LIRR Symbols, Logos & Heralds

Logos, heralds, timetables and paint schemes pretty much changed together, so they will be described together.

Herald – something that precedes and indicates the approach of something or someone
Logo – a graphic representation or symbol of a company name, trademark, abbreviation, etc., often uniquely designed for ready recognition   

For purposes of this information, logos will refer to the symbols used to identify the LIRR as a company that were used on printed and promotional material (timetables, brochures, tickets).  Heralds will refer to those symbols when applied to rolling stock.  For the most part though, they are interchangeable.  These symbols changed along with changes in ownership and management, and with the arrival of new equipment.

In the early years of the LIRR and up until the 1920s, there was no herald or logo being used.  Printed material had the name in various forms of script.  For example, this logo appeared on the top of all public timetables from c. 1900 up to and including the 'teens. (info: Dave Keller) Rolling stock generally had “Long Island” or the company initials. This brings up a point regarding the spelling of the company name.  The proper name is “ Long Island Rail Road ,” with “railroad” spelled as two words.  At various times it had “The” preceding it, “Company” after it, “Rail Road ” as one word.  In fact, an 1889 timetable had “Railroad” and at the same time had “Long Island R. R.” which would indicate “Rail Road”.  So the Railroad itself used different spellings at different times in its history.  (The word “timetable” is also spelled as one or two words.)

The Pennsy years brought the keystone logo, appearing in early LIRR ads from 1917 (Info: Art Huneke),  February 1924 on the Long Island Information Bulletin, and the May 14, 1924 timetable.     image001.jpg (46870 bytes)  

DD1-348, et. al-LI CIty-03-26-49 (Faxon-Keller).jpg (89749 bytes)Printed material used two styles of the keystone, the difference being the length of the “leg”of the “L.”  One has it longer, extending under the “I.”  

DD1 #348 at Montauk Cutoff view N LI City 03/26/1949 (Faxon-Keller) This was used as a herald only on the DD-1 electric locos after the pin-striping of 1939. Prior to the pin-striping the logo was not utilized. Research: Dave Keller

An LIRR publication from 1934 about its history shows a round logo with an early steam locomotive and the date “1834.”  It also was used on booklets and Conductor and Assistant Conductor cap badges.  And it later appeared as part of the 1976 Bicentennial Commemorative herald described below.

Except for special name trains, steam locomotives only had “LONG ISLAND” on their tenders.  Heralds really came into use with the arrival of diesel locomotives.

When the first diesels arrived, they only had “LONG ISLAND” in gold lettering, a practice most likely used as on the steamers.  The first herald for diesels appeared in November 1949 when Alco RS-1 #465 wore the new Tichy herald along with the Tichy paint scheme.  This was applied to passenger locomotives only.  The FM C-Liners arrived in 1950 with this paint scheme already applied, as did the H16-44s upon their delivery.

The Tichy colors were applied to passenger cars as well, with MP54 electric coach #1901 being the first to wear them.  According to the December 1949 issue of the employee magazine, Long Island Railroader, these colors consisted of a bright aluminum color roof, slate gray body, and dark green underbody.  “Lettering is in aluminum, and numerals are in red against an aluminum background.”   

On the RS-1s, “the engine number has been repeated in large silhouetted aluminum numerals mounted in a blue frame on either side of the head end,” and had red pilots and black cab roof.  The C-Liners differed slightly, with the engine number appearing on the nose in a “battleship” style with a shadow effect.  Also, the roof was an aluminum color like on the coaches.  The H16-44s had slate gray applied on the body and roof, with red pilots.  

image007.jpg (12725 bytes)  The Tichy herald mentioned above was applied only to the diesels, not the passenger equipment. (November 1949) This herald consisted of a white map of Long Island on a light blue rectangle, offset with a black rectangle giving a shadow effect.  Printed over the map was a large black “plus sign” with the letters L, I, R, R in each corner of the “plus”; these represented the four corners of Long Island served by the Railroad. 

The GE 44 tonner, #400, also had the Tichy colors but with a modified herald.  This was a “plus sign” with the horizontal line in red and the vertical line and L, I, R, R in white.  There was no map and blue and black rectangles; definitely a one-of-a-kind herald.  

This herald was not used as a logo on printed material.  At that time the logo was the “circle LI,” first appearing on train crew uniforms in the form of a lapel pin.  This was described in the October 1949 Long Island Railroader.  So, for a short time, there were two symbols being used.  In December 1954, C-Liner #2002 appeared with a new paint job consisting of a dark smoke gray body, orange pilot, and black or dark green roof.  The switchers had their white pilots replaced with orange and some even had the whole nose and rear of the cab painted in orange.

