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Thread: CIE locomotive livery variations 1960-1990

  1. #1
    Senior Member jhb171achill's Avatar
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    CIE locomotive livery variations 1960-1990

    PART 1 (of 2)

    We're all well aware of the changeover from green to black'n'tan in the early '60s. But it wasn't a case of everything being green one day, and repainted uniformly the following Monday morning! In these days of carefully managed corporate images, there is greater uniformity - and to companies who value a strong corporate branding, this is a good thing. But for an enthusiast and modeller, the 1955-75 period was one of variety, albeit beneath the blanket of the black'n'tan!

    I will dig out details as I get the chance of variations in different locos, for example there was at least one 121 which received a red buffer beam during the short-lived greay and yellow era for these engines. The grey and yellow was largely gone within six years or so of delivery, with the class all receiving the standard black'n'tan.

    G and E class locos carried both black with white bands at the top, and same with tan at the bottom. Generally, a black loco had CIE roundels on the sides, while a b'n't loco did not. On E class locos, the orange was "full height", i.e. matching the levels up to below-window-level on carriages, or thereabouts. On G class locos the tan was a strip about a foot high from platform level. Both "full height" and "lower strip" tan bands were to be seen on A and C class locos at various times; you will know what I mean if I refer to these variations as "high" and "low" tan sides.

    Newly delivered 141s did not have a CIE roundel below the number on the sides, though these were added with later repaints, whereas 181s had them from the outset.

    Some C class locos, while black, had yellow ends; on these the loco number was in black. I do not have the details of which locos had which variations and when, but I may be able to dig this out in which case I will post it.

    A class locomotives had a tale to be told. This was the subject of an article in the August 1969 Irish Railfan's News, the following being a summary which would be invaluable for those modelling these locomotives in a 1960s setting.

    There were sixty of these engines - the largest class of any Irish locomotive bar the GSWR 101s - built in 1955. They were delivered in all over silver, bogies and all, with "flying snails" and numerals in light green, and red buffer beams. This livery had extremely poor durability - probably worse than any other finish any rail vehicle has ever been in! A realistic approach to modelling this would be to look at photos of locos in this livery in traffic - they were a filthy grey in use, and the story got worse by degrees! Not surprisingly, CIE did not perpetuate this more than 5 years or so, with the lighter green as seen on the Dublin RPSI coaches taking over shortly, though not before A46 appeared in the older dark green, with light green line along the middle (as on DCDR's coach 3223 at present) in May 1958.

    From here, the story became complicated.

    Following A46's debut in dark green, A36 appeared in the then new lighter green, but without the lighter waistband. However, despite the lighter green being the new "post-silver" livery, the following emerged over the next few months in the dark green with waistband: A10, 11, 15, 24, 25, 34, 45, 51, 54, 57, 59 & 60. So by late 1959, one lloco is in light green, 13 in dark green, and the rest in varying stages of the fifty million shades of silvery grey!

    From 1960 the lighter version began to appear on all locomotives on a wide scale. A46 itself received this late in the year. No other loco started in dark green and was repainted light green - others went from silver to one form of green, then to black'n'tan or black. By the end of 1961 and locomotives still in silver were really in a deplorable state, in many cases the numerals being barely legible as they seemed to have tendency to wear off.

    In September 1961 A6 appeared in an experimental livery described at the time as "black, golden brown and white". The IRN and the IRRS journals of the day doggedly stuck to this description of the light tan, which was in reality a browny-tinted orange. The loco had "high" tan sides. During 1962/3 this livery spread, though after the first few locos were thus treated the white strip above window level became narrower - the more familiar width perpetuated right through to the 1990s on Cravens.

    However, in 1962 A16 appeared in traffic in newly painted silver!

    By 1963/4, the story was:

    Black'n'tan: 1-3, 5-8, 12, 14, 15, 17, 20, 22-4, 27, 31, 36, 37, 39, 40, 47, 48, 50, 52, 56 & 58. The tan was "high" level - same as on carriages. Trains thus formed had a very uniform look.

    Dark Green with waist level lighter green line: 10, 11, 25, 34, 45, 51, 54, 57, 59 & 60.

