locked History of Signature colors


Jennifer Q. Hunt
 

I am a historical fiction author writing about the Southern Railway presence at the Atlanta Cotton Exposition of 1895. I am trying to discover when Southern began using their signature green and gold colors. Any insight is greatly appreciated!

Thank you!
Mrs. Jennifer Hunt


Robert Hanson
 

Hello, Ms. Hunt,

The Southern began using the green paint with gold trim on an order of Pacific-type passenger locomotives in 1926.

It is said that Southern Railway president Fairfax Harrison visited England about that time and was impressed with the green locomotives used by two of the railways there - the London & Northeastern and England's Southern Railway.

On his return, he directed that the passenger locomotives then on order be delivered in green with gold trim.  They proved to be so popular that the Southern's entire fleet of passenger locomotives was so painted.

I hope this helps.

Bob Hanson
Loganville, GA


-----Original Message-----
From: Jennifer Q. Hunt <jenniferqhunt@...>
To: SouthernRailway@groups.io
Sent: Sun, Mar 27, 2022 6:46 pm
Subject: [SouthernRailway] History of Signature colors


I am a historical fiction author writing about the Southern Railway presence at the Atlanta Cotton Exposition of 1895. I am trying to discover when Southern began using their signature green and gold colors. Any insight is greatly appreciated!

Thank you!
Mrs. Jennifer Hunt






Jennifer Q. Hunt
 

That does help very much! Thank you!


On Mar 27, 2022, at 7:34 PM, Robert Hanson via groups.io <RHanson669@...> wrote:


Hello, Ms. Hunt,

The Southern began using the green paint with gold trim on an order of Pacific-type passenger locomotives in 1926.

It is said that Southern Railway president Fairfax Harrison visited England about that time and was impressed with the green locomotives used by two of the railways there - the London & Northeastern and England's Southern Railway.

On his return, he directed that the passenger locomotives then on order be delivered in green with gold trim.  They proved to be so popular that the Southern's entire fleet of passenger locomotives was so painted.

I hope this helps.

Bob Hanson
Loganville, GA


-----Original Message-----
From: Jennifer Q. Hunt <jenniferqhunt@...>
To: SouthernRailway@groups.io
Sent: Sun, Mar 27, 2022 6:46 pm
Subject: [SouthernRailway] History of Signature colors


I am a historical fiction author writing about the Southern Railway presence at the Atlanta Cotton Exposition of 1895. I am trying to discover when Southern began using their signature green and gold colors. Any insight is greatly appreciated!

Thank you!
Mrs. Jennifer Hunt






Marv Clemons
 

Bob, thanks for the interesting background on the origin of Southern's green and gold color scheme. I had heard that it was taken from the L&NE, and now we know "the rest of the story." 

Regards,
Marv Clemons
Birmingham, Alabama


Bill Schafer
 

I think that the color that originally impressed Fairfax Harrison in England was the green used by the Southern Railway of England, which was a dark green. Beginning in 1926, Southern Ps-4s were painted with two coats of DuPont Dulux Sylvan Green enamel (SOU initially referred to it as “Virginia Green”), which then received two coats of varnish. Lettering/numbering/striping were in gold leaf. Sometime circa 1934, possibly as an economy move, SOU began using two coats of this paint without two coats of varnish. Lettering/numbering/striping was with DuPont Dulux imitation gold material. The info for both the varnished and unvarnished versions of Ps-4 paint can be found on page 32 of William Fitt’s 1973 publication Southern Ps-4 Class Pacific Locomotive Drawings, which were furnished by Southern Railway. 

Last year Aidrian Bridgeman-Sutton speculated in this forum that without the two coats of varnish, the apparent color of green became brighter because the varnish used was an amber color and made the Sylvan Green appear darker. (Also, the gold leaf sometimes was so worn or dirty it failed to show up in photos.) Since there are no color photos of SOU Ps-4s between 1926 and, say, 1934, it’s hard to quantify how much darker the green appeared, but one can tell from contemporary black and white photos that post-1934, the green certainly appeared brighter.  The brighter green, to my understanding, more resembled the London & North Eastern locomotives of the time. 