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The herald was a modified version of the circle logo.  The logo had the “L.I.” with serifs and square periods, while the herald lacked the serifs and the periods.  The color was light gray, almost white.  This change in paint scheme coincided with the start of the “Goodfellow Years” when Thomas M. Goodfellow took over as vice president and general manager in August 1954, becoming president on January 1, 1956.

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The FM C-Liners were the only locos to receive the new colors and herald.  The herald was applied to each side of the unit at the front and rear.  In addition, the herald was applied to wreck crane #W50 and possibly other equipment.

Starting in 1955 with the arrival of the new Alco RS-3 diesels to replace the last of the steam locomotives, the “Goodfellow colors” (as they are often referred to) came into use.  These colors were a smoke gray body and orange ends and pilots.  This scheme was applied to all diesels as they went into the shop for maintenance and repainting, and was completed by 1959 when the Dashing Dan herald started appearing.  The first timetable to have Dan was in September 1959, although he was introduced in the April 1957 Long Island Railroader. The original Dashing Dan with base and running to the left.

dashingdottieLIRRer25April1963.jpg (242064 bytes)Dashing Dottie LIRRer Employee Magazine: April 25, 1963
Archive: Dave Morrison

image015.jpg (34960 bytes)In 1962, Dashing Dottie was introduced, but used only on printed and promotional material. 
Colorized by: Robert Andersen



The arrival of the new Alco C420s in late 1963 brought another change in color scheme and herald.  The C420s had the same orange and gray colors, but the orange was applied in a “funnel,” “sweep,” or “wave” pattern on the hood sides.  This scheme is often referred to as the “sweep” or “World’s Fair” image (the C420s arrived the same year the New York World’s Fair was held).  The initial units arrived with no Dashing Dan, but a new version was soon applied. 

This herald and logo had a circle with a base with “The Long Island Rail Road” in it.  On old heavyweight parlors:  Dan on one end and the Chief on the other end of the car.  The LIRR purchased two used RS-2 diesels from the Delaware & Hudson in August 1962 and added a blue stripe running the length of the hood to match the blue stripe being used on the parlor cars. It was replaced with "baseless" Dan running in both directions in 1963-64 as the World's Fair paint scheme came into existence. Info: Mike Boland

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image019.jpg (75091 bytes)This version was a larger circle without the base and text, and had been appearing on timetables for some time.  The larger Dashing Dan was applied to passenger equipment, hacks, and the RS-2 and RS-3 diesels; the RS-1 diesels had a smaller version applied. Dashing Dan appeared on locomotives, passenger cars, work equipment, hacks, and printed and promotional material. 

Similarly, the Weekend Chief appeared in a larger version without the base.  Note also that Dashing Dan appeared running to the left or the right, while the Weekend Chief ran only to the right. The Dashing Commuter started to be phased out about 1966, although like all the heralds, it could be found on some equipment many years later.  More Dashing Dan Info

turbonautslogolirr.jpg (25665 bytes)Ronkonkoma 10/09/1966  "Turbonaut"  Garret Turbo train, GT1 Gas turbine car that was stored on the tail of the wye at Ronkonkoma 
Historical Data:  Dave Keller , Archive: Big Jo

As far as timetables are concerned, the last one to have Dashing Dan was the October 15, 1968 listing, followed by the first with the MTA logo effective November 25, 1968.  And this brings the LIRR to the MTA years. 

On January 1, 1965, the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Authority was created by New York State Law.  The MCTA bought the LIRR from the PRR in 1966 for $65 million.  This agency was short lived as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was created on March 1, 1968.  This new ownership brought about another change in colors and heralds.

The delivery of the second order of eight C420s (classed L2 by the Railroad) in 1968 had them in New York State colors, yellow and blue, with a two-tone “M” herald.  The blue paint was a pastel shade and was quickly changed to a darker blue.  The diesel fleet, work equipment and hacks would wear these colors and herald as well.  The diesel-hauled passenger cars changed to platinum mist (a light gray) bodies with a blue stripe running through the windows and the “M” herald.  The M1 electric cars were delivered in 1968 (entering revenue service in 1969) with the “M” herald. 

The LIRR is nothing without the variety it gives.  The “M” herald had the words “ Long Island ” under the “M,” while the logo on the timetables had the word” (at least for 1968-69).  However, an April 1975 photo of the Gas Turbine Car #4004 has the herald with “Metropolitan.”

