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JayKay

Northern Port to France/Spain?

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I wonder if there is any demand for a weekly service from North England to France or even Spain?  Perhaps Hull to St Malo/Caen or Hull to Santander/Bilbao which would obviously be a longer transit.   Living in North England it can take a good part of the day to get to Portsmouth or Plymouth.  While cruising down the M1/M5 I often wonder how many others are doing exactly the same .  Have spoken to BF Customer Services about this and (quite rightly) they say my message has been passed to the appropriate department for their consideration.

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We had a discussion about this a while ago.  I don't think anyone took the view that is was a realistic prospect, but it was a fun discussion to hold as a theoretical concept.  If memory serves, general consensus was that it would need to be from a west coast port, which narrowed it down to somewhere on the Clyde or Cairnryan if departing from Scotland.  (And as far as the Clyde was concerned, I think we theorised about installing a roro berth at Greenock)!  We also considered use of Liverpool as a departure port.  I guess that such a route would need to be freight-orientated to justify it economically.

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There's always Holyhead to Dublin and then Dublin to France or Cairnryan to Belfast to Dublin to France .

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12 minutes ago, Chef said:

There's always Holyhead to Dublin and then Dublin to France or Cairnryan to Belfast to Dublin to France .

The Eire-Bridge! 😀

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The Eire-Bridge! - love it!  Don't forget Cork as an onward option.  Dublin Port to Ringaskiddy is a 3 hour drive.  If you arrive in Dublin via Irish Ferries at 0600 you've plenty of time to make the 1100 Brittany Ferries sailing from Ringaskiddy to Santander.  Motorway for most of the way, plus you'll miss the worst of the commuter traffic. 

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Cairryan-Belfast and Dublin-Cherbourg seems to be a realistic means of reducing driving time.

According to Google, Glasgow-Cairnryan takes 2 hours and Belfast-Dublin takes 2 hours.  Contrast that with Glasgow-Portsmouth, which theoretically takes 7 hours but probably more likely 8 hours with typical M6 traffic.  Going via Ireland could halve the amount of driving needed to get to Cherbourg for anyone travelling from southern Scotland.

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I seem to recall there was once a short-lived venture called East Coast Ferries, who ran a freight service between Hull & Dunkerque. There is still Hull-Zeebrugge each night; okay not ideal for the more westerly parts of France but still a useful option. I know plenty of French do use the route.

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50 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Cairryan-Belfast and Dublin-Cherbourg seems to be a realistic means of reducing driving time.

According to Google, Glasgow-Cairnryan takes 2 hours and Belfast-Dublin takes 2 hours.  Contrast that with Glasgow-Portsmouth, which theoretically takes 7 hours but probably more likely 8 hours with typical M6 traffic.  Going via Ireland could halve the amount of driving needed to get to Cherbourg for anyone travelling from southern Scotland.

Glasgow is in central Scotland and the south of Scotland isn’t the main st densely populated part of Scotland by any means, we stay in south east Scotland and it’s a 3 hour drive to Cairnryan on horrendous roads or an hour and a half’s drive to Glasgow and down the 2 hour route then you have all the hassle of catching different Ferries and ending up on  peninsula in France it’s not something I would even remotely consider to be honest a direct route from Cairnryan or port Glasgow maybe but realistically it will never happen.

Edited by neilcvx
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2 hours ago, neilcvx said:

Glasgow is in central Scotland and the south of Scotland isn’t the main st densely populated part of Scotland by any means, we stay in south east Scotland and it’s a 3 hour drive to Cairnryan on horrendous roads or an hour and a half’s drive to Glasgow and down the 2 hour route then you have all the hassle of catching different Ferries and ending up on  peninsula in France it’s not something I would even remotely consider to be honest a direct route from Cairnryan or port Glasgow maybe but realistically it will never happen.

I know.

What about a Glasgow - Dublin route?  Does that sound like it might have viable potential in its own right, and if so, how would the prospect of a direct transfer at Dublin to the Cherbourg ferry appeal?

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Port Glasgow or Greenock  which are both a bit further out from Glasgow itself might work there’s a train station at Greenock and lots of facilities but it’s a 25 mile journey from Glasgow centre and still well over 2 hours for us , and as @Paully said there’s double the hassle of 2 Ferries, I suppose a Dublin Scotland link might work in its own right and it would still be nice not to drive to deepest darkest Ayrshire , I think realistically the only new Scottish route we will see is Rosyth Zeebrugee.

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I live near Glasgow and we used Superfast's Rosyth-Zeebrugge a number of times. It was great with small children because we were less than an hour between home and the UK port but I'm not convinced that the convenience v cost balance would persuade us not to drive to Portsmouth.

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11 hours ago, JayKay said:

I wonder if there is any demand for a weekly service from North England to France or even Spain?  Perhaps Hull to St Malo/Caen or Hull to Santander/Bilbao which would obviously be a longer transit.   Living in North England it can take a good part of the day to get to Portsmouth or Plymouth.  While cruising down the M1/M5 I often wonder how many others are doing exactly the same .  Have spoken to BF Customer Services about this and (quite rightly) they say my message has been passed to the appropriate department for their consideration.

I only wish there was a   Route north east down to Spain,the times I have driven down to Dover,Portsmouth,Plymouth and at times a. Nightmare.so afraid it is pie in the sky for us north eastern people to wish for

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Surely the proposal is mostly limited by the cost of fuel and the extra travel time. I moan about the extra bit up the channel just to Pompey!

