Locomotive Colour Schemes

Before August 1971 the TGR diesel locomotive fleet was painted in a uniform colour. By the time the first 830s arrived in 1980 only six shunters remained red, with V6 surviving on roster until August 1983. At this time there were locos painted TGR red, TGR yellow, ANR yellow, SAR orange and AN green, the most colour variations to exist at any one time. By the time the QR blue had been introduced in 1987, the TGR red and SAR orange had disappeared, with the ANR yellow soon to go. With the demise of the 830s the fleet became mainly green and blue, with the remnants of the TGR yellow scheme being stored with the conversion of the cement train to air brake in July 1991. When Tasrail was sold in 1997, the operational locomotive fleet was split between the AN green and yellow, and the Tasrail yellow and green colour schemes. The arrival of the rebuilt DQ class first in their red, and later maroon schemes, saw a reversion to a scheme similar to that carried by the X class up to the mid 1970s. The second batch of locos from New Zealand also introduced the Tranz Rail Blue colours to the state, and the takeover by Pacific National and retrun to government ownership has added yet more colour schemes to the present collection.

TGR Steam Locomotives

There are indications that some of the early steam locomotives in Tasmania were painted in colours other than black, although little detail is known. However it is certain that the majority of steam locomotives owned by the TGR were painted black throughout the first part of the 20th century. Most of these locomotives were painted plain black, although photographic evidence shows that some locomotives received lining, particularly when new.

The first major deviation of the plain black painted locomotive came in 1937, when two R class locomotives were streamlined and painted green with two cream bands. The streamlining did not last for very long, although it is probable that the two locomotives, and possibly the other two members of the R class, were painted green for a period.

In 1951 and 1952, the H and M class steam locomotives entered service painted in a dark green and black livery similar to that of the then new X and V class diesels. The TGR adopted red and cream colours for its diesel locomotives, railcars and carriages from 1954, with the rebuilt MA class and three H class locomotives (H2, 3 and 6) also being repainted red and black.

Preserved locomotive CCS23 was painted red in the late 1960s, following a short period when it ran in wagon brown. For the TGR centenary celebrations of 1971, the TGR repainted M3, M6 and H5 in red, although the M class had never previously run in red during their normal working life. M3 subsequently spent several years in regular service as a red engine.

Preservation has seen a number of non-authentic liveries carried. H2 has been painted purple and blue at different times, and has also carried a large red lion painted on the tender. E1, A4 and CCS25 have all been painted green after a working life in black, while MA3 did the opposite and is now black after being originally green or red. Narrow gauge garratt K1, while on display in England, was painted 'lined photographic gray', but has been returned to lined black after restoration.


C class Q class


H class M class


H class MA class

TGR/ANR Diesel Locomotives

The various colour schemes to have graced the TGR/ANR diesel loco fleet are outlined below.

This section was originally published in the July 1992 issue of Tasmanian Rail News. This article has been updated to take account of later locomotive repaintings.

Tasmanian Government Railways—Green

Introduced with V1 in September 1948 and applied to locos V1 to V8 and all X class locos. Some X class locos received either a cream band or orange stripes at some time in the early 1950s. The green colour appears to have lasted until the mid 1960s on V7 but most X class had been repainted much earlier. V13 was still painted green when purchased from Mt Lyell in 1964.

X class X class

Tasmanian Government Railways—Red

Introduced on X5 in August 1954 and progressively applied to all diesel and some steam locos up to early 1971. The U and W classes, V9 to V12, and Y1 to Y6 were painted red from new, as were the XA class conversions. All X, XA and red Y class locos had cream lining. The last red loco in service was V6, which was written off in August 1983 after a period out of use, although red had disappeared from the mainlines with the repainting of X10 during 1977.

V class X class Y class

Tasmanian Government Railways—Yellow with Black Stripes

First applied to Y7 in August 1971 and subsequently applied to all mainline locos, all V/VA locos (except V6), both W class locos and U3. The Z and ZA class locos, Y7 and Y8 were delivered new in these colours.

X class Y class Z class

South Australian Railways—Orange and Brown

Introduced with the delivery of 865 and 858 in January 1980, this livery (although somewhat varying in shade) was also carried by 855, 856, 857 and 866, and lasted until 857 was repainted green about June 1985.

830 class

Australian National Railways—Yellow and Brown

A short-lived livery applied by ANR before the introduction of the corporate green and yellow. In Tasmania it was carried by 859, 860 and 867, lasting from the introduction of 859 in August 1980 until the same locomotive was shipped back to South Australia in September 1987. Both 860 and 867 had been repainted in 1985, leaving 859 as the only non-green 830 for nearly two years and easily the most unkempt loco in the fleet, with large sections of yellow paint worn away revealing the previous maroon and silver paint scheme.

