Grey or brown?

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jim s-w
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Grey or brown?

Postby jim s-w » Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:44 am

Hi all

Apologies for the really dumb question but it's something I can't find the answer too (perhaps its too obvious?). In the 60s was there a rule to what colour wagons were? A lot of ex LMS vans were fitted with vaccuum brakes by BR so would they be painted bauxite or left grey (or should they just be wood colour). Also how quickly was the original branding removed. EG would it be normal to have remains of LMS logos?

Cheers

Jim

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grovenor-2685
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby grovenor-2685 » Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:11 am

The rule in early BR was for unfitted wagons and vans to be grey and fitted and piped ones to be bauxite. When unfitted vehicles were fitted they were repainted, I think exceptions to this would be very rare. Sometime in the mid 60s IIRC there was a decision to paint everything bauxite, fitted or not, but it seemed to have little effect, probably because unfitted were on the way out and very few of them would have been repainted before going for scrap.
Wooden wagons were sometimes left with planks unpainted but that seemed to be more common with old minerals than with merchandise wagons.
Keith

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Tim V
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby Tim V » Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:40 am

If you have seen pictures of LMS vans in the 60s with original branding on them, beware, as that was probably why the picture was taken - it was the exception and very rare!
Tim V

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Noel
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby Noel » Sat Nov 01, 2014 12:40 pm

The 1960s were a time of considerable change on the railways, with very different situations at the beginning and the end, so it depends rather on *when* in the 1960s. The first air-braked freight vehicles date from 1964, about the time that wooden 13T minerals ceased to be used, although some hung around for a bit longer stored awaiting scrapping. The program to fit vacuum brakes to vans and opens built unfitted had run from 1955 to late 1959 and then ceased, possibly because most WW2 and later builds had been converted [a small number remained unconverted, presumably 'lost' by the system] and earlier vehicles were life expired or close to it. All in all, and apart from 16 minerals, unfitted vehicles had become rare by the early 1960s, and were soon to disappear completely.

16T minerals had originally been descaled and painted every 5 years; this was extended to 7 years in 1962. Later in the 1960s BR stopped routine repainting of unfitted minerals altogether, resulting in wagons which just got more and more rusty. Also, the body life on 16T minerals was 10-15 years, so that in the early 1960s there was a significant program to carry out patch repairs to pre-nationalisation wagons, with partial panels welded or rivetted in and only the repair painted, depending on the original construction, and new floors, often resulting in the loss of bottom doors where originally fitted. Later in the 1960s BR built vehicles were treated similarly.

Keith has given the basic colour schemes; there were exceptions: refrigerated or insulated vehicles were white, later pale blue, some passenger rated vans crimson or later maroon until transferred to goods stock in 1966. Liveries were changed from about 1962, and again from circa 1964, but obviously the changes took time to become established. Unpainted vehicles at that time would almost certainly have been those identified as being due for withdrawal in the near future, i.e. 13T minerals and unfitted traffic opens and vans, or those in temporary use by the civil engineers before scrapping.

Noel
Regards
Noel

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David Thorpe
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby David Thorpe » Sat Nov 01, 2014 1:45 pm

I've found this site very useful for BR liveries - http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/gansg/6-livy ... r-4864.htm . For unfitted wagons, it is suggested that "Originally the unfitted wooden bodied wagons were unpainted, although the wood had a slightly silver look to it when new due to the use of an aluminium primer. This idea was abandoned by the mid 1950's and they were then painted grey".

DT

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Noel
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby Noel » Sat Nov 01, 2014 5:26 pm

The website quoted is one of a number by the same writer about various aspects of BR; in general they are reasonably OK, but there are some errors, which means they should be treated with caution. New unfitted open wagons were commonly sent out from works with unpainted woodwork [apart from lettering patches] from 1942/3 onwards, due, apparently, to a shortage of paint. After the war all the 'big four' reverted to previous practice, which was initially continued by BR, but with BR lettering, pending a decision on colours.

