We had been taking advantage of the time since our previous trip to carry out some of our regular ongoing maintenance. This included some work on the injectors, so we lit the fire a day earlier than we normally would so that we could give them a thorough testing. This proved that our work had been successful.
Because of the gap since the previous trip a lot of the cleaning had already been done, but this didn't stop the support crew from giving the loco and support coach some extra spit and polish. The Fitness To Run examination was completed with no major problems, and the tender was loaded with coal and treated water.
The weather on the day of the run was warm and sunny, and the locomotive sparkled. We carried a wreath on the smokebox door to mark the death of one of our long-serving volunteers, John Adams. We were at the platform in Victoria for nearly three quarters of an hour before departure, which allowed many of our passengers to see the engine and visit the footplate.
We left a couple of minutes late, but were held at signal VS45, waiting for an Overground service from Clapham Junction to Dalston. This delay meant that we were now fourteen minutes late, and we had lost our path. We were checked again at Saint Margaret's to allow an Angerstein Wharf to Woking freight train in front of us. Despite some good running, we were still fourteen minutes behind schedule arriving at Addlestone Junction for our pathing stop. The shortened wait allowed us to get away one minute early, but we were held again at Maybury Road for four and a half minutes so that we could follow a late-running service train out of Waterloo. This meant that we got to Shalford for our water stop five minutes late.
We usually try to leave Shalford before booked time to avoid the chance of delaying the following train, but our late arrival meant that we didn't get away until two minutes after schedule, but the loco was soon working hard up the climb. We were hoping to make up time but this was not to be. There were reports of trespassers at both Ranmore crossing and Brockham, so we were six and a half minutes late getting to Redhill. Other traffic meant that we were ten minutes behind at Longhedge Junction. We always wait for a green and feather at signal VS62 so that we know that we will be able to get a good run at the climb onto Grosvenor Bridge. This time, when the yellow went off, we failed to get a green. After contacting the signaller we learnt that the green aspect of the signal had failed. Eventually we got away, and, after a sterling climb onto the bridge, we finally arrived at Platform Two about nine minutes late.