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Paddlesteamer Kingswear Castle returns home to the Dart after 50 years

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 08, 2012

  • The Kingswear Castle is the last of the River Dart's paddle steamers. She was built on the River Dart by Philip and Son in 1924 and will return to the river next week

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The UK's last remaining coal-fired steamer still in operation will come home to Devon after almost 50 years.

The Paddlesteamer Kingswear Castle, built on the River Dart by Philip and Son in 1924, will return to the river after an absence of 47 years.

The "grand old lady of the Dart" will begin her return journey next week following a 15-year project to restore her to former glory.

Until 1965 she carried almost 500 passengers between Totnes and Dartmouth during 41 years of service. Her own engines date back to 1904, eight years before the sinking of the Titanic.

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Andrew Pooley, general manager of Dartmouth Steam Railway and Riverboat Company, said: "It has taken nearly three years' negotiations to persuade the trustees that we have the marine expertise and steam engineering skills to look after this historic vessel in perpetuity.

"We wanted to bring Kingswear Castle back to her home port so that she can once again carry passengers up and down the waters that she was built for."

South Hams District Councillor Hilary Bastone said: "This is wonderful news. The old steam driven paddle wheelers brought such magic to the river.

The Kingswear Castle was the last of the line – it is a truly inspired decision to bring this 88-year-old lady back to her true home."

She will arrive home towed by a seagoing tug next week, and subject to her periodic winter refit will operate trips to Totnes and back from Easter.

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  • nick113  |  December 09 2012, 8:17PM

    Fantastic news. Kingswear Castle is a beauty, and will be a big attraction to Devon.

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  • themightyflea  |  December 08 2012, 4:32PM

    Brilliant - simply brilliant. With the right pricing this will be a great attraction.

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