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LMS Brakevan 732195

The 20 ton LMS Brake Van (No 732195) was built in 1946, just 2 years before the formation of British Rail. It was moved to the Vale of Berkeley Railway in April 2017 where work has begun to restore it by the railway’s volunteers.


Overhaul Progress



January 2018

The first weekend of the new year saw Dennis and Judith applying cuprinol to some of the new pieces of wood that will be used on the inside of the brake van.














December 2017

A new steel sheet has been cut to size and tack welded into place over the now repaired frame. This is probably this largest part that has been refitted to the brake van and marks a turning point in it’s restoration.







November 2017

Now the new framework has been welded and repainted, you can barely tell how much of it was rotten and had to be cut away.






New old duckets have been cleaned up and repainted. The allow the guard to see along the train when it’s going along the line from the safety and comfy of his brake van.


The wood work team have set to work on repairing one of the end doors.







The old handrails need to be refurbished. This short one is having all the old paint removed by Judith before being repainted. Notice the safety precautions Judith takes, wearing goggles to protect her eyes and a face mask to protect against the old paint dust.

Just next to Judith (out of site) is the long hand rail that runs the length of the van. This took quite a bit longer to clean.




October 2017

A new horizontal angle bracket (in black) has been cut and fitted to the buffer beam of the brake van’s chassis.

New sections of frame have been made to replace the old rotten ones previous cut away.

These new pieces are being help in place with magnets and clamps, already to be welded into place





This job is required on both ends of the brake van and once compete with a new steel panel fitted over the framework this part of the brake van will look as good as new.






September 2017

The remaining wooden panels along the side of the brake van have been removed for repainting, with the rotten parts replaced with new pieces.

Some of the repainted wood can be seen stored inside the brake van. The metal framework has been cleaned and repainted.






Now the floor has been removed it’s much easier to see underneath the van. Paul West and other volunteers have spent any hours underneath the van cleaning off all the old dirt and crime and repainting it.






August 2017

The ends of the brake van where made of steel plates attached to the framework, which over time has rotten away in places. The end plates were removed and the rotten parts of the frame cut away so new pieces could be made and welded back into place.

The floor at both ends has also been removed, enabling access to the chassis, which will be cleaned and repainted.



This great ariel view of the brake van shows just how much hard work has been done over the last few months by our volunteers.












July 2017

ID Number










Lots of wire brushing and needle gunning continues to clean the van’s chassis and sole bar. The sole bar is the large beam of metal running along the top of the chassis, that the wooden part of the brake van sits on. It usually contains the vehicles identification number, in this case 732195

The rotten parts of the floor of the van have now been removed. Note the large wheel in the center of the van, used to apply the handbrake.



June 2017

BrakeVan1_604x480Further stripping of the brake van continues with removal of many of the bolt on bits such as the handrails, lamp brackets etc. The rotten panels have also been removed, revealing some of the iron frame work behind. It appears that most of the wood work on the sides of the van is in reasonable condition, but the wood on the ends, floor and roof are rotten.

Work has also started on cleaning the chassis of the brake van, removing years of dirt and grime using needle guns and angle grinders.

Ken is busy removing some of the rotten wood around the roof and Rob is grinding back the metal frame.




May 2017

BrakeVanRoofRemoved_June2017_640x480Work has started on overhauling this brake van with it been shunted into the barn area of the shed in order for the wood shop team including Keith, Ron, Simon and Peter to start by removing the roof.