The BR Standard specification for painting locomotives was based on a drawing of a rebuilt Patriot or Jubilee with a separate drawing of a splasher face. The spec did not cover ‘non public’ areas so there was nothing covering the inside of cabs, front of tender, inside of frames or even splasher tops. The various works continued with their own practice for these areas.

Green areas

The boiler and firebox cladding, cab sides and front, splasher sides and valance of the engine, and sides, back and valance of the tender were painted green. Other items above the platform were also painted green, for example, sand box filler backing plates, boiler support brackets, name plate backing plates. Boiler side pipe work and reversing reach rods were either black or green depending on the Works. On some classes the cab roofs up to the rain strips were painted green. 

The precise limit of green paint was somewhat variable. Splasher tops on the LMR, ER and SR were either green or black depending on the Works that painted them (Crewe and Doncaster always green), while on the WR they were generally black (except County splasher tops which were green).

Black areas

All surfaces below the running plate ie, wheels, outside of frames; running plate (platform), cab roof (in some classes just that area above the rain strips), smoke box and chimney, front and top of tender. Top cladding of boiler on the SR MN, BB & WC classes. Also hand rails on boiler side (except WR), ejector pipework on LMR engines. Various types of black paint were used depending on how hot the area got or how wet

Red areas

The buffer beams and buffer housings were painted vermilion but the WR continued to use Chinese red for buffer beams until stocks ran out. 

Non-specified areas

As mentioned above 'non public' area colours were not specified so the insides of cabs were painted in the various works' traditional manner. Ex LMS were black up to the base of the windows and white above, ER & WR body colour, SR Light Stone. The tender front of ex LNER Pacifics tended to be Green. 

Inside of the main frames were generally vermilion (probably Red Lead) on LMR engines, Venetian Red (Red Oxide) on WR, probably Vermilion on SR and ER. The WR additionally painted eccentric rods and straps, and cranks in Venetian Red. 

Apart from the exception above inside motion was left bright.


Lining Style 1, Large panels & boiler cladding bands -

 1/8” Orange – ½” Green – 1” Black – ½” Green – 1/8” Orange


Lining Style 2, Splashers and valances -

 1/8” Orange – ½” Green – ½” Black


Lining Style 2S, ex GWR Stars with rivetted splasher faces

 1/8” Orange – ½” Green – 1½” Black


Lining Style 3, MN, WC, BoB boiler and tender stripes

 ¼” Orange – 2” Black – ¼” Orange


Lining Style 4, Cylinder cladding

 1/8” Orange – c2” Black – 1/8” Orange


Lining Style 5, BR Standards valance

 1” Green – ¼” Orange – variable Green – ¼” Orange – 1” Green


The tender and lower cab sides were each lined as a continuous panel set in about 5” from the edge (the exact location depended on hand rails, rivets and edge shapes) in Style 1.  The minimum radius to the outside of the corner was 4”. 


The splasher faces were lined in Style 2 on the top edge only. (Except WR, see below)


The lower edge of the valance was lined in Style 2. (Black on the bottom edge). The exact dimensions of the lines and spacing were dependent on the depth of the valance. (Except WR, see below).


Boiler bands were lined in Style 1. Firebox cladding bands were not lined (except some ER round top fire boxes)..


Cylinders were lined in Style 4 either on the cladding band or set in from the edge. (Some ER engines had unlined cylinders)


There was no other lining on the engines or tenders.

Regional Variations

Western Region - Kings, Castles and Stars.


The principal variations in the way the WR painted its engines were as follows.

 Splashers were lined in the GWR manner in that the orange line formed a complete panel with an additional straight line along the lower edge of the splasher face. WR valances were green but unlined. Hand rails were painted in the background colour except those at the cab entrance, which were unpainted.

 The nameplate backing panel was fully lined in Style 2, with a black edge and inset orange line. The cast number plate was lined just within the edge with a single orange line.

 The Star Class cab side was lined in the GWR style with the lining taken up to the top of the cab side rather than the normal BR style. Stars with rivetted splasher sides had them lined in Style 2S. Unnamed Star class engines bore the words STAR CLASS on the centre splasher face in 2” white lettering.

 The WR continued to use Chinese red for buffer beams for as long as they had stocks, and Venetian red for inside the frames.

 The cab interior was painted green.

 Engines painted at Stafford Road Works had a black rim on their buffer housings.


