We had an incident when we got back to the shed at the end of the last trip. We didn't want to report on it until we knew the full consequences. Since then, the people who look after this website have been heavily involved in the investigations, so we are only now able to let you know what happened.

On return to Stewarts Lane, poor railhead conditions caused Clan Line to lock its wheels and slide into the depot protection derailers. The front bogie axle was derailed, the guard irons badly bent, and the front sanders damaged. A class 73 electro-diesel was involved in helping us back onto the rails, but that slid on the rails, too, so we know that our driver wasn't to blame. By just after midnight, the locomotive had been re-railed, and was soon back in the shed.

As is standard practice in these situations, we had Ultrasonic Axle Testing carried out on the following Monday, but this showed no problems. The guard irons were deemed beyond repair, so we contacted Stephenson Engineering. They were able to produce a couple of replacements at very short notice, and they have already been fitted.

When a derailment of the bogie occurs there is always a possibility that the pin which holds the bogie gets damaged. We wanted to make sure that this hadn't occurred in this case. The only way to do this is to drop the bogie on a wheel drop and examine it. We contacted the Bluebell Railway who have such equipment, and they were only too happy to make it available to us, along with their expertise. Network Rail and DB Cargo pulled out all the stops to get us gauged and found a path for us. One week after the incident we were on our way to East Grinstead to join the Bluebell Railway, and spent the night at Sheffield Park.

On the Saturday morning, our engineers and the Bluebell engineering department lowered the bogie and inspected the pin. This included dye-penetrant testing to show up any tiny cracks. We found nothing to give us cause for concern, so everything was back together again by the end of the day.

Our return trip wasn't booked until Wednesday evening, se we had a couple of days to spare. As Clan Line is normally inaccessible to the public at Stewarts Lane, we agreed with the Bluebell Railway to make it available on Sunday and Monday. We lit the fire so that our visitors could get some idea of what it is like on the footplate of a steam engine. Over that couple of days we had many interested visitors. Because of the short notice, we weren't able to publicise this.

Clan Line on display at Sheffield Park - photograph by Mike Turner

Clan Line on display at Sheffield Park - photograph by Mike Turner

Because we had taken so much apart, we really wanted a test run before going home. The Bluebell Railway weren't adverse to this, so it was agreed that we would haul the 2:30 train from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead and back. The word soon got out, and many people came to see us, or ride behind our engine. The test run went well.

Clan Line soon after leaving Sheffield Park - photograph by Peter Edwards

Clan Line at Horsted Keynes - photograph by Alan French

Clan Line at Kingscote - photograph by Paul Blowfield

Clan Line leaving Sharpthorne Tunnel - photograph by Kimberley Hiley

On Wednesday, after a Fitness To Run examination, we made our way back home to Stewarts Lane.

Clan Line leaving Sharpthorne Tunnel on the return home - photograph by Julian Clark

Clan Line approaching Horsted Keynes on the return home - photograph by Peter Edwards

We would like to thank Stephenson Engineering, Network Rail, DB Cargo, but mostly the Bluebell Railway, for bending over backwards to make all this happen. We were made extremely welcome, and everybody was most helpful. Those of us who were there thoroughly enjoyed our stay, and made a lot of new friends.

Perhaps we can do it again sometime, but under better circumstances, and with more notice.