Until 1968, fully fitted freight trains were required by law to be carry a break van at the end. The brake van provided brake functionality to help slow the train as well as acting as a space in which the trains guard could carry out additional duties such as paperwork. As a result most brake vans featured a stove and desk on top of the brake apparatus.
The London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) built 2653 20 ton break vans between 1933 and 1947. These featured a wooden structure that spanned most of the frame, with open covered areas at either end to provide the guard with an excellent view of the train.