Eastern & North Eastern Regions - A1, A2, A3, A4, B2, B17, W1


The cladding bands of the round top B2 and B17 fireboxes were lined. Cylinders were generally unlined. The valances of the A4s and the W1 were painted black and unlined. On engines painted at Doncaster the orange valance lining turned up behind the front buffer beam.

 The inside of the cab and the front of eight wheel tenders were painted green.


Southern Region - MN, WC/BB, Lord Nelson, King Arthur.

 The original ‘air smoothed’ engines carried three lining styles and the extent of the green area changed with modifications to the casing. Originally the lining consisted of two continuous bands in Style 3 from the front of the engine to the back of the tender. The upper line ran at a level just below the top of the tender tank (WC/BB) and the lower ran 3” above the driving wheel cut out.

 When the tenders were cut down by the removal of surplus side sheeting they received the standard panel Style 1 lining.

 Finally, in the 50s, the cab side lining was altered to Style 1 to match the tender.

 The top of the engine casing and the area below the level of the driving wheel cut out were painted black but when parts of the casing were cut back around the cylinders the black area was extended to just above the cut out. The sides of the tender coal space and the entire rear ladder were painted green. The lower part of the original style of tender side was painted black to the same level as the engine cab side but the sides of the cut down tenders were all green. The cab roof was painted green up to the level of the black boiler-top casing.


The Urie and Maunsell King Arthurs’ cabs were lined differently. The Urie cab was lined up to within 5” of the roof but the Maunsell version was lined to just below the row of rivets part way up the cab cut out. At this level the lining was at the same height as the top lining of the six wheel tenders. 

 Cab interiors were stone colour above the waist and black below.


London Midland Region - Coronations, Princesses, Royal Scots, Patriots, Jubilees.

 The lined green livery of these engines was completely standard except for the edge distance of the lining on Stanier tenders, which was increased at front and back edges.

 The cab interior was painted black up to the bottom of the windows and cream (or white) above that including underside of roof in front of the supporting angle.

 Engines painted at Crewe had a black rim to the buffer casings.


BR Standard  - 70000, 71000, 72000.

 The lining on these engines followed the standard practice except for the valance, which was lined in Style 5 with a continuous ¼” orange line set in from the top and bottom edges without the black edging.


As mentioned previously the most powerful passenger engines of each region were to be painted Sky Blue with black and white lining. The extent of the coloured area and form and layout of the lining was identical in every way to the green livery and the regional variations were the same.

There were five lining styles (no Style 2S) the same in layout as the green styles but with a white line instead of orange.  The eight classes concerned were Coronation, Princess, King, A4, A3, A1, W1, and Merchant Navy. The scheme did not last long and although an effort was made to repaint all these prestigious locomotives it is likely that many went straight from the company livery to the green style. The only class to become all blue (a mix of dark or light) was the Kings (there must be some irony in that).


This style was almost pure London and North Western and was the choice of Robert Riddles the CME, who was a Crewe man. The only difference between the official BR version and the LNWR was that the upper cab side lining panel was omitted and the front buffer beam was plain red. The scheme was based on the LNWR Goods engine livery (the passenger livery had an extra red line in the splasher edge lining).


Lining Style 1

 5/8” Grey – 1/8” Cream - 1 ½” Black – ¼” Red


Lining Style 2

 ¼” Red – 2” Black – ¼” Red


Lining Style 2S, on Saint rivetted splashers

 1½” Grey – 1/8” Cream - 1½” Black – ¼” Red


Lining Style 3

 0-1” Black – ¼” Red


The minimum corner radius was 4”.

 The location of the Style 1 lining on tender engines was the same as on green engines. Tank engines were lined according to the shape and extent of their side sheeting but generally there was a panel on the bunker side and one on the tank. If the tank was continuous with the cab side then the two were lined as one. If the tank was wider than the cab, for example, the ex Caledonian 0-4-4T or LBSC E series then the cab side in front of the doorway was unlined.

 Splashers were lined in Style 1 with the Grey/Cream on the top edge only. The Red line was to form a complete panel (with rounded corners) within that.

 Valances were lined in Style 1 edged in Grey with the Cream above. The Red line was to be positioned mid way between the Cream line and the top of the valance.

 Boiler bands were lined in Style 2, cylinder cladding bands likewise. If there were no cladding bands on the cylinders the lining was set 2” in from the front and rear edges.  

 A wide range of engines was eligible to receive this livery, from the powerful V2s and Countys down to the tiny Terriers of the Southern. Some that were eligible never received it and some that shouldn’t did. As the group contained large numbers of pregrouping designs of many and varied shapes and sizes there were many variations and also many problems of how exactly to interpret the official style.

 One of the difficulties with the LNWR style of lining was the treatment of an engine whose rear splashers were continuous with the cab side (on the LNWR the cab splasher was always a separate rectangular panel). If the LNWR scheme had been followed rigidly then the front splasher (edge lining) would have been lined differently from the rear one (inset lining). This problem was solved differently in different regions. The LMR and SR solution for 4-4-0s was to have the front splasher lining inset. Although unnecessary, the leading splasher of their 0-4-4Ts was lined similarly. The ER lined splashers of tank engines with a red line only but where this was combined with coupling rod splasher and sand box each was lined separately (eg N1 & N2). The SR initially used the inset style for tank engines but by the end of steam edge lining had become standard. The ScR (ex LMS) simply omitted lining from most tank engine splashers, as did the WR on the few engines in this style.   

 A few Coronations, Princesses, 46202, Royal Scots, Patriots and Jubilees were painted in this LNWR style at Crewe during 1948 but these were quickly repainted blue or green when the official liveries were finalised.

Regional variations

Western Region

 Eligible classes were - County, Hall, Grange, Manor, Saint, Large Prairie, Small Prairie, Bulldog, Dukedog, 14xx, 47xx, and 43xx.

 There was a general reluctance in the region to use the livery and many of the above engines remained in plain black. The Bulldogs were early casualties and none was repainted although a couple received smoke box number plates and at least one a ‘W’ below the number.

 The Halls, Countys, Saints and the BR built Manors all went into lined black. Granges and GW built Manors stayed plain black. A handful of Prairies (eg 4409, 4116, 4156, 5156), two Dukedogs (9009 & 9014), a few 14xx (eg 1465, 1470), one 47xx (4702) and a few Moguls  (eg 7313) received the style.

 Some engines that should not have been lined were - eg 1501, 1503, 1504, 2213, 8763 and a Dean Goods.   

 The lining followed the WR standard set by the green engines ie but for a few exceptions the valances were unlined, side window cabs were lined in the BR fashion but Saints, 4702 and a handful of others persisted in following the GWR full cab side lining layout.

 Splasher sides were lined fully along the bottom edge. Saints with a row of rivets around the edge of the splasher carried Style 2S, an extra wide Grey line, which looked quite odd.

 On the black engines the copper chimney cap and brass safety valve cover were painted over, (at least originally but it became the practice at some sheds to polish them).


Scottish Region

 In Scotland especially, the new rules on lining black engines were interpreted very liberally and some LMS standard engines received idiosyncratic versions for a time. For example Inverurie lined the cab panel on ex LMS 2P 4-4-0 engines as a simple rectangle and the splasher with a straight line along the bottom. Cowlairs however used the normal shape of cab panel but lined the front splasher in just red.

 Some ex Caledonian 0-4-4Ts were lined with the tank sides and cab all in one panel. As the tank sides were wider than the cab the lining turned in along the back of the tank then on to the cab side. At least one ex GNS 4-4-0 had a lined panel on the back of the tender.

 Conversely some eligible engines remained in plain black, for example, all ex HR engines save one (55053). This engine received an elaborate livery, which included lining to the front of the cab, rear of the bunker, front of the tanks, steps and wheels.

 Ex Caledonian pug 0-4-0ST 56025, which was a St Rollox Works’ engine, was also given an elaborate livery of lined black including saddle tank, upper cab sides, cab front and rear. It also had red rods, polished hand rails and brass work.

 Ex LMS engines based in Scotland eventually received completely standard lining and some, the 2Ps, stayed lined after their English counterparts had become plain black. By contrast the Scottish ex LNER B12s and D11s were lined quite differently from the English engines.


London Midland Region

 Eligible classes were - LMS Standard Class 5, Horwich, Stanier and Ivatt Moguls, 2-6-4Ts, 2-6-2Ts, 4-4-0s, and 0-4-4Ts. MR 4-4-0s, 0-4-4Ts, L&Y 4-6-0s, 2-4-2Ts, LTSR 4-4-2Ts

 The valances of MR 0-4-4Ts were unlined. The bunker panels of the Ivatt Class 2  2-6-2T were unlined.

 Both Fairburn and Ivatt designed engines with shallow valances. Those of Fairburn were unlined, those of Ivatt were lined. Curious.

 All other classes on the LMR were lined in the standard manner.


Southern Region

 Eligible classes -

 (ex LBSC) A1, A1x, B4, B4x, D1, D3, E1R, E4, E4x, E5, E5x, H1, H2, I1x, I3, J1, K, N15x.

 (ex LSWR) 0415, A12, D15, H15, K10, L11, L12, M7, N15, O2, S11, T1, T9, T14.

 (ex SECR) D, D1, E, E1, F1, H, J, L, N, N1, R, R1 (0-4-4T), U, U1,

 (SR) L1, V.

 It was not Southern policy to build new engines to replace secondary passenger engines (because of increasing electrification) so quite a mixed bag of ancient locomotives were eligible to wear the lined black livery. Of the classes listed above some did not survive long enough to be repainted  (A1, A12, B4, LBSC D1, H1, I1x, J1, K10, T14).

 Conversely some ineligible classes were lined out - the two 0-6-2Ts of the 757 class, H16 No. 30520 and all three C14 0-4-0Ts.

 In general the SR lining was the most comprehensive in its extent as it was the only region to fully line its most ancient engines right to the end of steam and it added lining where other regions didn’t, eg coupling rod splashers (T9s, Ds) and upper cab sides (Ds, Es, N15xs, Vs). It also offered many variations from the standard in the ways the lining was laid out (eg at least five variations in the way M7 leading splasher/sand box was lined).       

 Locomotives lined out during 1948 and before March 1949 were lined in red, yellow and grey as the cream was not available in the region.


Eastern and North Eastern Regions

 Eligible classes - A5, A6, A7, A8, B1, B3, B4, B5, B7, B8, B12, B13, B16, C1, C4, C7, C12, C13, D, D1, D2, D3, D9, D10, D11, D15, D16, D20, D49, E4, F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6, F7, G5, K1, K2, K3, K4, K5, L1, L2, L3, M2, N1, N2, N4, N5, N7, N8, N9, V1, V2, V3 and V4.

 The LNER, like the Southern, kept many older engines in service but for a different reason - it could not afford to build new engines to replace them. Of the above list none of the 4-4-2s, GCR 4-6-0s or Metropolitan engines lasted long enough to be repainted. None of the GNR and NER 4-4-0s carried the lined black. Only one E4 (62790) received it.

 On engines painted at Doncaster the valance lining turned up behind the front buffer beam. Cylinders were generally unlined. D16s and B12s painted at Stratford had the valance lining continue around the edge of the footstep backing plates.

 Station pilots were occasionally accorded a livery above their status, for example J71 68286 was painted in a version of North Eastern Railway livery and J69 68619 was given lined black.


BR Standard Engines

 73000, 75000, 76000, 77000, 78000, 80000, 82000, 84000

 The layout of the lining was consistent with the LNWR style. Deep and shallow valances alike were lined along the bottom edge only, unlike the green engines. (No.73000, when it first appeared for inspection by Executive, had a red panel on the valance in the same style as the orange on green engines, perhaps that was the original intention.) The only exceptions to the general scheme were the Class 2 2-6-2Ts which had an unlined bunker. (One of the Class 3 2-6-2Ts stationed on the NER had an unlined bunker for a while)  

The Emblem

 It was not a ‘crest’ or coat of arms, it could have been a badge or, in modern terms, it was a logo but I shall refer to it as an emblem.

 The first emblem was the lion straddling a wheel in a 1950s Art Deco style, produced in two (3?) sizes to suit the areas available to take it. Initially there was a shortage of transfers so some engines were turned out with blank tender or tank sides pro tem, even as late as August 1949. The emblem transfers were produced in a left and right hand version so that they could be fitted with the Lion facing the front. (NB, the panel containing the lettering ‘British Railways’ was black even on green or blue engines).

 Regional variations began to appear very soon in the application of the new emblem. The WR tended to favour the large version, putting it on quite low tender sides and Prairie tanks. The SR on the other hand avoided the large version except for Pacific classes. The LMR used the large version on Stanier tenders and small for all others.

 Officially the number and tender emblem should have lined through but this created difficulties that became apparent on the SR where the emblem was placed so high on the tender side to line up with the numbers that the lion’s head was nearly in the coal. Eventually the emblem was placed either centrally on the tender side (or centrally within the lining panel) with allowance for rivets and beading or, on the Western Region, vertically above the centre tender wheel. On odd shaped tanks it was placed at a ‘balance’ point.

 Some WR saddle tanks did not have emblems at all.

 On diesel locomotives which had a recognisable ‘front’ end the emblem faced the front but on double ended locomotives eg 10000, 10001, 10201-3 the emblem faced left. The situation regarding electric locomotives is less clear as 20003 carried a right facing emblem on one side at least. (Facing the No. 1 end)