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Vacuum Pipe Colour

Discussion in 'Heritage Rolling Stock' started by Mattie Bee, Jan 17, 2021.

  1. Mattie Bee

    Mattie Bee Member

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    So, with plenty of spare time at weekends, I have been catching up with some research. This however has thrown up a quandary.

    Vacuum pipe ends for BR Stock
    Red - Fitted
    White - Through Piped.
    That's the standard and that's what we follow. Correct?

    I received on Saturday BR.87209 dated December 1958 this being
    "Naming, lettering and telegraph coding of freight rolling stock, including containers, wagon sheets and ropes - Identification markings and painted colours of freight rolling stock, including containers and wagon sheets."
    On page 23 this states:
    "On fitted stock, the vacuum pipe to be painted bauxite red from headstock to rubber connection and on piped only stock to be white from headstock to rubber connection"

    This started the cogs turning.

    BR11883 Regulations for Repairing Wagons March 1970 states Red and all current regulations that mention vacuum brakes state the same.

    BR9210 The repainting treatment of repaired freight stock and containers, including breakdown train vehicles and other service stock January 1963 agrees with the December 1958 BR87209 however the Automatic Vacuum Brake manual issued January 1967 states Red.

    So between December 1958 until January 1963 I have written standards that state fitted vacuum vehicles require Bauxite vacuum pipes, not Red.

    LNER and GWR practice was
    Black - Fitted (a Red V on fitted GWR stock)
    Red - Through piped

    So my questions/thoughts, more for interest/something to do during this lockdown.

    Did the marking of fitted vehicle pipes in any other colour that black happen before BR in 1948?
    Did the marking of fitted vehicle pipes in bauxite happen before the documented standard of December 1958?
    When between January 1963 - January 1967 did red become the standard?
     
  2. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Oh, so we've all (or most of us) been getting it wrong!? Is "bauxite red" mentioned elsewhere, or is it different to the simply "bauxite" of the main body colour? Or is it referred to bauxite red throughout?

    I've not come across red for through piped GWR before, that's handy to know, thanks.
    The SVR's Ply-sided GWR box van built in 1946 boasts a red vacuum pipe and is vac-fitted. I'm sure the SVR wagon group haven't got it wrong, as all their other vac-fitted vehicles of an earlier date build have been painted up with a black pipe and red V, so perhaps there was a change, possibly some time during the war?
     
  3. Mattie Bee

    Mattie Bee Member

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    I added the earlier references as a starting point my era of interest being BR.

    In BR87209 Bauxite Red is used to describe pipes and body colour

    In BR9210 both are described as Freight Stock Red.

    So basically yes I'm asking have we been getting it wrong. Does anyone have other BR painting or maintenance manuals from any other date that matches what I have found.
     
  4. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Member

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    Pre-grouping it must have been a nightmare.
    From the HMRS 'Southern Style - Vol 1': The LSWR General Appendix 1922 stated that " All pipes operating Brake-blocks are painted black, and all pipes not operating Brake-blocks are painted a bright red". It goes on to state that the same wording was present in the 1922 Appendices of the SECR and LBSCR (including both Vacuum and Westinghouse brakes). (The LSWR 1921 Appendix read the same.)
    Pity the poor shunter / fireman at stations where traffic was handed over to another company.
    Pat
     
  5. weltrol

    weltrol Part of the furniture Friend

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    But any decent shunter/guard would, in assessing loads and during checks, would notice the lack of brake cylinders etc.
     
  6. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    At which point, the obvious question is "Why bother differentiating with coloured pipes if you have to check anyway because there's no standard!"
     
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  7. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Member

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    It's dark, raining, and you have a paraffin hand lamp. A through passenger train arrives from the 'Other' railway and you have to put your engine on. How can you check underneath? Walking along the 6 foot isn't a great idea (although we've all done it). Trust the Guard that brought the train in?
    A standard colour scheme would help enormously, but I think I'm correct that the SR kept to those colours until nationalisation.
    Pat
     
  8. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Well-Known Member

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    Black pipes = fitted, red pipes = through piped, was also LMS practice (details from a book which references 1937 instructions) (no details of what shade of red).

    The reference to 'bauxite red' is interesting but I wonder if this really indicated 'body colour' in the era when high-level pipes were the norm. OK maybe not by 1958 but it could have been carried from an earlier edition perhaps?

    It would be interesting to know why it was changed. Changing from black to white I could understand, but changing the meaning of red seems fraught with problems.

    The other thing to consider is the use of red (and yellow!) for air brakes, white for air pipes. Maybe these colours came from the continent and maybe as ferry vehicles began to be so fitted, having red for fitted on one system and piped on the other just became too confusing?

    The answer is probably buried in the minutes of some obscure rolling stock meeting from the 1950s. Probably in a dusty box in Kew or maybe the NRM. Finding it, though...
     
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  9. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Member

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    Regarding Air brake fittings: if only it was that simple! The French love yellow for brake cocks (brake-fitted vehicles) and handbrake wheels. German brake cocks are, if I remember correctly, black, and brake wheels white. Standardisation - dontcha just love it? A quick dekko at the TSI WAG doesn't seem to help.
    Pat
     
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  10. Martin Adalar

    Martin Adalar New Member

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    I think you are overthinking this, Bauxite is red. My General Appendix of 1981 clearly says that through pipes are white and vacuum pipes are red and that of course would supercede whatever came before. The use of Bauxite doesn't surprise me at all as this was also used inside brake vans and for the interior of Mk1 passenger vehicles in Guards compartments and BGs. This was no doubt because Bauxite wears very well and doesn't discolour with age and weathering so it would make perfect sense to use it on brake vacuum pipes at the ends of some vehicles.
     
  11. Mattie Bee

    Mattie Bee Member

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    I don't think I'm overthinking it at all. During lockdown I wasn't doing much else so why not try and spark up a little discussion?

    My though process is simple. When I complete the current project, a 1958 built 22T Esso Tank and claim to have restored it to original condition.
    If I paint the vacuum swan neck red and not bauxite can I claim its original?

    My questions remain unanswered;
    Did the marking of fitted vehicle pipes in any other colour that black happen before BR in 1948?
    Did the marking of fitted vehicle pipes in bauxite happen before the documented standard of December 1958?
    When between January 1963 - January 1967 did red become the standard?
     
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  12. Martin Adalar

    Martin Adalar New Member

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    If you think about it the vacuum pipe on any steam or diesel loco in the 50s or 60s would have been red to match the colour of the buffer beam, therefore on a vehicle painted Bauxite/Freightstock Brown/Freightstock Red/Red Oxide it would not be unreasonable to expect to see the end of the pipe to be painted the same colour to match the rest of the vehicle - it would still be red as described in the standard.
     
  13. Martin Adalar

    Martin Adalar New Member

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    The General Appendix said that continental wagons did not have colour coded cocks.
     
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