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jhb171achill

Livery details on grey 121s

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In selecting photos for my next published offering, I have come across two quite nice shots of 121s taken about 1963 / 4. In both, the grey livery is obviously the one worn by the locos.

 

I had always thought in the past that the yellow "snails" (the ONLY instance of yellow snails; loco tenders had eau-de-nil ones, not yellow!) had white lining round them. One photo I saw some years ago tended to support this theory. And yet in a handful of photographs, one might be forgiven for seeing the lining as black.

 

Old photos can play tricks. The tired old myths* about the GNR using any old blue paint it could get, or CIE using forty one shades of green, often originate in old photos, where differing photo techniques, weather, lighting, sun, shadows, dirt and wear and tear on the loco, and many another factor, can show two vehicles in exactly the same livery in reality as very different indeed in photos. Rust, on wagon ironwork, shows in black and white photos as much darker than in real life, thus creating the myth that wagon ironwork was often black - it never was on any Irish railway bar a few very unique exceptions.

 

But photos of 121s shouldn't, I would have though, show such a difference. We're not talking about slightly different shades of green, blue or grey here, we're talking LITERALLY about BLACK and WHITE!

 

My own dim recollections suggest white, and this is backed up by the clearest photos I've ever seen, including the two I have in mind for the next book. One will, if I can get it enhanced enough from a very indifferent original, be on the cover.

 

I am aware that some models have appeared with black outlines to these.

 

So, I have two things to say. First, a question. Does anyobody (of my generation or older!) CLEARLY recall which colour the lining was on these snails and numerals on grey 121s? Or, is it possible both were used? That latter, I would think unlikely; but who knows?

 

Secondly, from a modelling point of view, one thing is clear. The lining was so very narrow that in 00 scale it would probably be better to just apply plain yellow numerals and "snails" to model locos, as at that size neither black nor white lining would be that visible. Any lining applied would be so grossly overscale as to spoil the appearance of the model.

 

Thoughts......?

 

 

(* Both Inchicore and Dundalk had paint-mixing and matching laboratories; I knew the last living man from the Dundalk one. They took great pride in replicating corporate colours when new batches of paint were needed).

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Postscript: Just been perusing a B & W photo of B126 with what looks like black edging to the yellow number and snail. It was taken around the same time that the same loco is shown in a COLOUR pic with clearly white.

 

I suspect I have a solution. Could it be that whatever paint or lining medium they used, was prone to collecting more dirt than the yellow or grey paint? If so, they would have looked black before long, when in reality they were painted white.

 

I know this is only a tiny detail in the grand scheme of things, but many a good model has been spoiled by the wrong finish, I'm sure most will agree.

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You never assume anything when it comes to livery details, that's why so many books have so many mistakes, people assume without doing reseach, I made a resent discovery when trawling through my Dad's collection, B127 with a red buffer beam on a Belfast train taken in 1965, the collection is being digital enhanced costing me a lot of money and sweat, but will be worth it in the end, people can split hair on what color a strip is, but getting it right or don't bother at all.

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You never assume anything when it comes to livery details, that's why so many books have so many mistakes, people assume without doing reseach, I made a resent discovery when trawling through my Dad's collection, B127 with a red buffer beam on a Belfast train taken in 1965, the collection is being digital enhanced costing me a lot of money and sweat, but will be worth it in the end, people can split hair on what color a strip is, but getting it right or don't bother at all.

 

Absolutely right, Randall. And in the modelling world, an otherwise excellent model can be spoiled appearance wise for want of basic detail like that. B127 and I think one other B121 had red buffer beams briefly, and thus could accurately be reproduced with either grey or red. It is very much to your credit that you are taking such time and effort over your dad's collection.

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Randall, I remember when you first posted that you had your dad's collection and we patiently await what are sure to be some wonderful photos in the future.

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I was looking at some 1950s and 60s pics last night and by coincidence came across one of B127 which I suspect was about 1963. It had grey buffer beams, so obviously the red was added between then and '65.

 

It had hit a level crossing gate. Maybe they touched up the paint after that and put red on it.

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JHB,

 

I think I can provide some information in respect of the 121s in the original grey livery.

In the June 1999 issue of the IRRS Journal(issue 139), there is a "full frontal" colour photo of B125 taken at Mullingar in 1963.

There is a clear dark, call it black, surround to the flying snail and the number.

 

Red buffer beams: the February 1971 issue of Irish Railfans News (now archived I think on the RPSI web site) contains a survey of the liveries carried by the various members of the B class.

The article notes that originally the 121s were grey with yellow lettering and the yellow band along the frame.

However, B123 and B127 received red buffer beams in 1961 and 1962 respectively.

This was carried out by Grand Canal Street depot when the locos were rostered to haul the high profile Wexford Opera Specials.

There is/was a photo on the wall in Marks Models, Hawkins St showing one of these locos; the only colour photo I've ever seen of them.

I passed this information on to Murphy Models, via Marks, so I suppose it is possible that we may one day see this variation on a RTR "Yank".

 

Cheers,

 

Glover

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Excellent, Glover, very many thanks. I had wondered why they painted two of their buffer beams red, especially as at the same time one or two A or C's got YELLOW buffer beams as a (very short lived) experiment.

 

If so many photos show up the lining as white or light, one may assume that whatever dark colour was used, started to wear off!

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