If you time it right, you’ll be able to see a special train on the SouthWestern Railway route — that’s been painted in a British Rail 1980s-inspired colour scheme.

South Western Railway has unveiled the special ‘new’ livery for one of its Class 455 trains during its last paint job ahead of its eventual retirement. The retro look, which was applied at SWR’s Bournemouth Depot, is inspired by the original British Rail Blue and Minerva Grey livery that customers would have seen when the trains first arrived on the Southern Region of the British Rail network in 1982.

To meet modern accessibility standards, some slight changes have been made, with the unit’s doors fully painted in Minerva Grey.

SWR’s name is displayed as are 12 Golden Spanners, commemorating Wimbledon Depot’s 12 award wins at the Modern Railways Golden Spanner awards in the category of Ex-British Rail Electrical Multiple Units.

You can see the retro paint train on the SWR network, and if you don’t mind a short notice trip to see it, type 455868 into the “quick search” bar on Real Time Trains (not the stations search), and it will show which route the train is running between on the day. Helpfully to make sure you are looking at the correct train, RTT will show it in the retro colours on their website as well.

After over four decades on the railways, the fleet of Class 455 trains will shortly be retiring. They will make way for SWR’s new, if also exceptionally delayed, £1 billion fleet of new Arterio trains.

It’s presumed that this retro-painted train will be the last to be taken out of service and likely to have a special farewell tour when that happens.

Updated – corrected the unit number.


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  1. Keith says:

    Saw Geoff’s youtube video on this at the weekend. I think the retro-inspired colour scheme looks much nicer than the blue/orange/red one of the other four carriages.

  2. Jon Jones says:

    I do like the retro colour scheme. I can’t decide if I like it because it’s better than the SWR scheme or if it’s just nostalgia.

  3. Rory says:

    My son did a drawing of this as he thought it was going to the scap yard so was delighted to see this

  4. Ann says:

    We jumped on one of these the other day, such a treat it was so clean & fresh as well. Quite lively and unexpected. Shame they will be retired.

  5. Julian B says:

    Add me to the fan club. The new SWR colours aren’t bad, the font is unmissable, a tad too big I say. But the retro colours are great and also remind me of my youth.

  6. s says:

    I could be wrong but i feel as it 455868 has officially retired because i tried to fins it on RTT and its not their anymore

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