Southern 4-8-2 roof color : LUSENET : Southern Railway : One Thread

i was wondering if anyone has seen a color photo of a Southern 4-8-2 showing cab roof or tender top color. cuz i have a model of one but the roof and the tender top is black, was just wondering if they were really that color or if it was the red color like the other green locos. oh and was the cab roof and tender top black or red on the streamlined 1380 also?

thanxz dwayne

-- Dwayne Devinney (, August 18, 2002


The only photo of a Southern steam loco with a red roof (other than excursion locos) that has turned up was clearly doctored. Even the painting diagrams note that the locos, which were first black, were to be painted green up to the eves on the cabs. That would mean that the roofs would by default have been black as it was the base color. The backs of the tender coal bunker slope sheets were definitely red on most freight locos to provide greater visibility from the rear when involved in switching but I've not seen any evidence of that on green passenger locos. I have heard from shop workers that no locos ever left Spencer with a red roof although the tender deck and the deck between the cab and the tender were red.

I personally believe that the red roof myth started with the excursion locos. Even the PS4 in the Smithsonian does not have a red roof and you would think that they would have been sure to be historically correct on that one. There was a photo about 50 years ago in MR of a large-scale model PS4 built by Southern shop crews for display in the Washington office--it did not have a red roof.

-- Larry Puckett (, January 28, 2003.

I have heard the red primer theory before and even ex-shop workers admit that that is likely the only way it would have happened. But even then they say that it would have been due to the need to put power on the road before a paintjob was completed. However that doesn't make sense if you think about it since if the roof was going to be done black as was dictated on painting diagrams then that would have been done before the green and therefore the red primer would have been covered. The sequence of painting would have been primer first then the black paint, then the green so it seems very unlikely that a loco would have been released with a primer roof and green cab. Now as for whether a shop would have disregarded company policy and jsut left the primer exposed, that would have been a good way to get fired!

In the absence of any photographic or documentary proof of red roofs and the existance of both documentary and photographic evidence that the roofs were green or black, I am convinced that it's all a myth that beegan with the excursion locos and was widely disseminated by the Rivarossi models with red roofs. You are welcome to believe what you want and paint your models accordingly--Larry

-- Larry Puckett (, January 29, 2003.

Dwayne, "Southern Railway in Color, Vol. 2" by Alton Lanier has several pictures of the SR Ts-1 class 4-8-2 (pages 44,45 and 69). In these pictures the tops of the cab are clearly black, although they are also weathered substantially. Tops of tenders are not visible enough to show color. I hope this helps in some way.

-- Ray Brown (, August 26, 2002.

I have seen one colour photo of a CNOTP pacific that sugests that the tank deck was oxide red. Unfortunately the angle of the sun is such that this could just be an illusion, however the rear of the coal space bulkeads was oxide red and photos exist to verify this. I paint my decks red simply becase black will cover red beter then red wil cover blck if I ever unearth evidence one way or the other

Red cab roofs is a long cherished but undocumented idea (except for engines in excursion service). It seems probable be that some CNOTP engines had red roofs in the thirties, and I wonder if these engines were the reson for the legend? I understand that the late David Morgan, editor of trains for many years and a real enthusiasts of the Ps4 knew the CNOTP engines at that time. If he remebered red roofs and wrote about the Ps4s as being so bedecked, then we have the beinnings of the legend.

However you are pretty safe leaving your mountain with a black roof though green was used on some engines.


-- Aidrian Bridgeman-Sutton (, September 15, 2002.

The red roof myth is probably based in fact--oxide red was often used as a primer. It's likely that some of the shops on the SR system forgot or chose not to paint over the primer after an engine was shopped for one reason or the other.

-- Andrew Durden (, January 28, 2003.

thanks for all the info guys i know its been a long time but i just wanted to say thanxz to all who responded

-- Dwayne Devinney (, April 19, 2004.

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