It is believed that the original colour for TH&B vans was green. At some point, this changed TH&B Vans were painted in the Red - Brown scheme, until 1953. There were actually two variants of this scheme one without the bowtie herald and one with the bowtie herald. The spelled out Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo was painted in a centre justified manner and centred under the cupola. Beneath the road name was the van number. Vans assigned to dedicated MOW service had a small capital letter X centred under the van number. Wooden framed vans could carry the warning placard "NOT TO BE USED FOR PUSHER SERVICE", as the stress of being between the rock of a pusher locomotive and the hard place of a fully loaded uphill freight could cause the caboose frame to buckle and crush the van.
Sometime between 1947 and 1949 the scheme was modified by adding a 28 inch long white bowtie herald centred on the side below the windows. However photos of 59 and 70 show that they were lettered with a larger 32 inch long herald centred below the first and second windows. Van 65 carried the 48 inch long herald used on the 1949 Tuscan boxcars which was centred on the lower sills of the second and third windows. Finally there is a photo of 68 at Kinnear west, lead power 2 GP-7, new GE being delivered to QS&L with the herald in line with the top of the windows.
Also sometime between 1947 and 1949 the TH&B embarked on a van upgrade program by sheathing over the sides of the wood sides with steel, during this period the cupolas were steel sheathed with some cupolas being rebuilt with only one window per side in the CPR style.
In an attempt to standardize the appearance of vans the TH&B started to repaint vans 61 to 72 into the second red scheme starting sometime after November 1953. The vans had a white on black bowtie herald centred on each side place half way below the windows and floor of the van. In line with the herald placed under the rear cupola window and the first side window where the van numbers above the side windows running from above the forward edge of the first window to the leading edge of the cupola was the spelled out "TORONTO HAMILTON & BUFFALO" painted on a bright caboose red van. There are no photographs of 58, 59 (59 was sold to Art Lomax in 1955), or 60 making it into this scheme, in fact #60 disappears of TH&B rosters in the 1920s. Van #64, and #66 still in wood sheathing would also be painted into the new red scheme. In November of 1956 Van #69 made its appearance as the first van to be repainted into the well-known Yellow and Black Ti-Cat scheme, thus ending the reign of Red Vans on the TH&B.
The Ti-Cat scheme first made its appearance in 1956 on #69 however a photo of 69 clearly suggests that there was an earlier version of the scheme that was a yellow and black version of the second red and white scheme shown in the diagram of 69 at right. It is unknown if this scheme was ever in active service anyone with photos of this scheme is asked to contact the Society.
The table following shows the available information on the TH&B's van (caboose) roster. Several of these cars have gone on to Port Stanley Terminal Rail Inc., which uses them as enclosed coaches for excursion trips.
First Red Scheme
First Red Scheme Bow-Tie Variation
Second Red Scheme 1953-1956
"First" Ti-Cat Scheme may never have been in service
Ti-Cat Scheme (green leaf added 1966 - 1967)
Special thanks to Bruce Chapman and John Spring for providing additional information.