    Plain Light Green, no line; OR silver (a few; not sure which): 4, 9, 13, 16*, 18, 19, 21, 26, 28-30, 32, 33, 35, 38, 41-44, 46, 49, 53, 55. (* 1962 painted silver)

    As if that wasn't complicated enough, A30 appeared in plain black in early 1964, as seen nowadays on Downpatrick's A39, but with orange buffer beams. Livery detail for modellers here: apart from a few rare one-offs, the general rule is that if there is tan at all, the upper white line continues right round the body sides, whereas if the loco is otherwise all black, the white bits are ONLY on the ends. An exception was the G class: white all round the top of the cab (though black roof, of course) irrespective of whether the loco had tan or not. Also, tan locos had no "broken wheel" on the sides, whereas black ones did in later days, but (as on DCDR's A39 now, and A30 as described above) did. A49 and A55 followed suit, but no other locos were thus treated. The orange buffer beams did not last long, soon being repainted red; otherwise the black livery remained the same.

    By 1968 most of the class were repainted in this black livery, though the central side numeral gave way to numerals in the more familiar position on each end of the lower body side, with a "broken wheel" where the number had previously been. But A54 was still a dishevelled dark green (and temporarily out of use) and 1, 15, 22, 37, and 52 were black and "high" tan. A16 had a unique variation; having been b'n't, her sides had been painted black for her appearance in a film "Darling Lili", but her ends were b'n't... for a while!

    In June 1968, A52 received the rectangular yellow patch on the front that was to become a short-lived feature on a few locos on the A and C classes, and the B113/4 pair. The loco number was painted on this in black, but the livery was otherwise unchanged. However, A15 was repainted after it, in the standard all-black.

    By late 1969, A22, 37, 58R* and 59R* were black'n'tan. All others were black and white, with the following having received yellow ends: A4, 12, 13, 20, 24, 31, 34, 50, 52 & 55.

    * The "R" following the number indicated that the loco had had its original Crossley engine replaced by a GM one during the re-engining or "transplant" process. Externally no changes were evident, but on re-engined locos the tan changed to the "low" version. This involved the ends remaining the same, but the formerly mid-height tan band on the sides dropping behind the cabside doors to a band (from memory) about 1 foot or 18 inches high... photos indicate this.

    By the time the re-engining process was complete, in parallel with a similar process on the C class (whose livery history had been more or less an exact parallel of the above), the new "Supertrain" livery was coming into being.

    Below window level, it was the same, but the changes were above this. Carriages had formerly had a white line above the windows, then more black right over the roof, but now the new "a/c" (Mk 2) stock had the same tan as below windows right over the roof and no white line, giving an impression of an all-tan coach with a black band covering window level only. Numerals were on the ends instead of the sides, giving a smooth and streamlined appearance.

    The first locomotives to be treated with this new livery were A's, as they were now being used in a new lease of life on main expresses all over the country. Unlike coaches, locos had a number at each end of the bodyside, low down, and one on the ends, above a CIE roundel; loco ends were the only places where the CIE logo was to be seen on the "Supertrain" livery. "A"'s received tan sides, tan roofs and tan ends, with just the mid-bodyside black band, which dipped at the ends, for relief. The white lines were gone - for the time being! Initially the white numerals on the ends had orange shading if on a black background (A class) and later on with a black background when on tan, as seen on 141s once they started being repainted. I don't remember ever seeing shaded numerals on a 121; I think they were plain white from the start, as the shaded ones became with their first repaint.

    Numerals on the sides of locos retained their shading.

    (ctd)

  2. #2
    Senior Member jhb171achill's Avatar
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    Part 2

    After a short time, pairs of 121/141/181s were becoming commonplace, especially on main lines. Many a "pair" had a b'n't loco and a newly painted "supertrain" one - while nowadays I prefer the older b'n't myself, at the time the old livery was getting tatty, and a pair with a newly painted loco showed the new livery off to very flattering effect, as it tended to be kept immaculately clean. The "tan" became a marginally more orangey shade, which added to its attractiveness - or maybe it was its newness, and the greater area of it?

    By the late 70s, b'n't engines were still to be seen among the 121/141/181 classes but were very rare among As and the now re-engined C's. I don't believe I saw any black and tan A or C class locos on extensive "runabout ticket" travels in 1977/8. I am not sure when the last GM got the "supertrain" livery, but maybe someone else here might know. It can't have been beyond 1980.