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Employee Timetable effective 05-20-1968
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 Public Timetable effective 11-25-1968  

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c. 1969

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From cab side of an Alco S2

However, at some point (late 1960s, early 1970s), there was a modernized sunrise design used as a logo for the new MTA consisting of a track running into the sunset.  The sunset was a two-tone gold with a blue “sky,” all three being arranged in a rainbow design (maybe this could be called the “railbow” logo?).  Above the sunrise in an arc is “The Long Island Rail Road.”  This appeared on various publications and playing cards, however, investigation has not turned up any timetables with this logo. image027.jpg (46087 bytes)

The MTA “M” herald appeared into the early 1990s and could be found in small and large versions on locomotives.  On the Alco road units and switchers in the MTA yellow and blue scheme, the “M” was on the cab side below the window.  The power packs (Alco FA1 and FA2 units) wore the “M” on each side of the nose under the number boards; that is, if it was even applied to a particular unit.

A third, little used version has the smaller “M” on a silver square.  This also was placed on the side of the cab below the window.  Photos show this on several C420s (215, 224, 226 and 229) and at least one RS3 (1552).  C420 #224 had this applied in January 1976 when it was painted in the new blue and white “wave” scheme to match the new EMD GP38-2s.   image029.jpg (89814 bytes)  

The GP38-2s arrived in the aforementioned blue and white “wave” scheme in 1976.  This was inspired by that used by the Milwaukee Road and was applied to the eight remaining C420s as well.  The geeps were delivered in the new scheme without the herald.  The “M” was later applied by the LIRR shop to the upper white stripe on the long hood, just in front of the radiator grills.  With the exception of at least #224, the C420s had the “M” in the same location as the EMD units.  The EMD switchers were delivered in blue and white but not in the wave scheme.  They had the herald on the cab sides and for the MP15ACs, on the nose.

GP38-2 #252 was designated the bicentennial unit to honor our nation’s 200th birthday.  It had the middle stripe in red instead of blue, and on the cab side under the window was a special bicentennial commemoration herald.  The LIRR shop forces later would apply this to the other geeps and L2s.  
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Starting in late 1979, the geeps and L2s also received the red stripe.  The president of the LIRR at that time was Francis Gabreski, a World War II Ace.  With his tenure, a degree of patriotism came about the Railroad regarding various markings.  These included naming snow-fighting equipment after WWII aircraft (such as Thunderbolt).  It also brought about the use of the American flag, an arrangement of five stars, and the slogan, “We Serve With Pride” on rolling stock.  These three graphics usually were used together, but sometimes appeared in any combination.  And these are still used today.   image035.jpg (44288 bytes)

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Farewell to the M1 fan trip 06/09/2006
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11/26/2007 Photo: Joe Tischner
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12/13/2007 Photo: Joe Gregory

The 1988 Annual Report has the “circle M” on the back cover.  This was a white “M” on a blue circle.  It later appeared as a new herald in March 1991 with the words “ Long Island Rail Road ” on two lines to the right, all on a stainless steel rectangle.  This was used on all diesel units.  One exception was #269 which had this herald removed and replaced with a small MTA “M”.  Passenger equipment appeared like the parlor car below.

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At the present, the logo has “MTA” in white on a blue circle with the slogan “Going Your Way”.  All equipment has the “MTA” circle and “ Long Island Rail Road .”  The letters of “MTA” get smaller from the “M” to the “A” giving the impression of a train coming at you or going away from you.  This is sometimes referred to as the “Pac-Man” logo since it resembles the character from the popular video game of the same name. 

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  MTA 175th Anniversary Logo 1938-2009






Thanks to: Bob Andersen, Tim Darnell, Art Huneke, Dave Keller and Dave Morrison for providing photos, artwork and historical information. 

Sources: Various LIRR publications, personal notes and photos, Diesels of the Sunrise Trail, Diesel Era Vol. 15 No. 2 Mar/Apr 2004, calendars published by Long Island Sunrise Trail Chapter of NRHS and Railroad Museum of Long Island (RMLI), and various web sites.

