BR Standard Brake Van

Number Built

Over 5000



Production end




The BR Standard Brake Van was built by British Railways for use on there goods trains.


BR inherited a large number of brake vans from its precursor companies, and soon embarked on a building programme, initially divided between the existing LNER, LMS and GWR designs. The LNER type was evidently the most successful, as this was selected (with minor modfications) for all batches built from 1950. Out of a total of 5248 built by BR, 4922 were to the ex-LNER or BR diagrams.

The LNER and BR designs featured a 16ft long body, with short verandahs at each end, mounted on a 16ft wheelbase (24ft over headstocks) chassis. Two stepboards were fitted to each side (full length on the BR variant) while concrete or scrap metal weights were built into the chassis and ends to provide additional braking effort. Unfitted, vacuum-piped and vacuum-fitted examples were built.

The last BR standard brake vans were built in November 1962. However, London Transport ordered a batch of 6 in 1961 and these were constructed at Ashford. Sources differ as to whether these were completed in 1962 or 1965. These were to the final BR design (with roller bearings) and were given LT internal numbers of B580 to B585, being used on engineering trains on the sub-surface network. In 1980, B583 and B584 were modified to act as coupling adaptor wagons to allow the movement of London Underground stock on BR tracks. They were repainted grey, registered as private owner wagons LT95800 and LT95801 respectively and assigned TOPS code PXQ (KMQ from 1990). Although deregistered by 1999, and ommitted from recent stock listing books, the pair are still extant and can be seen from trains passing the depot at Ruislip, together with the other survivors; yellow-painted B580 and B585. Two former BR wagons from the final design were acquired by LT in the early 1990s (thought to be in connection with the use of preserved ex-BR locos and stock for special excursions on the Metropolitan line) and repainted red. These were also network-registered as private owner wagons, becoming LT95802 (ex B955112) and LT95803 (B955096). The fate of these wagons is not known. Finally, mention should be made that 13 BR brake vans were repainted in London Underground related liveries in 1990/1991, and used with similarly painted adaptor wagons converted from air-braked vans