Most vehicles were originally turned out mainly in DMU Green with three cream bands, one at the bottom edge of the body, the second cutting a line through the window frames at the base of quarterlights, sweeping down at the cab front corners to form a waist height line below the cab windows. The third band was placed above window level. Whiskers were not originally carried on some of the earlier, or even distinctly later deliveries. The first image shows a power-trailer set without whiskers at Saughton Junction on the 3rd October 1959. Stuart Mackay Collection.
A fresh looking 101 with whiskers, heading for Coventry, taken at Northampton Castle. Undated, photo by Tony Pirie. Ian McDonald Collection. Whisker styles could vary, depending on where they were added.
Some early deliveries carried the BR lion over wheel symbol, but most recieved the BR roundel (coaching crest). In both cases these would normally just be carried on power cars.
Vehicles from 50192 (and partners) were delivered with Blue Squares on the cab front. All others quickly had them added.
As with other units, the early '60s saw the introduction of the small yellow warning panel below the cab windows in place of the whiskers, a practical step towards greater safety. Carrying with panel is E50748 heading this 4-car set at Darlington Bank Top Station in 1964, in the north end dock where the Bishop Auckland / Crook trains, and prior to 1962 the Stainmore trains, departed from. Roy Lambeth.
Often when the vehicles were repainted they would recieve the darker Loco Green and 'revised' lining which would match other DMUs - one broader band at waist height and the other narrower band just above window level. Such a set is seen in York station, date unknown. Note the orange stickers on the cab and on the bodysides, this is possibly one of the unofficially named vehicles. Tony Wilkins.
The Scottish Region seemed to be the only ones that added the stripe to green vehicles. In this view 51528 carries the yellow stripe, and also set number 211. It has red buffer beams and is still in Multiple Unit Green with original lining. The vehicle behind has been repainted into the darker Loco Green with revised lining. Seen at Dunfermline Lower. Undated. David Mant.
At least 50314 ran in green livery with a full yellow end. When noted late in 1967 it still carried original lining.
From 1967 vehicles started to appear in the newly introduced Rail Blue livery with full yellow ends, the plain blue bodysides were greatly enhanced by the polished aluminium window frames. However some sets initially received one of two short lived variations, one having only a small yellow warning panel below the cab windows, red buffer beam and umber brown frames and bogies. The BR logo was on the cab door and smaller than usual numbering. The other involved much more yellow, covering whole the cab front and the cab doors.
In 1974 a class 101 3-car set (51451/59545/51518) was selected as the test bed for the refurbishment scheme. The refurbishment at Doncaster was topped off with the new refurbished livery of white with a blue stripe. The unit had different thickness stripes on each side. On the drivers side of the DMBS was a narrow stripe, the opposite was thicker 12" band which contained the BR or PTE logo. These top of these stripes ran through the door handles.
The inner ends originally had the livery carried all the way around as the first of these images show, but quickly had a blue (or black?) area added (second image - dated 12/7/74). The last picture is a production version, although this varied between works (see below "Works Repainting Anomolies").
The production refurbished vehicles adopted the 12" stripe, but this was lowered slightly, the top running along the bottom of the commode handles. The white livery was short lived, being replaced by Rail blue and grey due mainly to the problem of keeping vehicles clean in service.
Taken in 1975, Burton Lane Junction York is the location of the next photo, which was the junction of the branch to Rowntree's & Foss islands. Forming a summer extra to Scarbrough are a 3 car blue & white refurbished Class 101 & a blue 4-car Class 104. Mike Hudson.
The next images shows another refurbished liveried set, taken in the '80s at Leeds. Graham Turner www.railblue.com
Some units allocated to the Western Region were actually repainted from Rail Blue into Blue and grey even prior to refurbishment with two character train describers still in situ. These units were later dealt with at Derby Works during the early 1980s.
The last vehicle to retain the refurbished white/blue stripe livery was 59121, which lost these colours for blue/grey during overhaul at Swindon works in Spring '84, a few months short of the 10th anniversary of the livery.
