NBR Liveries

19th Century liveries are often open to conjecture. It is also notoriously difficult to reproduce accurate colours on a computer screen, so this has not been attempted. Accurate matches should be taken from preserved vehicles, museums, or historical societies.


There continues to be a high degree of uncertainty concerning North British Railway liveries during the 19th Century. The first recorded livery is that of green with red frames. This was used by Wheatley before 1875.

In 1875, Drummond introduced Stroudley's "Improved Engine Green" yellow-brown livery from the London Brighton South Coast Railway. Lining was modified to be black with white edging.

Holmes modified this livery in about 1885. The main colour was changed to dark ochre with a slight greenish hue, and bordered with dark green. The two colours were delineated with a black line. The outer edge was vermilion, and the inner edge was yellow. Lining below the footplate was black and vermilion only. Axle ends were black with a ring of yellow. In 1913, the dark green was changed to bronze green.

Coaching Stock

Coaches were initially varnished wood, but a 'crimson lake' (alternatively, claret or dark red) livery was used for most of the NBR's existence. This was probably alizarin crimson over a brown undercoat. Gold or yellow was used for lining. Coach ends were unlined, but vermilion was used for brake ends. Solebars appear to have been crimson on fixed wheel coaches, and black on bogie coaches.

East Coast Joint Stock was varnished teak, whilst Midland & North British Joint Stock followed the Midland's coach livery of crimson lake.


Type Colour
General Light-medium grey
Fitted 12T express van Brown / ?Burnt Umber
Refigerator vans Brown / ?Burnt Umber
Fruit vans Brown / ?Burnt Umber


Thank you to Richard Barron for some of the above information.