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Thread: GSR / CIE Wagon Liveries

  1. #1
    Senior Member jhb171achill's Avatar
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    GSR / CIE Wagon Liveries

    For those who have asked, I now have details re the above which I hope may be of help to all.

    The GSR used a grey for all wagons which was described as being the same as LMS wagon grey - which can be bought readily (is Humbrol still on the go?). Wagons were painted grey all over, with the only bits picked out in black being buffers and couplings. The large "G S" and numerals on the sides were a light cream colour, though this tended to darken a bit after a while in use.

    Wagon roofs and chassis were in the body colour, not black - a very common error on models because bought model wagons are inevitably of BR & constituent companies across the water, where black chassis sem to have been the norm - unless, that is, Hornby perpetuated an error years ago!

    I suppose this is why, to me, livery information is crucial. Some might see it as the stuff of bean counters or rivet counters, and if one's main interest in a layout is the operational side, so be it - no one type of interest is more or less valid than another. But the first thing anyone ever knows about anything in the world is what it LOOKS like - and livery plays 50% of this part, outline dimensions being the other 50%. Hence my interest in liveries!

    I was taking an interest in the world outside when CIE's green and snails were giving way to broken wheels, red and cream buses, navy and cream buses, black and silver lorries and black'n'tan trains, and the UTA's green buses were becoming blue and cream Ulsterbuses, while their trains were also changing livery. UTA green, GNR brown carriages, UTA blue and cream and early NIR maroon and grey were all floating about in my head, instead of French vocabulary, equations, and chemical formulae..

    Once CIE took over, variations started to appear. Photos taken in the 50s show flying snails adorning what was still clearly this mid-grey as opposed to the much lighter shade used from the mid 60s onwards). The familiar "broken wheel" started to appear from 1963, but wagons were still to be seen with "snails" as late as 1978 - when I photographed one in a train at Ballina.

    At some stage about 1959 / 60, the lighter grey (similar to that on 121 class locos at first) began to appear, mostly if not entirely on newly built standard "H" vans. I never saw an older wooden framed wagon in light grey. In the mid 60s, fitted wagons were painted brown - a theme copied, I believe, from British Rail, but it doesn't seem to have been absolute as I occasionally saw a brown wagon which was not fitted - perhaps some wagons received or had removed the relevant pipes, but were not repainted. Older wagons tended to retain the darker grey.

    The corrugated-sided Bullied open wagons had all but replaced wooden bodied opens by the early 70s, but I do recall seeing a single one of these wooden wagons in brown, but it was not fitted - that was unusual, as these wagons were inevitably the slightly darker grey of pre 1960. The corrugated-sided ones went on to carry little other than beet in later years. They were always a silvery grey which could have been as a result of having been unpainted, or possibly they were galvanized. The chassis of these occasionally had brown daubs of paint with the number painted on, or maintenance dates - just like other wagons.

    By the mid 1970s, most goods trains were made up of "H" vans which I would guess were about 60% brown, 40% light grey.

    Every rule has exceptions. In steam days the railways were a much dirtier environment, and paint was more expensive than now, so lowly goods wagons tended not to receive the cosmetic care and attention lavished (usually) on locos and passenger stock. Thus, wagons could frequently appear with just a few newly replaced planks repainted in new paint, with the rest not repainted - maybe a wagon with newly painted doors, but not the rest. In later days unpainted planks would sometimes appear 9more so on the UTA in the 60s, though). The dirt, brake dust, coal smoke and soot mean that wagons were in, well, fifty shades of grey!!

    Special vehicles are well known and gave been commented on here by others - blue Tara waons, white and dark green Anhydrous Ammonia bogie tankers, and silver and red Asahi wagons. The most common exceptions, perhaps, for many modellers would be the cement "bubbles". These started life in the standard CIE grey, with black lettering and tan-coloured "wheel" surround to the black "CIE" lettering on the logo. From the early 70s they were repainted orange, with grey or black chassis and black lettering. The "bubbles" tended to be regularly cleaned in these times, not covered in a layer of cement as in later days. The next stage was a cream colour with "Irish Cement" logo, which they technically ended their days in, though they were so dirty it was impossible to tell what colour many were painted; they were just coated in cement dust.

    Narrow gauge vehicles (West Clare, T & D, C & L) were all painted the older darker grey, though with even less frequent visits to paint chops, the fifty shades were more like 150 shades. Modellers of this type of thing could really get away with anything - the one common denominator being very heavy brake dust and paint-faded weathering!