BR decided that vacuum fitted wagons were to be bauxite; I am not aware that any were unpainted. Unfitted wagons became grey. The shade seems to have been rather variable initially, and some batches of new vehicles had unpainted woodwork. This practice seems to have been a temporary expedient [or experiment?] in the early 1950s. The latest I have seen a photograph of was a Boplate E in 1954. Most partially painted open wagons would later have been given vacuum brakes and repainted in bauxite. It seems a reasonable assumption that many of those which were not [either missed or, like the Boplate E, a type which was not converted] would still have been repainted at some time.

Vans seem to have been fully painted at all times, perhaps because their loads were generally more vulnerable to deterioration? Official photographs of new construction vehicles with unpainted woodwork show variations in colour and flaws such as knots, which suggests that no primer had been applied; indeed there seems no reason to apply primer without the top coat. Possibly the slight silver look was due to weathering in service; the insides of such wagons [which were always unpainted] eventually went grey.

Noel
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Noel

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Ian Everett
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby Ian Everett » Sat Nov 01, 2014 6:09 pm

David Thorpe wrote:I've found this site very useful for BR liveries - http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/gansg/6-livy ... r-4864.htm . For unfitted wagons, it is suggested that "Originally the unfitted wooden bodied wagons were unpainted, although the wood had a slightly silver look to it when new due to the use of an aluminium primer. This idea was abandoned by the mid 1950's and they were then painted grey".

DT


I'm old enough to have some memory of those days and I have strong recollections that most open wagons seemed to be unpainted in the 1950s/early 1960s.

The site mentioned seems to be very useful and comprehensive, however there is one point that puzzles me. I don't remember that revised style of lettering in outlined boxes being introduced in 1957. I thought it was much later - possibly the mid sixties?

I have to say that my memory is perfect but recall is a bit fuzzy these days...

Ian

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Andy W
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby Andy W » Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:34 pm

When we used to train spot in the sixties I wasn't aware of any colour on the railways at all. I'm sure there was some under the grime. It was a great shock when I discovered that all the halls; granges; castles etc were supposed to be green (in most cases). Rolling stock was in an even worse state.
Make Worcestershire great again.
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Noel
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby Noel » Sat Nov 01, 2014 9:24 pm

Ian Everett wrote:I'm old enough to have some memory of those days and I have strong recollections that most open wagons seemed to be unpainted in the 1950s/early 1960s.

The site mentioned seems to be very useful and comprehensive, however there is one point that puzzles me. I don't remember that revised style of lettering in outlined boxes being introduced in 1957. I thought it was much later - possibly the mid sixties?

I have to say that my memory is perfect but recall is a bit fuzzy these days...

Ian


The photographic evidence shows that wagons in normal service were painted in the 1950s and the early to middle 1960s, with the exceptions referred to earlier, Ian, although as Ealing says, usually the only variable was the state of filth... Oddly, bauxite wagons seemed to suffer far more than grey ones, suggesting that the ostensible filth may, in part, have been the result of changes in the actual colour, due to chemical changes in the paint. It is noticeable that the white lettering was often quite legible, even on apparently dirty wagons. The odd new or repainted wagons do appear in trains in colour photographs in albums and magazines and are very conspicuous. I also have one which shows Vanfits which have clearly been in service for some time, with freshly painted doors, presumably as the result of repairs.

The outline boxes appeared in 1962, along with codes in a new style, such as COAL16, COAL16VB and HOP32AB, all later replaced with TOPS codings. The rules regarding maintenance, including painting, of vacuum braked vehicles presumably changed once BR decided to start building long wheelbase air-braked vehicles, but I can't help on that... Vehicles cascaded to the engineers for short term use before final disposal, both fitted and unfitted, were not normally repainted, but might have additional markings added.

I started trainspotting in 1961, and I now wish I had paid more attention to aspects of the then railway which I ignored completely at the time. If only we could go back, preferrably with a digital camera...

Noel
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Noel

dal-t
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby dal-t » Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:35 pm

Noel wrote: If only we could go back, preferrably with a digital camera...

