The class 90s have seen 30 different liveries of various shades, branding/unbranded and colourschemes during their 31 historic years. However of those 30 only 14 liveries remain in active use today (March 2020), with the remaining 16 having becoming obsolete. As new, there were 3 main liveries:-
90001 to 90025 Inter-City Swallow
90026 to 90036 Inter-City Mainline
90037 to 90050 Original RfD (freight)
The original liveries cited above remained in place for the first few years of operations before change was inevitable following the break up of BR. The newly formed ‘Rail Express Systems' (Res) resulted in 90016 to 90020 being transferred to the PXLE pool operating mail trains and repainted into Res livery. Incidentally, 90020 was the first 90 to be applied with the Res colours (1997) and it was subsequently named Sir Michael Heron after the opening of the new Royal Mail centre in Warrington.
The next batch of repaints came after 90021 to 90025 were transferred to RfD from Inter-City - these were painted into the original RfD house colours, which left 90026 to 90036 in Inter-City Mainline. However, these suffered the same fate as 90021 to 90025 e.g. painted into the same RfD colour scheme. Interestingly at the time of being stored, 90025 and 90027 still carried their original BR RfD livery and a handful of 90s were still sporting the revised RfD paint job when stored e.g. 90038.
The sole remaining 90s left in their original BR livery from new until privatisation were 90001-90015 sporting the iconic swallow "Inter-City" colours, which remained in place until Virgin Trains took over the operations of the West Coast in April 1997 onwards. The first 90 to be painted into the Virgin Trains colour scheme was 90002 and this engine was subsequently named Mission: Impossible.
In 1992, as part of a rail freight exhibition, 90022 was named "FreightConnection" and retained the original RfD livery, but this did not last long and 90022 was soon outshopped in a revised RfD livery which it had until stored in 2006. In parallel with the naming of 90022 - 90028/29/30 were painted into three new European liveries; Belgium for 90028, DB for 90029 and SNCF for 90030 - these 3 class 90s were also named Freight connection, but in their appropriate European language.
The revised RfD livery adopted for 90022 was also applied to other members of the class - notably 90021/23/24/33/34/38. At the same time, an experimental RfD livery (known as Sybic) was applied to 90036 which which lasted until 2013, but then became obsolete following a repaint into DB red - numbered 90136 at the time and later reverting back to a 90/0. This livery survives to the present day in 2012, albeit slightly modified with EWS branding.
What have been the latest liveries?
As part of the new Grand Central operations on the WCML from Spring 2020, 90026 was outshopped in the operator’s house colours during w/c 15th February 2020. The loco was undergoing testing at the time of writing and should enter traffic soon.
In addition, on Wednesday 22nd January 2020, Freightliner unveiled the new Orange and Black livery part of the G&W colourscheme for 90044, which had previously been in Freightliner grey. The loco entered traffic in the new livery on the evening of the 24/1/20, which worked 4S83 from Basford Hall to Coatbridge with 90041 on 4S83. See external link here for the new colourscheme.
Do you require more information?
If you require any further information or like to have something added or even spotted an error, then I like to hear from you by email. You can also see pictures of class 90s in their various colourscheme's by going to the Photo Gallery webpage or watch them in action in the Movie Gallery. Below are all the different liveries that class 90s have seen.
British Rail Livery
The 90s were delivered as new in 3 different liveries. These were Intercity (90001-90025), Mainline (90026-90036) and RfD (90037-90050).
The class 90s have seen a total of 30 different liveries during the past 31 years - most of these have become obsolete, but approximately 14 remain in use.
The various liveries carried by the class 90s over the last 31 years is summarised below: