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BNSF and their locomotive paint issues

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BNSF and their locomotive paint issues
Posted by Max Karl on Saturday, January 30, 2021 2:27 PM

BNSF has had a history of repainting and updating schemes on locomotives, but consistency and weathering has been an issue. Cascade green, Heritage 1, and fakebonnets have lasted 20 years with little issues. But starting with H2, fading has been very rapid especially on the SD70MACs. These units have started to turn a burnt yellow/orange color, with some sections being actually burnt off. Lettering is turning white and peeling is happening consistently on the top of the prime mover. The Dash 9-44CWs however, have kept their colors extremely well, besides for a few "yellow bonnets" appearing. The new ET44ACs are also starting to get their H3 stripes peeled on the long hood. H4 seems to be staying on well enough. 

Why does BNSF seem to have a hard time with paint on some units and not others, when the same paint is used? Other roads have little issues with paint and have the same locomotives.

  Max Karl, MRL and BNSF

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, January 30, 2021 6:29 PM

There is a lot of technology that gets rolled into paint durability - a lot of the technology is guided by various hazmat handling restrictions.  If you notice - automotive paints from the late 70's on fail over time.  The industrial level paints used by the railrods have similar issues.

Expecting paints to be exposed to the elements 24/7/365 without fading or changing colors is a big wish.

Some colors fade over shorter periods of time than others.  ACL had their issues with Purple.

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Posted by BurlingtonNorthern2264 on Saturday, January 30, 2021 10:09 PM
I do believe some of the H2 locomotives faded really quickly due to BNSF buying cheap paint, probably during mass H2 repaints. The Dash 9's on the other hand were delivered in that paint and as such I do believe they did not want to skimp on quality. I'd assume it would cost a ton to repaint many locos into H2 which is why they opted for cheap paint...then again that paint might be the reason there are still a decent amount of ex-BN and ATSF units around. Just my 2 cents.
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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, January 31, 2021 11:26 AM

Remember when it comes to industrial style paint - cheap paint isn't cheap.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Sunday, January 31, 2021 5:22 PM

For some reason the Genesee & Wyoming orange seems to hang in there, as well as the CP red and black, NS black, KCS red and Brunswick green, and CP red. But there are sure to be exceptions to that statement out there.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Monday, February 1, 2021 11:45 AM

So, this is the exact opposite of the way I would describe this.

 

The SD70MACs have not faded particularly badly. Some have, but most haven't. It was the Dash 9s that really got the worst of it. All the more so, because the Superfleet units stayed looking nice for so very much longer.

And of course, it has been decades since these H2 units were painted. So their current condition isn't exactly something to grouse about.

We've discussed this in this forum over the years. I don't have the insider knowledge, but those that did have posted here in the past. There was a paint formulation issue with the Emron paint. That's why there's a group of units from the mid to late 90s that faded so badly. GE got the worst of it. 

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Posted by SD70Dude on Monday, February 1, 2021 12:03 PM

Paint formulations have indeed changed over the years as regulations have limited what can be used.  

I blame that muckraker Troy McClure for these failings, if it weren't for his magnum opus ("Lead Paint: Delicious but Deadly") we could still have locomotives that don't bleach in the sun!

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, February 1, 2021 1:02 PM

Maybe they would not bleach out in the anemic Canadian Sun, however, when faced with the robust Florida Sun - anything will bleach out over time.  Witness the ACL's purple.

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Posted by IA and eastern on Monday, February 1, 2021 1:35 PM

CGW maroon turned purple and C&NW had its new colors fade very fast that they went back to the old colors. Gary

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Posted by caldreamer on Monday, February 1, 2021 3:28 PM

I seem to remember that some of the railroad paints were produced by Dupont.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Monday, February 8, 2021 5:13 PM
Yes, the above mentioned Emron is a Dupont trade name. A quick note on sunfade. If you ever want to see just how bad the sun can be to paint, get ye to Barstow and take a look at the ATSF Superfleet painted FP45 on display at the Depot/Harvey House. The north facing side of that engine looks near pristine. As if she left the paint shop a mere few months ago, not 32+ years ago....but the south facing side. Oy. Not pretty.
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Posted by Leo_Ames on Monday, February 8, 2021 6:00 PM

Do you by chance mean Imron?

That's a product I've heard mentioned many times in the railfan press, but I've never heard of Emron.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Tuesday, February 9, 2021 1:12 AM
yes, Imron. It is the brand for their "automotive finishes" product. And I guess it's now a spun off company?

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