Steam ships etc
|Tue, 7 Oct 2008 12:31
|A gallery depicting the various types of vessel with steam plant, both self-propelled and dumb, as photographed by Geograph contributors around the UK.
I personally have machinery space photographs of some 150 steam vessels and a ready to run digital presentation on steam ships. If anybody wants a lecture (expenses only - no fee), especially around the midlands, please contact me to see if I can help.
I will start with the replica of Henry Bell's Comet, one of the earliest steam vessels to run.
Many people would automatically think paddle steamer for steam ship and there are quite a few to be found around the united Kingdom.
The oldest in regular service is Kingswear Castle of 1924 . She has an engine from 1904 and from 2013 is active on the Dart, having left the Medway at the end of the 2012 season.
Medway Queen is known as the "Heroine of Dunkirk" and has spent many years in a struggle to survive. A new hull is now being constructed in Bristol . The original engine will be restored and installed.
The Ryde at Island Village on the Isle of Wight is in a ruinous state and disintegrating where she lies . She is to be broken up in situ.
Three Humber ferries from the 1930s survived until recently but demolition of Lincoln Castle at Grimsby commenced in July 2010. Two still survive though: - Seen by many people from the London Eye, Tattersall Castle has been the most altered and now lacks paddle wheels but retains her engine. Wingfield Castle is at Hartlepool .
PS Waverley of 1947 is a great British icon and the world's last ocean going paddle steamer. She is powered by a magnificent diagonal triple expansion engine of 2100 horsepower .
P & A Campbell of Bristol also had new tonnage after WWII and Bristol Queen was very similar to Waverley.
The last large paddle steamer built for UK use was the Maid of the Loch . She is preserved on Loch Lomond and plans are advanced for her return to steam.
Monarch is a small modern steamer that was based on the Isle of Wight but from 2013 will operate from Wareham in Dorset and is powered by a converted pumping engine recovered from the Thomas Ness tar distillery in Caerphilly . This pump was effectively a steam pump but had apparently always been run on compressed air.
|Thu, 9 Oct 2008 21:17
|Screw passenger vessels are next up.
Still hard at Work is the Sir Walter Scott . Built in 1900 and plying her trade on Loch Katrine ever since. Now converted to run on biodiesel rather than the previously used solid smokeless fuel .
There are a whole collection of high quality Thames Steamers that mainly undertake charters for the well-heeled. These include Nuneham , now operated from Runnymede by French Brothers, Windsor Belle , Streatley and Alaska .
There was a special class of double ended Norfolk Broads steamers and one of these was SS Yarmouth , seen in use as a tea room and subsequently scrapped. There is also an earlier photograph of her afloat at Woodbridge tide mill . A similar vessel - SS Resolute - is believed to survive but has lost her engine and is yet to be pictured on Geograph.
Isle of Man Steam Packet Co passenger ferry Manxman of 1955 is threatened with scrapping and may not survive much longer. Her later running mate Ben My Chree , a side loading car ferry, has long since gone. Dr Neil Clifton has posted a superb photo with no less than three earlier turbine steamers of the IOMSP.
Duke of Lancaster was used on the Irish Sea and is likely to be broken where she lies near Mostyn.
The Sealink turbine steamer Tuxedo Princess has now been scrapped in Turkey and the similar Tuxedo Royale is clinging on in Middlesborough. It is highly likely that she too will be scrapped.
A truly iconic British flag passenger/cruise liner was Canberra . She was retired in 1997 and ended broken on an Asian beach. Also broken in Asia was the elegant Italian liner Eugenio C, once operated by Direct Cruises as Edinburgh Castle and ending up as Premier Cruise's Big Red Boat II . The QE2 was of course built as a turbine steamer but ended up as a motor ship with a diesel electric power station system turning the screw electrically . Some of the wooden patterns for her turbine casings survive at the Scottish Maritime Museum .
