This is a post reproduced from my old blog
If you think the trains are limited to the 'dark blue- light blue- dark blue' of ordinary passenger/express trains; the orange-cream-orange of Rajdhanis and the cream-blue of Shatabdis, then you are way off the mark....
Passenger trains today seem to sport these colors (liveries) more often than not. But there are way too many other train liveries that exist. A lowdown of these:
The most common livery is the 'dark blue- light blue- dark blue' technically called the 'VIBGYOR' livery. Now, it surely does not have 7 blends, but called so as it was developed by a company called by that name. Ironic isnt it that a drab combination has such a colorful name.
The Rajdhani Express sports a rather beautiful livery of the orange-cream-orange type and this is seen in the old coaches of Rajdhani expresses. Those of you who live in Mumbai or Kolkata might recall that till a couple years ago, this was the type of color u saw on the Raj. All South bound Rajdhanis (Hyd/Bang/Chennai/T'puram/Bilaspur/BBSR) still have these coaches.
The Shatabdi expresses dont run in all places, so not that common today, but those who have travelled would know better. The cream-violet combo is indeed a beautiful one.
The Mumbai (BCT & AK) and the Kolkata (HWH & SDAH) Rajdhanis as well as the Bhopal, Lucknow and Amristar Swarna Shatabdis sport the new, imported LHB coaches which are slightly longer than the conventional ones and have metallic type body color and a snazzy livery.
Variants of the same:
Also in existance is another class of trains called the 'Jan-Shatabdi' which has a very very cool white n blue livery. Interestingly, this coach n livery was concieved and developed in a months time only.
Laloo's latest baby: The Garib Rath. The Garib rath has a beautiful Green-Gold-Green livery.
Apart from these, one comes across a very unique livery pattern seen only on Central Railway and especially on trains that run on the Pune-Mumbai sector. The Pragati, Intercities, etc sport this unique and beautiful livery.
A couple of other special trains like the Deccan Odyssey and the Palace on wheels have a very different and unique livery.
You can also spot Military coaches with this livery:
This year, IR started to commercialize the names of trains. The Summer Holiday specials running between Bangalore/Hubli and Nagercoil were branded the 'Kurkure Express' and had advertisements pasted on them. On the initial runs, each reserved passenger got a free pack of Kurkure namkeen. The latest is the Bangalore Rajdhani which has been Airtelised.
If you are the older types, you might have seen that till a couple of years ago, there were maroon colored coaches also existing on IR. But now these seem to have disappeared, except on some of the Metre gauge routes. Now, in the early 90s, IR started converting the coaches with Vacuum Brakes to more effective Air Brakes. The VB coaches sported the maroon color, while the AB stock got the Vibgyor blue. By 1998, manufacture of all VB stock was replaced by AB. And by 2005, all VB stock ceased to exist on Broad gauge and has been replaced by AB stock. Hence, the maroon has gone missing and the blue seems omnipresent.
Now comes the main point. Why the trains have lost the individuality they once had? A lot of trains had unique color and just by looking at the color one could say which train it was. Why has that been lost?
India' population has been exploding like anything. The money power too. Work gets decentralized. Families spread across the country. Travel becomes important. And whats the best way to travel? Of course the train.
IR had to introduce a very large number of trains in the past two or three decades. However, the production of coaches is still short of the requirement. Added to this, the space to keep the coaches and mantain them in stations becomes limited because of ever escalating real estate prices. So what does IR do? It starts rotating coaches between trains. For example, a train that comes from Tirupati to Secunderabad as Narayandri express in the early morning, gets cleaned and goes to Howrah as the Falaknuma express in the afternoon. The Falaknuma express that arrives in late morning goes as Narayandri in the evening. Thus saving on the time to clean, space to rest, etc.
Mismatched livery: (The strange coach is of the Mysore-Nizamuddin Swarna Jayanti exp)
Now one can also see coaches with multiple destination boards on them. Take this one for example.
That actually reads:
How would it be if it had a unique livery and it was doing duty on multiple routes. One would not have appreciated it much. Hence the uni-color principle.
Pictures Courtesy: www.irfca.org