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Passenger Paint Schemes



In the beginning, there was Pullman Green, with deluxe gold lettering.


The railway's first order for smooth-side, lightweight passenger equipment ushered in what would become its signature colors, blue and orange.  Cars such as the Pullman on the left, the Tuxedo Junction, arrived beginning with the 1934 re-equipping of the Tidewater, the line's premier end-to-end overnight train.  These colors would inspire the diesel paint scheme, first passenger and then freight, and spread to all corners of the empire, including timetables, package trucks, and ashtrays.

Some heavyweight cars were maintained in the revised Tidewater consist, and were repainted in the matching scheme as well - such as the Heart o' Gold, the Pullman on the right, above.  Other heavyweights needing paint in subsequent years were treated to the Tidewater scheme, however there was not a massive effort to repaint the entire fleet.  Some cars survive to this day in their original green, particularly on local and mail trains.  


In the optimism of the post-war period, the SNR purchased two complete lightweight, fluted stainless steel consists from Budd to debut an entirely new train, the Queen City.  The QC originally was an all-coach, Suffolk-to-Cincinnati daytime run - the daylight counterpart of the Tidewater.  The train introduced a new paint scheme to the railway, for stainless equipment - following the lead set by the E6 order in 1940.  The Queen City scheme, or "Budd scheme" as it's sometimes referred to, is essentially the Tidewater scheme reduced to the minimum amount of paint.  The color band and stripes blend with the Tidewater's, and those plus the stainless swath blend with the passenger diesel scheme.    

Unfortunately the projected return to the rails, and interest in an all-day coach train, did not materialize.  By '48 the Queen City was realigned to overnight service similar to the Tidewater.  The QC was allowed to keep its namesake endpoint, but the Tidewater was shifted to provide better service to Toledo, with connections for Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago on the NYC - an adjustment that actually did bear fruit.  The consists were shuffled as a result, and both trains now generally run a mixed bag of Pullmans, heavyweight diners, and lightweight chair coaches of either stripe.  RPO and storage/baggage cars have found their way into the mail/express trade.  

Orders for new passenger equipment have dropped effectively to zero since the QC, but any new equipment that has been received has been fluted stainless from Budd, in the same scheme.  The modern colors are slowly wending their way through the fleet as cars need to be shopped.  But since the QC flop and its implications for the industry, the railway has been loath to invest heavily in new passenger initiatives.  

Influence:  C&O's The Chessie.


Mail cars can be found in all three schemes, depending on their construction, and what their intended service was to be as of their last shopping.  When the QC scheme is applied to carbon-steel cars, silver paint is substituted where the stainless would have been.  This variant is still referred to as "Queen City", rather than a different scheme.  

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