    Meantime, shunters pottered about. The E401 class were few, but bore the silver, then the all black; some members had the "high" tan as well, which was typically applied to locos detailed to shunt Heuston carriages sidings. The E421 class were all delivered in black, but a few acquired the "low" tan for a while, though by the mid 1970s all were black and remained thus until withdrawal in the mid 80s.

    The D class had predated these and originally had the lined dark green livery used on those steam locos which CIE repainted from grey to green, and which can still be seen on "Maedb". Later they got the post-1955 lighter green - unlined. I suspect thus was applied about 1958as it was then that they were officially classed as "D". Prior to that, their numbers were 1000-4, not 301 upwards. They skipped silver, as they were not new when it was introduced - only new vehicles were ever silver. After repainting in black, some of these had tan, but they all wore all-black before withdrawal, with the unusual feature of the white flash on the upper ends being striped on the black surface on at least two; in other words, instead of a plain white panel between and above end window level, they had vertical white stripes.

    Other than the D class, the only other diesel locos to wear the lined dark green ("steam")I very were B113/4, though it is important to note that they were then numbered 1100/1, only being designated "B" class in 1958, which is probably when they received their next livery, the then-current lighter green. From about 1963' they appeared first in full black'n'tan but later all black with yellow panels on the ends. It was in this livery they ended their career.

    The three original (1955) G class locos (G601-3) were delivered in silver, repainted in light green some time about 1960/1, and then into plain black, which they retained to the end. At least one had the loco frames in green too, though (I stand to be corrected) the other two had black on the frames, green on the body. All three had small "snails" above the number on the cabside. These three did not have vacuum brakes and were thus never used on Loughrea passenger or mixed trains - in fact, I have no evidence of them going into Loughrea at all.

    The other seven, G611-7, went into traffic in black'n'tan, though there is a theory that the initial one, G611, arrived from Deutz in plain green with no markings. If so, it was certainly repainted b'n't before it turned a wheel. During the '60's, several of these locos were repainted plain black, and when they were all withdrawn not long after the Loughrea branch closed some were b'n't, some plain black. Both liveries may be seen today on G613 (b'n't) and G617 (black) at Downpatrick. G611 is there also, and carries the green livery that the G601 class had for a while, though it never ran itself like that. In addition, unlike G613 and G611 which have both been (strictly incorrectly) painted green at Downpatrick at various times, green "G" class locos never had a "flying snail", as they carried a large painted number on cab sides.

    All ten "G" class locos had the number painted on the cab sides and end. In common with larger diesels the numbers were small if a CIE rounded was also present, generally with the all black variation*, but when black'n'tan the larger font, as on can ends, was used. Due to the fact that the vacuum pigeon the "G611" class obscured the radiator, these seven never had a number on the front at all - the only CIE locos as far as I am aware to have no front number. The earlier three, with no vacuum pipe, had the number painted in small than usual numerals on the front above the radiatior.

    (* always with "G" and "E" class; usually but not always with "A" and "C")

    An interesting livery detail regarding the solitary ex-GNR "K" class was that with no logical place to paint the normal sized numeral in its ends, it wade only broad gauge CIE diesel to carry a number on its buffer beams, as in steam days, but with a more modern font.

    The three narrow gauge West Clare F class locos started and ended their short lives in the plain lighter green, but only carried a numeral. In common with the Walker railcars there they never carried lining or "snails". Like K801, they carried buffer beam numerals.

    And so to the Sulzers. These started in the old steam-era dark green with large numerals and snails in light "eau-de-nil" green, lined in gold, and black and white lining. They received the lighter green treatment in the mid 50s, and "high" b'n't about 1964. Later, they were painted plain black, and received the yellow ends. They did not last long enough in traffic to receive the "supertrain" livery, but might have looked quite well in it! There's one for a modeller, to sit alongside a 141 or 121 in the current black and silver 071 livery......

    The "Birmingham Sulzers" as the B101s seemed to have been invariably known, had a story like some A's. They started in silver and some got the light green but none the dark green. Black with "high" tan followed, and most ended up in plain black, before later getting the "low" tan band. At least one had an odd variation: while it had full "high" tan sides, the white band was not continued along the sides. It ended its days like that: I saw it thus at Inchicore about 1979.

