Engine Runs Again After 15 Years

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

November 20th was a memorable day for KC because the engine ran for the first time since the vessel left the Isle of Wight about fifteen years earlier. This achievement was the result of a sustained effort over several weekends and many evenings by the engine room team led by Chris Jones.

From Paddle Wheels No. 91

The long .awaited moment in the engine room. Dave Holloway (left) and Chris Jones at the controls. Note the wisp of steam from the valve chest gland.|Bernie Thompson

To get to this point the steam pipework to all the auxiliaries had to be completed and lagged. Also the boiler had to be lagged and the casing replaced. The paddle shafts were lined up, coupled and the newly made guards were replaced. We are indebted to lndustramar Ltd. for visiting the ship and applying “Chockfast” packers to the outboard bearings free of charge. This artificial resin is now commonly used for marine propeller shaft bearings. It is applied in liquid form when the bearings have been accurately positioned and solidifies to give a packing block of perfect thickness.

The fire was lit during the week and there was sufficient steam on Friday evening to run the pumps and the Sissons generator. On the Saturday high tide with lubricators charged and numerous other preparations made, the main steam valve was gently opened and everything went round very smoothly. Engine trials are only possible whilst the ship is afloat because condenser water circulation is necessary. Even without the floats on the wheels she gave a good tug on the mooring rope! The steam trials were held primarily to ensure the correct functioning of the boiler, and an inspection of the plant in steam required for insurance purposes. Everything was sound except that the safety valves were not re-seating properly after opening. This cannot of course be corrected with the boiler in steam and the valves should receive attention prior to the next steaming.

The inspection will take place when everything is proved to be operating correctly. A good start has been made on the after deck and steel replacement. The after well deck and the coach deck above the after saloon have been completely lifted. This gives access to the steelwork where considerable repair and renewal is necessary. An estimated £3,000 is required for materials for this work. This is of course in addition to our regular expenses such as mooring fees, gas, electricity and insurance which amounted to approximately £3,000 over the last year.

Nick Knight (left) receives a £500 cheque on behalf of PSPS from Councillor Rodberg (Rochester-upon-Medway City Council). This donation towards the Deck timber fund took place on November 20th 1982 and the Civic visitors were able to see KC in steam.|Victor Maynard
Nick Knight and Councillor Rodberg. Victor Maynard

Restoration Log Book

Christmas Party 18th December 1982: More than 30 people enjoyed watching the engine go round, games, soup, tea, punch, food and drink. There was an auction of paddle steamer models and sale of souvenirs. Everybody left happy.

 Brian Lawrence