GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY
The Great Western had swept away traces of Victorian-esque grandeur in the 1930s by replacing its Egyptianstyle lettering and London and Bristol coat of arms with a modern roundel, containing the initials GWR, that was quickly dubbed the ‘shirtbutton’. It was a bold move and looked very stylish, even though it was a little lost on the sides of locomotives. It’s almost as though the trauma of war had forced GWR management to seek refuge in the comfort of the past. ‘Kings’ and ‘Castles’ retained their green paint but gained a large ‘G’ and ‘W’ in the Egyptian style serif either side of the twin coat of arms (although there was no lining). All other locomotives were black with the initials GWR on their tank and tender sides, again in ‘Egyptian’. This scheme was perpetuated after the war, but with some key differences: lining returned to the ‘Kings’ and ‘Castles’ (plus the ‘County’ 4‑6‑0s) and the ‘G crest W’ arrangement was applied to all passenger and mixed traffic classes. Tank and freight locomotives received unlined green with GWR serif initials. Rather bizarrely, however, sans serif GWR lettering appeared on mainly South Wales tank locomotives. This is believed to be due to a lack of serif transfers, so painters applied the simpler style by hand.
Below: No. 5080 Defiant stands outside Tyseley shed on May 31 1992. The ‘Castle’ is only one of a few locomotives to have worn post-war GWR livery in preservation; others include classmate No. 5051, plus ‘Halls’ Nos. 4920, 6960 and 6998. MARK BURROWS
Left: In full GWR post-war livery, ‘Castle’ No. 5054 Earl of Ducie passes Severn Tunnel Junction with an Up express in May 1947. H.N. JAMES/COLOUR RAIL
Above: A rear three-quarter view of ‘43XX’ No. 9303 at Reading in 1947. The locomotive, now preserved at the Severn Valley Railway, carries unlined green and initials - the standard livery for secondary tender and tank locomotives. H.N. JAMES/COLOUR RAIL