Union Pacific Diesel Locomotive Painting, Lettering & Numbering

Index For This Page

This page was last updated on August 9, 2023.

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Union Pacific Diesel Paint Schemes

A narrative history of the paint schemes used on UP's diesel locomotives, with some reference to steam locomotives, freight cars and cabooses.

Classic Era

Classic Era, 1934 to 1982 -- Information about the painting, lettering and numbering used by Union Pacific between 1934 and 1982.

Gothic Lettering -- A summary of UP's use of Gothic lettering, first used on steam locomotives in 1937, and on Streamliners and freight cars in 1939.

Armour Yellow -- Information about the history of Union Pacific's signature color.

DDA40X Centennial, 'Railroad' on Medallion -- A listing of UP's 6900-class locomotives, showing which units had the word 'Railroad' on their medallion.

Shield or Medallion? -- Information about what to call the Union Pacific logo.

Merger Era

Merger Era, 1983 to 2000 -- Information about the painting, lettering and numbering used by Union Pacific between 1983 and 2000, including brief summaries of changes to former WP, MKT, and C&NW locomotives.

"We Will Deliver" -- A list of UP locomotives that were lettered with the "We Will Deliver" slogan between April and December 1996.

Modern Era

Modern Era, 2000 to 2009 -- Information about the painting, lettering and numbering used by Union Pacific on new and repainted units after 2000, including lightning stripes, wings, flags, white roofs, and yellow frame stripes. (Will not be updated with changes after 2009.)

Union Pacific and Scotchlite -- Information about Union Pacific's use of Scotchlite reflective tape.

Union Pacific's Yellow Stripe -- Information about Union Pacific's use of a yellow frame stripe, starting in 2005.

SD70ACe Units, Red Stripe, Yellow Stripe -- A listing of new SD70ACE units delivered in 2005, some with red frame stripe, and some with yellow frame stripe.

UP Special Paint Schemes -- Information about the Union Pacific diesel locomotives that have received special or commemorative paint schemes.

Shield or Medallion?

The word shield is used as the term for something that protects something else. For UP-related stuff, the word is used to describe the company's logo, likely because it looks like a medieval shield used for heraldry.

A medallion is anything like an oval or circular painting, panel, or design used to decorate a building or an object.

It's confusing. UP itself was confused when they made the drawing for the six-axle road units. One part of the Painting, Lettering and Numbering drawing, or PL&N, refers to the medallion on the cab side as a shield, but the drawing list shows it as a medallion.

On PL&N drawings for Turbine locomotives, UP used "Medallion" and "Wing Medallion," or "Nose Medallion."

In an index of over 28,000 drawings, UP does not use the word "Shield" in the drawing title for anything related to painting, lettering or numbering.

Here on UtahRails, the terms are used interchangeably, since most people use the word "shield," while UP's drawings generally use the word "medallion."

Other Information

UP Diesel Locomotive PL&N Drawings -- A listing of the Painting Lettering & Numbering drawings for many of UP's diesel locomotives.

DuPont Paints -- A narrative history of the paints made by Du Pont, which have been used by America's railroads.

HTML Colors -- A page with information about simulating UP colors using HTML coding.

History of the Union Pacific Logo -- A history of the logos used by Union Pacific, at UP's own web site.