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BR Standard 20 Ton


NER 20 Ton Brake Vans


SR 25 Ton "Pillbox"


LMS 20 Ton Brake Vans


GWR "Toads"

The brake van, also known as the guard's van, guard's car or the caboose (in American narrations), is an important part of every goods train.


A brake van is added to the back of a goods train and a guard rides in it. Each brake van is equipped with a strong brake to assist with slowing and stopping the train. From here, the guard can keep an eye on the train in case of problems, such as hot axle boxes, or trucks becoming uncoupled while running.

Technical Details


Several different types of standard gauge brake vans have been seen on the North Western Railway: BR Standard 20 Ton vans, NER 20 Ton vans, Southern Railway 25 Ton "Pillbox" vans, LMS 20 Ton vans, GWR "Toads" and narrow gauge Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway vans scaled up to standard gauge (albeit still carrying narrow gauge "chopper"-type couplings and lacking buffers).


Each brake van has a specific livery:

  • The BR brake vans are painted grey, brown, blue and orange.
  • The NE brake vans are painted grey.
  • The SR brake vans are painted grey, cream and dark green.
  • The LMS brake vans are painted dull orange.
  • The W&LL brake vans are painted grey.


  • A few brake vans are on display; one at Drayton Manor along with a model of Toad, one at the British Museum, and a few at the Hara Model Railway Museum.
  • To date, only four brake vans have been named: Beatrice, Cora, Toad and Bradford. They, along with The Spiteful Brake Van, The Elderly Brake Van and The Old Guard's Van are so far the only known brake vans to have faces. A brake van was briefly seen with a face in the second season episode, A Close Shave. Another brake van with a face appeared in the Railway Series pop-up book, James the Red Engine and the Troublesome Trucks.
  • The brake vans seen from the first to the fifth season were made out of modified Tenmille gauge one kits. These kits are still distributed by Tenmille today.
  • In most of the merchandise ranges, the brake vans are portrayed as American cabooses.


North Western Railway rolling stock
Annie and ClarabelHenriettaElsieToadIsabel and DulcieAlice and MirabelS.C. RuffeyFred PelhayRicketyU.L.P.N.C.B.VictoriaThomas' Other CoachesTroublesome TrucksThe Flying KipperThe Spiteful Brake VanThe Ballast SpreaderThe Circus TrainAnimal WagonsQuarry TrucksFlatbeds, Conflats and Well WagonsMail CoachesUtility VansUtility TrucksThe Breakdown TrainBrake VansVansOld TendersPlank TrucksBranch Line CoachesTankers
The Chinese DragonMail CoachesOld Slow CoachGordon's Snow MachineThe Jet EngineThe Rock CrusherSpecial CoachesExpress CoachesThe Royal TrainOld CoachesOrange CoachesRed CoachesThe Pump TrolleyMilk WagonsTar WagonsFuel TankersOil Tankers
The Elderly Brake Van • Bennett and Co. • The New Coach • The Special Stationmaster's Home • The Carriage Café • The Animal Sanctuary Coach • The Naughty Pink Truck • The Posh Coaches • Annie and Clarabel's Old Friend • Carols on Wheels • The Old Guard's Van • The Play Coach • Circus Coaches • The Station Coach • The Grabber Truck • quarium Tank Wagons