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.

*Except certain ex LNER 8 wheel tenders - more info needed.

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 all body colour, SR Light Stone above the waist. 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 - 

 ½” Black – ½” Green – 1/8” Orange

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

 1½” Black – ½” Green – 1/8” Orange

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 (corners not rounded) 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. *more info required.


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 to the outer line 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 pre-grouping 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.


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, (this is not a spelling mistake - Proper Nouns do not change their spelling in the plural)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)  


 It was not a ‘crest’ or coat of arms, it could have been a badge or, in modern terms, it would be 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)


During 1947, in the run up to nationalisation, various committees from the railway companies had met to decide on common policies for the future. One decision was that all engines should carry a cast plate on the cab side giving the power class and route availability number. The LMS Power Classification system and the LNER Route Availability system were to be used. In the event no cast plates were carried and (initially) only the LMR and ScR displayed the former and only the ER, NER and ScR (ex LNER) displayed the latter.

All engines were allocated a Power Classification (PC) based generally on their tractive effort (and ability to maintain it) thus giving a reasonable comparison between the multitude of classes. The range was 0P - 7P (including 5XP) for passenger engines, 0F - 8F for freight and 2 - 5 for mixed traffic (NO LETTERING ‘MT’ USED, EXCEPT IN SCOTLAND). Very small engines (eg SR Class P, ER Class Y1, Y3, J65, J71 etc) were ‘Unclassified’ and the most powerful engines (the LMS and LNER Garratts, and the Lickey Banker) were ‘Not Classified’.

Officially all engines should have displayed their allocated PC on the cab side but at first only ex LMS engines did so. Initially these were displayed below the number as they had been in the final LMS livery, or on the upper cab side. The position was later standardised so that the 2” PC number and/or letter were placed 2” above the engine number. The numbers were in the same style as the engine numbers ie Gill Sans in cream with a black border.

Some Scottish Region engines carried the PC much higher above the number and sometimes in front of the cab cut out. Ex LNER ScR engines also carried a PC. Two variations were introduced in that region - tank engines had a suffix T to their PC and mixed traffic engines were classed ‘MT’ (or MTT if a tank engine). Some carried stops between the letters, eg  M.T.T.

Some ex Midland Railway engines still carried their cast brass PC No on the upper cab side as well as the BR PC. During the early days the brass number was suffixed with a transfer P or F before the PC was standardised above the number.

In January 1951 the system was rationalised to remove the anomalous 5XP by calling it 6P, changing 6P to 7P and 7P to 8P. At the end of 1953 the PC system was revised again for the other regions so that it matched the LMS system better by taking into account boiler and steaming capacity to give a truer indication of a locomotive’s abilities. As a consequence, there were minor changes to the classifications on all regions. For example, ex LMS Crabs started life as 4P5F, then 5 and finally 6P5F.

The WR continued to use the GWR system of power class letters within the route restriction colour disc. The letter was black in the disc but if the engine was unrestricted and therefore did not have a disc, the letter was cream or white, occasionally within a white circle ie. not a disc. The system ran from A to E (the most powerful) and was based on tractive effort. The Kings were outside the range and were classed as ‘Special’.

The SR did not adopt the PC system until after the reclassifications at the end of 1953 when there was a flurry of stencilled markings, incidentally introducing further regional variations. The region did not use a mixed traffic PC eg 5 or 5MT, instead it used 5P5F or 5P/5F. Many engines received the dual coding; for example a West Country was Class 6 (unmarked) from 1st January 1949 then 7P5F from 1st December 1953. In November 1957 the unrebuilt engines were reclassified again as 7P6F (but the cab side markings were unchanged) and finally the rebuilt engines became 7P6F from November 1961. Some classifications were quite anomalous, as the Beattie Well Tanks, which had spent nearly 50 years hauling freight in Cornwall, were classed 0P.

Prior to 1954 ex LSWR engines carried the old LSWR PC letter below the number. This had been painted on the valance behind the buffer beam in LSWR and SR days.

The ER used a system of load classification for freight engines but no markings were carried on the engine. A few B1s carried ‘L5’ on the buffer beam number in the early days.

