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The brake van, also known as the guard's van, guard's car or the caboose (in American narrations), is an important part of every goods train. It carries the guard and is equipped with a strong brake 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.
- A few brake vans are on display; one at Drayton Manor along with a model of Toad, one at the British Museum, and a few at the Hara Model Railway Museum.
- To date, only four brake vans have been named: Beatrice, Cora, Toad and Bradford.
- Between the eighth and fifteen seasons, brake vans were rarely seen. Since the sixteenth season, brake vans have been seen more often.
- Five different types of standard gauge brake vans have been seen on the Island:
- BR Standard 20 Ton vans
- Southern Railway 25 Ton "Pillbox" vans
- GWR "Toads"
- LMS 20 Ton vans
- Narrow gauge Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway vans scaled up to standard gauge (albeit still carrying narrow gauge "chopper"-type couplings and lacking buffers)
- Toad, Bradford, The Spiteful Brakevan, The Elderly Brakevan, The Old Guard's Van, Beatrice and Cora are so far the only known brake vans to have faces. A brake van was briefly seen with a face in the second season episode, A Close Shave. This face looks like a standard Troublesome Truck face.
- The brake vans seen from the first to the fifth season were made out of modified Tenmille gauge one kits. These kits are still distributed by Tenmille today.
- In most of the merchandise ranges, the brake vans are portrayed as American cabooses.
- Wooden Railway (as a caboose; red, yellow, musical, Halloween, Day Out with Thomas 2007 Exclusive and Christmas/Holiday versions)
- Motor Road and Rail (discontinued outside Asia)
- Lionel Trains (as a caboose)
- Take Along (as a caboose; discontinued)
- Take-n-Play (as a caboose)
- Thomas Engine Collection Series (with Mail coach; discontinued)
- Bachmann (HO and large scale)
- Pocket Fantasy (discontinued)