Having seen examples of both Southern Railway (England) and LNER greens at the National Railway Museum in York, I have since come to believe that Southern’s locomotive green of the 1926-1934 period was meant to honor England’s Southern Railway, not the LNER. Just my opinion. 

—Bill

On Mar 28, 2022, at 09:23, Marv Clemons <mclemonsjr@...> wrote:

Bob, thanks for the interesting background on the origin of Southern's green and gold color scheme. I had heard that it was taken from the L&NE, and now we know "the rest of the story." 

Regards,
Marv Clemons
Birmingham, Alabama


Carl Ardrey
 

LNER locomotives were apple green which was adopted from the LNE when the Big Four was created.  Southern and later BR green was the darker green we associate with the Southern.  Attached is 4472 at Birmingham in 1969.
CEA


On 03/28/2022 9:50 AM Bill Schafer <bill4501@...> wrote:


I think that the color that originally impressed Fairfax Harrison in England was the green used by the Southern Railway of England, which was a dark green. Beginning in 1926, Southern Ps-4s were painted with two coats of DuPont Dulux Sylvan Green enamel (SOU initially referred to it as “Virginia Green”), which then received two coats of varnish. Lettering/numbering/striping were in gold leaf. Sometime circa 1934, possibly as an economy move, SOU began using two coats of this paint without two coats of varnish. Lettering/numbering/striping was with DuPont Dulux imitation gold material. The info for both the varnished and unvarnished versions of Ps-4 paint can be found on page 32 of William Fitt’s 1973 publication Southern Ps-4 Class Pacific Locomotive Drawings, which were furnished by Southern Railway. 

Last year Aidrian Bridgeman-Sutton speculated in this forum that without the two coats of varnish, the apparent color of green became brighter because the varnish used was an amber color and made the Sylvan Green appear darker. (Also, the gold leaf sometimes was so worn or dirty it failed to show up in photos.) Since there are no color photos of SOU Ps-4s between 1926 and, say, 1934, it’s hard to quantify how much darker the green appeared, but one can tell from contemporary black and white photos that post-1934, the green certainly appeared brighter.  The brighter green, to my understanding, more resembled the London & North Eastern locomotives of the time. 

Having seen examples of both Southern Railway (England) and LNER greens at the National Railway Museum in York, I have since come to believe that Southern’s locomotive green of the 1926-1934 period was meant to honor England’s Southern Railway, not the LNER. Just my opinion. 

—Bill

On Mar 28, 2022, at 09:23, Marv Clemons <mclemonsjr@...> wrote:
Bob, thanks for the interesting background on the origin of Southern's green and gold color scheme. I had heard that it was taken from the L&NE, and now we know "the rest of the story." 

Regards,
Marv Clemons
Birmingham, Alabama


Carl Ardrey
 


On 03/28/2022 10:00 AM Carl Ardrey <carlardrey2005@...> wrote:


LNER locomotives were apple green which was adopted from the LNE when the Big Four was created.  Southern and later BR green was the darker green we associate with the USA Southern.  Attached is 4472 at Birmingham in 1969.
CEA


On 03/28/2022 9:50 AM Bill Schafer <bill4501@...> wrote:


I think that the color that originally impressed Fairfax Harrison in England was the green used by the Southern Railway of England, which was a dark green. Beginning in 1926, Southern Ps-4s were painted with two coats of DuPont Dulux Sylvan Green enamel (SOU initially referred to it as “Virginia Green”), which then received two coats of varnish. Lettering/numbering/striping were in gold leaf. Sometime circa 1934, possibly as an economy move, SOU began using two coats of this paint without two coats of varnish. Lettering/numbering/striping was with DuPont Dulux imitation gold material. The info for both the varnished and unvarnished versions of Ps-4 paint can be found on page 32 of William Fitt’s 1973 publication Southern Ps-4 Class Pacific Locomotive Drawings, which were furnished by Southern Railway. 