Refurbished livery - Derby, Swindon & Doncaster Works gave the gangway ends a small ‘wrap-round’ with a horizontal top edge (for a good example of this see p55 of the Brian Morrison book). Those done at Glasgow had a greater wrap-round with the white following the body end contour (see the top image on page 54 of the same book).
Window frames - Glasgow also differed in painting the frames of some units in the body colour. Elsewhere, they were left shiny, although some refurbished livery sets had white surrounds, although again Glasgow differed as they painted the rubbers whereas elsewhere left them black!
Left: a close up of the picture on the right, a set which contained painted and unpainted window frames Alan Rintoul.
In time the refurbished white livery was abandoned and all vehicles began to appear in blue / grey livery. The height of the grey band could differ depending on the works that did the repaint. The image shows a blue/grey set circa 1981 carrying Greater Glasgow / Trans-Clyde branding S Saunders.
By the mid '80s four ScR based units received the Strathclyde PTE orange and black livery with black cab window surrounds which later spread to other depots vehicles. These were:
One other DMS vehicle Sc51803 carried the livery, it was operating in set 107430.
SPTE liveried set 101 304 seen in Glasgow Queen Street Andrew McConnell.
The vehicles were eventually dispersed to other depots, first Chester (CH) and later Longsight (LO) still sporting their Strathclyde orange and black but now partnered by blue and grey DMBSs in the case of 53158 and 53160. Three vehicles from the above list eventually made it into the Regional Railways livery in the '90s, 51224 as part of 101679, 53160 as part of the celebrity green set 101685 and 51803 as part of 101676 (all three at LO).
More sets appeared in the livery when Corkerhill received a batch of facelifted 101 6xx sets. From 1997 they had the area on the cab above the orange cantrail stripe also painted black.
By 1989 the Network South East livery began to appear on the London based Met Camms still sporting black masks and even some cars at CA retaining red buffer beams.
L835 51498+51432 is seen arriving at Reading West on the 17:20 Reading to Basingstoke, 29-6-93 Kevin Dowd.
By 1992 the Regional Railways livery began to appear an facelifted sets allocated to CA, NC, TS, LA, LO and HA (as already mentioned the Corkerhill units were turned out in Strathclyde colours) with new style insignia on the cab front and bodysides for PTE routes. In regional Railways liveries some units had their window frames painted silver.
Left: 101 681 in Regional Railways colours at Llandudno in November 1999 Paul Ellis.
Latterly there were two more livery variations. Set 101685 involving vehicles 53164/59539/53160 this unit being painted in a version of the early green livery for working the Conway Valley line. It looked somewhat less than correct with a larger than original yellow warning panel, central headlight and cab front electrification warning stickers above cab window level!
The other unit was Corkerhill's 101692 with vehicles 53253/53170 sporting a version of Caledonian Blue with red and yellow stripes, with full yellow cab front and black window masks. It was repainted for the inauguration of Motherwell to Cumbernauld services in 1997 where this set normally operated.
Left: 53160 leads retro-green 101 685 into the now closed Blaenau Ffestiniog LMS station Mac Winfield. Right: Caledonian Blue 101 692 at Glasgow Central in April 1999 Rob Woods.
By the end of the 1980s, many depots had begun customising their units. Red painted buffer beams appeared on some units based at Cambridge (CA), Norwich (NC), and one or two vehicles at Cardiff (CF), More widespread was the application of black cab window surrounds in the style of the Scottish sets based at ED, HA and AY. The English depots adopting the black "masks" included Tyseley (TS), which also experimented with wrap-around black cab windows extending as far as the driving cab doors. Units allocated to the London division, at RG, OC and CA also acquired black masks, though being slightly different in having square corners as opposed to the radiused variety of the other depots.
Description - Technical
Description - Interior
Description - Variations
Description - Modifications
Operations - Initial
Operations - Later
685 - Daisy
Details about preserved Class 101s can be found here.
Many thanks to Mac Winfield and Eddie Knorn for their assistance in the preparation of this section.