    As mentioned, the story of the C class was not unlike that of the A's. Silver, two shades or green, and black. I don't remember any in the "high" tan at the outset, though at least the rebuilt pair B233/4 had it after re-engining, but most C's were black in the sixties, a minority with yellow panels post-1968. The "transplant" era saw them emerge with "low" tan on the sides. By this stage they were all graduating towards Dublin, there being little or now work for them elsewhere, and the de-engining of the old AEC railcars gave them a new life on push-pulls in the Dublin area. I don't remember seeing a b'n't "C" on such work - all seemed to have received the "supertrain" livery by the time they started that.

    This "Supertrain" livery ruled the roost, therefore, on all locos bar the E class from the mid 70s until 1987, when CIE became IE, as far as the locos were concerned. The railway was not awash with money at that stage, so instead of a bright bold new livery, the locos and coaches simply received the white lines aove and below the central black band. This was referred to by some at Inchicore at the time as the "tippex treatment", but actually looked well. The CIE roundel on loco sides was replaced by the new IE "set of points" logo, though locos were to be seen with new badge, no tippex, or tippex with no badge, and in the case of one 141, CIE roundels on the ends and "sets of points" on the sides for a while.

    IE applied their logo to loco sides. First it was the "set of points", then later the "three pin plug" in the 1990s. In the "supertrain" era no CIE roundel was ever on the side of a loco, only the ends.

    If I think of more, I'll post it - if you think of questions, please ask.
    Last edited by jhb171achill; 28-01-2014 at 02:42 PM.

  3. #3
    A wealth of information to digest, perhaps could be made a sticky on the forum.

    I have few additions might be of interest based on observations; Regarding the grey/yellow 121 locomotives, B127 and B123 had the red painted buffer beams, I know one 121 was repainted in the yellow/grey as reported in the IRN, think it might have been B123? - I'm not sure.

    For some reason, some of the re-engined A Classes in their black & tan livery, still had the high-tan sides unlike most which were altered to the low-tan, the preserved A39r, and A51r being such examples, there may have been others.

    The Crossley engined C Class locomotives, C203 (yellow buffer beam), C209 and C211 were in all over black with the yellow rectangle fronts. Some of the Crossley Cs had the black & tan with high-bands during the mid 1960s, examples C206, C209 and C211, they later got the all-over black treatment.

    The first re-engined C Classes, renumbered B233 and B234, still had the all-over black livery when re-entering service, B234 received the tan treatment later, while by 1969 B233 was still in all-over black but with a yellow rectangle. Interestingly, when 233 received the 'Supertrain' livery, it was still without its GM headlight on the front, which looked sort of odd! Not sure if 234 looked the same at that time. Re-engined C Classes did operate in the black/tan livery with the converted AEC pushpull stock, but all receiving the 'Supertrain' treatment by end of the 1970s.

    The Birmingham Sulzers may have got the two green liveries, the lighter without the white band, the darker with it. B111 and B112 were the Sulzers to have the high-tan sides, unlike the rest the class with the low-tan.

    Some of the D Class received the black/tan treatment in the early 1960s, such as D302 and D305. D303 at some point may have received a later shade of green, as observed in 1956, in Irish Railways in Colour (1). Interestingly, one of the Ds may have remained in the dark green and original number into 1960s, as observed (not by myself I might add!) at Inchicore in 1964.

    All of this of course would be easier to explain with photos!
    Last edited by Eiretrains; 05-01-2013 at 08:12 PM.

  4. #4
    Stuck
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by BosKonay View Post
    Stuck
    Excellent, well worthy of stickyness....indeed well worthy of a potential Ian Allen / Colourpoint publication to be honest...

  6. #6
    Senior Member jhb171achill's Avatar
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    Good stuff, Eiretrains - thanks for the additional details.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by BosKonay View Post
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    By my reckoning, that was the 20,000th post on this Forum!
    My best work has been spread over many fields..

  8. #8
    Senior Member jhb171achill's Avatar
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    Wow! Do I get a prize?
    :-)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by jhb171achill View Post
    Wow! Do I get a prize?
    :-)
    Ah, no - it was Boskonay's 'Stuck' post...
    My best work has been spread over many fields..

  10. #10
    Wooohoooo
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