Last year Aidrian Bridgeman-Sutton speculated in this forum that without the two coats of varnish, the apparent color of green became brighter because the varnish used was an amber color and made the Sylvan Green appear darker. (Also, the gold leaf sometimes was so worn or dirty it failed to show up in photos.) Since there are no color photos of SOU Ps-4s between 1926 and, say, 1934, it’s hard to quantify how much darker the green appeared, but one can tell from contemporary black and white photos that post-1934, the green certainly appeared brighter.  The brighter green, to my understanding, more resembled the London & North Eastern locomotives of the time. 

Having seen examples of both Southern Railway (England) and LNER greens at the National Railway Museum in York, I have since come to believe that Southern’s locomotive green of the 1926-1934 period was meant to honor England’s Southern Railway, not the LNER. Just my opinion. 

—Bill

On Mar 28, 2022, at 09:23, Marv Clemons <mclemonsjr@...> wrote:
Bob, thanks for the interesting background on the origin of Southern's green and gold color scheme. I had heard that it was taken from the L&NE, and now we know "the rest of the story." 

Regards,
Marv Clemons
Birmingham, Alabama


Aidrian Bridgeman-Sutton
 

Thanks for remembering that, Bill.  On the SRHA site, there is a photo of two Mountains heading out of Atlanta... here


I'm inclined to think the second engine may still be in the older finish, there seems to be a distinct difference in tone between the two.

As far as the inspiration for the original scheme is concerned, the green used by the LNER went through a couple of iterations, as Doncaster and Gateshead works were the principal works for two of the main constituents of the merged company. Both used rather different colours,  however they were both definitely in the range of colours that could be called "apple green".. 

The English Southern Railway was, like the LNER, formed in 1923 from a government organised  merger of several companies in the south of England  and they also went through a number of different shades of green. Again the major works showed some variance in the olive green  - Eastleigh initially favouring a different shade to Ashford; this possibly lasted until 1937 when OVS Bulleid introduced a bright green known as "Malachite green".

None of these are much like Sylvan green; I am inclined to think that Mr Harrison liked the general idea of green engines,  but had his people come up with distinctively American combination of colours and striping,  far better adapted to the aesthetics of the 1920s American steam locomotive than simply copying what was being done on this side of the water. 

Sylvan green is neither Apple green nor Olive green but when I try to mix a representative shade with oils, it seems to be primarily a mix of Chrome yellow, Prussian blue and a little white  

Aidrian


Robert Hanson
 

Thank you, Aidrian, for your analysis from the British point of view.

One has to wonder what the Ps-4's, and other passenger power of the Southern, would have looked like if Mr. Harrison had been impressed by the locomotives of the London, Midland & Scottish Railway rather than those of the Southern and LNER.

Bob Hanson
Loganville, GA


-----Original Message-----
From: Aidrian Bridgeman-Sutton <abridgemansutton@...>
To: main@southernrailway.groups.io
Sent: Mon, Mar 28, 2022 4:59 pm
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] History of Signature colors

Thanks for remembering that, Bill.  On the SRHA site, there is a photo of two Mountains heading out of Atlanta... here


I'm inclined to think the second engine may still be in the older finish, there seems to be a distinct difference in tone between the two.

As far as the inspiration for the original scheme is concerned, the green used by the LNER went through a couple of iterations, as Doncaster and Gateshead works were the principal works for two of the main constituents of the merged company. Both used rather different colours,  however they were both definitely in the range of colours that could be called "apple green".. 

The English Southern Railway was, like the LNER, formed in 1923 from a government organised  merger of several companies in the south of England  and they also went through a number of different shades of green. Again the major works showed some variance in the olive green  - Eastleigh initially favouring a different shade to Ashford; this possibly lasted until 1937 when OVS Bulleid introduced a bright green known as "Malachite green".

None of these are much like Sylvan green; I am inclined to think that Mr Harrison liked the general idea of green engines,  but had his people come up with distinctively American combination of colours and striping,  far better adapted to the aesthetics of the 1920s American steam locomotive than simply copying what was being done on this side of the water. 

Sylvan green is neither Apple green nor Olive green but when I try to mix a representative shade with oils, it seems to be primarily a mix of Chrome yellow, Prussian blue and a little white  

Aidrian


mike turner
 

To add to the historical murkiness, back around 2008 I attended a British train exhibition in Taunton UK and wore my SRHA shirt.

