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V&T coach paint question..

Known as the "Silver Queen of the shortlines", The Virginia & Truckee Railroad operated their own narrow gauge subsidiary: the Carson and Colorado. Additionally the railroad and its officers would be an influence to many narrow gauge and shortline railroads throughout Nevada and California.

V&T coach paint question..

Postby John Coker » Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:10 pm

I am doing more V&T paintings. I have one of #26 with a mixed train. The question: what were the coach colors and when did they change from coach green to yellow?
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Re: V&T coach paint question..

Postby Andrew Brandon » Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:36 am

John,

So far as I know, the Brill coaches were delivered in green (two different shades) but this was in the 1870s. I believe that it was the caboose-coaches that wound up wearing green more often than the other coaches.

Here is the compiled list of paint notes from various sources:

Nov. 1869 Passenger Car No. 1.

Ron Steiner noted that the body was painted maroon with a light green letter board. The car was lettered V. C. & T. with a No. 1 in Dark Green.

May 24, 1872
Passenger Car No. 2 repainted Yellow with trucks and other running gear painted a brilliant red.

August 1872
The four Kimball cars (Nos. 1 - 4) arrive, no color mentioned, but they are lettered V. & T. R. R.

January 1873
The first box cars arrive (these would be the Central Pacific built outside braced boxcars (1001 - 1009 odd numbered). They are painted yellow.

February 1873
Cabooses 9 & 10 arrive from Kimball. No color mentioned.
May 1873
Caboose No. 7 (old number 2) reconstructed and painted a beautiful shade of green. It and a companion to take the places of the cabooses in use between Virginia City and Carson.

February 1874
Four new passenger cars arrive from the east (Brill coaches 11 & 12, Oxford Mail & Baggage 13 and Express 14). The exterior of one of the coaches is painted a light green, the other a shade darker.

July 1874

New box cars arrive (1011 & 1013). These were painted yellow.

November 1874 New Train.

The four Kimball cars were reconstructed and air brakes added to them and the locomotive Reno. The cars are painted a Fawn color with gold ornamental work.

December 1874 New Local Accommodation Cars.

Cabooses 15 & 16 arrive from the Detroit Manufacturing Company. No color given, but in a letter to H. M. Yerington, Detroit notes that ìthe color given is a new one to us for passenger cars and seems odd but it may look very nicely when finished and stripedî.

February 1875 Local Accommodation cars.

The old Virginia passenger car renovated and put on the Reno route. No color given.

April 1877 Passenger Train Disguised.

The passenger train has been painted a dark red or ìLakeî color and the trucks a bright yellow. The reporter didnít like the gaudy colors and stated ìIf intermingled with a few stripes of green the colors might suit us betterî. Another reporter noted that people thought it was a circus train as it passed through Gold Hill.

June 1878 Miller Platforms.

The passenger train was fitted up with Miller platform. One of the old Kimball coaches (no. 3) fitted up as a Smoking Car and the old Directors car converted into a coach (No. 17). The cars were painted a dark crimson or claret color.

January 1880 The Carson Shops of the V&T RR

Wine-color is the favorite of the road for engines and coaches.

February 1881 The C&C Railroad
Two passenger trains, complete have arrived for the new road. The outside of the cars are painted with Eastlake paint, of a cherry-red color.

January 1883 Yellow
Next Monday the newly painted passenger coaches of the Virginia and Truckee Railroad will be put on. They are painted with a kind of yellow paint which is said to withstand the weather the best of any color.

June 1885 Two passenger cars fitted up.
They are glaring yellow, striped with Maroon, a sort of old orange color that used up all the yellow ochre in the shop.

July 1890 Letter to Barney & Smith.
The body to be Canary yellow with black striping, olive green letter board and corner post with black trim. Lettering to be VIRGINIA & TRUCKEE in gold leaf, shaded light and dark red.

January 1900 A New Train
The train repainted and included Coach 18. Other cars were Nos. 3, 13 and 14. Was this wine color as we have found wine color paint on the 18?

June 1903 Letter to Railway Master Mechanic magazine.
We shop our cars every six months for cleaning and varnishing. They get a through scrubbing with soft soap and pumice then a light sandpaperering with number 00 paper, then one coat of finishing varnish. Our cars are painted yellow, with brown letterboards and cornerposts. Joseph Castle, Master painter, V&TRR.

May 1904 Letter to Zelnickler (Coach No. 19)
Body Yellow, trucks and platform dark brown, letter board and corner post light brown, the legend "VIRGINIA & TRUCKEE", Roman Gold.

The note in 1900 of the paint falls in line with photographs of that period showing the cars of the summer passenger train to be a dark color. I have a theory that coach 18 was not actually delivered in the requested V&T paint scheme, rather, it was delivered in wine which prompted the sudden change in passenger car color. The cabooses during this time seem to have not been painted this color, only the primary passenger train. After the wine, they switch to a long running yellow and brown as described in the last two letters. I do not have the notation around, but I believe this keeps up until around 1915.

The only car I have seen evidence of green during this period was the V&T built baggage car 20(21) that was originally Yellow and Brown before getting repainted to a green body. This car was painted in colors that seemed to match/compliment the McKeen as it was used as a trailer behind the McKeen for several years.

Randy Hees spent some time sampling paint on V&T coach 17 last year and his report notes:

c.1910 to 1930. While it’s still a first-class car, No. 17 is in now in secondary or backup service. The car is very well maintained, being repainted every three years, and it is re-varnished annually. The body is yellow. Photographs show darker trim paint, likely brown or green, but no evidence of that color was found on the body. Trucks are green, variously PMS 581c, 5747c, then back to 581c.


Unfortunately, this is where my notes end. I would be interested to know what paint layers are found on Combine 20 down at OERM.
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Re: V&T coach paint question..

Postby Andrew Brandon » Mon May 06, 2013 6:39 pm

Mike Collins sent along these photos of the paint layers on combine #20.
With the note: "Here's a couple of paint samples from Hicks No. 20 at OERM. Someone, not me, had been doing some paint scrapping."
Attachments
summer-2010_3.jpg
summer-2010_2.jpg
summer-2010_1.jpg
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Re: V&T coach paint question..

Postby John Coker » Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:59 am

Andrew, thank you for the VERY USEFUL information!Now I will apply it to a 1905-7 Gold Hill painting.
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Re: V&T coach paint question..

Postby Andrew Brandon » Mon Oct 20, 2014 5:32 pm

John,

Randy and I gave a talk at this year's V&TRRHS conference on paint. We've narrowed down the colors of the final years into a color card which we handed out to attendees. I will get a copy mailed to you as soon as I make a new batch.

In the meantime, here is a new illustration; Caboose-Coach #10 ca. 1936

This scheme represents the years from around 1920 to 1939 when the remaining equipment was repainted to the brighter and more familiar color scheme.
Attachments
VT-caboose-10-ca-1936.png
VT-Water-Car-1-and-Caboose-10-in-Carson-1938---Chione-Slide.jpg
V&T #10 in Carson City, June 1938. Al Chione Slide.
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