The Guards Van


The Rydal Railway Station has always been of great importance to Rydal. This restored rail van, in the former loading dock, represents a significant part of the history of the village. The loading dock was a busy place for all manner of Goods being received and sent from Rydal during the years it was in use.

Dating from 1909 the van was restored in 2014 by the Rydal Village Association under the guidance of Linsey Featherstone, President of the Village Association. It is on permanent loan from Bruce Peelgrane.

It would have been built by Ritchie Bros Carriage Works as HG15022 and was retired in 1946 as L 572. It is a former Goods train Guard’s Van (Also known as a Brake Van). They had four wheels and were quite common on the NSWGR in the first half of the 20th century. They had timber under-frames (sole bars and headstocks) with a vertically timber-boarded body and timber roof covered with canvas.

Like many of the time, it had a second-class passenger compartment that could be used by members of the public on lightly used lines or by drovers. Drovers would occupy the compartment of livestock trains to tend to the animals at stops on-route.

During the 1960s it came out of retirement and transferred from a goods guard’s van to a service vehicle and then acquired cast number plates on the sole bars as L572. The L indicating that the vehicle is on the service vehicle list. Once it became a service vehicle it lost its “duckets” or lookouts for the guard to view the train from his seat. These duckets were steel panelled and curved projections on each side of the vehicle at the sliding door end. Where these were, has been panelled over. As a guard’s van it would have been painted all- over grey. It would have carried a white square low on the body side with a red circle to indicate it was fitted with Westinghouse brakes.