Three men approached me and said they they were confused by my strange-to-them shirt.

One said he was an officer of the British Southern Railway historical group and one of their their questions was about the green paint scheme.

They said their understanding was it was the other way around and their railroad's president visited over here, saw the American green scheme, and ordered their engines painted likewise.

I have no idea if he was pulling my leg (fool the Yank) or what.

They all got a good laugh out of an American version of the story.

We know what both railroads did, more or less. We just don't know who copied whom, if anyone did. :)

Personally, I'll go with Adrian's opinion.

--
Mike Turner
MP-Z35


Donnie Dixon
 

I am sure most of you have seen Southern Railway Drawing SL-6129, dated 1927.  Painting Southern Passenger Locomotives.  I have attached it as PDF format so you can enlarge it without losing definition.

Donnie Dixon


Robert Hanson
 

After a bit of research, I found that the first of the Gresley Pacifics, the Great Northern, of LNER predecessor Great Northern Railway, left the road's Doncaster works in 1922 clad in green dress.  The GN became part of the LNER in 1923.   While I do not know when the first Southern Railway (England) green locomotives were so painted, it would appear that those of the LNER, at least, pre-dated the Southern's green Ps-4's (the first Southern locomotives so painted) by several years.

For whatever it is worth.

Bob Hanson
Loganville, GA


-----Original Message-----
From: mike turner <michaellturner@...>
To: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io
Sent: Mon, Mar 28, 2022 6:57 pm
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] History of Signature colors

To add to the historical murkiness, back around 2008 I attended a
British train exhibition in Taunton UK and wore my SRHA shirt.

Three men approached me and said they they were confused by my
strange-to-them shirt.

One said he was an officer of the British Southern Railway historical
group and one of their their questions was about the green paint scheme.

They said their understanding was it was the other way around and their
railroad's president visited over here, saw the American green scheme,
and ordered their engines painted likewise.

I have no idea if he was pulling my leg (fool the Yank) or what.

They all got a good laugh out of an American version of the story.

We know what both railroads did, more or less. We just don't know who
copied whom, if anyone did. :)

Personally, I'll go with Adrian's opinion.

--
Mike Turner
MP-Z35







George Eichelberger
 

One (of many) SRHA archives research projects we want to do is to have someone start in the SR Presidents’ files boxes around 1925 and simply look through everything until they get through 1926 to see if they can find any references to the green paint. That was announced in the August, 1926 “Southern News Bulletin” (I’ve attached the article. A complete set of scanned “SNBs” are available on DVD from the SRHA “Grab”.)

Ike




On Mar 29, 2022, at 12:00 PM, Robert Hanson via groups.io <RHanson669@...> wrote:

After a bit of research, I found that the first of the Gresley Pacifics, the Great Northern, of LNER predecessor Great Northern Railway, left the road's Doncaster works in 1922 clad in green dress.  The GN became part of the LNER in 1923.   While I do not know when the first Southern Railway (England) green locomotives were so painted, it would appear that those of the LNER, at least, pre-dated the Southern's green Ps-4's (the first Southern locomotives so painted) by several years.

For whatever it is worth.

Bob Hanson
Loganville, GA


-----Original Message-----
From: mike turner <michaellturner@...>
To: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io
Sent: Mon, Mar 28, 2022 6:57 pm
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] History of Signature colors

To add to the historical murkiness, back around 2008 I attended a
British train exhibition in Taunton UK and wore my SRHA shirt.

Three men approached me and said they they were confused by my
strange-to-them shirt.

One said he was an officer of the British Southern Railway historical
group and one of their their questions was about the green paint scheme.

They said their understanding was it was the other way around and their
railroad's president visited over here, saw the American green scheme,
and ordered their engines painted likewise.

I have no idea if he was pulling my leg (fool the Yank) or what.

They all got a good laugh out of an American version of the story.

We know what both railroads did, more or less. We just don't know who
copied whom, if anyone did. :)

Personally, I'll go with Adrian's opinion.

--
Mike Turner
MP-Z35