On Saturday 4th August 1962 Medway Queen was scheduled to make two round trips between Strood and Southend.
She was due away from Strood (9.30am) for Southend (11.10am – 11.30am) and then back to Strood (1.10pm). She then spent a couple of hours alongside while some of her passengers visited Rochester for the castle and cathedral before setting off again from Strood (3.30pm) for Southend (5.10pm – 5,30pm) and then back to Strood (7.10pm).
This gave four trip options in the day:
- Day trip from Strood to Southend for 4 hours ashore (9.30am – 7.10pm)
- Non-landing morning cruise from Strood to Southend (9.30am – 1.10pm)
- Day trip from Southend to Strood for 2 hours shore (11.30am – 5.10pm)
- Non-landing afternoon cruise from Strood to Southend (3.30pm – 7.10pm)
The single fare between Strood and Southend was 7/- (£7.50 today). The day return fare Strood to Southend was 9/6 (£10.20). And the period return Strood to Southend was 12/6 (£13.50). So sailing on Medway Queen was really rather cheap in 1962.
On Sundays and Wednesdays she was rostered to leave Strood (9.15am) for Southend (10.55am) and Clacton (2.45pm) from where she ran an afternoon cruise into the River Blackwater (2.45pm – 4.15pm) before leaving Clacton (4.15pm) for Southend (6.40pm) and Strood (8.40pm).
On Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays she was rostered to leave Strood 9.15am) for Southend (10.55am), Herne Bay (12.30pm) and back to Southend (2.15pm – 3.15pm) before returning to Herne Bay (5pm) and then back to Southend (6.40pm) and Strood (8.40pm)
Fridays were generally days off although there were occasions during the season when she was out on charter.
Tiny Point of Detail: I recall one of the volunteers at the Historic Dockyard Chatham telling me in the 1990s that as a young man he had been an Able Seaman on Medway Queen and had objected to being asked to come in for work on his day off on a Friday so that the ship could run a charter. This resulted in him being sacked by Captain Horsham.
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 4th August 2021.