Green / Black Chronology? : LUSENET : Southern Railway : One Thread

Page 355 of withers excellent book "Diesels of the Southern Railway" shows E7 2905 wearing what looks to be a green scheme is referred to as painted black in 1952. Similarly on page 351 an E6 appearing to have a a black scheme is also referred to as being taken in 1952. From all that Ive been able to observe these units would not have appeared black until after the SD 24 purchased in 1958-59. Could someone shed some light on this for me? Thanks, Roy Williams

-- Roy Williams (, February 27, 2000


Southern green often photographed dark if the lighting or the exposure was not just right. Duplicated slides can also show the paint too dark. I have seen the shots you referred to, and the 2905 is very likely actually green. The shot of E6 2902 on page 351 was probably taken much later than 1952. I know Mr. Shaw took a lot of similar shots in Washington area in the late 50's and early 60's. The 2902 appears to have a black scheme with small stick-on gold lettering and striping from that time frame. Note also the oil cooler lines on the roof of the 2902. This was a later day modification. The Southern began taking the nose heralds off the green cab units around 1957, much prior to most of the black repainting. There was a much-told story about the switch to black paint in the late 50's. The story centered on a shop official at Spencer NC who wanted to make "brownie points" with D.W. Brosnan. He devised a way to impress Mr. Brosnan through decreased locomotive painting costs. He took it upon himself to have a F cab unit painted in his cost cutting scheme. Black instead of green, premasked gold stick-on lettering and striping instead of dark yellow paint, and the removal of the nose herald. The engine repaint and the reduced costs were viewed by Mr. Brosnan, and the green paint and the nose emblems were history. There was no rush to repaint. Some green engines lasted til the early 60's, with paint wore down to the primer in some cases. I don't know the number of the test black F-unit or the name of the officer who got the "brownie points". This story was taken for the truth by Charlotte Division crews working south out of Spencer Shop. If true, the incident probably happened in the early part of 1957, since nose emblems started coming off later that year.

Ben Lee, Engineer- North Charlotte District (Greenville-Spencer)

-- Ben Lee (, February 28, 2000.

I wonder if the "brown-noser" who came up with the black-and-aluminum idea lived long enough to see the scheme last until the end of the Southern itself? I'd venture to say it was the longest-running official scheme of a major southeastern railroad.

-- Bud Leggett (, August 09, 2001.

Seaboard Air Line's red/black switcher scheme lasted the entire time (with minor variations in lettering style) the SAL had diesel switchers...1939-1967...

-- Craig Zeni (, August 13, 2001.

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