PS MEDWAY QUEEN - VIRTUAL TOUR
From the lower saloon we follow the guide back up the companionway to the main deck and then move towards the bow of the ship through one of the engine room alleyways.
Look carefully over the guard rails and there is the great engine, quietly waiting its return to life. If you close your eyes and concentrate you might hear the hiss of steam and mechanical rhythm of the pistons and crank shaft. Remember the glorious smell of steam and hot oil!
Right: main engine. Melissa Carr.
Below: Engine and gauges in service. PSPS Collection.
Medway Queen's engine, and this is the original, is a compound diagonal steam engine. At full power it was designed to turn the paddles at 55 rpm to move the ship at 15 knots. The more usual cruising speed was 45 rpm and 13 knots. At Dunkirk this was manned all day and night for the seven return trips. At the end of that only one of the three engineering officers was still standing.
Some work was done on the engine in Bristol when the hull was rebuilt but to complete that work and get it running is going to need several hundred thousand pounds - has anyone got their cheque book with them?
Ahead of the engine room is the boiler room. Sadly empty at present. The original boiler was a scotch type, 11ft (3.4M) long. It was coal fired until 1938 when it was converted to burn oil. In due course it's successor will be a modern installation capable of raising steam in a matter of hours instead of almost a week for the old one!