Trips like this one are long days for the support crew, who were up and working at about half past four in the morning. There are plenty of little, but important, jobs that need doing, such as:-
- Bringing the fire round
- Putting in the trimmings
- Priming the lubrication system
- Topping up the tender tank with water
- Last minute cleaning jobs
To make the shunting at Bristol easier, the support coach is marshalled at the rear of the train on the way out. This means that careful consideration has to be given to what, and who, are at the front of the train, as it is a long way to the support coach if we forget anything. It also makes the supplying of tea to the footplate crew more of a challenge, and it is very important that we don't fail in that area.
We left London Victoria on time, and had a slowish run via the Hounslow Loop to Reading. Our water stop at Challow didn't go quite to plan, and we left about fifty minutes late, but we caught up about a quarter of an hour, and were only thirty minutes late on arrival at Bristol.
We had no diesel with us, so we had to do our own shunting to get to Barton Hill depot. As the train was long, this also meant dividing it into two portions. Then we could turn the loco on the triangle and return to the depot.
Servicing involved the usual things:-
- Cleaning the fire and building it up again
- Shovelling the dropped ash into a skip
- Attending to the lubrication
- Loading fresh supplies of coal and water
We then had to reassemble the train and shunt it into the station.
We finally left Bristol only seven minutes late. After a good run, and another water stop, we arrived back at Victoria on time, and had a lot of happy passengers come forward to visit the engine.
All that was left to do was to return to Stewarts Lane, turn on the triangle, blow the boiler down, and dispose the engine. All this was done by about eleven o'clock.
We now have a few weeks before our next trip, but we won't be idle...