Two regions used supplementary markings to indicate variations from the allocated power class. On the WR, Hall, County, 30xx, 38xx and 47xx engines carried a white X above the number plate denoting an engine able to haul more than its indicated power class. Engines whose draughting had been improved carried ‘ID’ at the front end of the valance.

The SR used the suffix letter A to denote that the class was restricted to a smaller load on loose coupled freight due to lack of braking capacity eg H15 - 6P5FA and West Country - 7P5FA. The letter B was used to denote those classes which could haul more than was indicated over certain routes eg E1R - 1P2FB and E4 - 2P2FB. These ex LBSC locomotives had the Westinghouse brake. 


Only the ex LNER engines carried the Route Availability Number on the cab side generally just above the footplate adjacent to the cab entrance, but on the GE section it was placed centrally below the number and on some (ex GNR) tank engines it appeared on the opposite side of the cab entrance on the bunker side. The coding ranged from RA 1 to RA 9 (most restricted) and appeared as cream 2” transfer characters. (Some areas used 1” nos.)  

LMS and BR Standard locomotives allocated to ER and NER usually carried the RA number. Other LMR engine classes that habitually worked into ex LNER territory were allocated RA numbers but did not carry them.

The WR continued to use the GWR route restriction coloured disc markings. This consisted of a 4 1/2” diameter red, blue or yellow disc above the number plate. The red was the most restrictive and yellow the least. Some engines, eg Dean Goods, were not restricted and either did not carry a disc or they had a white circle with a white power class letter within; while the most restricted engines, the Kings, wore two red discs side by side above the number plate. Some engines, notably Large Prairies, had the disc below the number plate. 

Some LMS and BR Standard engines allocated to the WR were given route restriction discs, generally placed below the cab number.


Some ex MR and LMS 2P, 3P and 4P 4-4-0s were modified with a Stanier pattern chimney, which was taller than the original, which put them out of gauge for certain routes in Scotland. These engines carried a WR style blue disc above the Power Class to indicate the restriction.

Engines that were considered to have self-cleaning smoke boxes carried a rectangular plate below the shed code with the letters SC on it.

Some LMR Class 8Fs had their wheels specially balanced for working fast freight. These engines carried a cream five pointed star below the number.

Some WR classes were considered able to haul more than their power class, these were denoted with a white X above the number plate. 


During this period the background colour to the nameplates of green or blue engines was officially to be black with the raised lettering polished. Black engines were to have nameplates with red backgrounds. This rule was, however, broken on the introduction of the Britannia Class in 1951, which appeared with red backgrounds to their nameplates, possibly because the plates were placed on the black deflectors. The Brits allocated to the WR however had black backed nameplates.

Western Region number plates were likewise to be black - except those that weren’t! On lined black named engines the plates were mostly red but in regard to the rest the situation is confusing. As mentioned above, those repainted at Crewe received red plates, as did a number of plain black engines turned out of Swindon. Red plates for all black engines may have been official policy but it was not universally applied and eventually Swindon decreed that all plates were to be black because of legibility problems with red plates. A number of Large Prairies were turned out from Tyseley (with at least three different styles of lining) with black number plates lined in red. The outer edge of GWR number plates was painted in the engine body colour.

Sky Blue Kings had their number plates lined in white, Light Green Castles in red, standard Green Castles, Kings and Stars in orange, Experimental Blue Kings in red.

WR engines with cast iron number plates had the figures and the raised rim painted in the standard cream colour. Occasionally (rarely) WR engines ran without a number plate in which case the number was painted on in GWR style within a painted panel.

Painted names, generally in the Scottish Region, were hand painted in the official Gill Sans style in cream.  

All other cast iron plates - tender numbers, water capacity, works plates, SC plates, shed codes and smoke box numbers had their raised lettering and edge beading picked out in white, but not always. Note that smoke box number plates had no edge beading but it was common in the ScR for the edge of the number plate to be picked out.  


The ER A4 engines named after Commonwealth countries, the original five Garter Blue engines for working the ‘Coronation’, - Empire of India, Dominion of Canada, Commonwealth of Australia, Union of South Africa, Dominion of New Zealand carried that country’s coat of arms hand painted on a rectangular panel mounted on the cab side below the number (the distinctive Doncaster works plates being mounted inside the cab, under the roof). Canada lost hers in October 1948 after a light repair and South Africa’s were removed at the last repair before withdrawal.

