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RAR railfreight brake van


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I believe any wagon code starting with R meant the railway operating dept. and covered barrier/match/runner wagons. The final R meant the wagon was through vacuum and air piped and probably would have an emergency brake valve.

Just thinking RAR might be a brake van used on something like EMUs/ other stock for delivery for refurb/scrap, as opposed to a 'normal' freight service. Even if the train was otherwise fitted, the guard would still need somewhere to go.

Presumably the van would allow propelling moves of fitted stock too.


EDIT: edited as the possible type of train came to me

Edited by keefer
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They were Brake Vans for Propelling, fitted with emergency brake valves to be operated by the Guard in an emergency!


There were two for South Dock (Sunderland) Petrofina tank trains, two for Seaham Colliery for the MGR trains that were loaded there and one RAQ at Hereford for the Midland Electricity Board oil trains.


Load Haul repainted one and I think it was for Mountfield Gypsum traffic?


The vans used on the Redmire trains which propelled at Northallerton always stayed as traffic Brake Vans!


Mark Saunders

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Great stuff but would you have any idea of the RAR vehicle numbers involved?


Many thanks,





I,ve had a quick look through my photos but only two number visible so far....



This is the same van as seen in the earlier (Speedlink livery) shot. Before conversion ZTR954552 later RAR B954552. 1986



Same van as ZTR at South Dock. 1986



B955014 Another shot of the van shown earlier attached to the Petrofina. 1991

Edited by 60091
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  • 6 years later...

RAR is the TOPS code for the vehicle. 'R' group is railway operating vehicles (that being, not traffic).


RA is listed on the diagrams as 'Propelled Warning Vehicle'. One end has a visor / shield above the verandah opening ... helps protect the occupant from the rain to some extent, as well as from those that might entertain themselves throwing / dropping stones and other assorted objects off bridges as the van approaches. As well as the guard's brake valve / 'setter' which can be used to stop the train in an emergency, the van also has air horn(s) this end to warn of its approach. A horn valve is fitted to the end in the verandah walkway, and a valve to control / dump the air brake. The van used on the Redmire stone workings wasn't so fitted - just a repainted CAR traffic van, so I did witness the guard giving a damned good Brian Blessed rendition from the 'stage' on the verandah one day.


The third letter of the TOPS code is the BRAKTY, brake type. 'R' is air and vac (dual) piped, whereas 'Q' is air piped only.


Diagram CA006F is the traffic equivalent CAR brake van fitted with air horn(s) one end and wire mesh over the glass in the van doors. When converted, B 954552 started out as ZTR (a departmental brake van, diagram ZT007C), before eventually ending up as RAR as described in earlier posts, and later to CAR diagram CA006G. Its partner in crime was B 955204. I noticed it is branded 'NO SMOKING' on the van body end inside the verandah (and the stove removed from inside). Maybe wise as the next vehicle behind is a petrol / oil tanker, and you're about to get pushed into an oil terminal. They would be put onto the front of the two halves of an arriving oil train to drop them down into the Petrofina terminal off Hendon Junction at Sunderland South Dock.


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  • 1 year later...

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