BR Standard 20 ton Brake Van
This brake van, No.B954757, is typical of many thousands which were once commonplace on Britain’s railway. Nowadays they are only to be found on heritage railways as the national network has not required brake vans on freight trains for many years.
It was built at Darlington in 1959 and, although a standard BR design, it closely follows the former LNER pattern. It was one of a later version that had Timken roller bearings. It would have led a mundane existence until it was withdrawn from service at Ashford in 1983. It was then acquired by the Brighton Railway Museum and stored at their Preston Park premises and whilst there it was repainted in LNER grey.
In 1995 the vehicle was purchased from Brighton together with the PMV. Both vehicles arrived at Bideford by lowloader on 20th November 1995.
Over the ensuing years it was repainted in a more appropriate bauxite livery and was the subject of an extensive restoration programme before becoming the railway’s passenger carrying vehicle when train services started running on 15th August 2004.
Towards the end of 2019 we received a grant from the Bideford Bridge Trust to rebuild the woodwork on the vehicle as necessary. Unfortunately Covid prevented the start of the work as intended. However restoration work finally commenced in November 2021 with the expectation that it will have been completed later in 2022. All work is currently being undertaken off-site. Watch this space for more updates.