Correct color schemes for Southern PS-4 4-6-2's : LUSENET : Southern Railway : One Thread

Many years ago I painted a HO PFM PS-4 in Crescent colors. The model was finished up with black drivers, which at the time I believed was correct. In the process of doing another model I have learned that some, or maybe all, of the PS-4's had green drivers that matched the boiler color.

Were the Crescent engines delivered with green drivers initially? All the engines? If so, when were the drivers painted in the black color. Any color pictures exist of any of the PS-4's in service in Crescent colors? I no longer have my copy of the Prince book on Southern steam to verify the authenticity of the paint schemes.

I intend to model either 1396 or 1397, with the Crescent lettering on the tender.

Thanks for your input.


-- Walt Neff (, July 23, 2003


Walt, I'm not sure about the old "Crescent Limited" scheme, but here is an exerpt from the official SR documents in the 1940s:

March 8, 1946

< Passenger locomotives and tenders: The parts painted green include the cab up to the roof gutters; sand box and dome casing; turret casing and low water alarm; boiler jacket above running boards;bell frame and headlight case; handrails and piping above the running boards;cylinder jacket and tender tank above floor.

The parts painted white: Running board edges and driving wheel tires.

Remaining parts are painted black. All lettering and numbers and the striping are imitation gold. Cab interior, green.>>

One point: be sure the cab roof is black and NOT red! On all of the color slides of SR steam in the 1940s in my collection, the drivers are black.

-- Tom Alderman (, July 25, 2003.

This is a real can of worms. There's no photographic evidence that the wheels were ever green, but the description cited by Tom A is pretty specific.

What I suspect is that when the Southern changed it's painting style to the lighter Sylvan green and replaced then gold leaf striping and lettering with painted Dulux Gold a number of other changes were incorporated in the scheme. This change happened in 1934, February and it seems likely that the striping on wheels and running boards changed from aluminum to white at the same time.

It's not clear that the paint on the wheels was ever anything other than black, except in the magazine article cited. However it's also possible to find a definitely lighter shade on the leading truck wheels in some photos of Western Lines passenger engines, when this is compared to the black of the pilot and other areas. This may have been a regional variation or one encouraged by the crew assigned to a particular engine.

I don't promise that this will help, but for my own modeling, which is set firmly at the time of the changeover in colors, engines with Sylvan green and Dulux gold get black wheels and those in the older green with gold leaf scheme get green. If I'm eventually proved wrong then it's easier to cover green with black than the other way around.

I haven't got a perfect match to the earlier green, but Humbrol #3 Brunswick green looks to be about right.

My only other comment relates to the cab roof - I use green since this is the color of the cab on the shop built model in the NS offices.


-- Aidrian Bridgeman-Sutton (smokeand, August 23, 2003.

The source that says "green on cab roofs up to the gutters" (the print in the Wildwood Publications drawings published in 1973) omits the color of the roof between the gutters, and causes confusion, but the correct answer, from those who were there, is that the cab roofs were green between the gutters for the most part. The sole exception I am aware of was on the Washington Division (Washington-Monroe), where some (maybe all?) of the Ps-4 cab roofs were painted black between the gutters. I have seen this in photos and had it verified by Bernie Gallagher, who worked in the Alexandria shops in the late- 1940s. Otherwise, the 1410 (model in NS headquarters) is a good indicator with its all-green roof. Don't use the 1401 as a guide -- some of it is painted incorrectly, so I am told, but the Smithsonian won't change it because "that's the way it came from the railroad".

-- Bill Schafer (, September 05, 2003.

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