Strangers in town

Strangers in town

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A PROMINENT feature of the privatised railway is the rich variety of liveries and colours applied by individual train operators, often at great expense, to its rolling stock.

You could argue that variety has increased in the contemporary railway with new equipment displacing older but useful stock which is reallocated to enhance capacity and upgrade services elsewhere, as has been seen with the ScotRail mini-HST project.

One of the effects of cascading stock from one franchise operator to another (as opposed to a change in franchise operator) is the appearance of liveries outside the original operator’s operational area. An immediate need for capacity sees stock placed in use even before vinyls can be removed and repainting undertaken. Operator logos are sometimes replaced, whilst signage is changed in the interior to reflect new routes, but little else for a while.

Freight companies also adjust their fleets depending on traffic demands and renumbering is the only change made to a newly acquired locomotive which may operate for months with another’s logo and colours applied to it. Some locomotives ‘hold out’ for many years and a fine example is former Fastline Class 56 No. 56301 which still carries the colours of the long defunct company in December 2018.

So what does it mean for modellers? It can be frustrating when a manufacturer announces models of common multiple units such as the Class 150 or Class 156 in liveries apparently unsuited to your area of interest, or so it seems at the time. However, a little modellers licence and some research into multiple units and locomotives that have operated for a while in different operator liveries can make life more interesting on the layout.

For example, on a recent trip to Carlisle, an exiled Great Western Railway (GWR) Class 153 appeared on a service from Leeds, in GWR green livery but with the GWR logos removed. Hornby had a Class 153 in the same livery in its 2018 catalogue. Remove the GWR logos and renumber the set to operate it as cascaded stock.

The photographs here illustrate the modelling potential of reallocated stock working for new operators:

Former GWR Class 150/1 No. 150127 is now part of the Northern Rail fleet and was photographed working Manchester Piccadilly services from Buxton on November 25, 2018.
Former Fastline Class 56 No. 56301 shunts Ealnos MMA wagons at Peak Dale on November 25, 2018. It holds out in ‘Fastline’ livery which was applied after the company acquired the locomotive in 2006. No. 56301 is technically preserved having outlived Fastline and is available for spot hire by its owners, the Class 56 Group.
Working northbound on the sleeper on a cold November morning, No. 67012 was noted shorn of its Shropshire Lad nameplates when photographed at Kingussie on November 25, 2017.
Former Anglia Railways Class 150/2 No. 150237 finds itself on Birmingham New Street – Rugeley via Walsall services on June 2, 2005, when photographed at Bescot Stadium. Central Trains services are a far cry from its former East Anglian haunts.
Class 50s were virtually unknown on the Far North Line until two visited Wick and Thurso on the ‘Orcadian’ tour on June 18, 2006, photographed at Georgemas Junction. 
Another Central Trains exile is Class 158 No. 158855 which was transferred to Arriva to work long distance regional services between Wales, Bristol and the south coast. No. 158855 had all of its Central Trains markings intact when photographed at Salisbury working a service for Portsmouth Harbour on March 27, 2004.
New London Midland Class 172s resulted in the dislocation of the Central Trains fleet of Class 150s, some of which were allocated to Northern Rail, including No. 150206 which was photographed at Knottingley on March 23, 2012 in Central Trains colours.
Class 66 No. 66744 was one of five Colas Rail Class 66s (Nos. 66841-845) leased to GBRf and renumbered Nos. 66742-46 in 2012. It was photographed at Knottingley working coal trains for GB Railfreight on February 10, in Colas Rail livery

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