Interestingly, some modern gas turbine ships have waste heat recovery boilers and steam turbines so they are at least in part steam ships. Typically 50 MW of gas turbine could be coupled with 9 MW of steam turbine and also a fair load for hotel services, evaporators etc. This photograph shows Celebrity Cruises Constellation - one such vessel. She is powered by electric motors in steerable pods (azipods) suspended from the hull.
|Sun, 12 Oct 2008 20:01
|Even today the well-heeled will treat themselves to a yacht and it was ever thus. Therefore the wealthy were known to indulge themselves with the odd steam yacht, ranging from the cosy to the outrageous. Here are a few.
Carola was the builder's own yacht and could also do a bit of tug work. She is now preserved at the Scottish Maritime Museum, Irvine but is not steamable due to the need for boiler repairs.
Gondola although classified as a private yacht was operated for the public by the Furness Railway Company on Coniston and spent several years underwater. She was eventually salvaged and the National Trust had a faithful replica built. The original hull thickness was below what would now be acceptable. The public can ride her on Lake Coniston in the season. Propulsion is by a vee twin steam engine supplied by a locomotive type boiler.
Scharhorn was built in Hamburg (she never was the Kaiser's yacht - that's an urban myth) and finally ended up malingering in Maryport. She was repatriated, lovingly restored and now operates out of Hamburg. Propulsion is by a pair of triple expansion reciprocating engines.
Ocean Mist was built in 1919 on the lines of a trawler and had various owners before being steamed to Leith for use as a restaurant ship. She has now been altered radically but the triple expansion engine remains .
Nahlin was built for Lady Yule and took Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson to the Med. She later became the Romanian royal yacht and was repatriated in a poor condition. She is now being restored in Germany and it is believed she will remain as a steam ship. She was built in 1930 by John Brown on the Clyde with 4000 hp worth of Brown-Curtis steam turbines driving twin screws by single reduction gearing (a poor man's Queen Mary). A truly awesome survivor. However, the yacht has now been totally restored and converted to diesel electric propulsion(2 x 2MW) in Germany. Initially at the Rendsburg yard and afterwards at Blohm + Voss Hamburg. The vessel was restored to an almost identical exterior but with totally new decks and bulkheads. Internally completely new and modern with full new navigational and communications suite. It is claimed that she is now owned by vacuum cleaner magnate James Dyson.
Finally, the UK's last Royal Yacht, Britannia based on a cross channel ferry design (I kid you not) and powered by 12,000 hp worth of single reduction geared turbines turning twin screws.
|Tue, 21 Oct 2008 00:01
|I must now turn to vessels designed to carry a cargo, some converted to other uses.
The Black Country Museum is owner of the original steam powered narrowboat President . Built for the fleet of Fellows, Morton & Clayton with an inverted vetical tandem compound steam engine. Later converted to diesel she was eventually acquird by local enthusiasts and converted back to steam before becoming the property of the museum. She is now on her second engine in preservation and the plan is still to build a replica of the original engine.
Another inland vessel is the Raven, preserved at Windermere Steamboat Museum .
Basuto represents the older and smaller class of Clyde "puffer" and is at Ellesmere Port Boat Museum. A whole class of puffers was built in WWII and known as VICs. Examples include VIC32 , now converted as a passenger cruise vessel, and VIC96 , now restored and moored at Chatham . VIC27 was later named Auld Reekie and starred as Vital Spark in the Para Handy TV series. She is about to be restored after years of decay.
An 1890s classic tramp steamer is represented by SS Robin . After several years in West India Dock she has been extensively restored in Lowestoft and is currently (8/2011) on a floating pontoon in Royal Victoria Dock .
Moving up to Britain's largest preserved, workable steam ship we have SS Shieldhall . Built as a sewage sludge carrier for Glasgow Corporation she was latterly employed briefly by Southern Water and is now preserved at Southampton. While in Glasgow she also had a certificate to carry 80 passengers as a way of giving the disadvantaged a day 'doon the watter'. Propulsion is by a pair of 800 hp inverted vertical triple expansion steam engines ].
In 1994 the country was visited by the preserved US "Liberty ship" Jeremiah O'Brien . She was present at the D-Day landing and returned for the 50th anniversary celebrations. Powered by a 2,500 hp inverted vertical triple expansion engine turning a single screw.
Another classic American cargo vessel was seen when Tilbury was visited by the merchant marine training ship Empire State (VI) . This time a double reduction geared cross compound turbine turned the single screw. Here she is seen from behind in Dublin .
