• NYC green caboose color questions

  • Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.
Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by mr. mick
I was curious to know when the New York Central RR started painting their cabooses a light green. I also noticed on the Fallen Flags website, some cabooses that looked blue - was that a color photo fading out over time, or did they actually have blue cabooses as well as the light green? (I assume that the green was then carried over into the Penn Central timeframe.)

Mr. Mick
  by NYC1956
Nope - no blue cabooses.
Century Green was not used until June 1959. Probably cars began to be repainted as they were shopped after that date.
Generally wood cabooses remained in the original oxide red-brown color.
The bay window cabooses did receive the Century Green paint scheme.
I think of the green cars as something belonging to the 1960 era.
  by mr. mick
Thanks for the information; Century Green is the color (of the Cabooses) and the sixties was the decade.

Mr Mick
Modeling the New Haven in the 50's
  by urrengr2003
How is 'Century Green' different form 'Jade Green' ? Know for a fact we had red oxide bay window cabs (20xxx series) on the B&A thru 1964. Beleive they were assigned cabs (Dutch - Selkirk, Yank - West Springfield, & Bean - Beacon Park) too, my memory may be wrong about that fact. Seems like it was after the winter of 1964 that pool cabs were instituted. For a short while we identified pool cabs as being green while red cabs were assigned; then to specific locations and not individual assignments.
  by 3rd out nuthin comin
No difference between 'Century' and jade green, just a matter of terminology--or marketing.

My memory agrees with yours about the green cabooses being pool and the red ones assigned, initially. The pool cabs were ultimately identified with a white bay window roof.
  by Otto Vondrak
3rd out nuthin comin wrote:No difference between 'Century' and jade green, just a matter of terminology--or marketing.
I was under the impression they were indeed different color formulations...?

  by NYC_Dave
I have an index of the NYCSHS Headlights which indicates the answer for the various greens may be found in the Tackboard column of the 1992-2nd quarter issue. Unfortunately, I don't have that issue in my collection.
  by wjstix
"Jade Green" would be kind of the generic name of the color, like if you were trying to describe it to someone who is not a railfan. "Century Green" wouldn't really mean anything to them. I think Floquil and some other model RR paint companies have made a "Jade Green" that is at least 'close enough' to Century Green and Great Northern's light green from the same time as to be useable for either.

Green and blue can be very hard paints to match, as both tend to lighten or "bleach" after spending time in the sun and elements. Model paints are often matched to the 'as new" paint color, so may need to have a little white added to make the color more like what the car would look like a couple of years after it's last painting.
  by Dieter
There was a blueish jade green paint which was applied to some of the E-Units, adorned with the Cigar Band logo on the nose, and I think that was rare -- implemented around the time of the launching of "Empire Service" passenger service in New York State when passenger service was majorly scaled back. A few years ago, there was even a picture of one on a popular Central calendar.

Oxide Cabeese? The B&A was known for quirks and cabooses were assigned to divisions, hence those of us in other places didn't see what the other guy saw. Probably known by most here but for those who may not; The exception was bay window cabooses with the roof on the bay painted WHITE, which identified the car as having mobility throughout the entire system.

I never saw a Cigar Band on an oxide caboose, the only caboose units other than the bays which were painted Jade were the Xfer cabooses built in the shops at East Rochester. Spartan at best, those things were flat cars with a 20 foot construction site trailer mounted in the middle, we used to say the long spaces from the doors to the car edge were the "Porches". They had the cigar band as well.
  by BR&P
In saying the only green cabooses other than the bay window type were transfer cabooses, I presume Dieter speaks of his own experience. There WERE a few wooden cabooses painted green - I'm guessing it was a local thing as there were too few to be anything of a system-wide program. There is a photo on Elwood's site of 19001 taken in Fonda in May 1967, 19488 was seen once in Rochester in spring 1966, and I took photos of 19553 at Churchville NY on 12-17-66. All were green. My notes show 18461 on a Puller job in Dewitt, no date, also green. These were all in service on NYC, not sold, displayed and then painted.

Quite a few MC cabooses also got green paint altho I don't have dates in front of me.
  by wolfharper
Hmm! I notice there are a lot of inquiries lately, on this forum and elsewhere, for how to paint an NYC green caboose. Notably on the paint color. A fellow might get the impression that more than one are about to get painted! LOL!

So can we have a show of hands: Which museums, clubs or owners are planning to paint NYC Central Green this or next year?

Now, I do a lot of paint at the Western Railway Museum, so I'm trying to lend my experience to the Southern Michigan Railroad Society's project to paint #21692. (Was that the correct number for the green-paint era?)

The #1 question, of course, is getting the color right. Turns out a lot of research has been done on that... but like the first page says, if I have two watches, what time is it?
I'm fixing to buy a quart of the Lowe's and Sherwin Williams colors they list, and make some paint chips.
We've also been told RAL 6027 (which is a standard color palette scheme) is the right color but it seems blue on my monitor.

Several cabooses now wear the scheme... but some are fading.
Elkhart museum http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/rsPict ... x?id=23879
Lapeer Amtrak http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/rsPict ... ?id=176789
Another Elkhart http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/rsPict ... ?id=289426

Note that the ancients also had trouble with fading, but they faded more evenly, they didn't fade to blue. Yellow pigments aren't what they used to be.
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... ?id=441681
  by Dieter
I suppose it depends on how worn and weatherbeaten -- or new -- that you want a model.
  by wolfharper
Model? Nah, I'm painting a real one. Model paint doesn't really suit, since it's designed to look right in indoor light, and this one will be out in the sun. Besides it would take about 500 of those little 3-ounce containers :)
  by Otto Vondrak
We painted our Penn Central caboose Deepwater Green, but that's a PC color, not NYC.

http://rgvrrm.blogspot.com/2010/12/penn ... green.html

  by wolfharper
Just for the record... Extensive research with the New York Central System Historical Society identified the color pretty positively.

Trying to define a color is extremely difficult. Paint formulas don't work, because pigments go out of production (e.g. because lead and chromates became illegal). Even Pantone colors are themselves derived from pigments, hundreds of Pantone colors will soon die because Pantone is cutting back the number of pigments in their system.

There are systems which define colors in an absolute way: wavelengths of light, reflectivity, etc. One of these is the Munsell system. It can use decimal points to describe any color. But Munsell sold chip books of the "even numbers". It was pretty much the Pantone of the 1930s-50s. Quite often, stylists would simply pick an Munsell chip out of the book, same as you might pick a Pantone color today.

After a few rounds of trying to match up colors, it looked like NYCSHS's original NYC drift card was very close to "Munsell 2.5 BG 5/8", which is one of the chips in the book. That seemed to me like too much of a coincidence. I felt the small difference could be accounted for by the sample being 50 years old. The color is definitely not RAL 6027.

I ordered a fresh sheet of 2.5 BG 5/8 from Munsell, and sent it to Awlgrip, a top maker of yacht paint. They created a formula for Central Green, their H4682.


(If you're wondering how 2.5 BG is "even", it's because Munsell uses 10 major hues around the color wheel with 10 divisions of each. But to save money they only sell 40 hues in their color books.)