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My Top Five Liveries

Terry Smith

TERRY SMITH takes us through his top five liveries.

As one of the senior (in age at any rate) employees here I have seen many different BR railway liveries come and go and while there is no era limit on regarding our choice, mine have all been picked from ones that have appeared in my lifetime.

5: Network SouthEast

Livery Operated by: Network SouthEast.

Livery Details: Blue body with white and red stripes.

Network SouthEast Livery CC Phil Scott

Network SouthEast Class 411 at Victoria.

Like others while making our top five choices I would like to throw in that I liked the very short lived Jaffa Cake livery that appeared on Southern Region slam door trains during the 1980s - but I think that would be a wasted choice as it was only around for 18 months or so and its application to stock was very limited.

So in 5th place in my list I am plumping for NSE. The red white and blue of Network SouthEast just worked so well on both coaching stock and locos alike - one of the very few times in the history of railways in Britain that it did. To me it looked like a complete system, perhaps something the Americans would have used. The Class 50s looked great kitted out in NSE livery but even a lowly Gronk looked like it belonged. This is my only Modern(ish) livery in my list.

4: Chocolate and Cream

Livery Operated by: BR Western Region

Livery Details: Brown and beige banding.

Western Region British Railways

Fourth place goes to WR Chocolate and Cream. Note I said WR and not GWR - what's the difference you might ask? Well it's about what it was applied to that counts for me. While I don't dislike the pre-war Hawksworth and Collett stock, but it's when it was applied to the BR Mk1s that I personally like this livery. During the 1950s British Railways soon relented their edict that express stock should only be Crimson and Cream, and allowed the four regions to re-paint the stock in their own identities. While the express steam locomotives remained Brunswick Green throughout their lives, a bit of experimenting happened with the WR Diesels after their introduction - a lot of the Class 42 and 52 WR Diesel Hydraulics were painted Maroon. I personally love to see a Green Class 52 pulling a rake of Chocolate and Cream Mk1 stock, it just reminds me of summer holidays down at Dawlish Warren.

3: Pullman

Livery Operated by: Southern Railway/British Rail

Livery Details: Brown and beige banding.

Pullman Coaches cc Our Phellap

A Pullman Coach at London Victoria.

While similar to my previous choice, there is something regal about the original Pullman livery. As a kid, a visit to Brighton would always mean a trip to the station to see if one could get a glimpse of the famous Brighton Belle. We lived too far away to have ever spotted the steam hauled Bournemouth Belle that ran out of Waterloo, but you could sometimes catch an odd Pullman car in a rake of green stock leaving Brighton for Southampton or Bournemouth. The Brighton Belle never looked as special after it was painted blue and grey in the mid 1960s. Many specials still run today using old Pullman stock and I never tire of seeing them.

2: Carmine and Cream

Livery Operated by: British Railways

Livery details: Bottom part of coach carmine red, top half cream.

Carmine and Cream

Well this was a bit more difficult to call than I thought and very close to call. The runner up spot was always going to be my first but I guess I just bottled it a last moment! So in second place we have Carmine and Cream stock, especially when pulled by a black locomotive and the "go to work on an egg" early crest! The WR even painted their Railcars and Autocoaches in these colours for a while. Maybe it was because as a child most of the OO model railway sets featured stock and locomotives in these colours – it certainly wasn't because they were local to me as you rarely saw this combo on the South Coast line after I was born in the mid 1950s. I just like it and that's it!

1: Southern Green

Livery Operated by: Southern Railways

Livery details: Southern Green!

Southern Coach

VT 11.5 in April 1970 in München.

Yep it is SR Green - Okay, maybe I am biased because I grew up in the area that applied to, but for most of my younger life this was the colour I remember - and of course I am talking Southern Region here!

Over the years I have grown to love this coloured stock more than anything else, and having such a choice of preserved lines in easy reach of me such as the Bluebell, Spa Valley and Watercress only enhances this. The green suits the Mk1 stock but I have to say that it's Bullied Coaches that really appeal to me. Nothing looks better in my opinion than a Bullied Pacific, either rebuilt or unrebuilt pulling a train consisting of a mixture of green Mk1 and Bullied stock.

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