Gif of LNWR Emblem
London & North Western Railway Society
Brake Vans of the LNWR

Goods Brake Vans

In total there were eight different designs of L&NWR goods brake van, each distinguished by its diagram or page number in the official 'Wagon Stock Diagram Book' 1903. I will use the diagram numbers eg. Diagram 16, when referring to each design in turn in the discussion below, but to save tedious repetition I have simplified the terminology to D16, D17, D17A, D17B, D18, D93, D93A and D94. The earliest class to be identified in surviving records, D16, was rated at 10tons and built from at least 1880, and possibly earlier, until 1901. Most of the other designs were rated 20 tons, but from 1905 onwards three types of 15ton vans were introduced to provide vacuum braking for the newly created Express Goods Trains. Few seem to have been required since only 32 of these 15ton types were ever built. The original livery, wagon grey with white diamonds and black below the solebar, is shown in the photograph of D16 The post-1908 livery, with LNWR in 16inch letters and diamonds, and the final livery, without diamonds, is as shown in photographs of the 20 tons vans described later.
L&NWR Goods Brake Vans were identified in a separate sequence of register numbers from 1862 onwards when the entire goods stock was re-numbered in a single series. The register numbers of the more specialised designs are recorded but not those of the standard designs. Close examination of the cast iron number plate of a Brake Van reveals that they were distinguished from the register numbers of the normal goods wagon by having a small letter B after the number. This detail is visible in theattached photographs and in the HMRS publication ‘LNWR Liveries’ by Talbot et al. page 137. Hence a Brake Van which commonly might be described as number 1543 is more correctly designated 1543B. After the 1923 grouping the LMS added 280000 to the ex-LNW numbers so removing the need for the small letter B. In the interests of brevity and simplicity I have omitted the small letter B from the LNW numbers in the rest of this article. Since the maximum quantity of Brake Vans the company owned seems to have been only 1806 we would not expect to find any vehicle numbered higher than 1806B during the LNWR era. Four of the eight designs mentioned above comprised all but 38 of the total stock of approximately 1800 LNW Goods Brake vans. The quantities and register numbers of the other four diagrams, which appear to have been purposely designed for specialised tasks, are recorded in the 1903 Wagon Stock Diagram Book. All seem to have been built on renewal account and consequently carried re-used numbers, with two exceptions. The exceptions were, No. 1693 to the 15 ton D93A design which was built on capital account in the 1/2 year to 30th November 1907 and No's 1726-40 built to the same design in 1912. In both cases the numbers applied seem to be consistent with the top of the total stock list at those times.
In 1923 the LMS inherited about 1800 goods brake vans from the L&NWR. According to the records about 300 of them were 10 ton goods brake vans, almost 1500 of them were 20 ton vans and there were a mere 32 of the 15 ton vans. Logic suggests that if the scrapping rate of the 10 ton vans continued at about the same rate as under the LNW, then the 10 ton vans would have become extinct within 3 to 5 years. The 20 ton vans were probably more useful to the LMS. eg. About 500 of them were of the D17B, ‘Crystal Palace types’ the oldest of which were only 6 years old in 1923. Apart from accident victims we might expect them to have had a long and useful life under LMS management. Approximately 470 were of the D17A type which were between 13 and 7 years old at the grouping. These too can be expected to have survived into the 1930's and even the 1940's taking into account the wartime conditions. The 500 or so vans to the D17, 6-wheel design, were between 14 and 30 years old by 1923. Given their age and design we might expect them to have been scrapped in the early years of the LMS. It is also known that the LMS re-used some 150 LNW brake vans numbers for their own first designs of Freight Brake Vans. About 950 of which were built between 1924 and 1927 to the essentially ex-Midland designs, D1656 and D1659. Records exist of 150 ex-LNW re-used numbers and about 130 of them are below 281700, which roughly correlates with the ranges associated with D16 and D17 in the paragraphs above.
Recent evidence from some BR withdrawal records reveals the survival of about 850 LNW Goods Brake vans until after 1948 Seven of these vehicles lasted until 1958-63 and were positively identified in the records as D17B, ‘Crystal Palace types’. Their numbers are M280321, M280561, M281001, M281102, M281247, M281354 and M281491. These BR numbers can be converted back to LNW ones by subtracting M280000. LNW 1354B was the last to go from revenue stock. It was recorded as built in 1919 and withdrawn in 1963 at the venerable age of 44 years. Even this was not quite the end for Crystal Palaces because the records also show that they persisted in Service stock until 1967-8. The following five vehicles have been positively identified as D17B Goods Brake Vans, DM280807, DM280832, DM280882, DM280936 and DM281575. Furthermore, one of these, DM 280936, was photographed at Carlisle (Kingsmoor) in June 1964.
Quantities of ex-LNW Goods Brake Vans withdrawn in each year 1948 to 1957