Photo of 083478 at Ashford Down yard

Vehicles in this photo

The following vehicle(s) appear in this photo.

Photo details

  • Ashford Down yard
  • June 1983
  • © Andy Prime


Your comments

  • Ben Williams

    31 December 2007, 17:12:22

    One of the strangest IU vehicles I have seen... anyone know what it did exactly?

  • colin brock

    31 December 2007, 18:13:50

    It's a brake tender, used on unfitted freight trains to give more brake force to the train

  • Robert Chilton

    31 December 2007, 18:20:15

    Unusual for a brake tender to be taken into internal use, fairly limited scope in an internal user role I would have thought

  • SD0853

    1 January 2008, 10:28:04

    How sad that it lasted into the early years of diesel preservation, but never made it. One of these should have gone to the NRM for sure, but obviously it was not to be.

  • Robert Chilton

    1 January 2008, 11:15:41

    Yes, quite right! It would have looked fantastic in front of a diesel hauling the GCR's 'Windcutter' mineral wagon rake - and before anyone says it it does not matter if any of those wagons are braked or not, it's re-creating the scene which matters!

  • Andy Prime

    1 January 2008, 13:13:55

    So were these purpose built or rebuilds using old components, and are those ex carriage bogies under it or are they a bespoke design ?

  • Peter Cummings

    1 January 2008, 13:20:22

    Seem to recall 2 different designs of Brake Tenders. The other type were possibly all new, but this one re-used Gresley bogies from coaching stock I think.

    As to internal use. It is an odd one, isn't it. Unless they were used as anchors. Parked at the buffer end of a siding with the brakes full on, and a rake of wagons would be hooked on as extra protection against rolling away.

    Same sort of thing happened at Leyton Yard with Pillbox brakes and the like. Particularly with sidings with a bit of gradient falling away towards the open ends.


  • SD0853

    1 January 2008, 19:36:18

    I've got a feeling that there were actually 3 types of "Brake Tender". The bogies under this vehicle would most probably be re-sprung Gresley Bogies, other's used BR B2 bogies. Other than the re-use of the bogies, these vehicles were all new build.

    It's quite suprising to see that this one actually made it into BR corperate Blue as well.

  • Jon Horswell

    1 January 2008, 20:31:31

    The whole thing looks very archaic yet very solid. Unsung from a bygone age it is remarkable to see that it survived so long. Does anyone now what was inside these vehicles? Were they empty shells or did they contain some knid of ballast weight.?

  • SD0853

    1 January 2008, 21:09:01

    They were ballasted not sure about what the actual weight was) and contained the vehicles vaccum brake cylinders

  • Andy Prime

    2 January 2008, 12:30:26

    I don't suppose the use of the word 'tender' indicates that it held water as ballast ??

  • SD0853

    2 January 2008, 14:59:05

    The word "Tender" is allocated to a vehicle that act's or has a supportive role to a locomotive either by carrying fuel or adding brake force such as this vehical did. The ballast would have been concrete or metal the same as a brake van.

  • Paul Bartlett

    2 January 2008, 22:19:43

    Roger Butchers' SCT book records this as originally B964120 and allocated to Slade Green T&RSMD [Traction and Rolling Stock maintenance depot]. Yes, it would be interesting to know what use they had for it.

    It was at Hoo Junction the previous November 1982 (photograph in this collection http://gallery6801.fotopic.net/show_collection.php?id=24250). The collection shows that they were well maintained into the 1980s in blue - they seemed to accumulate at Acton on the WR, and on another webgroup no one could come up with a convincing reason for what Acton used them for!

    There were two body styles - one type was extremely angular unlike this.

  • Andy Dickinson

    3 January 2008, 11:41:37

    It was indeed discovered very quickly that diesel locos with less weight than a steam loco (such as a 9F) had problems in the braking department when hauling unfitted freight trains. They were referred to as a Diesel Brake Tender and were on TOPS as RTV.

    These vehicles were devised to add extra brake force and 1 and sometimes 2 tenders were added to the train for that purpose. I certainly remember them in use on the Hope Valley line back in the 60s for example.

    Paul Bartlett's site has a good selection of pics of these tenders and it would seem that in addition to 083478, 2 other tenders survived to at least 1982.

    In a moment some years ago when sanity and logic took fright and fled over the horizon, I did (with other similarly deranged enthusiasts) investigate the possibility of seeing what it would take to recreate one of these vehicles. Although with no real potential as a revenue-earning vehicle, it would certainly look the part at the front of the Windcutter train.

    Certainly all the drawings still exist at RDDS Derby (at a price of course) and I obtained a list of what was available and did visit the place to look at the drawings (and other coach drawings as well) to see what each DBT drawing covered.

    There were 3 types of tender design - this one with Gresley bogies and a body with round top. The second type also had Gresley bogies but with flat sides/top, very angular a bit like a WW1 naval destroyer (Stratford built). The third design had the same type of rounded body like 083478 but had LMS coach bogies with 9ft wheelbase. There were only 6 of the Stratford tenders built. A book by Cheona Publications on brake vans has a few pics of DBTs including one of the Stratford lot but I no longer have this book.

    There is an article on DBTs in December 1995 Railway Magazine but the table has a few errors in it. It also states that BR design bogies were used on some DBTs that were unlike any other bogie. I have never seen any pics of those DBTs with BR bogies - the bogies have always been Gresley or LMS ones.

    A prototype was built at York (date unknown) to test the idea of DBTs and was numbered DE 320923. The Scottish Region also built 3 prototypes (numbers not known). These 4 tenders must have been a success as 122 DBTs in total were then built in the series B964000 - 121. It is not known what happened to the ER prototype but the 3 ScR DBTs were (as far as records show) put through Cowlairs Works and must have been updated to a better spec. They emerged as B964035 - 37.

    The working weight was 35 1/2 tons and I expect would have used steel scrap as the ballast - lengths of old rail would be ideal. There were 2 vac cylinders under the end covers.

    It is possible that the Gresley bogie DBTs used an ex-LNER coach underframe but one of the drawings at RDDS showed how to cut and weld a Mk1 underframe for use with LMS bogies. However, I can't see how in 1962 that there would be many (if any) Mk1 underframes available for chopping up unlike ex-LNER and ex-LMS framed vehicles that would be being withdrawn in large numbers at that time.

    Other drawings at RDDS showed that the LNER double-bolster bogies were specially converted to single bolster for use with DBTs.

    The Wagon Diagram Nos were 555 - 58 and Lot Nos. 3442 - 46/48/49 & 3500. Builders outside of BR were Derbyshire Wagon; Central Wagon; Standard Wagon; Marcroft Wagon. BR Works were York, Cowlairs and Stratford. York built the bulk of the type (B964038 - 105/112 - 121).

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