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Northamptonshire Ironstone Railway Trust

Hunsbury Hill Road, Camp Hill, Northampton NN4 9UW. Tel: 01604 702 031

15 Oct 2017
Submitted by Carl Hinton

The most common brake van on the LMS was the 20 ton, 2-axle vehicle consisting of a wooden plank body on a steel underframe. Our 950061 is one such vehicle. The LMS had a large fleet comprising those absorbed from the pre-1923 companies and others built during the LMS’s own tenure.

The brake van design was developed by the LMS to meet operational needs in three areas.

1) Length:

The original vehicles were 20’-0” long over headstocks with a wheel base of 12’-0”.


As freight train speeds increased the brake van wheelbase was lengthened to improve riding stability. The first stage was an increase to a 14’-0” wheelbase with the same length over headstocks and the second stage was an increase to a 16’-0” wheelbase with a body extended to 24’-0”. The body length was achieved by extending the verandas which resulted in a window opening either between the doorway and the cabin or outboard of the doorway.

2) Bodyside windows / duckets:

Duckets were provided on the bodysides on all vehicles built after 1923 to give the guard an improved look-out along the train. Some of the pre-1923 vehicles were already fitted with duckets, with the significant exception of those originating from the Midland Railway, which did not adopt this practice.

3) Brakes

All brake vans were built with handbrakes. Later vans were built with through vacuum pipes, and some earlier vans had them fitted retrospectively. Later vans were fully fitted with vacuum brakes.


The image above shows the SLR’s van based on the LMS 24’-0” version, number 730026 in bauxite livery. The original was built in Derby works in 1935 and was fitted with a vacuum brake through pipe.

A full size version, number 730866, built to a similar lot at Derby Works in 1940, is preserved at the Severn Valley Railway.
The SLR van received a major overhaul to the running gear, underframe repaint and minor body repairs and paintwork touch up in January 2004.

The SLR also has a van in LMS freight grey livery. The wheelbase of this van is 14’-0” but the length over headstocks is equivalent to 22’-0” which is not a prototype length and so it is assumed it should be based on the 20’-0” prototype. At a refurbish over winter 2008/9 the wooden buffer beams and roof and the aluminium running boards were all replaced with steel; the van now carries number 295516 from the lot of 100 built at Derby Works in 1933.

Our BR goods brakevan 950061 was completed 29th October 1952 in the Derby works to D2068 revised to diagram 505  20 ton AVP & guage - BR lot 2025 (62 of 125) and would have been painted bauxite.


The LMS Wagon : R J Essery & K R Morgan : David & Charles. Spinney light railway: Robin Smith.

An Illustrated History of LMS Wagons, Volume 1 : R J Essery : Oxford Publishing Co.