Monday 9th October 1961 unexpectedly turned out to be the last day of the season for Bristol Queen. This was not originally planned as she had already competed her scheduled summer season with trips on the Cardiff/Weston ferry on 19th September after which she had been laid up in Cardiff Docks.
However she had to be hastily reactivated in the first week of October and returned to service to cover the last trips of the season which had been rostered for Cardiff Queen which had issues with her steering gear.
These problems had dogged Cardiff Queen that summer and on several occasions she had to return up Channel on her hand gear. In the end, management decided that enough was enough so she was withdrawn and laid up after her trip to Ilfracombe on 3rd October.
Bristol Queen was therefore brought back into service to take over and ran the last trip of the season to Ilfracombe on Sunday 8th October with about 350 aboard.
The following day she was on the Cardiff Weston ferry before retiring for the second time in three weeks to Cardiff where she joined Cardiff Queen for winter lay-up, Penarth Dock being unavailable that year due to its closure.
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 9th October 2020.