Seen in the "ghost fleet" at Hartlepool is the fleet refuelling oil tanker Caloosahatchee . Soon to be dismantled. Another single screw turbine steamer.
This view of the ghost fleet shows four US turbine steamers - Compass Island, Canopus, Canisteo and Caloosahatchee. They have recently been joined by Tuxedo Royal and the French aircraft carrier Clemenceau - also powered by steam turbines.
Steam ships are not completely dead as some LNG carriers are still being built with steam turbine propulsion. This is the 1974 veteran Margaret Hill. She is allegedly at Southampton to be converted to a vessel capable of liquifying LNG direct from the well head (a world first) but it seems that she will be scrapped. She has steam turbine propulsion with the boiler fired on boil-off gas from the Moss spheres that hold the cryogenic LNG. Another example was photographed at Inverkip by Tam and is the 1977 built steam turbine powered LNG Port Harcourt. This uses the French membrane type containment rather than the very obvious Moss spheres. Another laid up vessel using the French system appeared in Southampton in late 2009 and was the Methania, built in Belgium and powered by a 45,000 horsepower turbine .
Sadly, this niche can now be filled by internal combustion engines that can burn the LNG boil-off gas. Another technology that is displacing turbines is the diesel engined ship with a reliquefaction plant. One of the latter is seen here bringing the first cargo to the Milford Haven terminal . Very fitting that the new terminal is first visited by a new generation of LNG ship.
Some large diesel powered container ships have steam turbines powered by waste heat recovered from the exhaust gases, often coupled with gas expanders like a turbocharger. I'm waiting for a suitable photograph e.g. Emma Maersk. http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=506405 http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=311524
|Wed, 22 Oct 2008 00:06
|A very short section - fishing vessels.
Some of the large herring sailing drifters known as Fifies had steam operated capstans to operate the sails and nets. Steam was not used for propulsion, this being by wind alone. A beautifully restored example is the Reaper of 1901 and based at Anstruther . The capstan and its workings are shown here . The capstan is now operated by compressed air.
The steam herring drifter Lydia Eva is currently undergoing major restoration and is now based in East Anglia (Lowestoft/Great Yarmouth) .
The fisheries research vessel SS Explorer is based on the traditional side trawler and is being preserved in Leith.
Although many whale catchers were built in the UK, especially Middlesborough, none are preserved here and the only one I've seen was in Norway.
|Wed, 22 Oct 2008 23:01
|There are several vessel types that could be classified under the heading of harbour services or similar, including tugs, dredgers and floating cranes.
The most numerous class is tugs and that is where I'll start.
Mayflower is the oldest steam tug in Britain and was built in Bristol in 1861. She was re-engined with a Sisson compound and is preserved in a workable state by Bristol Industrial Museum - now relaunched a 'M Shed'.
Daniel Adamson was built in 1903 and used on the Manchester Ship Canal as a tug and directors' inspection vessel. She is now being restored to working order in Liverpool . She is twin screw with a pair of compound engines . Steam is supplied by a large coal-fired Scotch boiler .
Kerne was built in Montrose in 1913 and latterly used in Liverpool. She is now preserved in a workable condition.
Another twin screw vessel with a pair of compound engines is Portwey , built by Harland & Wolff in Govan (they were not just at Belfast) in 1927. Now preserved in West India Dock and workable.
St Denys was built by Wm Beardmore in 1929 and its triple expansion engine had British Caprotti valve gear, as used on some locomotives. Displayed at Falmouth Maritime Museum for a while she was finally sold to a museum in Brittany.
The twin engined paddle tug John H Amos was built in 1931 in Paisley and used in the north-east. She has spent many years at Chatham Dockyard but money is now being found for what promises to be a very expensive restoration. When seen in April 2010 she was high and dry on a pontoon in the commercial docks at Chatham and waiting for funding .
St Canute was also built in 1931, in Denmark and was on display at the now closed Exeter Maritime Museum. She was taken back to Sweden for continued commercial service. Her current condition is unknown.
Another from 1931 is Challenge , built by Alexander Hall in Aberdeen. She worked on the Thames and was preserved at St Katharine Dock in the 1980s. She has now had a full restoration.
