In 1987 a tiny crack developed on one of the lugs to which a stay bar is attached on the external part of the casting of Kingswear Castle's low pressure cylinder. This was repaired at the time by Metalock. The stay bar secures the cylinder in position and has to resist the power of the piston on each revolution of the engine.
Last season the crack re-appeared. Discussions with the Dart Company took place as to the best way to address this. As a result, it was decided to start on a rebuild of KC's engine with the first part being to cast a new LP cylinder.
In order to gets this moving, and as KC had very little scheduled after the end of September, she was taken out of service early for work to start. The LP cylinder was removed, unloaded onto the Dart Harbour's small lifting barge and moved to Kingswear.
After taking expert advice, a new cylinder, which will be indentical in every respect, is being cast to replace the existing one. The work is being undertaken through the notable railway engineering workshop at Tyseley.
As a result of a similar problem, the Lake Lucerne paddle steamer Uri had a new low pressure cylinder cast and fitted during her rebuild in 1993.
Kingswear Castle is scheduled to return to service on 27 May 2017.