Zebra Stripes

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by babydot94513, Feb 21, 2003.

  1. babydot94513

    babydot94513 Member in training

    I asked this question months ago on another forum and received few responses and none which did not really answer the question.

    What is the origin of the Zebra/Tiger stripe paint scheme on the front of some locomotives?

    I am assuming it was created to allow for higher visibility, but what railroad is credited with first using this concept? What factual evidence is there to support the necessity of this type of paint scheme. Why is it not used today?
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I don't know who used it first. The S.P. used tiger striped, and S. F. used Zebra stripes. I think the S.F. zebra stripes were made with reflective material rather than just silver paint, but I may be mistaken. I suspect the stripes were probably a safety design for visibility. I think also the railroads were used to dressing up passenger trains in bright colors, but just weren't sure what to do with a freight diesel when they first dieselized, especially a switch engine.
  3. babydot94513

    babydot94513 Member in training

    Russ, thanks for your response. No doubt that it has something to do with the visibility factor. What is interesting is that it appears that the railroads have abandoned this concept.

    While I do not know the stats behind the effectiveness of the "stripes" I do know that CalTrain (former SP commuter service on the SF peninsula) still uses stripes as does (as far as I can tell) NS - Norfolk Southern. Others???

    It would be interesting to know the entire geniology of "stripes" and who is credited with its creation and why the demise.
  4. K.V.Div

    K.V.Div Member

    Unless Montana Rail Link has changed its paint scheme recently, I beleve that they are still putting the stripes on the nose of their locomotives;)

  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I don't think the railroads have so much abandoned stripes as they have realised that the locomotive has tremendous potential as a traveling billboard for the railroad. It may have started with the Santa Fe warbonnett, but I think most railroads are looking for a paint scheme that is distinctive to that road and catches the public's attention. I think right now BNSF is still trying to find an identity. U.P. was painting everything yellow as fast as they could, but have suddenly slowed down. A friend who is an S.P. modeler sugested that the U.P. saw what their units looked like after going through tunnels, and are now keeping some units in flat black as "tunnel queens" to be used on Tehachapie, in the snow sheds, and anywhere else that the old S.P. and D.R.G.W. run through tunnels.
  6. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Then of course there were a number of CN locos with zebra stripes along the sides of the locos.
  7. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Hi Babydot94531.

    Here is a shot of a Grand River passenger Interurban now abandoned, as you said high visability was the first concern as there were many accidents at rail crossings.
    stripes did have an effect on the safe operation at said crossings.

    Attached Files:

  8. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Chris,where did the Grand River Railway operate? Reason I ask is the Grand River splits my town in half here in Michigan.
  9. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Grand River (Canadian Pacific)

    Good Morning Catt:)


    That link should get you into a great site.

    Catt, Grand River operated in south western Ontario
    at the north end it started from two town`s namely Waterloo through Preston and Guelph through Hespeler tracks meeting at Paris then onto Brantford ,Waterfort ,Siomcoe And finishing at Port Dover
    There was a lot of Traction in those days and well worth trying to model.
  10. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Here is a lovely drawing of Hespeler taken of a chocolate box of all things:eek:

    Attached Files:

  11. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Canadian Pacific Electric Lines

    Further to Chris's comments, the part of the RR south of Galt was called the Lake Erie and Northern. Cars were lettered for both roads but run indiscriminately.
    Digression: Numbering of cars. They had some really weird hangups. (From memory) digits 0 and 1 were not used. GRR was all even digits and LE&N was all odd digits.
    Eventually, someone forgot and the latest cars did not follow the rules.
    Track south of Galt is now all torn up; track north of Kitchener is also gone.

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