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This article is about the brake van. You may be looking for the episode or the magazine story.

Bradford is Samson's trustworthy brake van who lives on the Mainland.


Thomas & Friends

Bradford was brought to Sodor by Samson. When he noticed Thomas struggling with his Troublesome Trucks, Bradford offered to be his brake van for the day. Once coupled up, Bradford quickly took charge of the trucks and barked at them to behave. Thomas and the other engines were very impressed, until they found out how strict Bradford liked to stick to the rules of the railway. This made the trains that they were pulling with him very late and ended up with Thomas deciding to take a train without Bradford. However, he ended up running into trouble with the trucks, and collided with Percy at Gordon's Hill. Bradford eventually went back to the Mainland with Samson.

Bradford later attempted to help Samson overcome his fear of fireworks, but failed when Samson mistook railway detonators Cyril the Fogman had put on the track for fireworks. He instead ran away in fright, going faster out of surprise at each detonation. Samson almost crashed into Rebecca and eventually ended up running into Nia. Bradford then encouraged Samson to follow the fireworks to Ulfstead Castle and then both of them enjoyed watching the fireworks with the other engines .


Bradford is an officious and strict brake van who adheres to every railway rule, no matter how minor the rule might be. Although he means well and does his best to keep the trucks in order, his overzealous and military-like attitude makes his trains commonly run very late. Because of this, the engines find him annoying. He is also quite conceited, as he claimed he knew how much the engines "appreciated" him. Despite his usual rigidity, Bradford also has a caring side, as shown when he tried to help Samson overcome his intense fear of fireworks.

Technical Details


Bradford is based on a standard LMS 20 ton brake van. A handful today survive in preservation on heritage railways.


Bradford is painted two-tone green with a red stripe across his sides. The number "0919" is painted inside his stripes in gold.


Voice Actors


  • Bradford's theme is based on the theme from the 1963 film The Great Escape, similar to Oliver's.
  • Bradford is the first sentient brake van to be introduced in the television series since Toad in the third series (and the third overall in the show).
  • Bradford apparently has a very keen sense of sight, as he is able to tell just from one glance the exact height of the load of stone in Thomas' trucks, and notice a tiny crack in Henry's lamp.
  • Bradford's persona and dialogue are based on various characters portrayed by British actor Windsor Davies, in particular Battery Sergeant Major Williams from "It Ain't Half Hot Mum".
  • Even though Bradford has taillights facing towards his front, he is almost always seen coupled up facing his train instead of facing backwards, thusly putting his side mounted taillights into questionable use. To compensate for this, he has a back mounted taillight.
  • Bradford is one of the three rolling stock characters to appear in 2 seasons and one episode each. The others being Hector and Hannah.


* RWS only | ** T&F only