Sea Alarm was built in 1941 for the Ministry of War Transport as an "Empire" ship. She worked the Bristol Channel and was preserved from 1973 in Cardiff. She has now been scrapped but the triple expansion engine is in store at Nant Garw.
TID 164 was a standard war design of small dock tug and was completed in 1945 with a 220 ihp compound engine. She is preserved at Chatham and believed to be workable.
TID 172 was completed in 1946 and is now preserved on the River Stour .
Another one of the standard war design TID tugs is Brent . She was being built as TID159 but was completed after the war in 1946 and acquired by the Port of london Authority under the name Brent. Privately preserved at Maldon for many years, a Trust has now been formed to ensure her preservation. She is currently out of steam due to boiler problems and also requires much work to her deteriorated superstructure..
Cervia is a powerful tug built by Alexander Hall, Aberdeen in 1946 for the Ministry of War Transport. She was acquired for preservation in 1985 and is on display at Ramsgate.
Harecraig II, also known as Flying Buzzard was built in 1951 by Ferguson Bros, Port Glasgow. She has now had a diesel fitted and her large compound engine is in the Scottish Maritime Museum at Irvine.
The twin screw tug Chipchase (on the left) was built in 1953 with a pair of triple expansion engines by Plenty of Newbury. She has now been scrapped but one engine is on display at Clydebuilt .
The latest steam tug to feature is Canning . Built by Cochrane in Selby in 1954 and preserved at the Waterfront Museum, Swansea.
An outlier is Barking as she was built with a diesel and has been converted to steam in recent times .
|Wed, 22 Oct 2008 23:11
|Dredgers came in a wide variety of forms, including dumb and self-propelled examples.
The oldest to survive is Bertha from 1844. She was designed by I K Brunel and used in Bridgwater Docks. She was at Exeter Maritime Museum for many years but is now at Eyemouth . She was used to scrape mud into the centre of the docks for scouring away. Her single cylinder engine used chains to pull her along. There was no screw.
Fairway was a dumb grab dredger used on the Caledonian Canal. She is believed to have been scrapped.
Perseverance is a Grafton grab dredger based on a narrowboat hull and was latterly used on the Basingstoke Canal . She is now at Ellesmere Port but is not, to the best of my knowledge, re-assembled.
There were several dumb ladder dredgers that survived until recently. SND No. 4 was built in the Netherlands and used on the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal. She is now preserved at Gloucester,although she did have a period of lying down when the hull was accidentally holed.
British Waterways also operated the John Bradley on the Severn and she is seen in action near Lincombe Lock. The engine has been removed and the hull has been put to an alternative use.
Colne Dredger was seen at Colchester but was subsequently retired and the steam plant was removed for alternative use.
Several self propelled grab hopper dredgers survived until comparatively recent times but none are left in a fit state at the moment.
Clearway at Whitehaven was the last of her type to operate but has now been scrapped. The engine was saved for a project in Norway.
Seiont II was preserved by the Carnarfon Maritime Museum but her upkeep was to0 onerous. The engine is now on loan to Markham Grange Steam Museum and can be seen running .
Mannin II is very similar to Seiont II and was on view at Ellesmere Port Boat Museum, although privately owned. She is believed to be currently on her side in Weston Point Docks, Runcorn.
Finally, we have Robert Weir a suction hopper dredger, also self-propelled that was built in 1957 for Preston and ended her working days in Scotland about 1990. Now scrapped, her engine is with Preston Steam Services and on sale.
|Mon, 3 Nov 2008 00:39
|There are a few floating cranes that are or were steam powered.
Grab No. 1 was built by Cowans Sheldons of Carlisle in 1922 and used at Leith Docks. It was latterly operated by compressed air but is now out of use. the lift was only about 22 tons.
Seawork Solidarity was still in service on compressed air when seen on the Isle of Sheppey. Lift was about 125 tons. Unfortunately the crane has since been scrapped although the uninteresting barge was retained.
The grand-daddy of them all is the Manchester Ship Canal's 250 Ton Crane , built in the Netherlands in 1937 and now believed to be out of use due to the Scotch boiler no longer being serviceable.
|Tue, 18 Nov 2008 23:58
|There are several miscellaneous vessels to be considered.
