The class 90s have seen 32 different liveries of various shades, branding/unbranded and colourschemes during their 33 historic years. However of those 32, only 8 liveries remain in active use today (May 2022), with the remaining 24 having become 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 as new until privatisation were 90001-90015 which all carried 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?
On the 25th March 2022, 90021 was released from the Toton paintshop sporting a new Malcolm Logistics livery celebrating 100 years of the logistics provider. This new livery replaces the former First Scotrail colourscheme that the locomotive wore, which has now become obsolete.
Previous liveries applied to the class 90s included the painting and rebranding of 90039 (the last member active member to carry the EWS livery), which has now become a thing of the past and subsequently obsolete. In other news, the painting and branding of 90020, 90026 and 90029 into Grand Central orange and black with appropriate branding was removed from the loco’s in September 2020 following the Grand Central venture being cancelled. However, the three loco’s remain in a “unbranded” variant for the time being (similar to what happen to 90034).
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.
All the different liveries worn by the class 90s can be found below.
Original British Rail Liveries
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 32 different colour schemes during the past 33 years, most of which have become obsolete, but 8 remain in use today.
The various liveries carried by the class 90s over the last 33 years is summarised below: