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My Top Five Liveries

Pat Pettett

PAT PETTETT takes us through his top five liveries.

5: Large Logo Blue

Livery Operated by: British Rail.

Livery Details: Blue body with yellow ends, and large BR logo in white.

By Phil Scott (Our Phellap) - English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Class 50 50035 Ark Royal

Whilst at first glance not too dissimilar to the previous plain blue, this was a breath of fresh air for a young enthusiast circa 1980something...

During the introduction of the High Speed Train, it was found that the sloped front of the power cars didn’t really suit the traditional full yellow end. As a result the yellow was extended around the cab fronts, and along the bodysides. A Class 56 was experimentally painted with these wrap around yellow fronts, and the new livery was well received by enthusiasts – in part because the loco number was now twice the original size. This certainly made spotting what was parked at Severn Tunnel Junction much easier as you sped past at 60mph! This was long before smartphones or widespread use of video cameras, if we wanted to spot things it had to be written down...

4: Jaffa Cake

Livery Operated by: London and South East Sector

Livery Details: Dark Brown and beige banding, with thick orange stripe.

British Railways Jaffa Cake

4-CEP EMU in 'Jaffa Cake' livery.

This was a short lived but rather popular livery, used on only a few classes of electric units in the south east – some of the Clacton Express Class 309 units received the livery, along with the Class 419 Motor Luggage Wans on the southern, and the 4-CEP and 4-CIG units. It had a warmer appearance compared to the previous blue and grey, and was rather appropriately followed within a short time by the "toothpaste" Network Southeast livery!

3: Phase Three

Livery Operated by: Amtrak

Livery Details: Platinum with red, white, and blue stripes.

Amtrak Phase III By Tim_kd5urs

A Pullman Coach at London Victoria.

Like myself, this was introduced in 1976 and was of course the third iteration of the Amtrak livery – the stripes introduced with Phase 2 were retained, bodies were either plain stainless steel or if painting was required, a silver known as "platinum mist" was used. The red, white and blue are of course as American as you can get, even though the red and blue shades are actually quite a lot lighter than those used on the flag. If you’ve watched telly at any point in the last 40 years, you’ve probably seen this livery! Despite there being another 3 "phases" or liveries since this, the last loco in this livery was not repainted until 2017 – that’s a pretty good run for a colour scheme... It’s probably no surprise that I’ve got a lot of coaches from Kato, Walthers etc in this livery...

2: 'Horsehead' Livery

Livery Operated by: Norfolk Southern

Livery details: Black with white stripes.

Norfolk Southern Locomotives

Primarily a freight carrier on the East coast of the States, Norfolk Southern transports an AWFUL lot of coal – black is of course a sensible choice for the livery! A very simple scheme, but as a result it looks good on pretty much any bodyshell or loco type. The only real splash of colour here is the yellow handrails. Locos are often called "catfish" by enthusiasts, with the white nose stripes said to resemble whiskers.

1: Arriva Turquoise

Livery Operated by: Arriva worldwide

Livery details: Turquoise

Arriva Train in Denmark CC Niels Karsdorp

Arriva LINT Railcar in Denmark

The unifying colour here is actually called Pantone 321 aquamarine, and it is surprisingly widespread – Arriva run bus and/or rail services in:

Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Holland, Poland, Italy, Portugal,, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden, Spain, the UK and formerly in Malta and Germany!

With such a wide variety of vehicles to livery, there are of course many local variations and differences in detailing, but the unifying colour remains the same in most cases. It’s eye catching without being too nauseating, bright and cheery.

Arriva Bus in Liverpool CC Alan Sansbury

Arriva Bus in Liverpool

A notable exception to the corporate branding has been the London area bus services that Arriva operates – Transport for London have a requirement that buses are red!

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