PADDLE STEAMER KINGSWEAR CASTLE

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Reasons for the Move

 

We have been giving great thought of late to the future of Kingswear Castle and how she may best continue to be preserved in operational condition in years to come. It is now forty five years since we first acquired her and thirty years since she first started to run on the River Medway. What of the next half century? And how do we source, in the present world, the necessary operational and maintenance skills and facilities to take her forward?

One option ever under consideration has been to return her to the River Dart in Devon where she was built in 1924 and where she ran until 1965. This was first seriously discussed way back in 1986 when Ian Allan was Chairman of the Dart Railway and was very keen to bring her back home.

Talks were revived in recent years and these have accelerated. As a result, and after consultation with the Council of Management of the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society and others, it has finally been agreed that from 2013 Kingswear Castle will be taken on long term charter by the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Co and returned to service on the River Dart. As a result the business here on the Medway will close.

We believe that the package which has been offered by the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company is in the best long term interest of Kingswear Castle not only because she will be "going home" but also because they have long experience of, and are skilled in, the operation of both passenger vessels and steam engines, a combination not found much elsewhere. In addition they have excellent repair and maintenance facilities to keep our ship in good order on the River Dart including an undercover slipway.

Kingswear Castle will continue to be owned by us. She may not be changed or modified without our consent and all major works on her will be done in consultation with us.

We understand that this move will be sad news for all our friends on the Medway including the Historic Dockyard Chatham and Medway Council, as well as very many other organisations and individuals who have given so much help in so many ways and who have sailed with us over so many years.

To all we say thank you. And we hope that you will all understand that we believe that this move will be in Kingswear Castle's best long term interest and will provide the very best long term future for her.

And I am sure that Kingswear Castle herself will be delighted to welcome aboard all her old friends from the Medway in her new "old" life with her revived  trips "Up and Down the Dart".

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