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Hello,

    I am trying to put together a train of UP cars.  In looking at different ones, by several makers, I am seeing two distinctly different yellow colors for the products.  One is a really nice looking, flat, medium yellow, which looks really nice.  And the other is a bright Lemon yellow color, that looks pretty bad.

Which color is correct for the real UP line please?

Thanks,

Mannyrock

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@Mannyrock posted:

Hello,

    I am trying to put together a train of UP cars.  In looking at different ones, by several makers, I am seeing two distinctly different yellow colors for the products.  One is a really nice looking, flat, medium yellow, which looks really nice.  And the other is a bright Lemon yellow color, that looks pretty bad.

Which color is correct for the real UP line please?

Thanks,

Mannyrock

All are correct…….the color is subjective depending on the shop paint manufacturer and time in weather.



translation, what ever you like.

Last edited by ThatGuy

Thanks, but that sure is a surprise. 

I would think that a particular color shade/scheme and logo for a rail line would be really important as its trademark.  Allowing any old color of yellow on its locos and cars really waters the marks.

FedEx would definitely not allow just "any old color of purple to be" used when displaying its trademark or painting its planes and trucks.  :-O

But then again, FedEx was named by Fortune Magazine as the best run corporation in America for the "Decade of the 1970s".  And,  no doubt, U.P. has never been so honored.   :-(

Mannyrock

@Mannyrock posted:

Thanks, but that sure is a surprise.

I would think that a particular color shade/scheme and logo for a rail line would be really important as its trademark.  Allowing any old color of yellow on its locos and cars really waters the marks.

FedEx would definitely not allow just "any old color of purple to be" used when displaying its trademark or painting its planes and trucks.  :-O

But then again, FedEx was named by Fortune Magazine as the best run corporation in America for the "Decade of the 1970s".  And,  no doubt, U.P. has never been so honored.   :-(

Mannyrock

Ok railroads and even FedEx have different versions of the same color. Just a different plant of manufacturing date will change the color. This hang up on correct color is getting old. If you like it is correct.

@Hot Water posted:

Basically the famous "UP Armour Yellow" changed sometime in the early 1970s when the lead had to be eliminated in yellow paint. Thus, depending on the era you are attempting to model, the "old UP Armour Yellow' would be correct for the 1960s and back through the steam era. All the modern equipment would be painted in that "newer", not so nice "yellow" without the lead.

Ok taking the lead out did change the durability of the color but not the color . Different shops different companies different age all change color. There is no such thing as right color.

@ThatGuy posted:

Ok railroads and even FedEx have different versions of the same color. Just a different plant of manufacturing date will change the color.

Not really. No matter the manufacture of industrial finishes, the color MUST match the customer's specifications and master color cards. As I stated above, once the lead was no longer allowed in the UP's famous "yellow", it changed dramatically. I distinctly remember when Dupont was no longer able to furnish the "UP Yellow" to EMD for an order of new locomotives, and the UP management was furious. They they attempted to supply their own paint, inspire of the Federal Regulations about lead. Their efforts were futile, and the new units were delivered in the "new and improved" yellow, without lead!

This hang up on correct color is getting old. If you like it is correct.

Nope! If one is truly modeling a specific era, then the color of whatever it is on better be correct.

@Hot Water posted:

Sorry if you are trying for real than color would be anything, I worked in railroading exact color for a railroad was low on the list. This argument, only exists in the model Train world.



by the way, this argument about correct color and correct timelines is bogus unless every car and every engine is painted in the exact same paint shop at the exact same time with the exact same paint manufacturer then none of the colors will match. People think and see what they want but in real railroading money talks and each shop mixed and matched their own colors to get as close as possible to the original but at the end of the day it was about keeping the equipment rolling and making revenue

Last edited by ThatGuy
@Hot Water posted:

Really paint in different shops all matched and different manufactures. All were exact that isn’t even done today with computers let alone 20 30 or a 100 years ago. When paint was mixed by hand I worked in railroading there were multiple different colors of Tuscan. There were multiple colors of black, and they were multiple different of Brunswick green. Please the argument only existed the model is mind

Last edited by ThatGuy
@ThatGuy posted:

Bottom line it is whatever color you like and think is correct that’s the color or the manufacturer of your train you go with. But never let anyone tell you that is not the correct color. If they do, they have no idea what they are talking about and have never worked in railroad

So much for accurate modeling! Just my opinion but, you are clueless, especially when it comes to Union Pacific yellow.

