cream.
 

Gloster

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Does anyone know how the bright red livery came about ?

I've seen pictures of branchline steam sets painted red on the Southern Region, but the livery itself doesn't seem to be discussed much.
My interpretation of Parkin, which mainly deals with Mark 1 stock, is that from 1949 to 1956 just about everything on all regions was painted in the original BR crimson lake. This would include stock on the Southern Region: anything to be seen in green was in the old Southern Railway colours, possibly revarnished or touched up.
 

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