NER: 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 was no standardisation of locomotive liveries before 1885, and the various workshops (Gateshead, Darlington, York, and Leeds) all used different liveries based on light green. T.W.Worsdell introduced a standard light green livery in 1885. This used a rich red-brown colour for the frames and valances. Boiler bands were black with white edges.

From 1903, goods locomotives were painted in black with vermilion lining.

Coaching Stock

First and second class coaches were painted 'plum' during Fletcher's tenure. Dark green was used for third class coaches and brake coaches.

By 1885, all coaches were being painted in crimson lake. It has been suggested that carmine lake was used as an overcoat - contrasting with the Midland Railway's contemporary alizarin overcoat on crimson lake). All panels and beading were lined in yellow or gold. Clerestory roofs and sides were in crimson. Clerestory top roofs and non-clerestory roofs were white. Clerestories were lined in vermilion instead of yellow.

Non-passenger coaching stock was painted crimson lake, often with passenger-style yellow lining.


Type Colour
General, pre-1892 Non-standardised grey
General, 1892-1896 Medium grey
General, 1896-1903 Light grey
General, 1903-1919 Medium grey
General, 1919-1922 Dark grey
General, automatic brakes, pre-1905  Crimson Lake?
General, automatic brakes, 1905-22 Indian red
Brake vans Brown with vermilion ends and yellow lettering 
Refrigerated wagons White, with black letters shaded red
Gunpowder vans Vermilion with white letters