The Hampshire Pullman – 6th November 2021

This trip, for UK Railtours, had been planned a long while in advance, as usual, and was due to go via Laverstock Junction, just outside Salisbury. However, because of the unfortunate accident at Fisherton Tunnel, that part of the railway was closed. A lot of work had to be done by people in several organisations in a very short time to come up with an alternative route. We are very grateful to everybody who was involved in this.

We usually try to have a weekend in between trips so that we can clean out the firebox and smokebox, and carry out any maintenance jobs. We didn’t have that luxury this time, so the work started on Thursday. We always try to ensure that the loco is in tip top condition before every trip, but we paid particular attention to the sanders on this occasion, because we knew that they would be very important.

Our first area of concern was the curving climb from Herne Hill to Tulse Hill. Unfortunately, a late-running service train meant that we had to stop on the approach to Herne Hill station. However, Wayne coped admirably, as we knew he would, and we made it to the top on full regulator and 180 psi in the steam chest, with a maximum speed of fifteen mph.

Clan Line at Herne Hill
Clan Line at Wimbledon

After Guildford, we usually turn left at Shalford Junction, to go over the Surrey Hills, but we stayed on the Portsmouth Direct line all the way to Farlington Junction. We stopped at Haslemere for water, and to pull coal forward.

While we were at Haslemere, it had been arranged for one of the passengers to propose on the footplate. We are pleased to say that the proposal was accepted.

We also had a visit from Petersfield’s Shine Radio. They produced quite a comprehensive piece about both the British Pullman, a Belmond train, and Clan Line. They have put it on their website at this address. It’s well worth a listen.

Clan Line leaving Petersfield Station

When we got to Fareham, the route was set for St. Denys, so we waited for about five minutes while that was sorted out. Despite this, we were still about five minutes early by the time that we stopped at Eastleigh, Clan Line’s birthplace.

Clan Line at Eastleigh Station

We followed a stopper all the way to Winchester, but we then achieved 51 mph at Wallers Ash, 55 at Micheldever, 55 at Roundwood, 61 at Steventon and 65 at Worting Junction.

Clan Line at Winchester

We had another water stop at Basingstoke, and a change of crew, but no wedding proposals! On departure, we were put onto the fast line, and took full advantage of it. We were running at 70 mph at Hook, and 75 at Winchfield. Fleet was taken at 70, and Farnborough at 73. We were still doing 73 at Brookwood, but we had to ease off and take the slow line at Woking Junction.

We were just three minutes late on our return to Victoria, and we would have been on time if we hadn’t been held on the approach

It was another good trip, which seemed to have been enjoyed by all the passengers that we spoke to.

Listen to Petersfield’s Shine Radio broadcast.

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