Last edited by Hot Water
@Hot Water posted:

So much for accurate modeling! Just my opinion but, you are clueless, especially when it comes to Union Pacific yellow.

I’m sure the Union Pacific painted every piece of equipment they have in one shop all at the same time same paint manufacturer, same painters and everything came out perfect. It’s a modelers argument and that’s all it will ever be. There is no such thing as a proper paint scheme on a model Train It’s an argument made by people to make other people feel bad that’s all it is it’s ego.

@ThatGuy posted:

I’m sure the Union Pacific painted every piece of equipment they have in one shop all at the same time same paint manufacturer, same painters and everything came out perfect. It’s a modelers argument and that’s all it will ever be. There is no such thing as a proper paint scheme on a model Train It’s an argument made by people to make other people feel bad that’s all it is it’s ego.

Since you apparently never worked in the railroad industry, especially the Union Pacific Railroad, you really have no idea/clue about where and how they painted their equipment, especially their yellow passenger cars and diesel units. Thus, your statements are off-base.

@ThatGuy posted:

Bottom line it is whatever color you like and think is correct that’s the color or the manufacturer of your train you go with. But never let anyone tell you that is not the correct color. If they do, they have no idea what they are talking about and have never worked in railroad

This may have been true during the Penn Central era you worked in, but I can say with pretty certain authority that for most roads that correct paint colors do indeed exist.  Yes, colors fade over time on the road, but the roads that maintained their equipment also kept the paint in a fairly close range of colors.  This is why most historical societies offer drift cards of the range of colors that are considered accurate.  It is a fairly narrow band of colors. 

As "Hot Water" states, the PRR was a major offender of matching paint later in its existence.  Tuscan Red and DGLE had a huge drift and are to this day a major source of debate among members of the PRRT&HS of which I am member of.  Other roads like the Rock Island were famous starting in the 50's for painting whatever color the shops had on their road units due to budgets.

The UP was and is different as were many western roads that had the budgets to properly maintain their equipment during the "dark years" of railroading.  They have a very strong corporate image and indeed original Armour Yellow used to be a more lemon color during the Dupont "Duco" years and became a much brighter yellow in the modern era.  The short answer is, if you are looking to be prototypically accurate in the postwar era a more subdued Armour Yellow is appropriate, but the modern excursion and business train that runs today is a much brighter shade of that color. 

However, there is truth in the statement that if you like the color, that is all that matters on your railroad. 

@GG1 4877 posted:

This may have been true during the Penn Central era you worked in, but I can say with pretty certain authority that for most roads that correct paint colors do indeed exist.  Yes, colors fade over time on the road, but the roads that maintained their equipment also kept the paint in a fairly close range of colors.  This is why most historical societies offer drift cards of the range of colors that are considered accurate.  It is a fairly narrow band of colors.

As "Hot Water" states, the PRR was a major offender of matching paint later in its existence.  Tuscan Red and DGLE had a huge drift and are to this day a major source of debate among members of the PRRT&HS of which I am member of.  Other roads like the Rock Island were famous starting in the 50's for painting whatever color the shops had on their road units due to budgets.

The UP was and is different as were many western roads that had the budgets to properly maintain their equipment during the "dark years" of railroading.  They have a very strong corporate image and indeed original Armour Yellow used to be a more lemon color during the Dupont "Duco" years and became a much brighter yellow in the modern era.  The short answer is, if you are looking to be prototypically accurate in the postwar era a more subdued Armour Yellow is appropriate, but the modern excursion and business train that runs today is a much brighter shade of that color.

However, there is truth in the statement that if you like the color, that is all that matters on your railroad.

Companies may have tried to match paint as close as possible but no two paint shops match the paint perfectly not to manufacture Yur the same color. Just try today buy paint from one paint store and then go to another paint store and buy the same color. If the lot numbers don’t match the paint will not match either. This is not rocket science. This is just the way it is. The argument about paint on a train is redundant. If you like the color it’s correct if you don’t like the color, it’s not correct and by the way, when I started, I started with the Pennsylvania railroad and even the paint on their crack Train did not match completely

@Hot Water posted:

Since you apparently never worked in the railroad industry, especially the Union Pacific Railroad, you really have no idea/clue about where and how they painted their equipment, especially their yellow passenger cars and diesel units. Thus, your statements are off-base.

