Early N&W Power and Rolling Stock

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sat Mar 23 12:52:52 EDT 2013

Jeff, et al:

We had a discussion of the issue of color used on coaches a number of years ago on the List.

I think the consensus was that the early N&W probably followed the colors used by the Shenandoah Valley RR, which in turn used the colors familiar to most of its executives (who had come from the PRR,) viz. what we today call "Tuscan Red."

But what were the earlier origins of dark red as a color for coaches? Dr. Christopher T. Baer's voluminous "Chronology of the Pennsylvania Railroad" contains a reference to the introduction of dark red on passenger equipment. Without going through my huge notebooks of print-outs of his work, I think the year was 1876. The reason for the change from yellow coaches to dark red coaches was, he states, the switch from wood to coal as engine fuel... the dirt from the coal smoke made it difficult to keep the yellow passenger cars even reasonably clean.

As to the colors which might have been used by the AM&O RR, I don't recall any information having been developed on the List during that discussion. Sad, isn't it, that something so really recent in human history isn't documented?

-- abram burnett

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