Kingswear Castle enters service on the Dart

Supporting the preservation and operation of paddle steamers Waverley and Kingswear Castle

Kingswear Castle enters service on the Dart

On Friday 29th March Kingswear Castle was once again offering cruises on the River Dart. Her last public sailing on the Dart was in 1965 before she was purchased by the PSPS for the sum of £600. Kingswear Castle’s first sailing in 2013 on the River Dart from Dartmouth was advertised as a Homecoming  Charity Cruise where the proceeds from the short sailing will be donated to the PSPS.

To mark the occasion the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company put on a special steam train which left Paignton at 0915 to take intending passengers to Kingswear to connect to Dartmouth via the short ferry crossing in time for KC’s 1030 departure.

The arrival of KC is made clear to passing cars and pedestrians at Paignton Station
At Paignton Station a model of PS Compton Castle is on display. Compton Castle was built for service on the Dart in 1914 and was also subject to a preservation project after her withdrawal from service at the end of 1962.

After arriving at Kingswear Engine number 7827 “Lydham Manor” prepares to run round the train to return to Paignton.

Shortly after 1020 Kingswear Castle cleared her overnight berth and came alongside the pier at Dartmouth where a crowd had gathered in the cold wind.

Kingswear Castle approaches Dartmouth Pier before boarding passengers for the “Paddle Steamer Homecoming Charity Cruise”.

As passengers boarded they were offered a glass of fizz to toast the ship as she starts her new life back on her home river.

Passengers board KC, note the balloons and the deck crew in period crew uniform.

KC’s newly painted bow. The anchor chain is almost hidden now it is painted black to match the hull.

It was the General Manager, Andrew Pooley, who checked tickets as passengers boarded. Shortly after all passengers were aboard Jeremy Gold, Chairman of Kingswear Castle Trust, said a few words explaining the charter agreement which now exists and his hope and belief that the ship will be a real attraction in the area. Initially KC made her way down river before turning and heading further up stream from Dartmouth. Even in the cool conditions and prevailing cold wind those aboard seemed to enjoy the occasion.

KC’s 2 Cylinder diagonal compound steam engine which dates back to 1908.

The recently repainted paddle box shwoing the very high standard of paint work.

After completing her initial sailing she offered a short trip leaving Dartmouth at 2pm.

KC leaves Dartmouth having canted on the corner of the pier for a short River Cruise.

With her whistle blowing she gathers speed.

It remains to be said that the best way to experience KC is to visit her on her home river. Full details of her sailings can be found by clicking here. The event made the national news and a brief report can be found here.

PSPS members benefit from a 20% discount on KC sailings on tickets bought on the day, PSPS members also get 10% discount on the Dartmouth steam railway. To join click here and download the new members form or email for further details or a printed leaflet about how to join the PSPS. Members must carry their current membership card to be able to claim any discounts. In addition PSPS members can now also gain a small discount on Waverley tickets purchased in advance via the booking phone number 0845 130 4647.

Paul Semple