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Wagon Chassis Colours and ?

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Hi lads,

I notice the Orange Bubbles have a grey Chassis, the MIR sheets at the time indicated a Black chassis on the painting instructions which is what I went with.

I am doing a few 20ft Flat Wagons and I notice  Wagon painting Instructions for the Keg Wagons also have a Black chassis.

What time frame did the Black Chassis Exist in before it turned to Bauxite or did the Black Chassis ever exist on the 22ft Flat Wagons at all?  Was it a freight flow colour or such? I cant seem to put a finger on a picture for me sins.





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From my research, the cement bubbles never got a black chassis at the start, they were primer grey initially, and as they developed in traffic, they just got muckier as they went about their business, to the point where they appeared black. As to when a formal decision came about to actually paint them black, I'd be guesstimating mid 80's.

I've yet to find evidence of a black chassis on a 22' flat. Having been "up and under" one a few years ago (oh Matron!) , there's no evidence of actual paint. it's not bauxite, it's just rust/oxide.

But, I'll say this, I haven't put extensive time into researching this, just in case anyone gets excited, this is just a personal, (and not an IRM) observation, and I could be wildly off the mark, and welcome to be corrected. 



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Thanks GD,

I went with Red Oxide (just looked at the side of the paint tin!!) Phew but did paint 2 black and they do look smart to boot especially with the Blue Keg surrounds (were they ever blue!!), ah well the Airbrush will be back out tomorrow night. I'll have to knock the BR out of me with that Bauxite talk.

off to kip now.


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The Guinness flats NEVER had black chassis.

NO CIE wagon in standard grey (pre-1970) or later brown ever had a black chassis*. Bubble chassis were grey with grey livery, and grey with orange bubble livery. It was only when cream came along that a rare exception of a black chassis appeared. Modern bogie wagons often have black bogies with multicoloured springs; see the output of Limerick works - they don't seem to have been painting bogie frames in recent years.

Some wagons, like Taras, had the same blue on the chassis and bogies as the body, until repainted all brown. The Castlemungret stuff, though, was a rare exception.

Other common livery errors on wagons are brown bodies and grey roofs; ok for BR but not CIE. Possibly most well known is the Whitehead livery for "Ivan". Cream balconies, white roof and black ironwork should ALL be grey. The GNR ran a railway, not a fairground attraction!   😊

*   The VERY few exceptions were 3 or 4 "H" vans painted green (black chassis) for Tralee-Cork mail, a brief interlude about 1960-3. Green horse boxes had black chassis, grey ones didn't. 

Edited by jhb171achill
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Hi Mark

It was just a livery change. British Rail had a period where brown meant fitted and grey unfitted, but that didn't apply here. Fitted and unfitted alike were all grey until around 1970/1, and anything painted after that was all brown. Mind you, many were NOT painted after that date, and clearly hadn't been for years. As late as 1975/6, a very occasional "H" van still sported a stencilled "flying snail"; I photographed one that way in the Crossmolina Siding at Ballina in summer 1976.

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9 hours ago, ei6jf said:

 I'd always assumed that brown meant fitted here as well. 

Interesting point you raise, ei6jf.  It could easily be assumed by many, indeed, so the point is probably worth emphasising.

The Great Northern did, in later days, paint some vans brown and have them fitted for passenger trains, but as far as I can gather it was not an exact science by far, and is probably best disregarded as policy by modellers. The UTA also began to paint some vans brown, although with their almost total neglect of repainting anything, it is as likely to have been quite random!


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2 hours ago, Andy Cundick said:

Wouldn't bother too much in my experience of working on wagonry at Swindon they all ended up as a gungy brown colour.Andy 

Especially for UTA. Nondescript dirt really is the only realistic thing there.

CIE stock was just as tatty into the late 1950s, though all grey initially; but once steam disappeared you'd need to be more careful of correct livery as goods stock was somewhat tidier from the 60s.

Edited by jhb171achill
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