The text below suggests the prominent role the Marine Railway played - not just for commercial purposes.
EXCURSION ON THE CANAL
The inland Navigation Company's Inclined Plane from the Harbour to First Dartmouth Lake being now in working order, an opportunity of witnessing its operation was given on Friday last (Aug 23rd ) when some of the proprietors, with their friends, leaving the Dockyard in three well-filled man-of-war launches sailed to the Cove, and floating in the Cradle were quickly and easily transferred to the waters on the Lake, thence they proceeded through the first and second Dartmouth Lakes to the Locks and Cuts as far as Marshall's; well know as Porto Bello, without the necessity of once leaving the boats from the time of embarking.
Amongst the party mentioned were Lieutenant Phillips, of the Nile, Commander D'Arcy, of the Nimble, Mr. Bell RN, GAS Crichton, Esq. and the Lady, Misses Creighton, the Misses Harvey, Miss Stewart, Dr. Avery and Lady, Mr. and Mrs McLeay, Mr. Sargent, F. Passow, Esq. and Lady. After partaking of a rural lunch, and viewing the beauties of the country about Porto Bello, the party returned through the Lakes and down the Plane into the Harbour, being greeted, during their progress, with three cheers from a large assemblage of Dartmouth's inhabitants, who gathered round to witness the novel sight, which was rendered more picturesque by the moon just rising on the hills, and reflecting its rays over the dark and placid water of lake and harbour.