Why are so many trains in a mostly white livery these days?

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mspljd1990

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Every current TOC with the exception of GWR, Scotrail, Cross Country, Transpennine Express and South Western now has the same colour scheme - a white carriage with the door in the main colour of the TOC. Is there a reason why they're mostly all following the same formula, perhaps a sign of semi-nationalisation?

Personally I think it's bland, and a far cry from how diverse and colourful Britain's railways were when they were first privatised.
 
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mspljd1990

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Forgetting about Grand Central, WMT, LNWR, EMR?

My bad about West Midlands. I wasn't sure whether I should count Grand Central as they're an open access operator, same with Hull Trains and Heathrow Express.

Re: EMR - they're still doing the same thing for their 156s and 158s, which I don't get - the full maroon livery would look so good on those trains!
 

alistairlees

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Every current TOC with the exception of GWR, Scotrail, Cross Country, Transpennine Express and South Western now has the same colour scheme - a white carriage with the door in the main colour of the TOC. Is there a reason why they're mostly all following the same formula, perhaps a sign of semi-nationalisation?

Personally I think it's bland, and a far cry from how diverse and colourful Britain's railways were when they were first privatised.
This suggests some degree of planning and organisation. Which is rather lacking.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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No point repainting your trains when there is no money, your guaranteed tenure is limited to months at most, and future branding might anyway be totally different.
The ones with a reasonably secure future are the non-DfT operations (Scotrail, TfW, Merseyrail, LO) and the OLR group (LNER, Northern).
Avanti looks reasonably secure, but they are still negotiating a 5/10-year contract with DfT.
All the others still have to negotiate their way out of their franchise commitments and into a new direct award (if offered).
In the meantime, repaints needed will be to a minimum level and with largely neutral branding.
 

Lucan

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So not much repainting needed when the franchise changes hands. It is like Ford Transit vans all come in white, and you can slap some cheap name decals on if you are fussed. That's unless you want an expensive custom paint job done.
 

Goldfish62

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TOCs with a base white livery with coloured doors (excluding temporary liveries):

Northern, TfW (plus Thameslink/GN if pale grey is close enough to white to fit the definition). Can't think of any more.

It's not exactly extensive.
 

greatvoyager

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Hence why white rolling stock is fairly popular! It’s easier and less expensive to change liveries if they’re mostly vinylled logos and cheatlines.
Also I’d say that plain white, being a neutral colour, looks less out of place than a fully liveried unit in a rebranded version of another TOCs livery.
 

route101

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Not a fan of white colour scheme, I recall the 387s looked dull in white. Same with cars, white seems to be so popular!
 

Mat17

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Pity they don't just paint/vinyl them all Blue/Grey and just brand them next to where the BR arrows would have been. Far cheaper to relivery in the long run, gives a sense of cohesion and actually stock looks pretty smart in Blue/Grey, just look at the repainted HST and the 313 that were reinstated into heritage liveries. Modern, clean, smart and functional.
 

Astro_Orbiter

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I think a big thing with it is that the doors have to be a distinct and separate colour to the vehicle body to aid people with reduced vision, so then it really just leaves block colour body with contrast doors and maybe some.vinyls if the TOC is feeling adventurous. TPE in my opinion is by far the best looking TOC as far as train livery and colour scheme goes.
 

Mat17

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You know I always thought it ironic how they would paint the doors in bright colours to contrast them with the bodyside, but of course once those doors are open (say on a 150), the distinguishing colour is then hidden from view!
 

Goldfish62

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You know I always thought it ironic how they would paint the doors in bright colours to contrast them with the bodyside, but of course once those doors are open (say on a 150), the distinguishing colour is then hidden from view!
The big hole in the side of the train is the giveaway that it's a doorway. :D
 

greatvoyager

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Does painting a train mostly white have the same advantage to trains as it does with planes?
 
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I'd agree with TPE being the best of those I know well. It looks good on the 185s and on the Nova fleets.

I think the Pendelinos look really good now - sleek which is good for the type of train they are. Better than they did with Virgin (and I quite liked that too).
 

Goldfish62

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Pity they don't just paint/vinyl them all Blue/Grey and just brand them next to where the BR arrows would have been. Far cheaper to relivery in the long run, gives a sense of cohesion and actually stock looks pretty smart in Blue/Grey, just look at the repainted HST and the 313 that were reinstated into heritage liveries. Modern, clean, smart and functional.
Why reintroduce a 55 year old livery? I'd prefer to look to the future with a fresh new brand identity.

