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B&O - C&O - WM - Chessie - Seaboard - CSX Liveries

Several formerly-independent eastern US railroads began during the 1960s to combine into what would later become CSX Transportation (CSXT). As the companies joined forces, their equipment liveries evolved to match. So much rolling stock was retitled that not all of it could be repainted at once. Instead, the old schemes were updated over time, leading to a colorful mix of old and new that rode the rails through the 1990s.

One of the earliest, large amalgamations was called Chessie System. Chessie was only a handy moniker, not an actual operating railroad, consequently a corporate ownership name such as Baltimore & Ohio (B&O), Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O), and others was added as sublettering on rolling stock. Such sublettering typically appeared at the operator's cab of locomotives. For a brief period around 1987, this sublettering even continued on units that had been repainted for CSX.

The gradual equipment repainting process reached its zenith during the 1980s as revealed by countless combinations of mixed-livery consists. Furthermore, it was inevitable such a transition would yield a few unusual, hastily-repainted, and partially-updated units. Examples can be seen at the links below.

BO 1442 Nov 1968


Prior to the 1963 to 1973 affiliation of C&O and B&O, the liveries of both were dominated by the color blue. C&O often painted a yellow nose on its locomotives, perhaps the inspiration for similar on CSX equipment decades later.

C&O independent
1962, 1963, 1968, museum, restoration

B&O independent
1952 timetable, 1964, 1974, museum, museum, museum, museum, restored


CO 4071 Sep 1979


During the decade of C&O / B&O affiliation, the companies employed similar yellow-on-blue paint schemes. Each applied unique touches on the nose. There exist many photos of C&O and B&O units in the same consist, such as that at left. When viewed from the side, there was little to distinguish the units other than the letter C or B before the ampersand. Many kept this paint well into the Chessie System era that came next. The affiliation inspired the board game C&O / B&O published by Avalon Hill in 1969.

C&O affiliated
older + newer, older + newer, 1965, 1974, 1982

B&O affiliated
1964, B&OCTRR, 1975, 1980, museum, museum, w/Chessie

C&O / B&O
1967 timetable, 1974, 1979, 1987

WM 195


Prior to joining Chessie System, Western Maryland (WM) employed light letters, white or yellow, on dark backgrounds, black or blue. A later scheme used white and red.

WM independent
1970s, 1976, 1978 snow, 1983, 1986, museum museum

Chessie System
BO 3510 Apr 1985 Art Campbell
1973 to 1987


When Chessie System gathered the roads under one umbrella, surprisingly it did not pick up C&O/B&O blue in its paint. Instead, employee Franklyn J. Carr designed a yellow, red, and black scheme and the Chessie cat logo. When equipment was repainted for Chessie, sublettering of B&O, C&O, and WM was concurrently applied to show which company was the owner.

Chessie B&O
b&w, color, mixed, slug, ~1980, 1986, switcher, cat pack, 1993, museum

Chessie C&O
1976, C&O and Chessie, 1982 fresh paint, 1986, 1980s, caboose

Chessie WM
~1980, ~1980, 1981, 1983, 1987

Chessie incognito
no sublettering

To the South
Mar 1990


While Chessie System was forming, Seaboard System was doing similar to its south. Seaboard Coast Line (SCL) was born of Seaboard Air Line and Atlantic Coast Line. Teaming with a few other roads such as Clinchfield and Georgia led to Family Lines. Family merged with Louisville & Nashville (L&N) to create Seaboard System (SBD). By the way, you can merge railroads yourself in the game Rail Baron®.

SCL sublettered SBD
~1980, 1986, 1987

L&N sublettered SBD

Family Lines sublettered L&N

Family Lines sublettered SBD
~1980, 1986, 1987

Clinchfield sublettered SBD

SCL sublettered GA. Georgia renumbered, Chessia GA SW, GA unlabeled

BO 6188 May 1987 HHH col


Seaboard System was renamed CSX Transportation (CSXT) during 1986, which initiated equipment patching and repainting with the new name. The merging of Chessie System lines such as B&O into CSXT did not happen until 1987, leaving a roughly one-year period during which CSX-painted equipment included sublettering for B&O and others.

