Painting Structures in Proper LIRR Colors

by Nicholas Kalis

An article submitted for publication in the Semaphore

In the October 2001 installment of The Long Island Rail Road Modeler, Mike Boland was kind enough to reprint Paul Backenstose’s article on “Capturing the Flavor of the PRR on Your Model”. Paul’s article was about structures. Because of the influence of the PRR on the LIRR, modelers should find Paul’s message useful. Paul goes on to give us recipes for what he describes as PRR Structure Color Light and PRR Structure Color Dark.

I would like to focus on what are the proper colors for modeling structures of the Long Island Railroad. George J. Abere, Jr. captured Yard A as it appeared in 1954 (See March 2002 of the Long Island Rail Road Calendar). All three yard structures – the sand bin, the Car Repair Storehouse, and the Yard Office are painted white in George’s color photograph.

I have also perused photos of the Blissville Freight Station (David Keller, 1970) and Bliss Tower (David Keller, 1970) that show both concrete masonry block buildings painted white. Carrying on this theme, photos of the Sixth Street Yard (Float Yard) show the Yardmaster’s building as painted white. I can only conclude during the 1950s through early 1970s, the official LIRR paint scheme for non-passenger related structures, at least those of brick or block, was white.

When pressed, J. J. Earl seems to recall that the wooden Arch Street Freight House was cream color above a horizontal dividing line (at about 40 inches above ground level) and hunter green below. (Email from J. J. Earl to Nicholas Kalis, May 21, 2001 ) A later photograph by Bill Myers of the Long Island Railroad Freight Service Center at 46th Road and Jackson Avenue shows it painted blue.

Can any of our readers fill in the missing pieces of this story?