I remember the awful drab days of blue and grey. I certainly don't want to go back to that.

The HST and 313 only looked good because they were freshly done and novel.
 

AlterEgo

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TOCs with a base white livery with coloured doors (excluding temporary liveries):

Northern, TfW (plus Thameslink/GN if pale grey is close enough to white to fit the definition). Can't think of any more.

It's not exactly extensive.
London Overground. SouthEastern (metro only). Sure there are a couple others!
Don't think weight saving is an issue for trains as much as it is for planes
Planes aren’t painted white to save weight but rather to reflect UV light and to keep the interior cool. Additionally, when selling the aircraft or passing it back off lease, predominantly white liveries are easier to repaint and rebrand. Bare metal liveries save weight.
 

greatvoyager

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Planes aren’t painted white to save weight but rather to reflect UV light and to keep the interior cool. Additionally, when selling the aircraft or passing it back off lease, predominantly white liveries are easier to repaint and rebrand. Bare metal liveries save weight.
Thanks for the explanation.
 

Goldfish62

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London Overground. SouthEastern (metro only). Sure there are a couple others!

Planes aren’t painted white to save weight but rather to reflect UV light and to keep the interior cool. Additionally, when selling the aircraft or passing it back off lease, predominantly white liveries are easier to repaint and rebrand. Bare metal liveries save weight.
And white covered in vinyl is of course heavier than a painted livery applied on bare metal.
 

greatvoyager

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The only downside really is that white liveries tend to show dirt more prominently than more elaborate colours.
 

choochoochoo

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Planes aren’t painted white to save weight but rather to reflect UV light and to keep the interior cool. Additionally, when selling the aircraft or passing it back off lease, predominantly white liveries are easier to repaint and rebrand. Bare metal liveries save weight.
They are painted white to save weight.

Interiors of aircraft do not need cooling at 35000 ft. It's cold enough up there already !! Also the skin of an aircraft adequately absorbs UV so why would you need to reflect it ?

White paint contains the least amount of pigment so weighs the least out of any paint colour.

Bare metal would be cheaper than paint. But the washing/maintenance needed for bare metal would cost more than the weight saving over a painted airframe.
 

skyhigh

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They are painted white to save weight.

Interiors of aircraft do not need cooling at 35000 ft. It's cold enough up there already !! Also the skin of an aircraft adequately absorbs UV so why would you need to reflect it ?

White paint contains the least amount of pigment so weighs the least out of any paint colour.

Bare metal would be cheaper than paint. But the washing/maintenance needed for bare metal would cost more than the weight saving over a painted airframe.
If the colour of the paint makes any significant difference to the overall weight of a plane I'm really surprised. From a quick search, it seems that adding paint rather than an unpainted surface adds weight (obviously), but I can't see any claims that white paint weighs less.

The whole point is that you want UV to be reflected rather than absorbed, which leads to heating.
 

choochoochoo

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If the colour of the paint makes any significant difference to the overall weight of a plane I'm really surprised. From a quick search, it seems that adding paint rather than an unpainted surface adds weight (obviously), but I can't see any claims that white paint weighs less.

The whole point is that you want UV to be reflected rather than absorbed, which leads to heating.

Even small weight savings are important for aircraft operators as any weight compounds fuel costs. You have to carry extra fuel to transport the extra weight. Then you have to carry more fuel to transport that extra fuel. And then carry extra extra fuel to carry that extra fuel.....

UV does not lead to heating. IR is the part of the EM Spectrum that leads to heating. And heating is not an issue at 35000ft
 

Darandio

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Interiors of aircraft do not need cooling at 35000 ft. It's cold enough up there already !! Also the skin of an aircraft adequately absorbs UV so why would you need to reflect it ?

UV does not lead to heating. IR is the part of the EM Spectrum that leads to heating. And heating is not an issue at 35000ft

Yet every online Q&A and airline forum that i've just quickly visited suggests the complete opposite.
 

choochoochoo

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Yet every online Q&A and airline forum that i've just quickly visited suggests the complete opposite.
At an outside air temperature of -54C why would an aircraft have to worry about overheating ? Have you felt your luggage just after it's come out of the cargo hold ? There is no need to be reflecting heat.

In fact modern planes pump their fuel through fuel/engine oil heat exchanger to warm it up. Too much heat is definitely not a problem for subsonic flight. (I believe it was a problem for concorde though)

And I'll admit I'm slightly wrong about UV - It does lead to some heating (as would any EM radiation) when absorbed, but not as much as IR would in this case.
 
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