It was a long day for the support crew. Because of planned engineering work, access to Stewarts Lane depot was not possible between eight o'clock in the morning and nine o'clock in the evening. We left for Hanwell Loop at about seven forty, and, once there, we coupled up to the stock, which had come up from Eastleigh. Three hours after leaving Stewarts Lane, we arrived at Paddington. Unfortunately, because of the length of the train, the locomotive was off the end of the platform, so our passengers weren't able to have a good look at the engine.
Our departure was delayed by a GWR train leaving from the adjacent platform, but some good running meant that we were about eight minutes ahead of schedule at South Ruislip. Because of this, we were held to allow a Chiltern Trains service to pass us. Once we were given the road, speed steadily increased, and we passed the top of Saunderton at fifty seven miles per hour. After the scheduled pathing stop at Princes Risborough, some more good running saw us arrive at Oxford Parkway for our water stop six minutes early.
We got away from here two minutes early, and, after a stop at Oxford for a crew change, we passed Didcot and joined the Great Western Main Line. Our arrival at Reading for another crew change was a couple of minutes late, but our journey from there to Shalford for our next water stop was on schedule. As usual, there was a good crowd on the platform to meet us. We left a little ahead of the booked time, and had a good climb of Gomshall.
We were three minutes early at Streatham Common, but were brought to a stop on the approach to Streatham by a late running Thameslink service. This is not a place that you want to be stopped because of the gradient and the curve. However, our driver knows our engine well, and he showed some expert enginemanship to get the train on the move again. Arrival at Victoria was on time, and our passengers seemed very appreciative.
The support crew's day was far from over, though. The train was dragged to Willesden South West Sidings, and the coaching stock was uncoupled. That was well on its way to Eastleigh before we could move. We were finally able to get back to Stewarts Lane just before ten o'clock in the evening.
On the following day, Sunday, work started on preparations for our next trip.