A number of other A4s received various embellishments. ‘Silver Fox’ carried a stainless steel fox midway along the boiler casing. ‘Merlin’ received plaques depicting badges from HMS Merlin in 1946. Until June 1948 these were positioned below the numbers on the cab side but were then moved to a central position on the boiler casing. In March 1948 E22 ‘Mallard’ finally received recognition of the World Speed Record (nearly ten years after the event) by the fixing of commemorative plaques on its casing. In April 1954 60009 had a stainless steel plate depicting a springbok fitted to the left-hand side only. (It received another plate for the other side after preservation). Finally 60024 was presented with plaques of the badge of HMS Kingfisher in October 1954.

Three engines had been presented with American style bells that they continued to carry during the BR period. Ex GWR 6000 carried its bell above the front buffer beam while ex LNER 60010 carried its bell in front of the chimney until November 1957 when it was removed to facilitate the fitting of a double chimney. No 6000 also carried two small plaques above its number plates to commemorate its visit to the USA. Ex LMS 46100 carried its bell until rebuilding in 1950 when it also lost its front nameplate for a standard number plate.

ER B17 class engines named after football teams once again wore the club colours with a brass football on their centre splashers.

On the SR BB Class No. 34050 ‘Royal Observer Corps’ carried a framed plaque with the letters ROC under the cab number.

There were a number of unofficial embellishments applied to engines, especially in the Scottish Region. There it was common to scrape the paint off smoke box door rings and hinges, pick out the edge of number plates and front buffers, scratch out a star at the base of the smoke box door handle, etc.

On ex LNER lines engines that pulled the Royal Train sometimes had their cab roofs painted white.




 After the livery experiments, mentioned above, based on historical liveries the Railway Executive decided on an entirely new scheme, which soon gained the nickname of ‘blood and custard’.

Corridor Stock

 Coach sides were to be painted in Crimson and Cream (sometimes called Carmine & Cream), the crimson was lighter and more red than the LMS Crimson Lake  (or the later BR Maroon) and the cream was very much a pale yellow, much more so than the GWR cream, hence the custard. The cream, on flush-sided coaches extended from 1” above the windows to 1” below. As there were so many variations in window depth there was considerable lack of uniformity, especially on the WR and SR where there were high and low window stock. On panelled stock the upper division was generally the beading above the window (but not always) while below the windows the division was generally on a line through the door handles. This did give a degree of consistency but it meant the colour change was in the middle of the waist panel and not on a beading line.

 There was no room for a cant rail panel of crimson on high window WR, SR and ER stock. On the LMR the upper crimson panel was rather deeper than in other designs making trains of mixed stock look rather untidy. A photograph is essential if modelling anything other than standard stock.

 The two colours were separated from each other by the lining. This was 3/4” black and 3/8” gold-ish, ie a yellow ochre. The black line was next to the cream. On high window stock the upper lining and/or crimson panel was sometimes omitted, and sometimes not. The same type of coach might receive different treatment depending on where it was painted.

 The underframe and ends of the coach were painted black; the roof was painted a lead grey. Writing on cast panels was picked out in white.

 Non-Corridor Stock.    

 Initially non-corridor stock was meant to be all-over crimson, lined out in the same way as corridor stock,but the lining was soon abandoned. A few examples from all the regions were lined out, some with the standard lining and some with just a waist band of gold/black/gold. The driving ends of motor fitted stock were painted crimson. On the WR some auto coaches were painted in the crimson and cream livery; both ends of the auto trailers were painted to match the sides. Otherwise the paint scheme was the same as corridor stock.

 WR stock working on London lines was painted maroon? To match LT stock?

Electric multiple units.

 These were principally ex Southern vehicles and already mostly plain malachite green. It was decreed that all other EMU vehicles were to be painted a similar colour, perhaps a slightly darker shade, with no lining. The scheme was thus extended to include Merseyside, Tyneside, both Manchester systems, Lancaster and Morecambe, Watford, and Grimsby and Immingham trams. Electric motor cars carried the Lion over Wheel emblem placed centrally on the lower body sides. On driving motor cars the lion always faced the driving end and on non-driving motor cars the lion faced left (needs checking). On single units eg parcels cars and trams, the lion faced also left. The original Immingham cars carried the emblem on a plate screwed to the side at the left hand end of the car.