    Sometimes wagons were intended for use on passenger trains, and would be painted in a matching livery. A handful of "H" vans (maybe only 1 or 2 for some special reason?) were standard dark passenger green, but with wagon-style "snail" markings and the usual stencilled numerals in white. I have seen but two pictures of these - one had the green down to the chassis, and a black chassis like a passenger vehicle, but green ironwork on the body. The other looks as if the whole chassis was green. The West Clare section had four small 4-wheeled vans for use on passenger trains - these had a green body and black chassis.

    Elsewhere, wagons in grey era, including the 1960s lighter version, and the brown seen everywhere since, never had black chassis or ironwork - this is a common error in models due to whatg appears to be the standard use of black chassis on BR-based models, which most of us start with! The only exceptions to that anywhere in Ireland that I am aware of, are NCC brown vans in certain liveries (can't speak for original state) and some one-offs or oddball PW vehicles.

    Talking of PW stock, all companies used standard grey or black for spray train equipment, breakdown trains and what are now known as maintenance-of-way stuff. Imported tamping and lining machines were yellow from the start, a that's how they were made by the likes of Plasser & Theurer, but it is only in recent years that ballast vans and sundry wagons, spray train carriages, etc, have become yellow. A spray train modelled pre-1980 anyway would be grey.

    I seem to recall the ex-GNR breakdown crane in red, though this was almost certainly a UTA job. The GNR, like CIE and the GSR, would have painted them grey all over.

    All this grey - sounds dull, doesn't it? But look at old colour photos; dull in colour terms, but if I may suggest, a lot more interesting than today.

    Going back into history, the MGWR painted wagons grey, as did the GNR, but the GSWR painted them black at one stage, and as I think I might have mentioned somewhere else, a very dark grey which I can verify off a large scale model I have which was made in Inchicore about 1905. The BCDR and NCC were early entrants into the world of grey for loose coupled, bauxite brown for fitted.

    Finally, as befits the last wagon on every goods train, is the humble guard's van. These followed the practice of other wagons on whatever railway they were on - i.e. inevitably all over grey. CIE started painting the guard's ducket with black and yellow stripes from the mid 60s, and once a van was repainted brown (as all survivors were by mid 70s-ish), it retained the yellow and black striping. Regrettably, the three best preserved guard's vans are inaccurate livery-wise; the CIE one in the UFTM at Cultra has black and white stripes on the ducket, and incorrect style of numerals, and the (EXCELLENTLY restored) GNR van at Whitehead has cream inside the balconies 9should be grey), black ironwork* and black lower body. (* Re. exceptions to rules: NIR painted ironwork black on one or two guard's vans and ballast opens in the 70s!). The third van, the former NCC one at Downpatrick, is in NIR light grey like this, but with UTA markings.

    I should add that in terms of liveries, the colour scheme of the CIE van at Cultra is by noe means the only livery inaccuracy there. It's best to check elsewhere if modelling something in there! Though, as one of their own folk very correctly said one time, it's better to have something painted bright pink and tartan, than not have it at all!

    I'd better go and do my shopping now......

  2. #2
    only seen this now jonathan, its another great piece of info - thanks for enlightening us

  3. #3
    Senior Member jhb171achill's Avatar
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    Thanks HF - got more stuff to post at some stage. I've just re-read the above and the typos are horrific!!! I have a "paint shop" described as a "paint chop"!!! But there ye go. The paragraph about open wagons implies that at least one BULLIED wagon was brown - this is not what I meant, I just worded it badly. That description was meant to apply to old wooden open wagons, the further description in the para relating to Bullieds............ ah well........!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Glenderg's Avatar
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    More excellent info, and what's more can be backed up by these photo's, along with those of SwissIrishErnie on Flickr. There's even a four plank coal wagon with a replaced part as described above.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/holycor...7629831107647/
    R.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Mayner's Avatar
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    Brian Flannigans Irish Rolling stock is a great resource http://www.flickr.com/photos/holycor...7629831107647/ but knocks a few assumptions on the head.

    Its difficult to pin down the date CIE shifted from grey to red oxide but may be more likely the late psychedelic than 60s pop era, certainly in many ways the engineers were ahea of their time in building specialist swap bodies to fit on standard chassis rather than specialist wagons.


    One of the photos shows 15903 an outside framed standard van in light grey with broken wheel emblem with what looks like the date 12-10-67 in the upper left hand corner. If this is a date is this the time of the last repair or repaint. There is no obvious sign of a tare weight or load but is the hand written kg5627 the tare or something else?

