The Kingswear Castle – the last remaining coal-fired paddle steamer in operation in the UK – is to return to her original home on the River Dart after an absence of 47 years.
The move follows a 15-year agreement between the owners, the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society and the Dartmouth Steam Railway and Riverboat Company. The deal was announced at the PSPS annual meeting in Bath by DSRRC general manager Andrew Pooley.
For the last 27 years the paddle steamer has been a popular feature on the River Medway, on which she has been running regular river trips.
However, following a periodic winter refit the Kingswear Castle is expected to begin operating pleasure trips to Paignton, Kingswear and Totnes.
She left Chatham under tow by a tug last week, and will be very much missed in the area – but the Medway’s loss will be the Dart’s gain.
The Kingswear Castle was built in 1924 by Philip & Son of Dartmouth, and in her heyday carried up to just short of 500 passengers between Totnes and Dartmouth until 1965, when she was purchased by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society, and left the Dart.
For more information is available here.
The photos below by Richard de Jong (and his copyright) show the Kingswear Castle operating on the Medway this year. As usual, click on the images to see a larger photo.