Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia

The BR 20 Ton Brake Vans are a standard type of goods brake van. They are added to the back of goods trains and a guard operates them. Each brake van is equipped with strong brakes to assist with slowing and stopping the train. From here, the guard can keep an eye on the train in case of problems, such as hot axle boxes, or trucks becoming uncoupled while running.


The Railway Series

Stepney used one of these brake vans to help transport four cricket players and Caroline to the Elsbridge Cricket Field after she had broken down[1].

One of these brake vans was involved in an accident when Oliver fell down the turntable well[2].

Thomas & Friends

The BR 20 Tons are commonly seen on the back of goods trains. They are Sodor's main type of brake van. The brake vans have also been used as part of the Mail Train, the Flying Kipper and the Circus Train.

A van attached to a goods train once waited on a siding to let Henry and the Flying Kipper pass while the Engine's crew were enjoying cocoa in the brake van. As snow had forced the signal down and the points were frozen towards the siding, Henry collided straight into the train at full speed. The crew had just left the train and avoided the crash[3].

One of these brake vans (along with the Troublesome Trucks) broke away from their engine Edward, and chased Duck down Gordon's Hill. The trucks had bumped their guard off his brake van, and left him far behind after he had whistled a warning. Duck and his crew bravely attempted to take control of the train, but crashed through a barber shop[4].

The Spiteful Brake Van, another van of this design, caused grief for James and Donald and Douglas. In an attempt to cause trouble for James, he urged the Troublesome Trucks to hold the train back. Douglas was able to help James' train up Gordon's Hill. However, the van found himself wedged between Douglas and the rest of the train. The guard jumped clear before the van was crushed by Douglas.[5].

When Percy's train of Troublesome Trucks barged forward and push him down the line and into a train of stone trucks, he destroyed a stationary brake van and perched himself on the remains of a truck[6].

Bill and Ben took a party of railway enthusiasts in a "brake van special" for a tour of the China Clay Works[7].


A majority of brake vans are non-sentient. However, there are at least three known vans depicted with faces. They are spiteful, elderly, and troublesome respectively.

Types of sentient brake vans:

Named BR brake vans

Technical Details


These brake vans are based on the real BR Standard 20 Ton brake vans, which were built to the LNER 20 Ton Brake Van design. The Elderly Brake Van and Spiteful Brake Van (TV version) share the same basis.

Types of brake van designs


In the Railway Series, one of these brake vans is painted brown with a white roof and red bufferbeams.

In the television series, these brake vans are commonly painted in different shades of grey. They have also been seen in dark brown, dark blue, dark green and dark purple.


Thomas & Friends





* RWS only | ** T&F only | --- Dropped