Irish Railfans' News, August 1969 on the subject of A class liveries:
The silver livery of the first As was offset by green numerals at each end and about half-way along each side, by a green CIÉ “snail” emblem on each side, and by the red buffer beams. As the years passed the livery became more and more dishevelled until by 1958 all (except A16 and A19 which were repainted in 1957) were grubby, to say the least. A change was made then: in May 1958 A46 appeared in a livery of dark green with a light green waistband and numerals. The buffer beams remained red. About the same time A36 appeared in a lighter green without the waistband but with numerals and buffer beams similar to A46. In time A locos 10, 11, 15, 24, 25, 34, 45, 51, 54, 57, 59 and 60 came out of the shops in the “A46 livery”; this was during 1958-59.
Early in 1960 the overall light green livery, as on A36, began appearing on a wide scale. Late in that year A46 itself succumbed and came out sans waistband in the lighter green. The preference for the lighter green livery continued until mid-1961 although it should be noted that no other loco made the transition from the dark green to the light green livery. Thus in 1961 the A class locos bore two green liveries while the original silver livery (in a really poor state) was still to be found.
There was a dramatic change in September 1961, when A6 appeared in a livery of black, golden brown and white. The white consisted of a band around the loco, a little below roof height, which dipped to a point at either end over the ridge between the cab windows. Below this was a wide layer of black which likewise came down in a point, this time below the cab windows and immediately below the point of the white band. The rest of the bodywork was brown, and the buffer beams were the familiar red. The numbers were in white on each end only. This livery spread gradually during 1962-3, though after the first few locos the black band was made narrower. To confuse the picture, however, A16 appeared early in 1962 resplendent in the original silver livery!
Though the “black and tan” livery (as it was very quickly dubbed) was applied to A locos: 1-3, 5-8, 12, 14, 15, 17, 20, 22-24, 27, 31, 36, 37, 39, 40, 47, 48, 50, 52, 56 and 58, there were still some locos running at this time in the old silver colours. The latter were by now exceedingly worn and some numbers were barely visible. Then early in 1964 A30 appeared completely black in colour, the only relief being a white band above cab window level at each end; this rose to a point in the centre, between the windows. There were white numerals at each end and midway along the sides; the buffer beams were orange. This did not last long - only 2 other locos were so treated, A49 and A55 - but was replaced by a slightly-modified version in which the buffer beams reverted to red, and the centrally-placed side numerals were replaced by two separate smaller numbers on the sides: one at each end, just above the bogie and behind the cab door.
The modified black and white livery remained unchallenged until mid-1968 and almost all the class were painted in it. There were exceptions, of course: As 1, 15, 22, 37 and 52 remained black and tan, the damaged A54 was still dark green, while A16, following its efforts in the filming of “Darling Lili”, was in a rather extraordinary livery which was mainly black with a stretch of black and tan at either end. By this time also, A58R and A59R had appeared in black and tan.
In June 1968 A52 appeared in a variant on the all black livery. It had a yellow patch covering each end from just below the cab windows down to the buffer beam, the yellow area being the full width of the loco. The numbers at each end were in black. The livery was not adopted for A15, which was since repainted in black and white, without the yellow ends. The current position is thus: As 22, 37, 58R, 59R: black and tan; As 4, 12, 13, 20, 24,31, 34, 50, 52, 55: black and white with yellow ends. All others are black and white.