Steam returns to the River Dart

grebeman

Old Codgers Group
In 1924 a steel hulled, 108 feet long paddle steamer, yard number 667, was launched from the shipyard of Philip and Son, Dartmouth. She was called Kingswear Castle and actually used secondhand engines from the previous Kingswear Castle built by Cox and Co of Falmouth in Cornwall in 1904. She served on the Dart until the mid 1960's, at one time in 1943-44 she actually worked for the American forces on harbour duties. After being laid up for a few years she was bought by a preservation trust and taken away from the Dart. Last winter she returned and now she has started work again on the river that gave her birth.

1080337.jpg

Departing the pontoon and sounding her steam whistle to alert other craft she is underway


1080264.jpg

Proudly displaying her builders plate


1080265.jpg

Our captain for the day giving us a safety talk as we set sail. Beneath the wheelhouse you can see some skylights, they offer a vision into the world of a paddle steamers engine room


1080261.jpg

Looking down that skylight reveals a sight from a bygone era, a paddle steamers engine. Technically a diagonal compound steam engine. The main crank with the big end for the high pressure (HP) cylinder in full view and partially hidden the big end of the low pressure (LP) cylinder. Between the cranks are sheaves and eccentrics which drive the reversing link of the Stephensons valve gear which enable the engine, and hence the ship to reverse the direction of travel


1080251.jpg

Looking down on the lifting link from the other side of the hatch, the eccentric rods on the lower left driving the lifting link for the LP cylinder, the HP crank rod just above centre with the little end connecting to the piston rod


1080260.jpg

From the other side the LP little end with a drive taken off it to a rocking lever to drive a pump, probably the air pump for the condenser


1080331.jpg

Behind the crank are the boilers, I just missed the engineer firing the boiler, here he's just replacing the shovel on it's hangers


1080270-vc.jpg

The trip took us to the mouth of the estuary, here is Dartmouth Castle dating from the 1400's together with St Petrox church


1080271.jpg

On the other side of the estuary mouth is Kingswear Castle, after which our vessel is named


1080272.jpg

Having turned to head back upriver we get a view of Dartmouth (on the left) and Kingswear (on the right)


1080281.jpg

Further up stream and Britannia Royal Naval College comes into view


1080291.jpg

All that remains of the Noss yard of Philip and Son who built the Kingswear Castle


1080305.jpg

Many famous mystery and crime novels were written in this house, this is Greenway, the former home of the late Dame Agatha Christie


1080326.jpg

In 1943/44 American officers were billeted in Greenway and Agatha Christie lived in this thatched cottage down on Greenway Quay


1080309.jpg

The village of Dittisham (pronounced Ditsum by us south Devon locals) marks the upper limit of the cruise


1080334.jpg

The typical and distinctive wake of a paddle steamer


1080345.jpg

The Kingswear Castle approaches Dartmouth from up stream at the end of the vovage


Barrie
 

grebeman

Old Codgers Group
John, it was a fantastic trip with much less, indeed hardly any, vibration under foot that you experience on a modern diesel powered ferry. Perhaps later in the year I'll be able to due a full trip up to Totnes, the limit of navigation on the Dart and dependant on the tides. Old photographs show as many as three paddle steamers at Steamer Quay, Totnes when these vessels maintained a vital service for locals and up to 400 passengers on the Totnes Castle, sister ship to this one, on high days and holidays.

Barrie
 

entropic remnants

Hall of Famer
Real Name
John Griggs
John, it was a fantastic trip with much less, indeed hardly any, vibration under foot that you experience on a modern diesel powered ferry. Perhaps later in the year I'll be able to due a full trip up to Totnes, the limit of navigation on the Dart and dependant on the tides. Old photographs show as many as three paddle steamers at Steamer Quay, Totnes when these vessels maintained a vital service for locals and up to 400 passengers on the Totnes Castle, sister ship to this one, on high days and holidays.

Barrie

Wonderful, Barrie. What's marvelous also is that it's the original boat restored and not a replica. Don't see that much with these old steamers or sail stuff anymore. Little different for watercraft than it is for steam traction engines on land.
 

wrangler

Regular
Location
SW Minnesota
Real Name
Dennis Ulrich
Thanks for sharing a very nice set of images that evoke strong memories. I have been a Steam fan since the waining days of Steam on US railways. In 1960, my brother and I had a chance to ride behind a Civil War era locomotive that was on a tour as part of the Centennial Celebration of the war. I was also fortunate to work in an industry that still used steam to power machinery in the early 1970's. It's on my bucket list to ride a Paddle Wheeler.
 

Latest posts

Latest threads

Top Bottom