Long live the orange and green!

capecodThe Great Northern's Omaha orange and Pullman green paint scheme first appeared in May, 1941 on GN FT's 5700 and 5701 (later 250 and 251). This color combination was truly a classic, and it has inspired many non-GN railroads and individuals to borrow the look for their own equipment.

Below are examples of the GN colors living on — years after th GN last applied its classic colors to its own equipment.

The selection criteria here is basically any application of GN's orange and green applied after the GN stopped using this scheme in 1967. This includes restoration of ex-GN equipment, non-GN railroads copying the GN's "look and feel", and individuals inspired to use orange and green on all manner of equipment.



This category consists of railroads other than the GN that have adopted the GN livery as their own.



Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad is by far the largest and most noticeble application of GN orange and green. The GN is, of course, a predecessor of BNSF, so it's not too surprising they chose the GN colors. However, it took several years after the BNSF merger to settle on GN's look for its corporate identity after trying out several "looks". BNSF has experimented with several iterations of orange and green (and black)with gold stiping, and undoubtedly it will continue to evolve as corporate tastes and economics change.


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Wisconsin Great Northern

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This former Chicago & Northwestern F7A calls Spooner, Wisconsin home on the Wisconsin Great Northern tourist line. This unit was rebuilt and painted in GN colors in 2001. They also stable an ex-Milwaukee Road SW1 in GN colors.


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Lake Superior Terminal and Transfer was a GN-held subsidiary based in Superior, Wisconsin, and its engines were painted identically to GN's, but with their own lettering.



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US Borax

Way out in the lonely expanses of the Mojave desert in Boron, California lives this little SW1 painted in GN livery. This unit was, in fact, originally GN 5103, later #77, built in 1941, and made it to the BN merger, and went through at least 2 other owners before purchased by U.S. Borax around the time of the BNSF merger.


Cape Cod RR

The Cape Cod RR, a tourist line on Cape cod, Massachusetts, operated from 1989-1997 and painted its leased ex-MBTA FP10's in GN colors.

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Escanaba and Lake Superior

The E&LS has chosen orange and green as their colors and applied it to one of their GP-38's, a Baldwin RS-12, and most interestingly, to their Western Star tractor-trailer.


These are examples of former GN equipment that have been restored to their GN colors. For a description of the trials and tribulations of matching the GN colors, visit erixrailcar.net»


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Doyle McCormack's F7

Mr. McCormack may be better known for his Daylight SP 4-8-4 #4449, but he seems to have an appreciation for Rocky's classic colors. The 274 was built in October 1950 as GN #274B, and made it to The BN merger as #610. Later, it became Seattle & North Coast #101 in 1980, then sold to a private party and stored at the Mt. Ranier Scenic RR until Doyle McCormack purchased it in 1997.

hustle muscle


Hustle Muscle

GN 400 was the first production SD-45 produced by EMD and was given the name "Hustle Muscle" and painted in the simplified orange and green scheme. The unit was donated to the GN Railway Historical Society by BN and restored and repainted in 2007. It resides at the Minnesota Transportation Museum in St. Paul and regularly is used in excursion train service. The only unit (I'm aware of) repainted into the simplified orange and green, which was its original livery.

Going -to -the-Sun-Mountain

Pasenger cars

Several passenger cars have been restored and painted in the orange and green "Empire Builder" colors with varying degreees of accuracy.
Many of these cars are pictured on the gngoat.org web site»

SP&S 600, P-S 1950, 6-3 sleeper/buffet, Pacific Northwest Chapter, NRHS

SP&S 601, P-S 1950, 6-3 sleeper/buffet, private owner

GN 1292 - Going-to-the-Sun Mountain, at the Kansas City Union Station complex

GN 42 - RPO Mail/Baggage, ACF 1950, California State RR Museum, Sacramento

GN 265 - Baggage, Barney & Smith 1929, Minnesota Transportation Museum

GN 1084 - "Twin Ports", Minnesota Transportation Museum

GN 1096 - Coach, Minnesota Transportation Museum

GN 1097 - Coach, Minnesota Transportation Museum

GN 1213 - Coach, Minnesota Transportation Museum

GN 1097 - Coach, Minnesota Transportation Museum

GN A11 - Business car - Minnesota Transportation Museum

GN 1146 - Coach-Diner, Eric Hopp

GN 2649 - Express box car, Pueblo RR Museum

GN 1124 - P-S Coach, 1946, Pacific Railway Preservation Association, Portland OR.

GN 1130 - P-S Coach, 1946, Pacific Railway Preservation Association, Portland OR.

GN 1127 - P-S Coach, 1946, Chico Arts Center, Chico, CA (Not sure if it is original paint job)

GN 1210 - ACF, 1951, Private owner

GN 1243 - ACF, 1951, Diner, private owner

GN 1244 "White Pines Lake", ACF, 1950, Depot Conference Ctr., Columbus, OH

GN 1250 "Lake of the Isles", ACF 1951, Lake Superior Transportation Museum

GN 1251 "Lake Wenatchee ", ACF 1951, Lake Shore Rwy. Historical Society, North East , PA

GN 1115 - ACF, 1950, Lake Superior Museum of Transportation

GN 1116 - ACF, 1950, Lake Superior Museum of Transportation

GN 1196 "Port of Vancouver" ("City of Spokane"), ACF 1950, private owner, Spokane, WA


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The "Bruck"

This bus/truck, or "Bruck", served GN passengers travelling between Kalispell, MT and Whitefish, MT from 1951 until 1972, averaging six trips per day.
Rescued from a salvage yard in 1999, she was restored for static display at Whitefish, Montana by the Stumptown Historical Society with help from the GNRHS.
More information on the Great Northern Empire web site»



NW5 182

This 1946 EMD model was delivered as a passenger unit with steam boiler for train heat. Acquired by the Lake Superior RR Museum in 1997 and is in operation in excursion service on the North Shore Scenic RR in Duluth, MN.



NW3 181

NW3 181 has been cosmetically restored for display at the Whitefish, MT depot.




RS3 229

GN 229 was traded in to GE in 1968 on the U33C order. It spent the remainder of its working days in Vermont on the St. John & Lamoille Valley and Montpelier and Barre before becoming a static display at the Alco Schenectady, NY works.


These defy description......



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"Dancer in the Dark"

posterSwedish film director Lars von Trier filmed the movie "Dancer in the Dark" in 1999 in Sweden, starring Björk and Catherine Deneuve. The film was set in the U.S. Pacific Northwest in the 1950's, but Von Trier refuses to fly, so arrangements were made to approximate the GN in Sweden. One scene featured an elaborate musical dance number with loggers dancing on flatcars of a moving train. (For movie details, see the IMDB database»)

The Swedish shortline TÅGAB, headquarterd in Krisenham, repainted an F-unit - looking TMY model, and a T43 switcher so they could pass for GN locomotives for the filming. As of 12/2008, both are still in their GN colors. (Thanks to Matti Virtanen for the info)



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The "Critter"

This curiousity is a Davenport GM5T "Critter" on display at Hillyard in Spokane, WA. Unknown origin.


Woodland Park Zoo train

A miniature train at the zoo in Seattle. Not in existence presently.



Biddeford Station

Narrow gauge Brookville diesel locomotive operated at Biddeford Station complex in Biddeford, Maine.


Lake Superior Museum of Transportation No. 1000

Former Canadian National Baggage Car painted Lake Superior Museum of Transportation No. 1000, used as a power car on the North Shore Scenic Railroad.