Steam Tug TID164 (Continued)

Click here for a short video of the engine in action


Faversham 1978

When Lloyds Insurance built their smart new offices at Gun Wharf, Chatham, they decided that steam tugs were not compatible with their image and asked for them to be moved. TID 164 and John H Amos first went to Milton Creek and then Faversham Creek.
The TID was the right size for the creek but the paddle tug kept slithering on the un-dredged mud to the centre of the creek when the tide went out.
To try and control this she was tied to a small building, but when the tide went out the rope demolished the building!


Falklands War

When the Survey Ship Endurance returned from the Falkland Islands TID 164 joined in the welcome parade up the Medway to Chatham Dockyard.
While moored at Bull Noze, the main entrance to the Dockyard, the beer flowed freely on TID 164.

(Click on photo for painting at Chatham Historic Dockyard)

Somehow an influential officer heard about the difficulties of Faversham Creek and issued a directive that two Royal Navy buoys should be allocated for the use of TID 164 and John H Amos until such time as a new Trust was formed.
That's how Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust found they had two steam tugs as "squatters" which are at the dockyard to the present day.


View from the wheelhouse


In 1986 the boiler was re-tubed and a lot of other work was done.
As a 'reward' for themselves the volunteers steamed TID 164 to a steam rally at Helevetsluis in Holland.
One long standing problem had not been repaired. It took a long time, if at all, to go astern. Imagine entering a lock, full of plastic boats, with no means of stopping and being chased by a large collier which had a living to earn.

Negotiating a lock en route to the Dutch Steam Rally


In November 1999 TID164 became a recognised vessel of Britain's historic fleet. The National Historic Ships Committee added TID164 to their Designated List.


Repairs and Rebuilds

Over the years it is amazing how much fundamental work gets done, and the pain of it gets forgotten: -
Re-tubing the boiler.
Re-fabricating the smoke box.
Grit blasting the hull - several times.
Continuous chipping and painting.
New funnel stays.
New steering chains.
Re-building both Weirs oil pumps.
Re-building the circulating pump.
Replacing the rudder post.
Asbestos was removed by the contractors doing the Chatham Dockyard asbestos removal.
Installing bunker heating.
Recovering wheelhouse roof.
Civilising after cabin.
Installing diesel tank.
(When a welder was installing a diesel tank on the after deck a spark went down a ventilator and the newly fitted-out cabin was burnt out).
A big end bearing replaced.


Improvements Continue

It was noticed that the weld along the bottom chines was failing so two shaped steel strips were welded along the full length of the tug. Since 1999 the cabin has been re-fitted again and the boiler has been re-tubed again.
In 2003 central heating was installed, running pipes in cable trays to match the original wiring and hiding radiators. This should reduce condensation and prevent rust. Hot and cold running water may even encourage Martin's wife to come on board!

A new fresh water tank has been installed next to the sanitary tank forward of the wheelhouse. This has been made of wood and resin because a steel tank would have meant the compass would have to be re-swung - and that would cost £200!
A woodstove was installed in each cabin.




The work continued, this time in Rod Bryant's dry dock at Otterham Quay.
All the valves which were attached to the hull were removed, grit blasted, re-machined and new tops fabricated where necessary, new studs and nuts fitted and the insides coated with a modern anti-corrosive paint.
A programme of steam pipe replacement continues.

The wood of the rubbing strake was removed, the damaged metal cut away and renewed, and the lower metal strake replaced by individual brackets for each bolt to prevent water retention.
The 'new' wood is 150 year old pine treated by Osmose Protim Solignum which gives a guarantee against rot for 25 years.

The hull was high-pressure water blasted and ultrasonic thickness tested. Where plates were thin an area was cut away and patches welded flush into the hull (not doublers), and the whole area finished with airless sprayed red oxide and gloss paint. The tug received its regular boiler and general surveys and was ready for steaming again.

TID 164 is currently berthed at The Chatham Historic Dockyard on the River Medway. There is a group of volunteers on board every Saturday, who are always happy to show interested visitors around the tug.