Noel

I'll second that, but I'd settle for pointing my old Kodak Brownie 120 at more of the infrastructure and the kettles on wheels rather than the shiny green diesels that were the 'coming' thing back then (although I do treasure the blurry shot I got of the Midland Pullman trundling slowly through on diversion one morning - that one with a trusty Kosmic 35, I think). At that time (I started 'spotting in '59, but got 'serious' with my first ABC in '60) the predominant colour on all of the goods stock seemed to be coal dust and ballast grime, but I do remember that the metal-bodied bauxite wagons seemed to oxidise as soon as they left the paint shop, and just went on getting lighter and lighter until the rust coming through met the paint flaking off. Curiously, the wooden-bodied grey stuff appeared to stay neater, under its protective splatter of ash=flakes and clay-smears. I guess it was better quality paint pre- or just post-war than the new formulas being forged in the 'white heat of the scientific revolution'.
David L-T

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jim s-w
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby jim s-w » Sun Nov 02, 2014 10:53 am

Thanks all.

It seems the vans on my workbench need to be brown then! I've heard of people using red oxide primer for this but I'm far from convinced. Can anyone recommend a halfords rattle can?

Cheers

Jim

dal-t
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby dal-t » Sun Nov 02, 2014 1:03 pm

The Garden Railway Club (who have a very useful list of other equivalent colours in car rattle cans here) certainly recommend bauxite primer. But if you want to be more accurate, what's wrong with Precision P127/P129?
David L-T

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jim s-w
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby jim s-w » Sun Nov 02, 2014 2:15 pm

I haven't got on with prescision in the past but the real reason is I'm a shameless cheapskate! Phoenix costs more than a halfords can despite only having half the amount of paint!

I might try a can but just as an overcoat for the red primer.

Cheers

Jim

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Noel
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby Noel » Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:50 am

From my earlier comments, Jim, you will probably have gathered that I question whether red oxide or anything like it is a suitable starting point for fitted BR vans other than those fairly recently ex-shops. There are plenty [relatively speaking] of colour photos from the mid-1950s to mid 1960s period to provide references of colours in service. Matching those colours is another matter, however.

Noel
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Noel

shipbadger
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby shipbadger » Tue Nov 04, 2014 8:42 am

Jim,

Like Noel I'd also be wary of Red Oxide primer. This is not a 'colour matched' shade after all and each manufacturer can vary the shade, even between batches. As a user of BR Bauxite at 12":1' scale I have used paint from Williamsons and H Marcel Guest (HMG I think provide paint for the Railmatch range). Both of these firms have provided paint for decades to the transport industry so can be regarded as fairly reliable, butthe two shades they provide as Bauxite at not the same and you can tell which paint is which when the two are side by side. A second but is that the original formulation of most paints is now illegal as the lead content has had to be removed. HMG when first applied is much more orangey than Williamsons, it will be interesting to see how the weather changes them. From memory, I'm sure that someone can confirm, around 1956 the shade of bauxite became more browny than orangey. Was this deliberate or a reformulation to remove potentially toxic pigments. Of course if you intend heavily weathering your vans then you can start with almost any red/brown shade you like as no-one will be able to work out what the first coat was :-)

If you are thinking of buying a nice big tin of 'real' railway paint I have to tell you it'll set you back around £85-00 a time.

Tony Comber

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jim s-w
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby jim s-w » Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:13 am

Hi both

I do agree about the red oxide as already mentioned. Pheonix list 2 colours for BR bauxite a pre and post 1964 version.

Cheers

Jim

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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby Bulwell Hall » Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:16 am

There was a most interesting article in the HMRS Journal some years ago by Len Tavender on wagon painting in the post WW2 period - both company and BR. He suggested that the BR wagon grey for unfitted stock was former Admiralty paint as used during WW2 and after of which there was a considerable surplus in the early 1950s. Amongst other interesting facts he mentioned that it took around 200 tons of paint to repaint a battleship so given the size of the Royal Navy in WW2 there would have been a vast amount of paint to be disposed of in the post war reduction of the Navy.

He also mentioned that bauxite paint was a by product of the production of aluminium and that the adoption by the LMS of bauxite brown to paint wagons in the 1930s was directly related to the increase in aluminium production in the rearmament period prior to WW2. The orangey bauxite of the early BR period is also mentioned compared with the previous brown bauxite of the LMS. Interesting stuff and well worth looking up.

Gerry

shipbadger
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby shipbadger » Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:18 am

Jim,

So eight years out in my change of shade :-) Although I didn't realise it at the time the mid-sixties was a period of great fiddling around with colour schemes for all sorts of things to do with the railway.

Tony

billbedford
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby billbedford » Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:26 am

Doesn't anyone remember early TV DIY shows (Barry Bucknel?) where people were earnestly told to make sure that they bought more paint than they needed for any decorating job because if they ran out part way through the job, any new tin they bought was likely to be from a different batch and therefore would not match what had already be used?
I suspect that there was even less quality control on mundane commercial paints such as used on railway wagons.
Bill Bedford
Mousa Models
http://www.mousa.biz

shipbadger
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby shipbadger » Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:45 am

Bill,

Barry Bucknell - I remember him well, he was heavily criticised for not using a 'proper' screwdriver but a Yankee spiral ratchet screwdriver to speed things up. The purists complained; some things never change. I can actually remember going to see paint being mixed, not with a fancy computer controlled machine but with a set of scales for the pigments. This was at Brummer's in Byfleet (the name still lives on as Brummer stopping). The person mixing the paint would always ask father if he was sure that he had enough for the job as the next mix may not be the same. The overidding memory was that of the smell of the slabs of Scotch glue on the shelf ready to be broken up in to whatever quantity was required. Goodness knows what the H&S inspectors would make of it all nowadays.

Tony Comber

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Colin Parks
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby Colin Parks » Tue Nov 04, 2014 11:15 am

Hi Jim, here are some van bodies which might help with this topic:

LMS banana van in what I would call red oxide. There was absolutely no evidence of the LMS branding showing through the paintwork, but this could have been an LMS design built by BR. (I have a sample of the paint from this van body on a bit of stopping which had come loose. (Just as well I did take it as the body has since been destroyed.)

100_2010 (1024x768).jpg


SR 12t van in the same red oxide, gently rotting into the undergrowth on a farm.

IMG_2618 (1024x768).jpg


Palvan with just one corner showing the original paint colour, which again is red oxide but not quite so orange as the first two examples.

IMG_2617 (1024x768).jpg


Finally, a BR banana van in later brown with a slightly purple tinge to it. If the 'box' style of lettering came into use in 1962, then this paintwork pre-dates that time as it has the early BR style of lettering.

100_1917 (1024x768).jpg


The vans are painted in colours which are definitely authentic BR shades. The first two vans are in a shade which is rather bright by comparison with the last van shown here and not a colour which modellers generally use for BR fitted vehicles.

Colin

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grovenor-2685
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby grovenor-2685 » Tue Nov 04, 2014 11:54 am

Colin, those are rather far gone! Paul Bartlett's website has loads of photos of vans still on the rails and with visible paint and/or weathering.
Unless you want to model vans straight out of the paintshop the most important thing would seem to be that no two should be alike.
Regards
Keith

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jayell
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby jayell » Tue Nov 04, 2014 5:56 pm

shipbadger wrote:Bill,

Barry Bucknell - I remember him well, he was heavily criticised for not using a 'proper' screwdriver but a Yankee spiral ratchet screwdriver to speed things up. The purists complained; some things never change.
Tony Comber


I still have a small yankee screwdriver, which I got because they were used by professionals :)

All the fitters in the furniture factory where I once worked had them and used them all the time, they were the electric screwdrivers of their day (1960s).

John L

dal-t
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby dal-t » Tue Nov 04, 2014 7:03 pm

In Germany our carpenter often used what he called an 'English Screwdriver' - aka hammer ...
David L-T

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jim s-w
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Re: Grey or brown?

Postby jim s-w » Tue Nov 04, 2014 11:01 pm

With crinkle cut nails?


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