Sorry I started with the Pennsylvania railroad and ended with the Penn Center railroad. I drove Trains for both. Paint color is subjective, plain and simple. There is no such thing as correct if there was then you could buy a can of paint go to a different paint store buy another can of paint and the color will match but if it is not the same lot number, they will not match so please explain to me how a railroad with multiple paint shops all over their system could possibly match paint perfectly. Did the Union Pacific use magic paint. The argument is always false yellow is yellow in the sense that if it’s close to the original color, it worked no railroad put thousands of dollars into making sure every paint shop matched every color perfectly .

The argument is getting tiring. I’m going to check out now. You guys can argue about the color yellow. You can argue about if the paint is the perfect match and you can argue about the magic paint that only the Union Pacific seem to possess. But I worked in railroading. I did not play with toy Trains when I started and I know how the railroad industry function enjoy your evening

@ThatGuy posted:

The argument is getting tiring. I’m going to check out now. You guys can argue about the color yellow. You can argue about if the paint is the perfect match and you can argue about the magic paint that only the Union Pacific seem to possess. But I worked in railroading. I did not play with toy Trains when I started and I know how the railroad industry function enjoy your evening

Actually you do NOT "know how the railroad industry function" when it comes to paint accuracy. You made a blanket statement based only on your experience, while I was employed by EMD and can tell you that many railroads were absolutely adamant about their pain accuracy, while some other railroads could give a crap from one decade to another (the PRR and PC come to mind).

@ThatGuy posted:

The argument is getting tiring. I’m going to check out now. You guys can argue about the color yellow. You can argue about if the paint is the perfect match and you can argue about the magic paint that only the Union Pacific seem to possess. But I worked in railroading. I did not play with toy Trains when I started and I know how the railroad industry function enjoy your evening

" boy, that escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand." - Ron Burgundy

@ThatGuy posted:

Companies may have tried to match paint as close as possible but no two paint shops match the paint perfectly not to manufacture Yur the same color. Just try today buy paint from one paint store and then go to another paint store and buy the same color. If the lot numbers don’t match the paint will not match either. This is not rocket science. This is just the way it is. The argument about paint on a train is redundant. If you like the color it’s correct if you don’t like the color, it’s not correct and by the way, when I started, I started with the Pennsylvania railroad and even the paint on their crack Train did not match completely

That is why there are drift cards that show an acceptable range of colors.  I am well aware that colors will never exactly match based on things like application approach, temperature, humidity, age of paint, and other factors.  However, in the modeling world the range of color variations is typically much greater than on the prototype in most cases.  It is true in construction industry that you need to be aware of die lots to exactly match things like carpet, tile, or other materials.  Again, though the range of color variation is fairly limited unlike what is found on models.

The fact remains that postwar Armour Yellow is still a distinguishably different color from modern Armour Yellow on the UP even taking into account variations based on the conditions mentioned above.   

@GG1 4877 posted:

That is why there are drift cards that show an acceptable range of colors.  I am well aware that colors will never exactly match based on things like application approach, temperature, humidity, age of paint, and other factors.  However, in the modeling world the range of color variations is typically much greater than on the prototype in most cases.  It is true in construction industry that you need to be aware of die lots to exactly match things like carpet, tile, or other materials.  Again, though the range of color variation is fairly limited unlike what is found on models.

The fact remains that postwar Armour Yellow is still a distinguishably different color from modern Armour Yellow on the UP even taking into account variations based on the conditions mentioned above.   

When I was out west I spoke with a friend who I worked with, he went to the UP and went thru the ranks to become a superintendent of maintenance. I took a friend along  who is a big UP guy. he asked the question is the color different from years ago. My friend looked at me, rolled his eyes and busted out laughing. He said the color for the engines and roll in stock has not changed since the dawn of time. What has changed is the manufacturers have come and gone and the new environmental rules have changed how resilient the colors are, other than that the color charts are exact they just can’t get it to match any longer.

Last edited by ThatGuy

Well guys,  I think:

John Deere green is John Deere green.  I don't think they allow their subcontractors, painters, and repair shops to just use "whatever."

