GWR coach colours

The GWR chocolate and cream coach livery was introduced in 1864. The scheme was originally intended as chocolate and white, but with several layers of varnish the white tone appeared as a light cream. The word 'brown' is often used synonymously with 'chocolate'.

The two colours lasted on coaching stock until the end of the company's existence, with the following exceptions: In 1908, an all-over brown livery was introduced, retaining lining but discarding the cream entirely. This rather austere livery was replaced in 1912 by a richer crimson lake colour, which lasted until 1922.

In 1922, Collett did away with the WWI wartime colours (which included khaki and black), and reintroduced the chocolate and cream colours. It seems from 1922 onward that less varnishing was applied, and it is possible that a cream paint was introduced rather than a white used previously.

The brown and cream scheme lasted as the standard GWR coach livery until nationalisation, although in 1942, as a wartime economy measure, stock requiring repainting was painted in a reddish-brown colour.

The chocolate and cream colour panels given here are based on J.N.Slinn Great Western Way, HMRS 1978. The colour given here for the gold lining is as currently used by GWS Didcot. Colour values in rgb and hex are given, but should be regarded only as a guide.

Three suggestions for 'indian red/mahogany' as used on coach droplights and bolections are given here. Variations in the 'indian red/mahogany' shade were normal and expected. Originally, droplights were real mahogany, varnished. The colour of real mahogany varies considerably, depending on species. Later, when real mahogany became scarce, a non-mahogany wood was used (probably teak) which was painted.

Coach chocolate   (rgb 42,1,1;   hex: #310101)

Coach cream   (rgb 255,231,171;   hex: #FFE7AB)

Coach lining 'gold'   (rgb 255,198,88;   hex: #FFC658)

'Indian red/mahogany' suggestion 1:
   (rgb 129,32,16;   hex: #812010)

'Indian red/mahogany' suggestion 2:
   (rgb 150,53,37;   hex: #963525)

'Indian red/mahogany' suggestion 3
(from the livery page of the Great Western Railway Coaches site):
   (rgb 102,0,0;   hex: #660000)