It was a warm and sunny day for our Torbay Express this year, which made up for last year's wet weather.

After the previous week's Quantock Intruder, we had spent a couple of days at Bishops Lydeard on the West Somerset Railway, where we were made very welcome. On the Sunday, Clan Line was placed in a platform at the station, in light steam, and the footplate was made available to anyone who wished to visit. This move was very popular, and a lot of people came to meet us.

The Monday was spent preparing Clan Line for the move to Saint Philip's Marsh depot in Bristol.

Clan Line shares the shed with Foxcote Manor and Raveningham Hall

Preparations for the move to Bristol

The support crew arrived for work on Friday - two days before the trip - though some had come from Bishops Lydeard with the engine. We had all the usual jobs to do, but doing things in unusual surroundings always takes extra time. The people at Saint Philip's Marsh were very helpful, though.

Clan Line at Saint Philip's Marsh

At Bristol, we do our own shunting. This didn't go as well as usual, because of re-signalling, and the move of control to Didcot. Because of this, we left Bristol thirty six minutes late. However, by the water stop at Taunton we were only seven minutes down. Hard work by the support crew, who had to come from the back of the train, meant that we left two minutes early, and kept to the schedule until after a Temporary Speed Restriction at Exeter, entering the tunnel at Whiteball at forty miles per hour on the way. We then had to follow a late running unit and an HST, arriving at Paignton sixteen minutes late.

Most of the support crew left the train at Paignton, along with their equipment, so didn't get to Kingswear. The Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway crew took over for the trip to Kingswear, and handled our engine very well. On arrival at the terminus, Clan Line shunted the stock out of the way, before returning to Paignton, turning on the turntable at Churston on the way. During servicing at Paignton, we were entertained by the Torbay Airshow, with some of the participants being of a similar age to Clan Line.

We then returned to Kingswear to pick up the train, and finally left Paignton six minutes late. After Newton Abbott we were following two late running service trains as far as Exeter. Things improved after that, and we topped Whiteball at sixty eight miles per hour. We arrived at Taunton seven minutes late, and were held to allow an HST and a Cross Country service to leave ahead of us. We left fourteen minutes down, and travelled via Frome, where our pathing stop was missed out, much to the disappointment of the crowds on the platform who had turned out to see us. We got to Westbury eight minutes late, and left four minutes down. We had to stop at Bradford Junction because the road was set for Swindon, and finally arrived at Bristol twelve minutes late.

The passengers left after an enjoyable day, but all was not over for the poor support crew, who had been up since four o'clock in the morning. Because of more delays with the shunting, we did not get back to Saint Philip's Marsh for almost three hours. Then we could put the engine to bed, and start thinking about our next trip, The Cornishman Express, on Sunday 17th June.