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Paint Schemes of the Naptown & White River

Expanded from a Blog Article posted by Ray Pearson

Steam Era Practices

During the NWR's Steam Era almost every Steam Engine followed the same practices. Engines were a charcoal grey/black with black or slate smokeboxes. Cab roofs and Tender decks were painted a Tuscan Red. The engine number was worn on the nose under the headlight and on the cab, with "Naptown & White River" emblazoned down the side of the tender. Nearly all engines used a Delux Gold or Bronze Gold; although 293 was given white lettering during a repaint 

At right, you can see 293 and her auxillary tender modelling the traditional color layout. 

HO Scale Model Train NWR Steam 293
Steam Era Practices

The Miami Valley Model Railroad Club

Miami Vally RR Club

Back before the Naptown & White River was the NWR, The Club was originally known as the Miami Valley Model RR Club. Two pieces of that equipment still exists on the Club, a switcher and a surviving Baggage Car. The MVR modelled a yellow-black color scheme on its rollingstock; the engine has a slight tint of green and grey almost evocative of some CNW green shades. 

Diesel Ph1

The first paint scheme worn by the NWR Diesels was a solid blue with yellow stripes between the top and middle thirds, and along the bottom of the body, with yellow or gold lettering. This scheme directly matched the Passenger scheme in use by the NWR at the time (see below). This was the prdeominant paint scheme for the NWR up until the late 60s to early 70s. There would be slight deviations in lettering schemes over the years depending on the size of the engine, for example the H-16-44s would carry "Naptown & White River" on their wide running boards rather than the hood, but by and large all engines remained near consistant. At least one pair of F3s wore a slightly smokier blue; its unknown if thie was an experimental freight scheme to hide oil smoke or limestone dust, a bad paint mix, or just whatever they could get cheap to repaint those engines, but as far as we know it only existed on that pair. A set of Baldwin Sharknoses would also carry a dark grey skirt similar to the color worn by the Baldwin Demonstrators. the Sharks also lacked the gold stripes. 

The Scheme was developed by Members with a focus on protoypical practices; the colors and stripes are similar to B&O, NW, and PRR Practices, and the NWR logo developed directly off the NW.

Its likely the colors were chosen from a B&O influence, especially as one of the Club's first locations was the former Indianapolis B&O Freight House. However, the Fictional Backstory for the NWR was a railroad that connected Indianapolis to Kentland, Fort Wayne, East Bend, and Rockdale (near Cincinnati). If you apply that fiction to real-world history, its likely one of the NWR"s predeccesors was the Indianapolis and Vincennes, today operated by Indiana Southern, which would take the NWR through Mooresville, IN. Mooresville is the home of the Indiana Flag, which uses a solid blue field with gold stars and torch. I have no reason to believe the FOunding Club Members were thinking of this when they chose the colors they did, but it is completely plausible that a railroad that is focused on connecting Hoosier communities might choose to model themselves on the State Flag. Whether intentonal or coincidence, it makes for a nice story. 

NWR HO Alco PA Model Train
HO Scale Model Train NWR F3 A B
HO Scale Model Train MVRY NWR Switcher Baggage RPO
Diesel Ph1

Diesel Ph1-P (Express Scheme)

When the Road introduced its first Budd-built lightweight Passenger Cars in 1937, the Budd Cars had a Stainless Steel silver body with a blue window stripe matching the blue used on the older passenger equipment and a black roof to hide soot. As part of an image refresh a few years later, for Flagship trains like the James Whitcomb Riley and the George Rogers Clark, the NWR painted matching Alco PAs for the Streamliners. This scheme was only worn by the engines assigned to the Flagship pool. This is the same scheme seen on the Show flyers, albeit rendered in Greyscale.  

HO Scale Model Alco PA Passenger Train NWR
Express Scheme

Diesel Ph2

Diesel Ph2

When the NWR began taking delivery of Second Generation Diesels in the late 60s, the road opted for an image refresh. Foregoing the State Flag Scheme, the new engines were painted in a yellow and grey paint scheme. However, it seems as though the NWR was not sure what they wanted from this new scheme as there are three main versions. 

PH2A: Predominantly worn by 2nd Gen EMD locomotives, the locomomotive was divided into three nearly even horizontal bands The top and bottom were a dark grey color, while the center band and nose was a goldenrod. Lettering on the engines were black. 

Ph2B: In contrast to their EMD cousins, later Alco and GE products were delivered in a brighter scheme. Only the roofline and Running brads were grey, and at that a Primer Grey color in contrast to the dark shade used on the GP series. The yellow used was also much lighter and took up much more of the  body. 

Ph2C: Reserved for switchers, the modified scheme saw the End Cabs and roofs painted in the darker grey but with a slightly lighter shade of yellow than the Goldenrod used on the Ph2A.  Most of these switchers were inherited by the NWR when it merged in the Miami Valley RR. 

>>> The GP35 model first painted in this second generation scheme was likely done soon after the NWR changed its name from the Miami Valley. Its very possible that it derived its colors from the earlier iteration of the Club giving rise to the second Generation Paint Scheme. 

HO Scale Model Train NWR Locomotives
Ho Scale Model Train NWR U30C

Diesel Ph3

Starting in the 2000s, the NWR painted a pair of modern GEs in an experimental Olive Drab scheme with yellow sills. A CF7 assigned to branch line service was also intended to be painted into this scheme but never made it out of the shops. This new scheme was a single, solid color with minimal cab lettering. 

Passenger Ph1

HO Scale Model Train Locomotive NWR 2300

Since the beginning, the NWR used a Blue and Gold scheme on its Passenger Equipment. The cars mostly lacked any stripes; and were a solid blue with black roofs and gold or bronze gold lettering. Even with the intrduction of Budd and Pullman Lightweight equipment in the 40s, the Smoothside cars continued to be painted in the solid blue, and even two of the Business Cars today retain the Blue Scheme. 

HO Scale Model Train Passenger Cars

Passenger Ph2A (Diesel Ph1-P) & Ph2B

In 1937, the NWR began taking delivery of revolutionary new Stainless Steel Passenger Cars. Built from the same general specs as the Atcheson Topeka & Santa Fe's 3070-3099 series Coaches, these new streamliner cars wore only a blue stripe and a black roof. The same scheme would be applied to Budd RDCs in the 1950s, and several Alco PAs, although it was not uncommon to see later delivered passenger cars in a solid Stainless designated Ph2B. 


The NWR kept a fairly consistant Caboose Paintscheme up to the 1960s; almost every caboose wore a red body with a thick white stripe along the top of the body, similar to the NKP "High Speed Service" stripe, and a black roof. When the Wide Vision Cabooses were delivered, the NWR finally adopted a simplified all red scheme with white lettering and black roofs. Some Wide Vision Cabooses wore the initials of Members who painted the caboose. 

HO Scale Model Train Caboose NWR
Cabooses and Rider ars

Rider Cars

On a small numbr of branch lines, the NWR assigned heavyweight Combines into Mixed Train Service. These cars were modified with their own stand-alone heat and light sources, and a Conductor's work area as these cars would often take the place of a Caboose and were intended tooperate without the benefit of Steam Heat. To signify the service of these cars, they were painted in a caboose-like Red and Silver 


The NWR favored grey for its MOW trains. Cranes were frequently Black with white lettering. 

HO Scale Model Train Passenger Car Caboose

Fallen Flags, Patch-outs,  & Partner Roads

Fallen Flag, Patch Out, Partners
HO Scale Model Train HO Patch
HO Scale Model Train
HO Scale Model Train SIRY
HO Scale Model Train CF7
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