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Long Island Railroader (employee news letter) introducing "Dashing Dan." April 25, 1957 
Archive: Dave Morrision


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Long Island Railroader "Modern Railroads Intro" October 24, 1957
Archive: Dave Morrision
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Long Island Railroader "First Car to get Decal" LIRR Pres. Goodfellow looks on. February 2, 1959 Archive: Dave Morrision
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Long Island Railroader "Dan Gets Around" August 27, 1959
Archive: Dave Morrision
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"LIRR's Dashing Ideas"  
Newsday February 6, 1963 
Archive: Dave Morrision
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"LIRR's Dashing Ideas" Photos
Archive: Dave Morrision
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May 1978 issue of "Along The Track"  (formerly the Long Island Railroader) Archive: Dave Morrision
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May 1978 issue of "Along The Track"  Page Two
Archive: Dave Morrison
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Photos/Archive: Suzanne Parker
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Photos/Archive: Suzanne Parker

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Photos/Archive: Suzanne Parker

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Photos/Archive: Suzanne Parker

This lantern of a mother dragging a recalcitrant child is opposite the Dashing Dan lantern above the entrance stairs to the Forest Hills Station. Maybe the child in question grew up to be Dashing Dottie ;-) All the lanterns on the station and throughout Forest Hills Gardens were designed by Grosvenor Atterbury, the architect who designed the station, the Forest Hills Inn, and most of the original houses in the Gardens.
Info: Suzanne Parker
 Forest Hills Station decorative ironwork that has been at the station since the station opening in 1911 looks very similar to Dashing Dan. It looks at though Dashing Dan was born here. In 1957 the logo started appearing on LIRR locomotives, cars and other equipment. Info: Dave Morrision

Long Island Railroader Magazine, Dan first made his "official" appearance to the public on the back cover of the 1956 LIRR Annual Report. Info: Dave Keller

RMLI has an account of a man who visited them & said he was the inspiration. Maybe the artist used both for the final design. See below "The View from Greenport" Info: Al Castelli


ddanRMLIalcastelli.jpg (57217 bytes)RMLI's Greenport Museum
"The View from Greenport"
Don Fisher 08/2003 Winter Edition RMLI PostBoy




1964dahingdantoken.jpg (48804 bytes)World's Fair Dashing Dan Token on timetable 1964

"On the Long Island Rail Road . . . BooooaRD!"

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Oscar Brand: The Ballard of Dashing Dan (entire page)   

From the Long Island Rail Road’s publication “Parlor Car East” by Oscar Brand. He sang them for the LIRR.  The tune is an old folk song titled "Wait For The Wagon."

We have mid-day trains for Ladies, Commuter trains for Dans, Weekend trains for families, Money-saving plans!

Tours to Sag and Montauk, Mystic and Jones Beach; Road ‘n’ Rail in Suffolk, Every bus a peach. Bar-type cars for thirsties, Parlor cars galore; Boxy-cars for boxes, And many, many more. 

Air-conditioned beauties Recently arrived; Rugged-ridin’ oldies That shouldn’t be alive. Diesels and Electrics, Party trains for teens; More darn trains of every kind Than you have ever seen! 

We do our best to run ‘em Clean and swift and true. Bet your driver’s license We’ve got a train for you! 

Info provided by: Dave Keller

qqdpat1966.jpg (18335 bytes)St Patrick's Day one time special from 1966. The loco looks like a C420 judging by the location of the image by the cab and also the roof details. Bearded Pat carries a Shillelagh.* Photo: Art Huneke

* A cudgel (club that is used as a weapon) made of hardwood (usually oak or blackthorn wood) believed to be magical tool corresponding with the staff. Info: Steve Lynch

ddanracingsportsman1966.jpg (16147 bytes)Dashing Dan Racing Sportsman

newdshdn10-2002.jpg (25960 bytes)Anonymous artwork or maybe the new Dashing Dan that the LIRR was supposedly going to introduce in the 80s.

ddan_dimensions_alcastelli.jpg (175980 bytes)A printed card about 12 inches square that Willis Hobbies (Mineola, NY) had sold. The image isn't correct (see "Railroad" as one word). The dimensions are from the RMLI C68 Dashing Dan.  I used this card just for showing where the dimensions belong.

ddanC68reproRMLIalcastelli.jpg (65153 bytes)RMLI C68 Dashing Dan is a reproduction and not an exact duplicate of the original from the 50s & 60s.

harold 118bobanderson.jpg (55187 bytes) LIRR Harold Protect Engine #118 12/25/2003 
Photo: Bob Andersen 

Introducing LILCO Lil' - LIRRer 6/20/1957

Dashing Dan and Dashing Dottie with 2020 COVID19 masks!  Archive: LIRR/MTA

Commentary and photo documentation provided by: Al Castelli, unless otherwise noted.