May 14, 2008

The Colour of Trains

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?

The Answer:
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:


Chakoli said...

I read thata one...:-))
and was so excited to know that even trains are have colours:-))))

aneri_masi said...

this is so interesting! And I never even gave a second thought to train colors. In my mind, it was always red and cream, like the mumbai locals. but now that i see these pics, i'm going, oh yeah, i have seen these colors.
the military ones are pretty cool.
do you have any pics of that "palace on wheels"?

Vrij said...

Chaks.. yep.. u had seen the old blog I guess :)

Vrij said...

Aneri.. Thanx :)

Yes, there are loads of fantastic colors for the trains. And yep.. the military greens are lovely.

Try for PoW pics!

Curious said...

Hola Vrij..

For someone who's lived long away from India.. It sure is quiet educational for me... though i've traveled in electric trains in chennai haven't been much on the others pictured here! :D


Cinderella. said...

I liked this post, all the visual info and the descriptions were great !

What I didnt like was to know that even you share the common misconception of thinking of Orissa as South Indian state !!

This is a folly that seems to prevail all over India. In the north we're considered as South Indians, while in the South we're considered as North Indians.

The fact is we're neither. Orissa lies in the eastern region of the country. Touching WB,AP,Bihar.

I dont understand why does it happen all the time...sigh...

Vrij said...

Curious.. Thanx :) But I'm curious to know if you did not see the same post on o3 an year ago..

Vrij said...

Cindy.. Thanx abt the appreciation.

And I apologise if u think that I percieve that Orissa is a south state. What I meant was 'south of Delhi'. If u note, I have included even Bilaspur in the list, even though it is in the centre of the country. In railway parlance with respect to Delhi, trains to Chattisgarh and Orissa are 'south-bound'. UP, Bihar, WB and NE are east-bound while Mumbai, Gujrat and Rajasthan are west-bound.

Otherwise my geography is well above average. ;)

Keshi said...

Lovely...India is the land of Colors!

Here in Aus, most trains r Silver. :)

I see an Orissa debate going on here. guess what..I hv Orissian blood hehe. Apparently the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka originally came from Orissa in India.


Vrij said...

Keshi.. Thanx :)
Yes, India is indeed a land of wonderful colors. U can get unimaginable combos out here..

Most countries have silver/white trains.. here in India, there is a lot of dust around and we dont keep our surroundings clean enough. Lighter colors would get spoiled in a day!

And thax for enlightening us about the Sinhalese-Oriya (or is it Odhia?) connection :)

Cinderella. said...

@ Vrij : POint taken.
LOl @ 'my geography is well above average' !!!

Mine aint..

@ Keshi : Girl ! Awesome !!!!

And like Vrij says, its not orissian, its Oriya (in english) and Odiya in !!

Keshi said...

lol I made that Orissian term up!

tnxx Cindy n Vrij!



Vrij said...

Cindy.. when we meet.. will educate u on some aspects of geography.

Keshi.. Orissian is a nice word.. it sounds so classy.. but as Cindy says.. its Odiya.

Anonymous said...

thats some trainography sir :) wonderful snaps,addin ya

Vrij said...

Ashu.. Thanx :)

Anonymous said...

wow, dost bahut sahi post hai... great research!

Ria said...

hey nice post dude!i really never got this thought in mind....a very interesting insight into trains of different colors. I loved the first pic :)

Vrij said...

Sridhar bhai.. Thanx :)

Vrij said...

Ria.. Thanx. Indeed no one generally looks at all those mundane things as colors of trains, etc.. but there are some nutcases like me who step in to do just that!

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Shaon said...

I am with Light, something similar to Indian official blue...