As dusk gathered on 14th January 2020 a significant step in the £2.3m project to return the World's Last Seagoing Paddle Steamer, the PS Waverley (IV) of Glasgow; to steam, unfolded.
The vessel, under the charge of Clyde Marine's tugs Biter and Battler, moved twenty miles downriver from her home berth at Plantation Quay, adjacent to Glasgow Science Centre to Dales Marine Services premises at the James Watt Dock in Greenock.
Over the next four months the vessel's existing boiler plant, electrical generating equipment and oil heating equipment will be removed and replaced by new replacement twin boilers and enhanced electrical generation capacity. As the vessel is now fuelled on low sulphur marine gas oil, the oil heating equipment, used to reduce the viscosity of the heavy fuel oil that was her main fuel from 1956 to 2016, is no longer required.
Although the move is the first obvious activity of the regeneration project, much work has been ongoing by the management of the Waverley's owning charitable trust and Engineering crew over the last six months to get to this stage. The new steam plant is now under assembly at Annan in Dumfriesshire, following approvals and ongoing inspections by the necessary regulatory and standards authorities.
Most of the project will now be completed at the James Watt Dock premises (the dock being named after the world-renowned steam powered innovator, a native Greenock). Coincidentally, the new boilers will be fitted just a few hundred yards from the location where the ship's original double-ended Scotch boiler was fitted almost exactly 73 years ago, between February and May 1947.
Now that Waverley is at Dales' premises, arguably the most visual phase of the project will unfold. In the near future the vessel's two iconic red, white and black funnels, together with an area of the promenade deck surrounding them, will be removed to the quayside to enable the old equipment to be removed and the new plant to be lifted in. I believe that the method employed to install the new twin boilers with vary slightly from that employed during their installation in February-June 2000.
All going well the vessel will be in steam again in June 2020.
Waverley's £2.3 million boiler refit will now get fully underway. Her twin funnels will soon be lifted off to allow full access to the Boiler Room. The complete works are expected to take around 4 months before Waverley makes her return to service this summer.
We are extremely grateful to everyone that donated to the recent appeal, without your support Waverley would not be about to undergo her major transplant that will see her return to steam.