On Monday 23rd February 1948 Lucy Ashton became the first of the former LNER fleet to have her red, white and black funnel painted buff with a black top to conform to the new colour scheme of British Railways following nationalisation on 1st January 1948.
This was earlier than had been planned. The winter service at that time of a daily round trip from Craigendoran on the north shore of the Clyde to Kilcreggan, Dunoon and Rothesay was usually shared between Talisman and Lucy Ashton. However, Talisman had run aground at Kilcreggan on 3rd January and so was out of service for repairs as a result.
Then in the spirit of when one door closes another drops on your head Lucy Ashton made a heavy landing alongside at Craigendoran and so she too had to be withdrawn. This meant that Jeanie Deans, which was far too big for the available winter traffic, had to be flashed up to take the place of both of her more economically sized running mates.
And so Lucy Ashton became the first LNER paddle steamer to change sides and have her funnel painted in what had been the LMS colours of the Gourock based ships.
Second was Talisman which picked up her old duties in March sporting a buff funnel with a black top.
Gone was the red, white and black funnel of yesteryear. Well until 1975 anyway.
Kingswear Castle returned to service in 2023 after the first part of a major rebuild which is designed to set her up for the next 25 years running on the River Dart. The Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust is now fund raising for the second phase of the rebuild. You can read more about the rebuilds and how you can help if you can here.
This article was first published on 23rd February 2021.