CSX sublettered B&O
1980s, 1986, 1987, 1987, yellow nose

CSX sublettered C&O
1987, 1980s

CSX sublettered SBD
1986, 1986, 1986

CSX sublettered CSX

CSX sublettered CSXT (CSX-b and CSX-g paint)
1980s, 1980s, 1988, 1996, overpainted

Chessie 2007


Some equipment that was not immediately fully painted for CSX instead received CSXT sublettering, including units that had never been repainted for Chessie or Seaboard Systems. A few hastily-patched ones received only CSX sublettering, as noted below, with T added later. CSX did not make for a good reporting mark because X as last letter indicates ownership by a non-railroad. Sightings of these transitional units peaked during the late 1980s.

2112, 4131, 6526

4372, 4617, 6526, 6556, overpainted

Chessie System
1986, 1989, 1990, combo, caboose, B&O and CSXT

Seaboard Coast Line
CSX, CSX, ~1990, 1993

Seaboard System
CSX, 1988, 1980s, 1989, 1991, T added

Family Lines
CSX, 1987, 1989, 1980s, ~1990, ~1990

Others sublettered
Amtrak, Clinchfield, D&H, D&H, Electromotive. L&N CSX, RF&P, Susquehanna

BO 4006 Jul 1982
1980s mostly


While Chessie and Seaboard Systems were being absorbed into CSX during the 1980s, engines of the various component railroads would be teamed together as was convenient. With enough searching, one can find a photo for just about every possible combination of companies and liveries. The tiny sampling below also includes the later-Chessie period.

Chessie C&O B&O mixed
1979, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1986, 1987, museum

Chessie B&O CSX mixed

WM and B&O
1983, 1983, 1986, green caboose

Assorted B&O C&O Chessie CSXT Family SBD combos
1980s, 1987, 1987, 1988, ~1990, 1991, 1992

Fan job


Central planners cannot control everything in large-scale transitions of the type US railroads experienced during the latter 20th century. Some tasks are inevitably done differently at different locations, tests are performed, and details simply "fall through the cracks." Such a process can yield interesting, atypical examples like those below.

CSX 2017 (formerly B&O 4807) skipped Chessie paint and jumped right to CSX
1996, 1997, with Seaboard's yellow nose, CSXT on side (not 1982)

Yellow CSX nose added
C&O, Conrail, missing CSX, D&H, Family, Family, Family, L&N, SBD, SCL

CSX sublettered B&O and CSXT

CSX sublettered C&O and CSXT

Other colors
GM50 gold, redblock, factory paint, Chessie B&O green

Fan creations
lettered on other side only, CSX with Chessie nose

CSX + B&O, CCSX, CSXX, Family L&N , Family rusting, CSX arrow



Though by the 1980s CSXT reflected the combination of over a dozen formerly-separate railroads, the company was not finished. It puchased 42% of Conrail (CR) during 1998, itself a consolidation of New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroads.

When CSX received Conrail's assets, it added CSXT sublettering to most/all locomotives, including number 8646 at left. CSX also patched Conrail's white or blue engine numbers with digits of yellow. Most, if not all, operational ex-CR units were given full CSX paint by 2012.

0804, 811, 2800, 5959, 8722, 8830

bc2 CSX 5005 Mar 2017


CSX has itself employed several liveries. The silver/gray paint that dominated the earlier schemes has over time given way to blue. During the 2000s, CSX painted a few locomotives in hertiage schemes that recall constituent former railroads.

Other railroads have picked up sublettering. For example, former B&O 3763 became part of GATX Rail Locomotive Group sublettered GMTX.

The CSX Photos site has organized locomotives by paint scheme: CSX Photos site.

Also, see the list of paint changes over time at Bull Sheet's livery history.

y CSX 8414 Oct 2003   bc CSX 100 Aug 2019   yn3b CSX 3415 Aug 2020

B&O 1442, C&O 4071, CSX 8259, and B&O 4006 photos courtesy B&O History Collection,
B&O 3510 credit Art Campbell,
B&O 902946 and CSXT 227924 courtesy Dave Hiteshew,
B&O 6188 courtesy HH Harwood collection.
Per convention, credit for linked content may be found at the site hosting that content.

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