W.A.G.RYS Wagon liveries

Prior to the 1900 reclassification, wagons were painted “slate“ grey with black ironwork and white lettering. There were some exceptions to this. The horseboxes were painted in the passenger livery of Indian red whilst the GB class bogie covered goods wagons (later class V) appear to initially have been varnished wood. Cold storage vans were white with black ironwork. Roofs were painted white.

At around the same time as the wagons were reclassified there was a change of livery to all-over Indian red colour scheme. Ironwork was now painted the same colour except below the solebar. Lettering was still white. Wagons with a vacuum cylinder had a white filled circle painted on the side until most of the stock was vacuum braked. There do not appear to be any instances of Indian red wagons with the old numbers although there are many cases of grey wagons with their post 1900 numbers. Therefore the livery change came after the renumbering. Cold storage wagons remained White.


Louvre vans also became white at some point before the First World War but by the second war were Indian red again. In the inter-war years the colour of the roofs of most vans was changed from white to a stone colour (Navy dressing replacing white lead). In later years the cold storage vans had grey roofs. The service vehicles in classes DW, VW and VS (at least) were also painted white after the Second World War until the 1970s when yellow started to appear.


The late 1960s brought the standard gauge to Western Australia and a change to wagon liveries. The new colour scheme replaced the Indian red with Golden yellow. Initially it was only used on the standard gauge wagons. Black lettering was used in place of white. The interior of open wagons was painted white in many cases. On 2.10.70 the Minister, R.J. O'Connor announced that narrow gauge rollingstock would be painted yellow. A trial of narrow gauge wagons in 'Golden Yellow' was begun to test client response and durability of the paint from 6.10.70. Despite 'Golden Yellow' being appreciably more expensive than red the WAGR painted narrow gauge stock in yellow from 10.3.71.

The only wagons to retain Indian red on a permanent basis were the DE class explosive vans and the FDP class poison vans although many wagons were broken up without being repainted yellow. Cold storage vans remained white.


When they were first introduced in the inter-war years tankers were painted in colourful liveries to reflect their owners branding. In later years most were plain black or had silver tanks although some did have yellow solebars after about 1970. Some W.A.G.R. bogie tankers were also painted in plain yellow.

Another colourful innovation of the inter war years was advertising vans. These had gone by the late 1970s.


Brake vans were painted in the standard wagon livery for most of the period but in the 1950's they started to appear in plain larch green. A few other vehicles also qualified for this livery. VY5000, the bullion van, is illustrated in this colour scheme. In black and white photos the distinguishing feature between Larch Green and Indian red liveries is the WAGR roundel.


When the coach livery changed to larch green and cream the ZJ and ZJA class brake vans were all repainted to match as was the old brake van Z9.

In later years most Z vans ran in Yellow as eventually did Z9 and some of the ZJ's although most ZJ's retained green and cream until written off.


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