830 class

Australian National—Green and Yellow

This was introduced into Tasmania by X21 and diesel railcar DP13 in March 1981 and was subsequently applied to all Z and ZA locos, all 830 class except 859, all ZB except 12, and 23 of the ZC class locos. None of the small diesel shunters were painted green and only Y1, Y5, Y7, X4, X20, X21 and X26 of the low-powered mainline locos were painted. There were a number of detail variations between locos. The “Tasrail” lettering replacing “Australian National” first appeared on 852 in April 1986, and was eventually applied to all AN green locos with the exception of the 830 class, Y7, Z2, ZA1 and ZA4.

X class Z class ZA class 830 class

Queensland Railways—Blue

Introduced with ZB14 in April 1987, this colour was carried by the majority of ZB and ZC class locos in the early part of their Tasmanian lives. All ZB class locos were eventually repainted, but a number of ZC class were withdrawn before repainting.

ZB class ZC class

Tasrail—Yellow and Green

The eighth scheme saw a return to the yellow body colour, but without the zebra stripes. This scheme was virtually the AN green scheme `reversed', and was initially applied to ZB12 and ZC11 in mid-1992. These remained the only two locomotives painted in this scheme until ZR1 returned to Tasmania in April 1996 after being rebuilt. Z1 and Z2 received the reverse scheme in 1996 and 1997 respectively. At the end of 1997 a program to repaint all the serviceable locomotives was undertaken, with the result that all locomotives of the Z, ZA, ZB and Y classes were repainted. Some ZC class scheduled for withdrawal, and stored locomotives ZA4, ZB4 and ZB7, were not repainted.

Z class ZB class


The arrival of the first two DQ class locomotives from New Zealand in September 1998 saw the introduction of a new colour scheme. The locomotive body was painted bright red, including the roof, with a broad yellow stripe along the hood side. Reflective green Tasrail lettering adorned the hood side, with white reflective numbers on the cab sides and ends. The most interesting aspect of this colour scheme was the “bar code” cream striping applied to the nose of the locomotives. Only two /locos had this scheme applied, and both were repainted into the new Grey livery in 2010/2011.

DQ class

Tranz Rail—Blue

The standard Tranz Rail (New Zealand) colour scheme of yellow nose, grey cab and roof, and blue body is applied to DC4588, while the three QR class locomotives had a simplified colour scheme in which the grey was replaced by blue.

DC class QR class


The only loco in Tasmania carrying this colour scheme is A1507, which was brought to Tasmania as a source of spare parts for the DQ class locos. The loco carried a faded version of the Westrail (former Western Australian Government Railways) orange and blue colour scheme whilst stored off bogies at Launceston's East Tamar workshops, but has since been stripped and scrapped.

A class

Wisconsin Central—Maroon

The livery applied to subsequent batches of DQ locomotives is very close to that of the American Wisconsin Central company, and its English operations, English, Welsh & Scottish Railways. These locos feature a maroon body with a wide buff waistband, on which is placed the Tasrail lettering and the loco number. At the rear of the loco, the stripe forms an inverted V shape, and at the front a metal plate painted the same colour carries Tasrail branding.

After a number of repaints in full grey livery, some later overhauls locos recived only a touchup to the yellow to remove old lettering and logos, and/or new cab-side numbers

D class DQ class Z class

Pacific National—Blue and Yellow

Six months after the takeover of ATN by Pacific National, ZR2101 was repainted into a version of the company’s blue and yellow livery that was being slowly applied to mainland locomotives. No further locos were repainted until three second hand MKA class were repainted prior to entering service from late 2005. An additional three locos of this class were repainted in Melbourne in 2007 before being shipped to Tasmania, and these featured a larger logo and the stars of the Southern Cross in line with the livery of mainland locos.

The Pacific National logos were removed from all locomotives following the sale of the railway, and some locos were later fitted with large version of the new Tasrail logo.

MKA class MKA class ZR class

Morrison Knudsen—Silver

When first delivered to Tasmania, MKA2134, 2137 and 2138 wore the silver livery of their rebuilder and previous owner, Morrison Knudsen Australia. Although the other three locos of this were at the time operating in Queensland under PN ownership in this livery, the locos were repainted prior to entering service in Tasmania.

