Union Pacific Colors on the Web

This page was last updated on January 7, 2015.

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Back in August 2000 I sent an email to UP's webmaster asking them how they simulated UP's unique Armour Yellow color for their web pages. Here is their response:

The RGB value (0-255 scale) we use is:

R:255 G: 204 B: 0

or a hexidecimal number of FFCC00.

The colors on locomotives are Armour Yellow and Harbormist Gray.

If you were to take the actual paint sample and did a color spectrograph of the paint to exactly match RGB or ink color you would be disappointed. The "real" Armour Yellow is actually a mustardy-chartreuse color that would look sickly on the calender photos or on a Web site. When locomotives are in the sunlight on the tracks, our eyes "correct" the yellow and they appear more how we visualize them in photographs.

The RGB color we specify is actually the closest pleasing color that is among the 216 Web-safe colors that all browsers will display without dithering (adding red speckles).

As a point of trivia, our first homepage design as it was intended to appear in December 1995 was going to have this yellow background. This page design was so powerfully oppressive due to the overwhelming yellow that the color was dropped before it site was released. We use it on our site today in small doses against the "Diesel Gray" and "Harbormist" colors.

Just a thought as you develop your pages.

UP recommended colors:

255-204-0, FFCC00 102-102-102, 666666 209-0-0, D10000

Using the free OpenRGB calculator, and depending on your monitor, the colors may vary slightly from those used by UP eight years ago.

Changing the R value to anything less than 255 really changes the look immediately.

Changing the G value seems to have the most effect.

Changing the B value to anything between 0 and 100 does not seem to change the overall color.

Here are some samples of "Armour Yellow":

255-204-0, FFCC00 255-212-0, FFD400 255-224-0, FFDE00

For "Harbormist Gray", try these, keeping in mind that perfect grays are always equal in their RGB values:

91-91-91, 5B5B5B 95-95-95, 5F5F5F 97-97-97, 616161

Holding a Union Pacific Color Control Standard (1979) up to the computer screen, and adjusting the colors as closely as possible (in single digits in OpenRGB), the resulting (imperfect) colors are also noted.

Note: Comparing a color sample to a computer screen is not a very accurate way to match colors, i.e. frontlit sample vs. backlit computer screen.

UP color card
224-168-0, E08A00
UP color card
99-95-86, 635F56
UP color card
191-16-20, BF1015

Dick Harley picked the following colors from a color wheel:

254-189-0, FEBD00 134-134-134, 868686 254-0-0, FE0000

Many observers have noted that UP's colors changed with the adoption of EPA-friendly paints in the 1990s. For the most recent colors, take a look at this recent photo by James Belmont, of freshly delivered UP 7911 at Provo on July 30, 2008. Using an average of values calculated by Photoshop, we get the following:

232-155-35, E89B23 112-112-112, 707070 200-30-35, C81E23

UP 7911 in fresh paint

Obviously there are some differences, but my own choices for UP colors of the 1950s and 1960s would be these, but they will look different on different computers:

254-189-0, FEBD00 99-95-86, 635F56 209-0-0, D10000

...properly stacked, they look like this:

99-95-86, 635F56
209-0-0, D10000
254-189-0, FEBD00
209-0-0, D10000
99-95-86, 635F56

Fiddle with the colors; tweak the numbers; find the one you like best. OpenRGB makes this really easy.