    There are two photos of the then modern 20T fitted flats introduced around 1966 that eventually ended up under the pallet cement and beet doubles both are grey, one with old style friction boxes appears to be in Guinness traffic with a grey open topped container, the other with roller boxes in fertiliser traffic with a new Back to Back container in red oxide.

    For me the most interesting was to see one of the ancient looking outside planked vans in the red livery http://www.flickr.com/photos/holycor...7629831107647/ . I once saw one of these wagons in traffic in the mid 70s and later chased down a grounded body near Athlone but never saw one in red.

    This type of van seems to have survived longer in traffic than the traditional outside framed vans like 15903 and the relatively modern steel framed GSWR vans like 15771 as the double planking may have provided a measure of insulation for meat and perishible traffic.
    John


    If I was going there I would'nt be starting here.

  6. #6
    Senior Member jhb171achill's Avatar
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    I saw BF's stuff quite recently and it is indeed an excellent resource. The earliest I have seen in light grey would be slightly earlier, but there is no doubt that it wouold not have been widespread until well into the mid or late 60s, by which time the brown was beginning to surface as well. I saw several H vans in the 70s still retaining "flying snails" but light grey. (Thus, I suppose, one detail for modellers: brown would always have a broken wheel, not a snail, whereas grey could have either).

    The brown livery (slightly less reddish than today's) can't have been on too many of those outside planked vans, as although Mayner rightly says, there were more than a few of them about in the 70s, they were getting elderly and many still in use were probably facing imminent withdrawal. The GSR built these in the late 30s (as far as I know) and into the 40s. They were built as conventional vans, but I have to say it never occurred to me that they might have been thus designed for better insulation. I may actually be able to find that out for certain, as I'm going to visit Senior this afternoon!

    Did you notice among Brian's pics there also an ex-GNR van with plywood panelling? You can just make out the "G N" under the CIE paint. Its number (not visible ion the photo) would have been suffixed with "N".

  7. #7
    Senior Member jhb171achill's Avatar
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    As a result of someone asking me "what is grey", I would clarify a point.

    The grey most commonly seen in colour photos is the light grey used by CIE from the late 1960s until the brown became all-encompassing. NIR used an even lighter grey (as on Downpatrick's NCC Goods Brake Van) on PW vehicles only (as NIR never ran goods trains of their own) for a very short time in the 1970s.

    But - and this one's important for modellers - the correct shade of grey to use in all other applications is much darker. The GSR, and later CIE, a well as the NCC and UTA, used a colour identical or as good as, to LMS wagon grey in England - this shade is readily available from model suppliers in that neck of the woods.

    The BCDR used an even darker shade which can be seen on a rescued BCDR van body at Downpatrick. It would best be described as dark slate grey. I recall seeing a wagon in the 1960s like this, still marked "B C D R" and noticing how much darker it was. The GNR used a similar shade to CIE / GSR / CIE.

    The SLNCR used a somewhat lighter shade of grey.

    The lighter grey used by CIE on covered vans was not often replicated on opens, as the Bullied steel ones were very much to the fore from the late 1960s. Few wooden bodied opens obtained light grey, and fewer still brown, though there some examples.

    Narrow gauge stuff was a mixed bag, as they so rarely saw a paint brush! The CDRJC had a lighter shade latterly at any rate, though in the 1920s some stock was painted black. The Cavan & Leitrim had just a small number of PW open wagons, which a century ahead of the modern Health & Safety Regime, were all yellow!

    The GSWR used a dark grey which was almost black for much of its goods stock. When hauled (post 1915) by a plain slate-grey locomotive, this can't have looked very colourful!

  8. #8
    Thanks JCH for the above Epistle, very informative.
    In your Special Vehicles paragraph you mention Cement bubbles but omit the curtain sided Cement Wagon. I know the body was painted blue but what colour was the underframe? I have looked for detailed photographs of these wagons without success.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Glenderg's Avatar
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    Few more detailed curtain side photos in that set Kirley

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/irishswissernie/5768563264/in/set-72157626825629406

  10. #10
    Senior Member jhb171achill's Avatar
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    Those beasts were blue all over when new. Other chassis colours which may be of interest to modellers, and this includes bogies, buffers, and drawgear:

    Asahi bogie wagons - dark UTA-style green
    UTA Spoil wagons - light "duck-egg" blue (which changed to all over East Antrim Muck after a single outing!)
    Castlemungret bogies - very light greyish blue.
    Taras - blue.

    Pretty much everything else - sheep-dipped in brown! Though I notice now that newly serviced container flats and other wagons at Limerick have black bogies and brown bodies / drawgear.

    Hope this helps.

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