Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /storage/content/39/1007239/ on line 30 PEC-02: VDA 45T Vans

The VDA van was a logical choice to be one of the first add-on releases as a part of Project East Coast for Train Simulator as special white roofed versions had a daily duty carrying chocolate and confectionery between factories owned by the Rowntrees company in York and Newcastle.

Built during the mid 1970's, the VDAs were the fourth version of air braked covered vans developed by British Rail and were a stepping stone between the traditional goods van and sliding wall vans.

Stock Pack Contents

VDA Vans

The expansion contains over one hundred different versions of the vans divided between four different lots, each constructed with various differences between them. All of the lots are supplied in Maroon and Railfreight Flame Red and Grey livery, with and without white roofs for Rowntrees chocolate traffic and one of the lots also includes the unique all white van for Rowntrees traffic. Each of these lots are subdivided into loaded and empty versions in both almost ex-works condition and downright dirty, each of these versions is then further supplemented by rear versions carrying the once ubiquitous oil tail lamp or where appropriate the early version of battery flashing tail lamp.

CAR Brake Vans

In addition to the VDA vans we have included an air and vacuum piped BR standard 20T brake van to dia. 1/507, TOPS code CAR. The brake van is supplied in twenty four different versions covering Bauxite and Yellow livery along with Railfreight Flame Red and Grey livery. These two types are subdivided into those with smoke from the stove, clean and weathered versions and two different variations of oil tail lamp covering unfitted trains and fitted trains, a single battery flashing tail lamp and no lamps.


To let you experience the wagons in as authentic an environment as possible on the East Coast Main Line of the 1970s/80s we’ve enclosed four scenarios for you to use.

  • 6M64 1852 Haverton Hill - Warrington Arpley - Take this Speedlink working on a part of its journey from Northallerton to York.

  • 6S92 1600 Hull - Aberdeen - 6S92 1600 Hull - Aberdeen speedlink working changed crews under the imposing roof of York Station for the leg between there and Tyne Yard. This evening you find yourself waiting on the platform for 6S92 to arrive from the south so you may relieve the crew and take the train forward.

  • 7E73 0402 Millerhill - Whitemoor - A run south from Tyne Yard to York with this early morning trunk working. The weather has turned wintery and considerable traffic conveying confectionary from Rowntrees’ site at Coxlodge to the York factory has been added at Tyne Yard.

  • 7S66 1750 Tees Yard - Stranraer - Another evening run with this working from Tees to Stranraer between Ferryhill and Tyne Yard.


VDA Vans

The VDA was the penultimate design of covered van for freight use designed by British Rail, and in many respects was the last variant of the traditional goods van. Built from 1975 - 1978 the VDA was the fourth and final design in a series of vans that had begun with the COV AB (later to become VAB) constructed in 1966. The wagon has a tare of c.16.25t and can carry up to 24.5t, on a 20’ 9” wheelbase. There are three openings per side with hinged doors at the outer ends and a pair of sliding doors in the centre with the sliding doors not being able to open while the hinged doors are in use and vice-versa. The wagon was designed to be loaded by forklift and has a strengthened floor to ease loading. Designed with the Air Braked Network/Speedlink in mind, the vans were able to travel at 75 mph whether loaded or empty.

Four distinct lots were produced between 1975 and 1978, the first three lots at Ashford and the final lot at Shildon. Each of the lots incorporated a number of differences.

Lot 3855: The 330 wagons built to the original lot number were built with disc brakes, short door hinges and brake levers.

Lot 3856: The 100 wagons to this lot were built using experimental Taperlite suspension. Although the arrangement looks very flimsy it was a success but future use was ruled out on account of it being more expensive to produce than standard suspension, all other details remained as lot 3855.

Lot 3890: These 20 wagons were fitted with clasp brakes with all other details as lot 3855. Numerically they fit between the two lots above and it is possibly safe to assume that the clasp braking was an experiment making use the last 20 wagons in lot 3855 which had already been authorised.

Lot 3908: The final 300 vans saw a change of construction location being built at Shildon. The change of location also brought other changes, the hand brake lever was lengthened, the design of hinges for the outer pairs of doors was amended while the running gear design reverted to that of lot 3855. An extra complication while modelling was the variation in the application of the Maroon livery by Shildon compared to Ashford.

Notable for use on the East Coast mainline were a considerable number of vans fitted with extra insulation to carry confectionery products for Rowntrees between their factories in Newcastle and York. The modified vans were easily recognisable as they had received white painted roofs, with at least one example from lot 3890 being painted completely white.

CAR Brake Van

Dia. 1/507 was the last incarnation of the standard BR brake van, built with roller bearings and hydraulic buffers to lot 3394 at Ashford in 1963. Unfitted when built, but with a through vacuum pipe and brake valve the majority were later fitted with through air pipes to create the CAR variant. Intended to work with air braked trains many were allocated to specific pools and flows, some were in use in the late 1980s on traffic flows carrying dangerous commodities that still required a guard to travel at the rear of the train or where propelling movements were required as a part of the trains journey.

The one limiting factor of the use of a brake van as a part of a Speedlink service was the 50 mph speed limit imposed on them which could mean the higher speeds of the modern air braked wagons couldn’t be taken advantage of.

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