The Atlantic Coast Express – 23rd September 2017

The Atlantic Coast Express on Saturday 23rd September was not quite as we had hoped, but we think that it was a very good trip nonetheless. The original plan had been to depart from, and return to, London Waterloo, as the original ACE did, but this was not to be, and we had to use London Victoria instead. This necessitated the usual trundle round the London suburbs, rather than the hoped-for dash down the main line.

Earlier on in the week, we had suffered the loss of our society’s president, David Shepherd, so we carried a memorial wreath on our smokebox to mark his passing.

Clan Line at Salisbury – Photograph by Paul Blowfield

We were delayed by the late arrival of the stock, so, after photography and boarding, we left Victoria twelve minutes late. However, because of fine work by the footplate crew, we were only three minutes late leaving Staines. We continued making up time, and were crossed on to the fast line at Woking. After some more good running, we arrived at Salisbury seven minutes early.

The locomotive was un-coupled, and moved to platform one, where we took water, and pulled coal forward. We would like to thank the station staff for their helpfulness.

Clan Line at Templecombe – Photograph by Paul Blowfield

We were seven minutes early at Yeovil Junction, so took advantage of the offer from the Yeovil Railway Centre, and added some water to the tender, while waiting for our path.

Clan Line near Seaton Junction – Photograph by Paul Blowfield
Clan Line at Seaton Junction – Photograph by Richard Stevens

After arriving at Exeter, we serviced Clan Line in Exeter Riverside Yard. This included filling the tender with coal and water, oiling the locomotive, and cleaning the fire. While all this was going on, the coaching stock was also being watered.

We left Exeter on time, and made good time towards Frome, where we were held for seventeen minutes.

Clan Line on the Somerset Levels, between Athelney and Langport – Photograph by Paul Blowfield

The remainder of the journey was rather mixed. There were several Temporary Speed Restrictions, and delays caused by service trains, but there was still quite a bit of high speed running. We eventually got back to Victoria twenty five minutes late, through no fault of our own.

Despite the delays towards the end of the day, we think that our passengers enjoyed their time with us, and we look forward to their joining us in the future.

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