Government scheme assists refit – Since the beginning of the year Waverley has been a hive of activity with internal work pushing ahead at a rapid rate. A great boost for 1977 was the allocation of 20 skilled workers under the Government’s job creation scheme. This valuable work force will save in the region of £13,000. Working alongside Society volunteers and Waverley’s staff the craftsmen began the construction of five new two berth cabins. The toilets are also being completely renovated and refitted. All the auxiliary equipment plus the main boiler were passed by the DTI inspector on January 10th.
Big day on the Medway – Kingswear Castle in steam: this was the encouraging scene at the Medway Bridge Marina at the end of January when the boiler was given a first steaming test. To mark the occasion the Society ensign flew from the fore mast. It is not easy to keep faithful to a mass of steel and timber for four years without seeing it work. Much of the working time has had to be spent repairing decks which leaked like a sieve; lying scraping and painting beneath the hull with plates inches from one’s nose and sometimes getting soaking wet into the bargain; knocking off scale and grovelling in the in the most awkward and confined bilges. Both skilled and unskilled workers, men and women, have cheerfully thrown in their lot with the “dirty gangs” in their fight to literally stop the rot. An important point in KC’s fortune has been reached – the boiler steamed and the general service pumps working before the vessel goes on the slip in March.Farewell to the Queen – The long career of a favourite excursion steamer came to a sad and sudden end in the autumn. Queen of the Broads was one of a pair of identical vessels built in Yarmouth in 1889. For eight years Queen of the Broads has been the only steam vessel working from Yarmouth and due to her size and hinged funnel could visit all the main Broadland centres. The steamer had gone for annual survey, and only after removal of bottom plates were defects discovered. Pleasure Steamers Ltd. approached one enthusiast body but money could not be immediately guaranteed for repairs. The owners were left with little alternative but to give the go ahead for demolition.
Distant paddle wheels
High Season Rhine Sailings carried out by paddle steamers are to be indicated by special symbols in the timetables. There are three operational sidewheelers.
Back in service on Lake Geneva for the summer but with diesel electric power will be Helvetie. La Suisse again operates from Lausanne and the paddler Rhone becomes the Geneva promenade steamer.
The Lake Lucerne Paddler Gallia, greyhound of the lake fleets, will be taking things easy in 1977, remaining out of commission while the newly renovated Schiller takes over on the afternoon round trip. Unterwalden and Uri will be sharing weekend sailings while Stadt Luzern continues on the daily schedule.
On the Danube there will be steam passenger paddlers – the Austrian Schönbrunn being earmarked for a full service between Vienna and Passau. Further downstream the Hungarian fleet will have the paddlers Petoti and Kossuth sailing on excursions, with the veteran Dunafoldvar as reserve ship.
The Scandinavian veterans Skiblander and Hjejlen are also being prepared for summer service.