Monday morning train porn II

It’s 1970 and Waterloo station is grubby and dark-looking and allows the free-flow of people. Thank heavens Railtrack/Network Rail improved it, so it’s now bright and shiny and makes sure that when it’s busy there’s a serious risk of people being crushed to death against the retail booths carelessly dribbled across the concourse! Ah, progress.

Also, it’s 1970 and thus five years since British Rail introduced “Rail Blue” livery for the trains. As you can see, a good half of the slam-door Southern region deathtraps are still in Southern Railway green. Nowadays, thanks to vinyl wraps, we can relivery trains as they pass from franchise to franchise to franchise in a never-ending, dizzying merry-go-round of our money in only a few hours. We just don’t bother very often. I’ve been on a Northern Spirit painted, Arriva Trains Northern debranded, Northern Rail over-branded West Yorkshire PTE-financed train with Intercity ‘No Smoking’ stickers in the windows and default Regional Railways North East posters quite recently; what the ordinary passenger is meant to make of this thrusting display of deck-chair rearranging by successive incompetent governments is anybody’s guess.

Give me relentlessly blue trains any day: they make it look like a railway, not a political football being passed around homophobes and various European state railways.
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3 comments

  1. I was sat at a remote railway station yesterday waiting for a train for quite some time watching the various East Coast trains flood by. Trains in GNER blue but with the red stripe replaced by white. Trains in National Express East Coast grey but with some of the stripes removed. Trains in silver and purple.Trains that had a loco in blue hauling a set of carriages in silver, and trains that had a loco in silver hauling blue carriages.I then boarded a First Capital Connect train with its disgusting lilac and pink painted toilets and a seats upholstery in a very First style way which would make no sense come December 2015 if First don’t retain the franchise. Meanwhile the same company is busy running a series of battered looking ex-Southern trains where the plastered on PCC logo is slowly peeling off.And then there’s Southern itself which took on a load of 442s for the Gatwick Express and painted them accordingly. Then decided, hmm, we could use these on other services. So it now runs trains on Southern routes with a cryptic "EXPRESS" logo and nothing else.Meanwhile here in London, buses have slowly but surely becoming 100% and now a large roundel is being to appear. The operator logo is being slowly shunted to less obvious positions. Time for a centrally managed fleet livery and interior design with a small operator logo for the trains? Intercity services could have their own styling. London’s too. No more pointless debranding exercises every time a new franchise comes along… Well I could dream.

  2. Everything seemed grubby in the 70s, didn’t it? I kind of like it. Why is one of the signallers wearing shirt clips? Is it to hold up his sleeves if he rolls them up?

  3. Possibly a (very) old shirt: before shirt sizes were standardised, it was one-size-fits-all and the shirt could be "taken up" at specific points – the pointless fold at the back of men’s dress shirts is a shadow of the practice of bunching the shirt there and starching/ironing it to size. Similarly, all shirt sleeves were very long and you caught them up on the clips to make them the right size for you.American films of the 1930s and 40s show this the best – the hard-bitten newsmen valiantly attempting to avoid falling in love with Katharine Hepburn often have sleeves that look like something Snow White would be proud of.

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