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Design Guide - Colour Schemes

Colour Schemes

2.1 Introduction

2.1.1 The maroon and cream colours currently in use, though not authentic Midland Railway (they were generally brown and cream for stations), have become synonymous with the line and have therefore been adopted as standard. The Maroon and cream colour was used by BR from 1948 onwards for its London Midland Region stations, in the case of the S&C probably until closure, so whilst it is not original MR colour scheme, it is a reasonable approximation of the final ‘commercial’ period of the S&C, and has now been the main colour scheme for sixty five years.

2.1.2 Whilst the Guide sets out to define a uniform specification for the colours to avoid the inconsistencies that exist at certain stations, it also recognises that there should be scope for varying, to a limited degree, the application of colours. This will add a subtle touch of interest and avoid too much monotonous uniformity. These variations have been included in the specification.

2.2 Preparation

2.2.1 Careful consideration should be given to the quality and application of paint on a given surface. Where restoration work is being undertaken and older layers of paint are still present, it must be remembered that modern paints differ considerably in their characteristics from older types, and they tend dry differently in a way that can cause them to detach from older paints.

2.2.2 To this end preparation is as important as the application of the paint itself. Poor or lack of adequate preparation will undermine the quality of the paint applied. Professional advice should always be sought in this regard.

2.2.3 If removal of older paint is considered necessary, care should be taken with regard to lead content as it may contain this toxic element. Statutory guidance is available for its safe removal and it is essential this is referred to prior to any such work being undertaken.

2.3 Application

2.3.1 Professional advice should be sought regarding the quality and specification of the paint to be applied. As a general rule a better quality paint, hence more expensive, will pay in the long run as it will be more durable. Different types of paint exist for different purposes and circumstances. For example it may be considered necessary to apply microporous paint in certain cases.

2.3.2 Repainting an entire building is a costly undertaking and should not be carried out more often than is absolutely necessary. Not only, therefore, should quality of paint be a consideration but also where it is to be applied, as some locations within the railway environment are restricted and require possessions that are costly and time-consuming.

2.3.3 Different paint surface areas will weather at different rates according to their respective location. This is particularly noticeable at the more exposed locations, such as Ribblehead and Dent. This will necessitate some degree of “spot” repainting in areas that will not last the course to the next major repaint. This will lead to an inevitable patchwork appearance, though this would have always been the case throughout the building’s life.

2.3.4 To this end care should be exercised to ensure that the paints used are of the correct colour code and consistency. When undertaking such spot repainting, always complete a whole feature eg an entire door rather than just a couple of panels. This minimises the impact of new paint next to old and maintains a tidier appearance.

2.3.5 Applying the correct undercoat is also essential to obtain a correct and consistent hue.

2.3.6 Many paints are translucent to a greater or lesser extent. This means that the undercoat colour will show through and therefore influence the finish. This is particularly true of maroon.

2.3.7 It is essential, therefore, that the correct undercoat as indicated in 2.9 Paint Specifications below is applied.

2.3.8 Badly or inappropriately applied paint, no matter how good a quality, will have a detrimental effect on a building. Use of professional or experienced painters is essential to this end.

2.3.9 “Wet Paint” warning notices should always be prominently placed around or near any wet surfaces. Where practicable the affected area should be taped off.

2.4 Station Buildings and Waiting Rooms

2.4.1 Bargeboards – cream / Purlin ends – grey

2.4.2 Soffits – cream

2.4.3 Guttering and rain water pipes — black

2.4.4 Windows Type 1, 2 & 3 buildings and Waiting Rooms:

  • casements – cream
  • frames – maroon

2.4.5 Doors & Door Frames—maroon

2.4.6 Waiting Shed Screens – maroon and cream

2.4.7 Stone window sills, lintels, quoins and mullions – these should normally be left unpainted. Where paint has been applied in the past, the existing colour should be maintained. Consideration, however, should be given to removing this paint where it has been badly or inappropriately applied, provided there is no risk of damaging the stone or windows.

2.4.8 See Appendix 1 for further details.

2.5 Signalboxes

2.5.1 Signalbox timber frame – maroon.

2.5.2 Vertical and horizontal planking – cream.

2.5.3 Window frames – white.

2.5.4 Finials – cream.

2.5.5 Guttering and rainwater pipes – black.

2.5.6 Steps and handrails – maroon.

2.5.7 See Appendix 1f for further details.

2.6 Lighting Columns and Lanterns

2.6.1 Columns – maroon with black base and cream bands.

2.6.2 Lanterns – maroon.

2.6.3 Brackets – black.

2.6.4 Station Name Vinyls – white with Midland ultramarine sans serif letters.

2.6.5 See Appendix 3a for details.

2.7 Benches and other Platform Furniture

2.7.1 Benches – maroon backs and seats with black bases. The station name should be applied to the middle of the seat back in white sans serif letters with a white line surround with rounded ends.

See Appendix 3b for further details.

2.7.2 Poster Frames / Wall mounted—maroon frames / Post mounted—cream frames and maroon uprights

See Appendix 3c for further details.

2.7.3 Leaflet Racks MR pattern—maroon beading, black upper backing-board, grey cover backing board.

Non-standard — maroon

See Appendix 3d for further details.

2.7.4 Notice Cases MR pattern—same as for 2.7.2 Poster Frames above.

See Appendix 3e for further details.

2.7.5 Litter Bins — maroon

Non-standard — maroon. (see 3.7.1 for important information)

2.7.6 Flower Tubs – Half –barrel tub, natural wood or maroon with black strapping / Other types – maroon or cream

2.8 Fencing

2.8.1 Midland pattern diagonal sawn timber and post – black wood preservative.

2.8.2 Vertical plank pattern – cream

2.9 Mileposts and Gradient Posts

2.9.1 Applicable where there are located on stations only, ie Settle, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Ribblehead and Appleby (mileposts) and Armathwaite (gradient post).

2.9.2 White with black lettering, (standard Midland Railway).

2.10 Paint Specifications

2.10.1 The following table lists the specification for paints to be used in accordance with the Design Guide:

Top Coat Number
Maroon Crown Trade Stronghold Exterior Gloss Royal Maroon *
Cream 10 C 31
Black 00 E 53
White 00 E 55
Ultramarine 20 C 40
Undercoat Number
Grey Use Crown grey undercoat for maroon as recommended on ‘Royal Maroon’ tin.

* Much confusion arises with this particular paint. Formally known as Crown Royal Maroon, it is a brand paint unique to that manufacturer and was chosen due to its close proximity to the maroon used by the Midland Railway. It does not have a paint number therefore no other manufacturers’ paint should be substituted.

It is also essential to use this paint in conjunction with the Crown Grey Undercoat recommended on the tin. As the maroon is translucent the use of any other undercoat will produce a different and therefore incorrect hue.

This paint is not normally available off the shelf and should be ordered through a Crown Decorating Centre. There is one in or near most large cities and delivery is usually within two days.

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