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LT Brake Van No. B. 557

Restored LT Brake B. 557 in Buffer Depot

Chris Jenkins - Restored LT Brake B. 557 in Buffer Depot

Built for London Transport, this brake van is fitted both hand and air brakes. B. 557 had the distinction of being part of the last steam-hauled train on London Transport.  It also took part in an enthusiasts brakevan excursion.

It arrived at Quainton on 10th October 1981, hauled by London Transport battery locomotives L.18 and L.38 from Neasden. This was probably the first London Transport train to run north of Aylesbury for 30 years, and almost certainly the furthest the battery electrics had gone away from the live rail under their own power. The delivery via a temporary connection to the Up Yard also included underground coach 54233.

It has recently undergone an extensive cosmetic restoration. A few details of this restoration are described below:

Details of Cosmetic Restoration

The first step was to repair the verandah end panels, the right-hand picture above shows how it had looked on delivery. A temporary repair had been previously made using old pallets which were used to form the 'fill' which is fixed to the framework of the verandah ends. These had again rotted away in places, and so the ends were completely replaced with new tongue and groove. In addition two boards on one side, just before the end, were replaced.

On one side the ducket is towards the middle of the vehicle, on the opposite side, as can be seen in the photos, it is close to one of the verandahs. The metal strips that help to form the shape of the ducket are retained in place at the top by a wooden rail which also forms the gutter immediately below the felt roof. Being a wooden rail, not surprisingly it was liable to rot, particularly whilst stored outside for many years without being moved. In normal use the movement of the vehicle would help to dry out the rainwater channel. The area of this rail immediately above the ducket had completely rotted away and could be broken off by hand. As a result the metals strips had sprung out from the frame and only by replacing the wooden rail could the ducket be repaired. It was not necessary to replace the entire rail, but was cut back to good wood half way along about two feet from the ducket. Suitable wood was obtained to produce a replacement with the same shape, including rainwater channel. In addition a length on the other side also had to be replaced. Having replaced these two sections the flutes directing rainwater away from the vehicle needed to be reaffixed.

A further replacement was the step on the platform side entrance at one end that had completely rotted. There should be a metal plate forming the top of this step, but that had been lost so a new wooden step was fashioned. In addition the flooring of both verandahs has been almost entirely replaced.

After that, the rest was relatively straightforward - just a routine repaint. Sign-writing the numbers and lettering was completed with the aid of photos, including pictures of the vehicle when it was part of the final steam hauled freight working on LT, and on an enthusiasts brakevan excursion. These also helped to show the correct colour scheme and lettering. The previous repaint had incorrectly included red paint on the end walls inside the verandah, whereas that should be grey with only the end panels on the outside of the verandah painted in red.

It is now to be fitted out internally with some typical fittings and a pictorial display showing the vehicle in service. With access steps and suitable lighting it is anticipated that visitors will be able to walk through to see inside. Hopefully it now looks very much more attractive to visitors.

LT Brakevan - Quainton News No. 66 - Winter 1989 / 90

LT Brake B. 557. shortly after delivery in Up Yard

Robert Frise - LT Brake B. 557. shortly after delivery in Up Yard

Origin :- London Transport Date Built :- 1935 Number :- B. 557
Diagram :- - Lot :- -
Type :- 20 ton Builder :- Hurst Nelson & Co.
Wheelbase :- 10' 6"
Owner :- QRS Status :- Cosmetically Restored Location :- Buffer Depot Museum
Accession No.: W/0075 Arrival Date :- 1981    

Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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Page Updated: 27 September 2017