Prototype colors : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

I'm encountering some mysteries concerning SAL diesel colors. A 1953 article mentions SAL switchers in Jax terminal being black and yellow with orange striping. I had never heard this before . Is it accurate? Ready for another? In "Classic Diesels of the South",J.Parker Lamb mentions SAL brown and yellow geeps. I have never heard this anywhere else. Were they really brown, or did they just get cruddy? Finally, how did ACL paint their heavyweight and smoothside passenger cars during their "purple days"? Thanks for your patience! Jim Roquemore, Steubenville, Ohio

-- Jim Roquemore (, June 06, 1998


The eyes can deceive you. I call this brown thing an optical illusion. In looking at actual Pullman passenger cars at the transportation museum in Spencer, NC, from a distance, they appear brown. Upon closer examination, The color will miraculously change (like a chameleon ) to a pullman green. Also, to my knowledge, the striping was a lemon yellow with narrow red outlines never orange. The only other color schemes I know of are the black and red switchers and the late 1960's SAL "green hornet" paint scheme.

-- Andrew Callo (, July 20, 1998.

Having been called upon to answer the passenger car lettering question, here we go. In 1939 ACL's new lightweight Budd cars for the Champion came in stainless steel with purple letterboards and aluminum-gray lettering. Actually the purple extended to the ends of the sides, something later Budd cars (both prewar and postwar) had as well. Stainless steel cars from P-S and ACF, however, delivered in the late 40s and early 50s, mostly had the purple only behind the lettering itself. This scheme was replaced with black lettering on stainless steel after 1957.

The first conventional passenger equipment order to have the purple colors was the 50 refrigerator express cars, series 3000-3049, built in late 1947 and early 1948. They had the same purple and aluminum band pattern as diesel locomtives (aluminum down the middle), and the same yellow stripes. In 1950 ACL began rebuilding some coaches into semi-streamlined modernized cars, and applied a variation of the purple colors to them. These cars were solid purple on the sides except for an aluminum band for the letterboard area, over the windows. The ATLANTIC COAST LINE name was in aluminum-gray letters on a purple background. The cars had 3 yellow stripes, above the windows, below the windows, and along the bottom.

Soon ACL was painting some other conventional passenger equipment in the same purple scheme, mostly other cars that were also being rebuilt and that were assigned to premier trains. Cars included were all types of the better cars, including heavyweight Pullmans with a high proportion of room space. The scheme was also discontinued on heavyweights in 1957, and some heavyweight cars never received it.

After 1957 the standard heavyweight scheme was Pullman green with yellow lettering, but some of the purple cars never got repainted. At least one purple passenger express car was spotted in service in Dec. 1970.

-- Larry Goolsby (, June 08, 1998.

SAL switchers were black and red,with minor variations depending on the paint shop. The Pullman green paint oxidizes and to some people it looks brown. Can you give me more info on the 53 article? To me Jax.Terminal is the passenger station,and normally would be devoid of SAL switchers. I hope that that Mr.Goolsby will answer your question on the Coast Line.

-- Joseph Oates (, June 07, 1998.

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