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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 59 - Spring 1986

The Numbers Game - Trevor Page

On 7th May last year, the 9466 Group's Hawksworth Pannier Tank left Quainton on its summer tour to the Great Western Society's Didcot Railway Centre. Unfortunately, 9466 didn't appear at Swindon; nor did any other exhibits. If it had gone, it would have appeared as 9404, because the organisers of GWR 150 made a ruling that every locomotive appearing at the exhibition should be in an authentic livery applicable to that particular engine! This caused problems with Tyseley-based 7029 'Clun Castle', because it was built by BR in 1950 and has a very non-GWR double chimney. Since preservation it had carried the early GWR express passenger livery, so its owners were asked if they would change this to the correct BR style or withdraw it from the exhibition.

Reluctantly 7029's owners complied; all well and good. But then it came to the organisers notice that another locomotive attending the event would also be sporting a technically incorrect livery - 9466.

It must be said, however, that the licence taken with 9466 was far more subtle than that used on 7029. 9466 is outwardly identical to the GWR-built series 9400 - 9 and was painted in the final Great Western livery style, giving it the appearance it would have borne for four years.

However, "rules are rules", the 9466 Group were told - "change it or you can't come!" At first the ultimatum was BR black (!!!) [Note 1], but this was later commuted to a lighter sentence - renumbering! 9466 had to be renumbered into the series of GWR-built locos.

The Group decided on No. 9404, because, at one stage in its life, 9404 had carried the boiler of 9466! No doubt half of the moving parts did tile rounds as well, especially if the collection of numbers stamped on various vitals of QRS's Pannier, 7715, are anything to go by! Components from Grange, Manor and Hall 4-6-0s, as well as 'umpteen pieces of other Pannier, help to keep 7715 on the road!

So now we have a dual-identity 94XX Pannier at Quainton! - something for the gricers to talk about no doubt, especially if there's a different number on the sides to the one on the buffer beams.

All this talk of liveries and numbers was very topical last year, especially after the April Fool repainting of City of Truro in BR black! But, joking apart, it must be said that it is the right of every loco owner, having spent tens of thousands of pounds of their own money, to paint and number their engine as they see fit. Whether this is a subtle bending-of-the rules, as with 9466, or something a little more 'artistic' - Charles Maher's Caledonian Blue Fairburn 2-6-4T, Richard Greenwood's Yankee-style USA Tank - they've paid their money, let them take their choice and good luck to them!

However, when a charitable body, set up on historical lines - such as the QRS - is the owner, things must be a little different. Hence tile current Society policy of returning its ex-main line locos to their earliest possible authentic livery commensurate with external appearance. This is how the livery styles of 7715, Met. No. 1 and the Beattie well tank, 0314, were decided upon.

With our industrial locos, we have allowed a little licence to creep in. This has led to the Great Eastern blue on Coventry No. 1 and the Furness Railway colours on Hudswell Clarke 0-4-0ST No. 1742. In this way we hope to introduce a little more colour into the scene for the benefit of 'Mr and Mrs Average Family' even this, however, has provoked stern reaction from some quarters!

To look into the future. 7200 changed very little during its life and so could receive GWR green with 'Great Western' emblazoned on the tank sides. Wightwick Hall, 6989, entered traffic in March 1948 and so we could have a loco in GWR livery, but with British Railways on the tender, in Great Western style. But . . . 6989 now has a Collett-type tender, which it ran with in later life, not the Hawksworth flat-sided type with which it was built. So we are left with BR lined green (more GWR locos were lined out by BR than ever were by the Great Western!) or, strictly, BR lined black, with red name and number plates, like Hinton Manor on the Severn Valley.

In an article on liveries, one cannot help but express a personal view and I must admit to a liking for the unusual - but technically correct. This would indeed extend to Wightwick Hall in black - or say Flying Scotsman or Lord Nelson in BR express passenger livery. (Malachite Green looks fine on a Bullied Pacific, but on Lord Nelson, ugh!) What about a black Duchess or, on our own doorstep, a Gresley coach in 'blood and custard'? There is one flaw in this policy though - after a while the unusual becomes the norm, so you can't really win!

And City of Truro? Rumour has it that Quainton's 'Surface Coatings Sub Committee', chaired by Divad Llasramog, have been so inspired by Severn Valley thinking that plans were made to turn out Met. No. 1 in LRT silver, in order to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Brill branch closure. However, a proposal to repaint the LCDR first class carriage No. 9 in the British Rail 'Executive livery' have been shelved!

Meanwhile, member Tim Stevens writes to suggest our ex-LT Pannier Tank, 7715, should be back in maroon livery as L99 [Note 2]. After all, he says, green Panniers are two a penny elsewhere!

[1] - Whilst the idea of painting 9466 in BR black seemed unlikely in 1986, this actually happened in 2011.
[2] - Of course in later years 7715 has indeed appeared twice as L99 in London Transport livery.

The text in this Quainton Railway Society publication was written in 1986 and so does not reflect events in the 25+ years since publication. The text and photographs are repeated verbatim from the original publication, with only a few minor grammar changes but some clarifying notes are added if deemed necessary. The photos from the original publication are provided as scans in this internet version of this long out of print publication.

The Numbers Game - Trevor Page - Quainton News No. 59 - Spring 1986

Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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