Winter 1987

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

Winter 1987

Boiler problemsWaverley’s 40th anniversary season was cut short in late August by boiler troubles. She has since lay at Anderson Quay during exhaustive investigations by experts. Waverley had already suffered two weeks of inactivity from late July when defects with the ‘B’ furnace came to light. Given DoT permission to operate using only ‘A’ furnace she completed schedules to 23rd August. It was then discovered that ‘A’ furnace was also defective and next day the DoT formally withdrew the passenger certificates.

Clyde’s bitter sweet summer – The decision was taken to cancel Balmoral’s planned return to the Clyde and to use her on the English schedule devised for Waverley. Approaches to Sealink with a view to obtaining Southsea were successful, and a charter agreement was signed. Southsea left Portsmouth around midnight on 3-4th September arriving in the river of her birth in the early hours of Sunday 8th. She had to be inspected by the DoT, boat drill carried out, stored, makeshift arrangements had to be made for purser and shop. But she was advertised to sail that day and sail she did, with Waverley’s flags, and bringing her Sealink livery to unfamiliar piers.

MV Southsea alongside Anderston Quay with Waverley laid up at Lancefield Quay. More pictures here.|Stuart Cameron

Southsea brought her Captain, William Frampton, and an engineer of her own. The ship was taken over by Waverley’s crew, Waverley’s regular captain remained on the bridge as first officer and pilot. Her certificates did not allow her to use Ayr Harbour, so some modifications had to be made to the schedule.. The motor ship’s final sailings took place over the Glasgow Autumn Holiday weekend. Close on 500 passengers took part. Sunday’s cruise was to Tighnabruaich and farewells to the Clyde were said with the customary three blasts on siren at each pier on the return leg of the cruise round Bute.

Paddle steamer week at Ramsgate – This event was presented jointly by the Thanet Tourist Office and PSPS London & Home Counties branch in support of Balmoral’s visit to Ramsgate. The original arrangements had been to support Waverley and when her visit to the South Coast had to be cancelled, all seemed lost. But Thanet Council agreed to go ahead as planned. London Branch’s new display panels made their debut at the Maritime Museum complementing permanent exhibits, including PSPS’s own models of Royal Eagle and Golden Eagle.

Balmoral keeps the flag flying – The upswing in steamer trade on the Bristol Channel noted in the early season continued during the main programme as Balmoral had one of her busiest ever summers. The beginning of July saw the start of heavy loadings with over 700 on board for the evening cruise through the Avon Gorge.

Nine years late – May 1978 was the date set for Balmoral to start her first season on the Thames, but Campbell’s plans changed due to a charter for Devonia in Scotland. Now a rejuvenated Balmoral sailed to Waverley’s rescue this summer. A deal with Network South East for return by train resulted in Balmoral bringing some 500 through Tower Bridge on her first visit to London.

New owners for Ryde Queen – Acquired by a property development company the Ryde is outwardly in good condition and weather protected. Inside the engine room looks to be in good condition.

And 50 years ago… Princess Elizabeth’s season ended on 19th September; On August 30th Bristol Queen took a full load to Lundy, leaving some 200 behind; Clyde shipbuilding firm A&J Inglis Ltd is to close. Medway Queen’s 1962 passenger figures were several thousands down. Read more…