MKA class

TasRail—Grey and Yellow

In early 2010, following the sale of the sale of the Tasmanian railway system to the State, the new operation adopted the name “TasRail”, a new logo and corporate colours of grey and yellow. DQ2001 which had just been reassembled, became the first loco to carry the new scheme in August 2010. Furthur DQ, DV and ZR locos have since followed, with two DQ loco carrying special advertising panels.

This livery was slightly revised for the new TR class locomotives by incorporating some red into the design, a curved yellow top band and a partially grey cab.

DQ2001 TR04

Queensland Railways—Yellow and maroon

In late 2011 TasRail purchased four 2150 class from QR National. The locos entered service in their Queensland Rail colours of yellow and maroon, although with the QR logos replaced by grey panels with Tasrail logos.

2050 class

Emu Bay Railway Locomotives

Emu Bay Railway company steam locomotives were painted black until 1960, when two Dübs locomotives, numbers 6 and 8, were refurbished and painted in a two tone blue colour scheme.

Diesel-hydraulic locomotive PVH1 (later to be 21) was delivered in a plain, all green colour scheme, and number 22 was also green when it arrived from the Mt Lyell Railway. PVH1 was painted two tone blue in 1960, and renumbered 21. Number 22 was believed to be first painted two tone blue in about 1966.

The first 10 class diesel locomotives entered service in 1963, painted in dark blue, with a light blue band, edged in white. Over the next 35 years, the position of the band has been lowered, the lining changed to yellow, and more recently the shades of blue have been noticeably changed. The 11 class carried many of these alterations when new, and shunters number 21 and 22 have also been repainted to match. As preparation for the centenary of the railway, all locomotives were repainted in 1997, and whilst the arrangement stayed the same, the shades of blue were again altered. The EBR diesel loco fleet has carried various forms of owner identification logos over the years. The sale of the railway to Tasrail surprisingly saw the current colour scheme and Pasminco logos retained for about 18 months before the old logos were replaced by Tasrail wording.

EBR steam loco 10 class 11 class

Mt Lyell Mining and Railway Company Locomotives

The five ABT locomotives were at various time painted black or green, with various amounts of lining in red and gold. Other locomotives, including the 2' gauge Krauss locomotives and the 3' 6" gauge Baldwin and DS class locomotives were painted black, with some also being lined in red and gold. The two 3'6" Vulcan-Drewry diesels were a lighter green than the TGR locos, lined in gold.


Owner identification logos were not introduced until the yellow zebra stripe colour scheme of 1971, when a large red TGR logo was added to the side of the loco body. These logos lasted until early 1980, when they were painted out and replaced by black italicised ANR lettering on most locomotives. ZA2 carried its TGR logo for much longer than the other locos; the logo was eventually painted out but ZA2 never carried ANR lettering. Some locos repainted from mid 1979, including Y6, X10 and V2, also lacked logos, although ANR lettering was eventually added to all except V2. A red TGR logo has since been applied to this locomotive in preservation.

The first two 830 class locomotives sent to Tasmania (858, 865) received the black ANR lettering, while the next two (859, 867) had been repainted yellow prior to shipment and carried the ANR `in boxes' logos on the sides and ends. The fifth loco, 860, was also repainted yellow but carried no logos at all.

The advent of the AN corporate image in early 1981 saw the adoption of a new logo, which was eventually applied to locomotives as they were repainted in the green and gold corporate colours.

In 1987-1988 Tasrail purchased 61 diesel locomotives from the Queensland Railways. These were all shipped to Tasmania still carrying their Queensland colour scheme and numbers. Although the numbers were painted out and replaced by the Tasmanian classification, a considerable number of these locos ran in Tasmania still carrying their QR colours, and no attempt was made to remove the QR logo. This is in marked contrast to the sale of Tasrail to the Australian Transport Network, which resulted in all Australian National logos being quickly removed from most locomotives in October 1997.

A new ATN logo was adopted in early 1998 and was applied to the sides of ZA6 and the sides and ends of ZA3, but was not widely used, with other locos having only the wording Tasrail.

With the change of ownership to Pacific National, this company’s yellow and white logo was applied to the seven repainted locos only, non repainted locos retaining the Tasrail wording form the ATN days. The newer TasRail logo has been applied to all repainted locos, as well as some blue locos once the Pacific National logo had been removed.


Sections of this page were taken from Tasmanian Rail News and have been used with the permission of the ARHS and the authors. The remainder was written by Stuart and Michael Dix from 1997 to 2012.

This page is constantly under development, particularly in the areas of steam locomotives. If you know of anything that we have missed, or should cover we would very much like to hear from you.

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