We always light the fire two days before the trip. This allows us to warm the boiler up slowly for the Fitness To Run examination on the preparation day. When this was done on the Thursday, the outside temperature was breaking all records - not the ideal conditions for lighting the fire.
The temperature had dropped somewhat by the preparation day, but it was still hot. Working on the footplate in these conditions demands some care, with particular attention being given to personal hydration. There are always one or two minor things found during the FTR, and this day was no exception - they were soon sorted out, though.
Injectors are quite simple things, but the way that they work is not straightforward. They use steam at boiler pressure, but need to produce feedwater at above boiler pressure to overcome the clack valves. Amongst other things, they rely on water from the tender causing the steam to condense. This releases energy to increase the pressure of the feedwater. If the water in the tender is too warm, the injectors won't work properly. Because of the hot weather, it was decided to fill the tender on the night before the trip, so that the water was as cool as possible.
On the day of the trip, we left Victoria more or less on time, and were never more than five minutes late all the way. Some of the running was quite pedestrian, but we have to fit in with service trains, some of which stop at lots of stations. There was still some good running, though. We passed Worplesdon at about sixty six miles per hour, and arrived at Shalford for our water stop a couple of minutes early.
At Shalford, as well as filling the tender with water, we pulled some coal forward, and were ready to leave before our due time. We try to leave early so that we lessen the risk of delaying the following train.
The climb went well, and we were doing thirty six miles per hour at the top. This was followed by a good run through Dorking and Reigate, but we were held at a red signal outside Redhill. This meant that we were a couple of minutes late all the way back to Victoria.
We had a lot of passengers visiting the footplate, and they expressed their appreciation for a wonderful day out.