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Kingswear Castle (1924)
Operating Area : River Dart, UK

Kingswear Castle on the Medway in 2000, seen from PS Waverley. Photo by kind courtesy of Phil Barnes
Built in 1924 by Philip & Son, Dartmouth
Compound diagonal engines 12" and 25" x 24" stroke by Cox & Co, Falmouth, England in 1904 : Go to engines
Engines recovered from PS Kingswear Castle (1904-1923)
Overall length 113'8" - beam 17'6" (28'0" across paddle boxes) - draught 4'0"
Passenger Capacity (2015) : 235 (Class V and VI waters)

Ran a service with three other paddlers from Totnes to Dartmouth in the inter-war period
Served as a stores ship and tender to the US Navy during World War II
Was part of a three-vessel service after the war
Withdrawn after the 1961 season for reboilering, retaining coal fuel, and attention to the hull
Returned to service in 1964, but with her two consorts withdrawn in favour of replacement motor vessels
Finally withdrawn after the 1965 season as running costs continued to mount
Laid up in Old Mill Creek, she was bought by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society in 1967
Moved in August 1967 to the River Medina, Isle of Wight, near PS Medway Queen.
In steam twice in 1969 (4th May and 8th June), but otherwise deteriorating at her berth
Moved to Rochester on the River Medway in June 1971
Preservation then restoration work undertaken at a tidal berth by a small band of volunteers
Successfully steamed "in-situ" in 1982
Returned to operational steam on 4/11/1983 and obtained her insurance certificate
Operated for 20 days in 1984 with a volunteer crew and a 12 passenger limit venturing as far as Gravesend.
First meeting with PS Waverley on 16/9/84 on Chatham Reach
Passenger Certificates were obtained to allow commercial operation in the 1985 season.
1985-2012: Continued expansion of operation on the Medway and Thames estuary and improvement of facilities under guidance of Captain John Megoran.

2013 : Conclusion of a 15-year charter agreement with the Dartmouth Steam Railway & Riverboat Company to return her for service on the River Dart
Winter 2016-17 : new low-pressure cylinder cast following the discovery of a small crack on part of the outer casing
Out of service for the 2022 season for a major restoration

Above : Kingswear Castle made two short cruises on the River Medina to Cowes in 1969. Photo by kind courtesy of Derek Gawn
Click here for more photos

Above : Kingswear Castle (right) on the River Medina in late 1970 with Medway Queen already moroed at the proposed marina and Ryde (left) recently arrived. Photo by kind courtesy of Derek Gawn

Kingswear Castle is one of two paddle steamers owned on behalf of the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society and her return to service has meant that there are only two operational paddlers in the UK. During Waverley's traditional autumn visit to the Thames, her schedulers have always tried to ensure that there was a meeting between the two ships on the Medway. On this occasion, 27th September 2000, a little more than the normal "parade of steam" along the Medway was planned. The two ships were to exchange passengers in mid-channel. Although the ships met (see photo above by kind courtesy of Phil Barnes), an exchange was aborted as the waters roughened. Despite failing in this unusual procedure, there remained the opportunity to photograph the other vessel sailing in procession.
Click here to see more photos of Kingswear Castle by Phil Barnes

Above : Kingswear Castle at Thunderbolt Pier, Chatham on June 14th, 1992 by Phil Barnes.  
Click here for more photos form 1992 and 1993 by Phil Barnes

Kingswear Castle on the River Medway in 1988
Kingswear Castle - Britain's Last Coal-Fired Paddle Steamer
By J.B. Millar
Published in various editions by Kingswear Castle Excursions Ltd / PSPS
The KC story

Internet Links

Kingswear Castle owner's official website
Dartmouth Steam Railway & River Boat Company website

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