For the August 1985 edition of Railway Digest, 'Candy' livery designer Phil Belbin wrote a fascinating account of the development and implementation of the then-new colour scheme.
The article and accompanying images are reproduced here with the kind permission
of the publishers, the
Australian Railway Historical Society (NSW Div).
State Rail's Candy colour scheme is three years old this month. Designer of the livery, Phil Belbin, outlines the behind-the-scenes developments prior to its introduction and lists the motive power now adorned in these colours.
The then Public Transport Commission asked Comeng to prepare alternative schemes using reds and browns as the dominating colour. Between us, John and I produced some 50 different colour suggestions from which the State Rail Authority's (as the rail arm of the PTC had now become) Chief Executive, David Hill, made his choice in September 1980. The selected livery was then painted by John as a 1:25 scale side elevation in order to correctly proportion the various colour bands to suit the dimensions, shape and aesthetics of the XPT design.
This whole project was a radical departure from the traditional colour treatment of NSW trains and established an entirely new image. So successful was the visual impact of the XPT on the public that the SRA Executive decided to revamp the whole of their locomotive and passenger rolling stock fleet with an entirely new paint scheme.
DEVELOPING THE CONCEPT
Under the direction of the Chief Executive, David Hill, and the Chief Mechanical Engineer, John Brew, meetings of those to be involved were held and preliminary details ironed out. For all of us, the prime concern was safety and accordingly the front-end treatment for locomotives and railcars was given considerable attention.
The original NSW Indian Red with yellow whiskers livery, introduced with the 42 class in late 1955 (diesels prior to that wore a green livery like express passenger steam locomotives), was unwittingly a perfect camouflage, and the yellow-nose reverse scheme applied from 1979 to 1982, derived from Great Britain and ideal in that lush green landscape, was less than satisfactory in the yellow tones of the Central West and Riverina districts in summer.
Some 120 colour concepts were prepared and opinions were invited from all levels of the SRA's staff and the general public at large. Four of those proposals are illustrated opposite. Figure 1 shows a scheme that found some favour with those of a more traditional mind featuring a predominance of Tuscan Red with a thick orange band and lesser bands of yellow and white. In many ways this livery is very similar to the scheme that was finally chosen. In Figure 2 the accent was on blues with yellow relieving bands separating the tones. The safety aspect of this livery was provided by having white around the windscreen and on the pilot with yellow in the number-box area. This scheme I personally quite liked. Figure 3 shows an all-green livery punctuated with white bands which found favour in an unexpected quarter, while Figure 4 displays a brown, white and orange scheme similar to that applied to British Rail's Advanced Passenger Train. In all cases, these proposals are shown on a side elevation of a 442 class locomotive. Other schemes not shown included an all white body with red and black bands which, I recall, was favoured by one senior executive, while the XPT power car livery was also mooted, it being rejected as not being compatible with all the locomotive classes.
I recall a discussion in the Executive Suite on the latest batch of designs when the tea lady appeared with refreshments. David Hill spread the drawings over the carpet and earnestly sought her opinion. Being of the Irish persuasion, the livery she picked was a foregone conclusion.
The combinations were seemingly infinite but gradually the choice was narrowed to about half a dozen. Models were made and painted, and full size mock-up side panels constructed. Colour experts were lurking at every corner, poised to pounce and condemn any scheme that looked more up-to-date than a black 38 on a HUB set (my personal favourite, incidentally). Finally the nod of approval was given to the Candy Coloured livery, also known in some quarters as the "Lollipop" scheme.
liked the term "Candy Colours". It conjures up images of brightness,
sweetness and pleasure, and in an increasingly depressing world a spot
of colour in a drab landscape can help to elevate the spirits.
There is a tendency in some areas of railway colour styling to have disruptive logos and staccato lines doing a St. Vitus' dance all over the train. I hoped a smooth flow of colour throughout the train would create the illusion of a single unit and avoid such fragmentation or the line. To achieve this I made a detailed study of all the locomotives and cars to be treated. The position of the colour bars was critical, as was the necessity to include the white band in each case. The latter was a vital safety factor; however dirty the white band may be, it is still more obvious than any other colour.
Locating the orange and yellow bands required a lot of research in order to have them lie correctly over and around the varied shapes of the different locomotive and carriage classes, and yet leave space for the numerals. When the height of the bands was finally decided, it was found necessary to vary the chosen dimensions from the norm on units such as rail tractors.
All the measurements of the Candy Colour scheme are taken from the railhead with the black extending to a height of 1,168 mm, followed by the 356 mm white band finishing at 1,524 mm, then the orange being 264 mm thick and reaching a height of 1,788 mm while finally the narrow 75 mm yellow band finished 1,863 mm above the rails.
The rest of the body was finished in red to the roof line, the roof itself originally to be painted silver, but this was to last only on carriages with the locomotive's roofs varying with white, grey and all over red being applied depending on the particular class.
A most obvious area for improvement lay in the numeral size and style of typeface, both of which were extremely dated. Again these had to be compatible with the locomotives and cars, and flexible enough to adapt to all configurations of area available. I based the face on Compacta Bold, but restyled all numbers to suit the job.
The original logo appeared to indicate take off and landing as much as horizontal travel and so this was updated with a more modern shape. To be ruthless is a virtue in a project of this kind. Restyling the Silver City Comet's nameboard for example; or, cutting off the NSW crest and mounting from the nose of 442 class units in order to accommodate the new large numbers.
item of rolling stock to see the light of day in the new Candy Colours
Things now began to move reasonably quickly with a number of items of rolling stock being repainted for the official press release, and at 11.30 on 17.8.82 locomotive 44100, along with passenger cars FH 2230, SFS 2277, TFX 1935, MHS 819 and brakevan MHO 2636 were unveiled to the public at Sydney Terminal's platform 5. While some of my fellow enthusiasts found it difficult to accept such a complete change, the scheme received general approval from the public and the press. Even those who did not particularly care for the scheme felt it was preferable to the previous livery. Since then there has been a growing acceptance and interest in the Candy Colours.
When first implemented, it was proposed that some 49 locomotives would be repainted by the end of 1982, with 174 reliveried by the end of 1983. At this stage it was proposed that the 42 class would be repainted even though it was obvious to many that the class was on its last legs.
CPH railmotors were also considered but it was suggested at the time that the painting capacity would be better utilised on other railcars and main line carriages. For one fleeting moment single-deck suburban cars were also suggested but in the end this also was not to be.
The suburban suggestion did not fall totally on deaf ears though, for it was not long before the decision was taken to extend the styling to the double-deck suburban fleet. A. Goninan and Company Limited of Broadmeadow, who were (and still are) currently engaged in building new suburban cars, commissioned me to style the first car's livery and this was duly approved by the SRA. The ends of these cars had always been utilitarian in appearance and the new paintwork created quite a favourable transformation (see the front cover of the March 1985, Railway Digest). This design has since been progressively applied to new interurban power cars being supplied by Comeng.
CANDY COLOURS TODAY
As the painting
programme progresses, the present unavoidably heterogeneous colour combinations
will gradually disappear. I hope the uniformity of the original concept
will then become more apparent.
8101 - 8169
8601 - 8644
DEB POWER CARS
DEB TRAILER CARS
* Denotes painting date.
Otherwise ex Gen. O/H.