Steam returns to the River Dart

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by grebeman, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    In 1924 a steel hulled, 108 feet long paddle steamer, yard number 667, was launched from the shipyard of Philip and Son, Dartmouth. She was called Kingswear Castle and actually used secondhand engines from the previous Kingswear Castle built by Cox and Co of Falmouth in Cornwall in 1904. She served on the Dart until the mid 1960's, at one time in 1943-44 she actually worked for the American forces on harbour duties. After being laid up for a few years she was bought by a preservation trust and taken away from the Dart. Last winter she returned and now she has started work again on the river that gave her birth.

    Departing the pontoon and sounding her steam whistle to alert other craft she is underway

    Proudly displaying her builders plate

    Our captain for the day giving us a safety talk as we set sail. Beneath the wheelhouse you can see some skylights, they offer a vision into the world of a paddle steamers engine room

    Looking down that skylight reveals a sight from a bygone era, a paddle steamers engine. Technically a diagonal compound steam engine. The main crank with the big end for the high pressure (HP) cylinder in full view and partially hidden the big end of the low pressure (LP) cylinder. Between the cranks are sheaves and eccentrics which drive the reversing link of the Stephensons valve gear which enable the engine, and hence the ship to reverse the direction of travel

    Looking down on the lifting link from the other side of the hatch, the eccentric rods on the lower left driving the lifting link for the LP cylinder, the HP crank rod just above centre with the little end connecting to the piston rod

    From the other side the LP little end with a drive taken off it to a rocking lever to drive a pump, probably the air pump for the condenser

    Behind the crank are the boilers, I just missed the engineer firing the boiler, here he's just replacing the shovel on it's hangers

    The trip took us to the mouth of the estuary, here is Dartmouth Castle dating from the 1400's together with St Petrox church

    On the other side of the estuary mouth is Kingswear Castle, after which our vessel is named

    Having turned to head back upriver we get a view of Dartmouth (on the left) and Kingswear (on the right)

    Further up stream and Britannia Royal Naval College comes into view

    All that remains of the Noss yard of Philip and Son who built the Kingswear Castle

    Many famous mystery and crime novels were written in this house, this is Greenway, the former home of the late Dame Agatha Christie

    In 1943/44 American officers were billeted in Greenway and Agatha Christie lived in this thatched cottage down on Greenway Quay

    The village of Dittisham (pronounced Ditsum by us south Devon locals) marks the upper limit of the cruise

    The typical and distinctive wake of a paddle steamer

    The Kingswear Castle approaches Dartmouth from up stream at the end of the vovage

  2. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants Hall of Famer

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    Really nice! Would love to ride that and see it myself.
  3. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    John, it was a fantastic trip with much less, indeed hardly any, vibration under foot that you experience on a modern diesel powered ferry. Perhaps later in the year I'll be able to due a full trip up to Totnes, the limit of navigation on the Dart and dependant on the tides. Old photographs show as many as three paddle steamers at Steamer Quay, Totnes when these vessels maintained a vital service for locals and up to 400 passengers on the Totnes Castle, sister ship to this one, on high days and holidays.

  4. ReD

    ReD Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    Nice trip you gave us there Thanks
  5. muzee

    muzee Veteran

    Apr 30, 2013
    These are beautiful ... what setup did you use? .. One of the DPs?
  6. Very nice.

    Steam boats always fascinated me.
  7. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    Nop, the GH2 and 14-45mm Panasonic zoom, except for the last shot which was with a Voigtlander 75mm, f/2.5 Color Heliar

  8. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants Hall of Famer

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    Wonderful, Barrie. What's marvelous also is that it's the original boat restored and not a replica. Don't see that much with these old steamers or sail stuff anymore. Little different for watercraft than it is for steam traction engines on land.
  9. Judderman62

    Judderman62 Veteran

    Mar 24, 2013
    Greater Manchester, UK
    what he said ^^^
  10. What a wonderful trip, Barrie! You're giving me very itchy feet.
  11. Lovely set of images!
  12. Isoterica

    Isoterica Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    An excellent series Barrie, it's like reading one of those little pamphlets while you're waiting at the dock for a ride.
  13. wrangler

    wrangler Regular

    Jan 11, 2013
    SW Minnesota
    Dennis Ulrich
    Thanks for sharing a very nice set of images that evoke strong memories. I have been a Steam fan since the waining days of Steam on US railways. In 1960, my brother and I had a chance to ride behind a Civil War era locomotive that was on a tour as part of the Centennial Celebration of the war. I was also fortunate to work in an industry that still used steam to power machinery in the early 1970's. It's on my bucket list to ride a Paddle Wheeler.