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LMS Brake Van 730866 History

LMS Brake Van 730866This 20 ton Brake Van No. 730866 was built at Derby Works in 1940 to Lot No. 1278. It is 24ft long with a 16ft wheel base and is one of 2,653 similar vehicles built by the LMS between 1933 and 1947. It is not fitted with vacuum brake, though does have a through vacuum pipe for working with other fitted vehicles.

It was decided to purchase one of these vehicles in the mistaken belief that they had become virtually extinct in the preservation world. British Rail originally offered the Society van number 731310 for £875-00. However a number of vehicles were inspected, at Bescot, Tinsley Park and Radyr in south Wales. It was here that the best candidate, Departmental Number DM730866, was spotted and further research revealed that it was about to be sold by tender. A bid of £800-00 was hastily made, which proved successful!

The Brake Van was moved to the SVR by road, with the generous assistance of Society member and haulage company owner, Len Crane. Because of inadequate road access at Raddyr a movement by rail to the C&W Maintenance shops at Cathays, near Cardiff, had to be organised. Once loaded onto the low-loader it was found that it only just fitted with about one inch to spare. Several of the volunteers rode in the van on the back of the low loader and being a cold and soaking wet day the van stove was lit, making a remarkable sight as the ensemble sped up the motorway. It was unloaded at Kidderminster in the gathering darkness, still pouring with rain, on Saturday 17th February 1990.

Since then it has been restored, with numerous floorboards, side planks and other timber replaced. It was repainted in LMS brown livery, with the inside in dark green. It is kept in good condition and has been used for accompanying the SVR ‘Steam School’, though this use was curtailed by the requirement for a vacuum brake fitted vehicle. Nevertheless it has formed a useful addition to the SVR’s working fleet and is well used on permanent way trains and photographers’ specials.



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