When delivered, vehicles carried the BR multiple unit green with cream lining (3/8 inch black edging to lower lining). Whiskers were not being carried when delivered on the first vehicles but later added. Power cars carried the standard BR coach roundel, however the power cars in the first batch of sets delivered carried the BR steam loco crest (lion over the wheel). The coach roundel crest always had the lion facing the cab end of the vehicle. To achieve this required the use of two crests, one with the lion facing the right, the other left. The right facing ones were done away with around 1960 so all subsequent ones faced left, no matter which side of a they were fixed.
In spring 1958 the sets stationed at Stoke-on-Trent were appearing with the shed code 5D on the front & rear buffer beams.
Around two-three years after delivery, vehicles were allocated their first works overhaul receiving the darker BR loco green livery with cream lining and later half yellow warning panels replaced the whiskers
Blue made its appearance in the late 1960s, first applied by an airless spray, which gave it an egg shell type finish, with umber brown underframe and bogies and half yellow panels. This was quite a rare livery for this class, applied to very few vehicles before the standard blue gloss blue was adopted with black underframe and bogies and full yellow ends.
The first images demonstrates standard blue livery applied to a set at Duffield on the 16th February 1980. Graham Turner - www.railblue.com.
Most vehicles remained in this rail blue livery until withdrawal, with blue / grey only applied to sets that worked on the Scottish Region and set EXP DM352. This is shown in the second image of 104 367 at Glasgow Queen Street on 30/4/85. John Horne.
White cab roofs were painted onto Buxton allocated vehicles (the odd non-Buxton vehicles were also treated). It has been quoted that this was an attempt to keep the cab interiors cool during the summer - the white paint reflecting the heat - although there's no evidence to support this.
The white roofs appeared throughout the green livery period and during the mid 1970s. They again made an appearance during the early '80s with some vehicles also gaining black windscreen surrounds. The next image shows a set at Buxton demonstrating the latter. Peter, Lincolnshire & East Yorkshire Transport Review.
The thirteen Newton Heath 3-car sets dedicated to Manchester to Blackpool services had suspension modifications during the late '70s to improve their ride qualities. Upon modification vehicles had a white stripe added just below the windows running the full length of the vehicle side but not "wrapping round" to the vehicle ends. M53524 was the last of the class to carry this stripe, which it still had in February 1985.
This image shows 50476, 59184 and 50528 at Preston on 25/1/80, the set carrying the white stripe. Jerry Glover.
A 'one-off' livery was applied to M53424 + M53434 after its transfer from Buxton to Eastfield. Both vehicles were painted from blue & grey into a white and crimson livery (being dubbed the Mexican Bean!). It was also emblazened with tourist board markings and an extra large Scotty Dog (the Eastfield depot logo), black window surrounds and whiskers.
The image shows Mexican Bean set 104 325 seen in Eastfield depot, 30th April 1986. Neil Cannon.
Network South East livery was applied to ten vehicles during late '88/early '89, these being 53429/437/455/470/477/479/539/540 and 59163/206.
The conversion of 50446/50521 to 78601/78851 saw it carry blue and grey livery, with a thick black stripe painted below the windscreens of each driving cab and EXP DM 352 (in black) applied below each driver's windscreen, under the black stripe.
The final image was taken at Bridlington in summer 1970. The vehicle on the right is part of three-car Class 104 and was decorated along with a two-car Cravens set to publicise the Scarborough branch. In a day in June 1970 they operated two "Classroom Specials" carrying 300 children, one from Hull and one from Scarborough, running via Bridlington and passing at Driffield. Steve Davies / John Vaughan Collection.
Simon Lee adds "BR they invited schools along the line from Scarborough to Hull to nominate 2 pupils for 2 special trains. I was picked from my school, and went from Hull to Scarborough and back on the 2 car Cravens both this set and the 104 were decorated with stickers with flower comic symbols etc, the theme coming from the Ken Dodd show which was on at Scarborough for the season. Ken Dodd joined both trains swopping over at Driffield. Both units ran with the stickers on for a few weeks after the event. As an aside, there was a story/art competition for the kids who went on the trips, I was one of 5 boys who won the story prize, which was a Triang DMU (Blue Met Cam) presented by Ken Dodd at the Futurist Theater Scarborough later in 1970."
On the day of the school run Driffield was renamed 'Diddy Town' and Ken Dodd was wearing a guard's uniform. An image of part of the train appeared in the December 1970 Railway Magazine.
Single Engine Conversion
3-car diagrams & Works Pics
2-car diagrams & Drivers Instructions
4-car diagrams & Works Pics
Details about preserved Class 104s can be found here.
Many thanks to Kevin Dowd for his assistance in the preparation of these pages.