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GSR Numberplates

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Angus
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There has been discussion on numerous topics about the GSR number plates, all relating to colour.

As I understand it the majority of the plates were simply painted grey, some with the lettering and border polished back to metal (not brass!) some simply painted yellow. A few had the backgrounds painted black with the lettering and borders picked in red.

My question is on the lettering itself.

The Light Railway Stores (formerly Narrow Planet) produce some customisable GSR plates and they have kindly agreed to make these available in 2mm scale for me:

https://www.lightrailwaystores.co.uk/collections/number-plate-styles/products/npp-420

image.png.06b51778b14b08a4453eb14f9085ea8c.png

Would all locomotives have the text "Inchicore Works" at the bottom? I am thinking here of ex Midland engines for example? Or would this only be applied after a re-build?

Also was the build date always included? Take say an ex GS&WR engine, built at Inchicore but in say 1880? Or was the build date only added for locomotives built after the creation of the GSR in 1925?

I have spent quite a time wading through photos but unfortunately the bottom lettering is quite hard to discern.

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31 minutes ago, Angus said:

There has been discussion on numerous topics about the GSR number plates, all relating to colour.

As I understand it the majority of the plates were simply painted grey, some with the lettering and border polished back to metal (not brass!) some simply painted yellow. A few had the backgrounds painted black with the lettering and borders picked in red.

My question is on the lettering itself.

The Light Railway Stores (formerly Narrow Planet) produce some customisable GSR plates and they have kindly agreed to make these available in 2mm scale for me:

https://www.lightrailwaystores.co.uk/collections/number-plate-styles/products/npp-420

image.png.06b51778b14b08a4453eb14f9085ea8c.png

Would all locomotives have the text "Inchicore Works" at the bottom? I am thinking here of ex Midland engines for example? Or would this only be applied after a re-build?

Also was the build date always included? Take say an ex GS&WR engine, built at Inchicore but in say 1880? Or was the build date only added for locomotives built after the creation of the GSR in 1925?

I have spent quite a time wading through photos but unfortunately the bottom lettering is quite hard to discern.

Yes, you're right - most with a grey background (which, strangely, the manufacturer doesn't do) - but only because most engines were grey right until almost the end.

By the time they started painting any engines black or green, the numberplates were replaced by painted numbers, so that with the exception of the 800 class, grey is the only show in town for numberplates - with only a very few exceptions which (a) kept numberplates into the late 50s, AND got painted black.

The wording "Inchicore Works" and the build date varied from engine to engine after the amalgamation, though all GSWR locos had both. An ex-DSER, Midland, West Cork or narrow gauge engine might have "G S R" (and a handful had "C I E" later, but it varied.

Colours: If the loco is grey, the numberplate is grey. Black or red backed numberplates on grey locos are simply as wrong as lime green CIE roundels. But, of course, a few exceptions! This one, "A few had the backgrounds painted black with the lettering and borders picked in red...." is not at all certain, and if there is any substance in it would certainly not have been in late GSR or CIE times - possibly early GSR (late 20s).

1. The 800 class. Initially, all three had dark blue backgrounds, uniquely. No. 800 retained these always. Nos 801 and 802 - again, uniquely - had theirs repainted red background sometime in the early 50s, and retained these to the end.

2. Ex-MGWR "E" / J26 No. 560. This engine appears to have been painted black in the late 50s, but kept its cast numberplates. However, in the early 1990s I owned one of its numberplates (wish I had kept it) and whoever the previous owner was, had scrubbed it back to the grey paint. There were a very small number of other locos like this, but once an engine was repainted by CIE, off went the plates.

3. CIE repaints. Between 1945 and 1962, CIE repainted some engines green: numberplates ALL removed, except the 800s, in place of light green painted numbers. Some grey: numberplates replaced by light yellow painted numbers. Some black: ditto - yellow painted numerals.

So there is a fundamental error in a number of manufactured plates I've seen, in that the backgrounds are BLACK; this incorrect - if the loco still has a numberplate, it means it's still in GSR guise, thus grey ONLY.

The raised edges and numbers on cast plates was normally outlined in pale yellow, but occasionally just painted over plain grey, sometimes *(as Senior observed) polished bare metal (which would have just got filthy!) and possibly (unconfirmed) other variations.

However, if you want a red-backed plate, or a black-backed one, you're way back into GSWR times. Up to about 1900, when GSWR locos were green, numberplates were black-backed, and between then and about 1915, when GSWR locos were lined black, they were red.

Perhaps the manufacturer might do them grey? Black or red would only be of use to GSWR modellers.

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Thanks JHB, as informative as ever.

In fairness to the manufacturer the black and red are their standard finishes which are correct for most of the plates they produce.

So to recap for a 101 class in the late 20's I should have the build date (say 1874) but for a Midland engine of the same time period I should have no script at the bottom of the plate.

I'll my order placed, plain brass of course as they are going to be painted grey!

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26 minutes ago, WRENNEIRE said:

Have this one in the loft if its of any use to you man
1858635321_GSWR184.JPG.d8de00e47000228765e755ebbf9e0bed.JPG
 

VERY nice.

I wish I had kept the 560 one I had....

That 184 one would be one of the originals, as the preserved loco (like 186 AND 461) has replicas. The green is off that one-off livery the thing had for some late 1950s open day in Inchicore. Original grey underneath, by the look of it..........

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