Because this trip was only a week after the previous one, we had to have some mid-week working. Several of us were at Stewarts Lane early on Thursday morning to make a start. The firebox and grate were cleaned, and the ashpans and smokebox emptied. A good start was also made on the cleaning. Even with the short timescale, we insisted on presenting Clan Line in the usual polished condition.
We also have to think about water treatment. A sample was taken from the boiler and analysed. Amongst other things, the alkinity of the water, the free tannin, and the Total Dissloved Solids are measured. From these figures, we were able to calculate how much extra sodium carbonate and tannin were needed, and put it into the boiler via the blowdown valve. We also added the usual sludge conditioner and anti-foam.
The weather on Saturday was forecast to be bad, with Storm Dennis arriving, and the forecast was correct. It was a wet and windy day.
We left Platform Two at Victoria on time, and kept to, or slightly ahead of, time as far as High Wycombe.
We made good use of the sanders on Saunderton, keeping a steady speed of forty eight mikes per hour on the bank. We actually passed the station one minute early. After leaving our scheduled pathing stop at Princes Risborough on time, we arrived at our water stop at Oxford Parkway four minutes early.
Our tanker was waiting for us at the gate, but, as the driver doesn't have a Personal Track Safety card, we had to roll out the six hoses, and roll them up again afterwards, ourselves. We also took advantage of the stop to pull some coal forward. Our four-minute early arrival allowed us to leave four minutes early, too.
We had a good run past Didcot and onto the Great Western Main Line, and got to Reading five minutes early for a change of footplate crew. We left one minute early, but lost some time to Shalford, arriving two minutes late. When we got there, another water tanker was waiting for us, as was some extra coal - just in case.
From here, we took the familiar Surrey Hills route. Gomshall Bank was topped at forty eight miles per hour, despite the continuing rain, and we went through Reigate on schedule. We were held for three minutes at Redhill, but still managed to pass Grosvenor Bridge Junction one minute early. Our eventual two-minute late arrival back into Platform Two at Victoria was because we were held by a red at signal VS30 on the approach.
All our passengers appeared to have enjoyed their day out with us.
On Sunday, we contimued with our ongoing maintenance regime. We have been concerned with a slight knocking from the middle big end, so we dismantled it for inspection. We were right to have a look, and we will now replace the white metal in the bearing.
Before our next trip, we will also give the locomotive and tender a good coat of varnish, to bring it back to our usual standard.