A Sunday celebration of 1960s BR Green in-store for the Cotswolds

Alex Farran
March 21, 2023

• Hall 7903, Class 37 D6948 & Class 117 operating in resplendent BR Green • Memories & nostalgia of the ‘Swinging Sixties’ on Sunday 11th June 2023 • Excellent photo opportunities with the sounds & sights of steam & diesel

A celebration of the British Railways green livery from the 1960s is to take place at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railways (GWSR) on Sunday 11th June 2023. Two of the railway’s finest locomotives and a multiple unit beautifully finished in BR Green will be in service bringing memories and nostalgia of the ‘Swinging Sixties’. A fantastic day for visitors and enthusiasts alike offering excellent photo opportunities in the idyllic Cotswold countryside. Not to mention the GWSR developing as a true green ‘wildlife corridor’ with tree planting,landscaping, wild flower planting, beehives and much more!

The history of train liveries is a rather interesting and complex one with a plethora of colour schemes having adorned locomotives and rolling stock over the past 200 years. The green livery worn by locomotives and various multiple units in the 1960s was the result of a great deal of experimentation.

 When the railways were nationalised in 1948, the newly formed British Transport Commission began a key policy to develop a new standard identity for the unified industry. At the time, the BTC had inherited a diverse range ofl ocomotives and rolling stock, all painted in a variety of liveries – thus thiswas no easy task. In the early 1950s, trials were conducted with locomotives being painted in various colours, such as; both deep and light blue – known as ‘Express Blue’ (which didn’t weather well), maroon, light apple green and the Southern Region’s vivid malachite green.

 From 1954, a new green often referred to as ‘British Railways Locomotive Green’ was adopted for BR express steam locomotives as carried by 35006 ‘P&O’ and 7903 ‘Foremarke Hall’, which was not too far from the Great Western Railway style ‘Brunswick Green’. The specification was in fact BS224 ‘Deep Bronze Green’(sometimes called ‘Land-Rover Green’).

Mixed traffic locomotives generally wore lined black,similar to the LNWR style, and plain black for freight and shunting locomotives. However, as the years progressed, green became more widely adopted. BR Green was also applied to new diesel locomotives,although there were a number of variations – a dark green for the mixed traffi orientated diesels (such as the BR Class 37 / Type 3) and a two-tone green for passenger orientated diesels (such as the BR Class 47 / Type 4). Diesel Multiple Units (DMUSs) were green from the outset, with the ‘cats whisker’ lining on the front and later with yellow warning panels (the latter was also the case with diesel locomotives). Southern Region multiple units wore as eparate green known as BR(SR) green.

Even through a new green had been adopted, there were a number of deviations. The shade of green tended to vary between locomotive classes and depending on which depot/works applied the paint, even between members of the same locomotive class. Other factors included; the number of layers of paint and varnish applied, the pigment used, and the suppliers of the paint.

In addition to the new green livery, a new emblem was developed which became known as the BR ‘Totem’. This depicted a rampant lion emerging from a heraldic crown and holding a spoked wheel. The emblem was enclosed in a roundel with the ‘British Railways’ name displayed across a bar on either side. Not long after it was introduced, the new emblem was nicknamed the ‘Ferret & Dartboard’.

 With the advent of the new British Rail Corporate identity from the mid-1960s, the BR green livery started to disappear in favour of ‘Rail Blue’ for locomotives and DMUs and blue/grey for coaches.

 Tickets for the event are available online at www.gwsr.com - There is a 5%discount for all tickets bought online.