At the risk of raising a load groan all round, I would invite members
to look at the Rolling Stock Focus feature in the current (December)
issue of Back Track.
Any suggestions that crimson / blood was anything other than a vivid
blood red will surely be dispelled by the upper photo.
Has anyone ever suggested the blood was crimson? They were both vile,
cheap colours. My father, who worked for a paint manufacturer, thought
the red was loaded with heamatite to give maximum opacity with a single
coat repaint. The custard looked like the stuff our school dinner ladies
Well, several ready-to-run coach manufacturers and model paint
producers seem to think so. Until very recently, it has been impossible
to purchase either coaches or paint which in any way resembles the
subject of the Back Track photo.
When it was dirty, perhaps - but look at the photo in Back Track;
that's a *very* pale cream.
Always difficult to rely on old colour photos, particularly those reproduced
in magazines. The photo emulsions of the time were unreliable, and the
scanning and other processes used in the magazine printing industry can
distort the colour.
That's not to say that the 'blood' in 'blood & custard' was not crimson.
I remember the colour well, I rode in those carriages many times. It was
more of a tomato colour - if that's crimson, so be it. The "custard" is
harder to characterise, but it was darker than GWR cream (which, BTW, is
often too dark on models.) Besides, the carriages were not kept as clean
as GWR kept theirs, so what with rain making a mucky sludge of the dust
and smoke on the sides, the colours varied a lot.
"If it looks right, it is right."
I think the official BR designation was "carmine and cream". The BR Board
had tried some other colour schemes, notably the ex-LNWR "plum and spilt
milk" but, in the austere post-war environment there was a shortage of
painters properly capable of carrying out elaborate lining schemes, and
there was also a shortage of cleaners. The Board decided that they should
not show any leaning to any of the "Big Four" and hence a new coaching
livery - carmine and cream - and express engines in blue rather than black,
crimson or green.
Hope this helps,
Blood & Custard  for coaching stock was superceded by maroon  from
c.1957 onwards, and that in turn by blue & grey  from c.1965 onwards.
 - crimson only for secondary stock
 - green for most dmus & emus
 - blue only for suburban stock, dmus & emus.
Further to John's answer to the question about the dates for coach livery
changes, the switch from carmine and cream to maroon (very similar to the
old LMS style, but less ornately lined out) coincided with the Western
Region being given approval to return some coaching stock to chocolate and
cream livery for use on WR named expresses. Paddington did this for such as
the "Cornish Riviera" and the "Bristolian", and then came up with names
which had not - as far as I am aware - ever been used before ("The
Inter-City" springs to mind). Maybe they had lots of chocolate and cream
paint left over from pre-1948!!
"David Costigan" wrote
I didn't want to complicate matters by including the odd regional variation,
but as you've (quite rightly) introduced the concept, it should be pointed
out that BR(SR) began painting some of their coaching stock in green livery
at the same time. I think this latter variation on 'standard' livery was
probably saw more widespread use than the WR's chocolate & cream.
Both the WR & SR liveries could be seen on regional workings, and I recall
seeing choc/cream coaches at Leeds and SR green at York in the early 60s.
I can recall seeing coaching stock in all colours and shades at the
sidings in Welwyn Garden City when I was a child in the mid to late
60's, presumably as stock got all mixed up and slowly re-painted in the
blue / grey.
The only reason I was asking was that we are modelling the GWR in the
late 50's - early 60's and note that some painier tanks (farish) are
available in BR black as well as GWR green, and wondered if the BR
maroon stock would of ever been seen behind a black painier on the WR in
that era, or would blood and custard stock be more in keeping, or stick
with GWR cream and chocolate ??
I'd have thought that maroon stock would be the most likely when hauled by
*either* black or green BR liveried panniers during your period.
Chock/cream stock was pretty much limited to main line expresses, whilst
local trains would have been crimson (rather than crimson & cream) and
maroon from c. 1957 onwards, although it would have taken some time for all
secondary use coaches to get repainted into maroon.
Chocolate and cream coaches were used on the Devonian from Bradford
Forster Square and Leeds City to Torquay and Paignton; SR green ones
were sometimes seen on the Newcastle to Bournemouth trains.
My alternate routes from Bradford to Oxford in the early 1960s:
- Steam-hauled Devonian to B'ham New Street, hike across to Snow Hill,
Western-hauled train to Banbury, DMU to Oxford.
- DMU from Bfd Exchange to Penistone, Woodhead electric to Sheffield,
steam-hauled Newcastle/York-Bournemouth train to Oxford.
Looking at a copy of British Standard 381C 'Colours for Specific
Purposes', 1964, there is no colour therein called 'carmine', but colour
No.540 is called 'crimson'. This is quite a dark red, not really a fresh
blood colour. Of course, BR might not have used a B.S. Std. colour. If
anyone has access to the Munsell Colour System, the reference there is: 5R
Interestingly, in Australian Std. 2700-1985, 'Colour Standards for
General Purposes', there is a colour No.R15 'Crimson', which is much redder
than the B.S. Crimson, and to my eye, much closer to fresh blood colour.
B.S. 381C has colour No.352, 'Pale Cream', rather yellowish, but nothing
just called 'cream'. No 352's Munsell Ref. is 4Y 8/5.
A.S. 2700 has Y34 Cream, lighter than No.352.
Obviously, B.R. would not have used A.S. 2700 colours, but it
interesting to do these comparisons. One man's Crimson is obviously not
another man's Crimson! And ditto for Cream!
'The Devonian' went through my home town station (Normanton in West
Yorkshire). The northbound train stopped there at a little after 6pm in the
evenings, whilst the morning southbound train didn't stop for some reason.
I believed the NER & the WR provided a rake of coaches each for this
service, and clearly only the WR rake was choc/cream.
From my admittedly vague(- my mother tells me that I used to hide upon the
approach of steam engines) memories of the early part of the 1960s on the
former GWR, most passenger stock in the sort of passenger trains that might
be hauled by a pannier would have been in blood and custard or maroon/plain
crimson. I only remember seeing clean 'chocolate and cream' on the Pembroke
Coast Express, whch used to hurtle past my aunt's pub in Burry Port. There
may have been surviving GWR (not BR) liveried ex-GWR stock, but even that
was largely maroon. Don't forget that, by the early 1960s, a lot of
secondary WR services used displaced LMS and LNER stock from the areas which
had succumbed to dieselisation. I have vivid memories of those seat-back
pictures illustrating various 'exotic' East Coast' resorts.