Many people regard cable ships as exceptionally pretty and I was fortunate to see two of these, both scrapped. The oldest was John W MacKay whilst the youngest was St Margarets , a vessel that was active in to the mid-1980s.
The Admiralty water carrier Freshspring was on display in Bristol for several years but is now mouldering at Newnham on Severn.
The last steam powered chain ferry was used at Erskine and then became the reserve ferry at Renfrew . its current status is uncertain and it may have been scrapped.
|Sun, 23 Nov 2008 00:39
|It's time to look at Naval vessels.
Sadly, 2008 saw the believed scrapping of the 1883 RN gunboat HMS Handy, latterly known as Demon and for many years at Pounds, Tipner. The engine did survive in a dismantled and unrestored state for some time but is now thought to have been scrapped. There was no sign of it on a visit to the yard in July 2010.
Amazingly, I have only recently (2011) come to know that HMS Caroline , a WWI veteran of the Battle of Jutland still retains her four direct drive Parsons turbines. This is an amazingly important survivor and the technology is the same as that in Mauretania, Lusitania and the exhaust turbines of the olympic class ships.
HMS Rame Head is a Canadian built Fort/Park class that was used for submarine maintenance and was powered by a 2500 hp inverted vertical triple expansion engine . She was latterly laid up in Fareham Creek and went for breaking in 2009.
Also Canadian built, of WWII vintage and used for submarine maintenance is HMS Stalker . She is a Landing Ship Tank (LST) and was propelled by a pair of four cylinder triple expansion engines for a total shp of 5500. She is at Pounds yard at Tipner but demolition commenced in July 2010 . It is to be hoped that at least one of the four cylinder triple expansion engines can be saved .
Also of WWII vintage is HMS Cavalier , now preserved at Chatham . She is powered by cross compound geared turbines and was a real greyhound in her day. There is no public access to her machinery spaces - 2 boiler rooms, one engine room, one gearbox room and a steering gear compartment. I have seen all these thanks to the engineer who arranged her move to Chatham from Hebburn.
Best of the bunch is HMS Belfast . She is a spectacular adventure playground for adults and there is access to many of her interesting compartments. Anybody who has read Alistair McLean's HMS Ulysses will appreciate this iconic vessel. She has two engine rooms, two boiler rooms, four screws and a total of about 80,000 shp. One engine room and one boiler room are accessible . I would recommend a visit.
HMS Plymouth is a Falklands veteran reported to be sold for scrap in March 2012. The museum venture she was included in at Wallasey closed. She had two Y100 turbines that are 15000 shp each with single casings and reduction gearing. There was public access to the engine room .
HMS Intrepid and sister ship HMS Fearless have gone to the breakers. HMS Fearless was the last surface steam ship in the navy and made it into the 21st century in service. I went in one of the machinery spaces while she was laid up. It was all done by torch light and the vessel was cold, nonetheless it was hairy. Vertical ladder access and very cramped. They had a major machinery space fire near the end of her service life - doesn't bear thinking about - no fatalities or serious injuries and the ship survived.
Finally - HMS Courageous is a laid up SSN but there are several operating SSNs and SSBNs in the navy. People either forget or don't know that nuclear power is just a way of boiling water for a steam plant. The machinery is basically a PWR attached to a single shaft turbine plant. The design is American and access to unauthorised persons is verboten. That includes submariners who are not in the engineering department.
This one of Tam's must be a nuclear sub in that location and ought to be a ballistic missile boat but looks far too short. Perhaps somebody can provide more detail. Another beautiful shot by Fractal Angel of what appears to be a Vanguard class ballistic missile submarine (SSBN). Ballistic missile subs are known as "Boomers" and the Indian Navy have just commissioned a small example (about 1/3 the displacement) that some wags have christened the "baby boomer" - groans!
Of course, the Navy's newest steam ship is the nuclear hunter killer (SSN) HMS Astute, a vessel with an already troubled history. This excellent photograph shows her alongside the QE2 Cruise Terminal in Southampton on a visit that was marred by a crew member running amok with a firearm.