Diesel cars

 The WR operated a number of one, two and three car units that the authorities classed as express passenger so they were all painted in crimson and cream. These cars did not carry the BR emblem while in this livery. The parcels cars ran in plain crimson.

 British Railways diesel multiple units first appeared in 1954 and carried the first emblem on their motor cars. The rules governing the direction of the lion were the same as EMUs.  

Non-passenger stock.

 These were generally painted to match the type of train they normally ran in, so some appeared in crimson and cream and some in plain crimson. On the WR a number of full brakes continued the GWR practice of route branding in 6” lettering within the cream panel. Eg ‘PARCELS TRAIN BRAKE VAN’, ‘PADDINGTON AND BIRMINGHAM’, ‘WHITLAND AND KENSINGTON MILK TRAIN’.  

Royal Mail Vehicles

 Ex company coaches were painted in the plain crimson (except for the posting box which was PO Red) but with lining, but there were regional variations in the shade of red used. Vehicles painted at St Rollox carried a much lighter shade, which, in monochrome photographs appears lighter than the PO red of the posting box.

 When the Mark 1 coaches were introduced the TPO vehicles were painted in PO red.



 All lettering and numbering was executed in the same style as for locomotives ie cream outlined in black, although there was there was little consistency in the shade of cream – some samples could be considered to be‘old gold’.

 Coach numbers were 4” high (except WR auto trailers and diesel cars, which were 6”), special vehicle lettering was 6” high and door class numbers were 8” high.

 The coach numbers were placed with their top edge 5” below the lining (or the equivalent position on unlined stock). Initially the number was placed at the left hand end but, as the coach data were on a cast panel at the right hand end, this made it awkward for the guard to record his consist so the position was changed to right hand very early on. Royal Mail vehicles (on the LMR) were numbered at both ends for the convenience, I presume, of the Post Office staff.

 Originally the numbers were prefixed with a letter to denote the originating company, (E - ex LNER, M - ex LMS, S - ex SR, W - ex GWR), rather like the interim renumbering of locomotives. In 1951 the BR standard Mark 1 coaches were introduced; these had no prefix. In order to confuse matters the regional prefix was changed to a suffix and the prefix letter then used to denote operating region. Thus Wnnnn denoted a BR standard coach operating on the Western Region, WnnnnW an ex GWR coach operating on its home region and WnnnE an ex LNER coach allocated to the Western Region. A new prefix - Sc was introduced at this time to cater for vehicles allocated to the Scottish Region. There was no differentiation between Eastern and North Eastern Regions.

 [Although this article does not deal with wagons it is interesting to note that wagons also had a prefix to denote the originating company (plus P for ex private owner) but that BR built wagons were given a B prefix, thus adding a third numbering system.]

 Special vehicles, eg Restaurant Car, had their lettering placed centrally to the coach or seating area, although some types were lettered asymmetrically. The top of the letters was 7” below the windows.

 SR coach sets continued to carry the set numbers in 8” figures on the outer ends of each set just below the roof, to the left, or both sides, of the corridor or centrally if non-corridor.

 Generally only the first class compartments were labelled - with a figure 1 placed centrally on the lower door panel. On the SR and ER boat trains second-class compartments were provided for those passengers who were travelling second class on the continent. The doors on these compartments carried a figure 2 until May 1956 when the class was abolished. Some ex LMS third class sleeping cars were labelled as such, again until 1956, with a figure 3 on the doors. Third Class was renamed Second class in May 1956.

 Various window labels were used to indicate compartment types. The most common was the red triangular ‘No Smoking’. First class compartments were labelled with the blue sausage ‘First’. There was a similar label for ‘Second’, also with white lettering but on a green ground. On the SR there was a green rectangular ‘Ladies Only’ label that lasted until the law on discrimination made it illegal. (Date?)

 Brake vehicles had a 6” deep matt grey chalking panel on, or adjacent to, their doors either immediately below the lining or centred on it. These vehicles had their safe loading limits in two inch lettering just above the bottom edge of the luggage area.        

 During this period it was common to put the coach type in 1” lettering at the bottom of the RH end of the side.