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Railway Vehicle Preservations

Project X - Diesel Brake Tender

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Members of Railway Vehicle Preservations TPO crew have announced plans to construct an item of rolling stock that failed to enter preservation, despite the last vehicles having been withdrawn from traffic in the early 1980s Ė A Diesel Brake Tender.

Drawing 1/559

The diesel brake tenders were introduced after it was discovered that the newly introduced diesels in the 1950s and 1960s had insufficient brake force when used on unfitted goods trains, so these vehicles were introduced to increase the braking available. A total of 122 vehicles were built and were numbered between B964000 and B964121. The vehicle would normally be placed in front of or just behind the diesel locomotive.

RVP member Phil Stanbridge initially came up with the idea while some vehicles at the Great Central Railway were about to be scrapped after having been purchased for spare parts. One of the vehicles was set aside for the project, while a feasibility study and then design work was undertaken. The project became known as "Project X" while this work was being undertaken, as the team wanted to keep it quiet until all hurdles had been overcome.

RVPís Draughtsman, Mick Yates, set about obtaining the drawings, of which the NRM were able to supply, and revised them for use with the underframe from a Mark 1 coach. Research has shown that the original vehicles were actually constructed using not just the bogies from both LMS and LNER coaches but also the underframes of the coaches.


Once proven that it was feasible work started on the vehicle, which will be numbered B964122, the next number following on from the originals. As all the original vehicles came from LMS or LNER descendents and this conversion is from a BR Mark 1 a new diagram number is being created to accommodate the design, this being 1/559, which would have been the next number in the B.R. wagon diagram series.

Work has so far concentrated on:

  • Design work on the chassis, brakes and body.
  • Removing the bodywork from the donor coach.
  • Removing the roof, keeping a section to form the top of the brake tender.
  • Shortening the chassis to the required length.
  • Obtaining the brake rigging.
  • Obtaining the correct style of Oleo buffers.
CK 15208

The image on the left shows work underway to remove the bodywork from the donor vehicle, which is a former Mark 1, CK M15208.

The vehicle is hoped to be completed within two years, although this is dependant on sufficient funds being raised for materials. Once in operation it will be available for use at galas and photographic charters.

RVP Trustee, Paul Harrison, commented: "I remember seeing these vehicles in my younger days and have always wished one had been preserved; now one will run again to demonstrate to the public and enthusiasts alike how the early days of the diesels needed braking assistance on the many unfitted trains that used to run. It will be something that you canít see anywhere else, but on the Great Central Railway"

RVP Chairman, Tim Pryce, added: "The omission of this type of vehicle from our heritage collection is one that many people have commented on and I look forward to seeing the vehicle in use demonstrating how problems with new technology, which diesels were in the 50s and 60s, were overcome. They provided a solution to a problem that continued until continuous braking was available to all trains, i.e. unbraked trains were eliminated."


The team

The team on the project are (left to right): Tony Bennett, Mick Yates, Brian Hallett, Paul Harrison, Phil Payne, Phil Stanbridge and Tim Pryce


Comments about this project can be sent to the team using the following form:

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