BR Brake Van B954990
This Nuclear Industry Brake Van is owned by the VoBR. It is approaching the end of a full restoration by our volunteers.
Our nuclear industry BR Brake Van, B954990, was built in 1959, to diagram 1/507. This was the last of eight designs of the 20 ton brake van, with the first design being built in 1929. BR adopted this style of brake van as it’s standard design after nationalisation in 1948.
The original builders plate has been removed at some point and a replacement welded up. Even though it’s a 20 ton brake van for some reason it’s recorded here as 21 tons.
We understand the brake van worked for a while at Sellafield and would have been used on nuclear flask trains. The fox symbol above, found on the sole bar, indicates the brake van was later based at Currock Tractive Maintenance Depot (TMD), Carlisle.
Restoration by our volunteers started in 2017. To the casual observer the brake van didn’t look too bad, just needing a coat of paint, however after a closer inspection a lot of the wood, especially the structure was rotten. Work started stripping back the brake van, starting with the interior. The superstructure was refurbished with the rotten bits cut out and new pieces spliced back into place, to keep as much of the original wood as possible. The rotten wooden roof timbers were replaced and a resin coated canvas cover added to make it watertight. One of the big jobs involved adding a vacuum brake cylinder to the underneath. Despite it never having an automatic brake it had a few of the necessary fittings. The braking system was refurbished and we manufactured the additional parts needed.