Rapido Trains SECR six-wheel brake van

12 June 2023
Too many wheels to handle? "Not so", says Tony Wright, with a first look at this newly-tooled rolling stock for 'OO'.

Rapido Trains' SECR six-wheel brake vans have arrived. Receiving our review sample (931008) a long-lived ex-South Eastern & Chatham six-wheeled un-fitted brake van in BR days, here's what Tony Wright thinks about the model.

Back story

The original design dated from South Eastern Railway days, ten being built in 1898. Similar in design to a Midland Railway equivalent, the SECR built a further 35 examples in the first decade of the 20th Century. Another 50 vans were built from 1910 onward, modified to have a veranda at both ends. At the same time, 25 of the original single veranda types were rebuilt with dual ones (with detail differences). All of these vans became Southern Railway property in 1923 (Dia.1558), with 86 passing to BR in 1948. All had been withdrawn by 1960, with one surviving in preservation on the Kent & East Sussex Railway.

Here's what we like about these new models:


Rapido Trains SECR brake van

Because they had no route restrictions on the Southern (meaning they could run almost anywhere nationwide), towards the end of their lives, such examples could be found on any of BR’s regions, making them versatile for modellers.

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Rapido Trains SECR brake van

Brakes and their riggings is present, with the brake blocks perfectly in line for 'OO' treads. Rarely, if ever, have I seen such incredible attention to detail, much of which cannot be seen from any ‘normal’ viewing angles.


Rapido Trains SECR brake van

The distinctive buffer shanks are beautifully modelled, though buffers aren't sprung. Handrail detail is exquisitely-delicate; delicate enough for one side to have come loose in transit, though easily repaired with a tiny bead of superglue.


Rapido Trains SECR brake van

Two body variants are available direct from Rapido, alongside exclusive editions from Rails of Sheffield, Train Times and the Bagnall Locomotive Group, in 12 different liveries. Variety is ever-present!



Rapido Trains SECR brake van

The only way to see the fully-detailed interior is to remove the roof – gently, because it’s held in place with tiny spots of glue. Once off, the interior is revealed. The roof will no longer then stay in place by itself without new glue being applied.

Want more? Read Tony Wright's full review of these new models for the August 2023 issue of BRM, on-sale July 13. Subscribe to BRM here and never miss an issue.