Caterpillar yellow is Caterpillar yellow. Again,  I don't think they allow their subcontractors, painters, and repair shops to just use "whatever."

I think that all of the rail cars I have with the bright yellow paint are the cheaper Lionel cars.

My MTH tank car, and my Williams 44- ton scale diesel, both have the flat, darker, yellow pain, identical in color.

Mannyrock

Just my personal observation:

When DuPont Duco lacquer was the standard paint used on locomotives (before no-lead paint), Union Pacific locomotives, unless freshly painted, acquired a very faint, slightly sooty, stain.  Probably the same thing was happening to other railroads' locomotives in darker or cooler colors, but it was noticeable on Union Pacific engines due to the entire carbody below the roof being painted yellow.  The DuPont lacquer was durable, but it apparently was susceptible to staining by acid rain and locomotive exhaust*.  This was not just the yard and freight locomotives -- the large fleet of E8 and E9 locomotives for the passenger trains had the same look.  The passenger cars did not, but they were washed at least twice a week, with detergents and mechanical brushes.  The locomotives were washed frequently but probably not as often as the passenger cars, by a spray washer using a harsher solution containing an acid added to the spray water.  It was a wash for a different purpose, intended to wash off exhaust from the roof and oil or fuel from the lower parts of the locomotive, as well as grease from the trucks.  Thus the cars were a brighter yellow than the E8's.

When they started using Imron paint, I no longer noticed the sooty stain.  The yellow, when clean, looked clean.

It's my belief that acid rain, acidic exhaust, and acid solution used for washing, were all affecting the brightness of UP's Armour Yellow in the days when the locomotives were painted with Dupont Duco lacquer.

*  Just my own conclusion from observing UPRR locomotives from 1950 onward..  I am not a chemist.

P.S.-   I realize that this post turned into somewhat of a "knife fight," but I certainly appreciate all of the replies.  I learned a great deal.

Also, I agree that it is very likely that rail lines that were in severe financial trouble would no doubt have sought out the cheapest solutions to everything, and keeping a consistent color would have been low on their list of priorities.

I am putting together a train of all UP cars, pulled by my UP engine, just because I like the UP designs, and I think my grandsons would love to see an all-yellow train run around the tracks.  But, based on the cars I now have in the train, having a mix of the bright lemon- yellow cars and flat dark-yellow cars really looks bad.  :-O

Trying to repaint and re-decal the bright cars would be a lot more expense and work than they are worth.  So, I will probably just sell them at a loss to the local train flea-market store,  and count it as a lesson learned.  I'll have to be more careful in buying replacement cars.

Again, thanks for all of the help.

Mannyrock

Really Mark?  :-)

I would have thought that having correct colors would be of critical importance to railroad modelers, since they seem to devote extreme attention to how many rungs are in a ladder, what tiny parts of machinery are or are not present on locomotives, and whether things like lights or horns are in the wrong place.

Oh well, this seems to be an unpredictable board.  But fun nonetheless.

Mannyrock

I think the variation amongst model railroaders as to the truth about correct colors is at least as variable as the color variations on the models themselves .  There's more personal bias than scientific fact in most of these threads about colors.  Almost like religion, in a manner of speaking.  The only real truth is that you should only buy toys that please you, and try not to rain on other people's parade.

@Mannyrock posted:

Well guys,  I think:

John Deere green is John Deere green.  I don't think they allow their subcontractors, painters, and repair shops to just use "whatever."

Caterpillar yellow is Caterpillar yellow. Again,  I don't think they allow their subcontractors, painters, and repair shops to just use "whatever."

I think that all of the rail cars I have with the bright yellow paint are the cheaper Lionel cars.

My MTH tank car, and my Williams 44- ton scale diesel, both have the flat, darker, yellow pain, identical in color.

Mannyrock

Sorry that is small change compared to the sprawling complex of repair/paint shops on a railroad.

@Landsteiner posted:

I think the variation amongst model railroaders as to the truth about correct colors is at least as variable as the color variations on the models themselves .  There's more personal bias than scientific fact in most of these threads about colors.  Almost like religion, in a manner of speaking.  The only real truth is that you should only buy toys that please you, and try not to rain on other people's parade.

Amen

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