If there was scope for a route of this length, then surely (again as has been discussed here before), the option of a UK - Lisbon route for BF would be an extremely attractive option? BF Could really open up to the Algarve market then and offer a more realistic alternative to flying.

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I agree hf - I’m slightly surprised a route to Lisbon hasn’t been on the cards since P&O pulled out in 1975.

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We live in the western bit of Yorkshire and holiday in mainland Europe. We nearly always go from Hull unless we were specifically visiting Brittany. This year for example, we'll be driving from Zeebrugge to the Dordogne as it cuts out the trip to Portsmouth.  We'll do 85 miles in the UK and then 530 in France (total 615). We could go Portsmouth St Malo and do 280 UK miles and 335 French ones (total 615 - sound familiar). Each UK mile can be more of a bind, especially when there is a ferry to catch and we very much like the Hull crossing as you get a really good chance to relax, so it's a no brainer.

All of that said, if there was a Liverpool St Malo crossing, or maybe even a Gretna (!!!) St Malo (as a compromise to the Scots! - might require a bit of dredging and port construction) we'd take a look at it.  According to my measurements, that crossing would be about 460 NM. At 22 knots average speed you would still be looking at a 21 hour crossing. Would 3 hours be sufficient turnaround to allow one ship to do a daily crossing in one direction? 

Pie in the Sky but fun none the less.

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It was Southampton - Lisbon (there was no ferrrport at Portsmouth then).

The ship took about 6 days to complete a Southampton - Lisbon - Tangier - Lisbon - Southampton round trip, so I would imagine the Southampton - Lisbon leg will have taken about 2 days.

I would expect that, at today's Pont Aven / Cap Finistere speeds, it would probably be possible to cross from Portsmouth to Lisbon in about 36 hours.  Plymouth to Lisbon even less.

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This is a fascinating topic, and although it has been brought up before, I have no problem with it being discussed again.

For me, a crossing from Liverpool to Roscoff/Le Havre/Cherbourg or St Malo would be fantastic for travellers/freight from northen England and Scotland.

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Didn't Aznar Line do a Liverpool to Canaries winter service for a short while in early 1970s using their new car ferry Monte Toledo? Now that would be something of a fantasy now. In summer did Southampton to Santander. 

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This is all very interesting to read, but forgive me ............ is it not just ‘pie in the sky’?

I say this as a former Thames Valley resident for whom access to Dover / Portsmouth etc was simply a matter of choice rather than a travel nightmare.  However, surely a ‘northern’ service to somewhere in France is a complete non-runner.

First, any service would have to be operated by a ‘southern’ ferry company and thus the return service would have to take place before the outbound.  A bit like the existing Cork - Roscoff if you see what I mean.  Thus you ‘lose’ a day or two on a 2 week holiday.

Second, fares would certainly be eye-watering - they’d have to be.  Those who complain (with justification) about the awfulness of long & tiring journeys to the south coast would probably vote for that rather than the inevitable high fares.

Third, and the events of recent times are evidence of this, sending a ship some way ‘out of bounds’ when weather & mechanical problems can intervene, is just asking for trouble.

If it was your business, you wouldn’t give the notion a moment’s thought, would you?

 

 

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22 hours ago, Le Quiberon said:

This is a fascinating topic, and although it has been brought up before, I have no problem with it being discussed again.

The nerd in me finds this a fascinating topic too.  So here's another thought for folks from northern England and Scotland.  What about, wait for it, drumroll, taking Seatruck's overnight service from Heysham to Dublin?  Arrive in Dublin at about 1000 and then take the 1600 W.B. Yeats from Dublin to Cherbourg.  

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For the amount of Northern Irish cars I see in Cork, what about Belfast / Roscoff ? there's another one in the mix .... would never happen but another alternative for our Scottish friends.

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As my pen name implies, I am not without knowledge of the Port of Cairnryan or indeed the ferry industry.

Sorry to say the introduction of a long route from either the East Coast ( Hull or North of Hull), or the West Coast (North of Holyhead), is rather more of a fantasy than possible reality. Amongst the comments made there are valid reasons, but sadly the economic argument does not stack up. Bearing in mind that there are already 3 routes operating out of South Shields and Hull, there is currently adequate South Coast avoiding capacity available, in particular on the Hull - Zeebrugge service. Of course the Scottish market was given a choice, sadly the travelling public failed to support the route - Roysth to Zeebrugge.

Operating costs which need to be carried across all types of traffic would be too high I think. Also the key business is how much freight content is available all year round. Sadly I doubt if a long route from Normandy or Brittany would generate such freight.

On the passenger side, yes traffic would be available during July (Scottish Holidays) and August, but significantly, this would drop off during the rest of the year, thus a large reliance on Booze Cruise Passengers would be needed.

The success of the long routes to Spain is that they service a single market - the Iberian Peninsula, and save roughly an 11 t0 15 hour drive.

Additionally there is the availability of tonnage. To begin with a RO PAx would be the ideal choice, but again Freight demand is questionable.

The one light at the end of the tunnel would be Irish Ferries introducing a Land Bridge Package based on Holyhead and Dublin. To make this viable to the average family IF would need to reduce the Holyhead - Dublin leg by say £100.00., or a selling price of around £100 - £120.00, I doubt if .IF. would go that far.

Whilst I sympathise with the long tedious drive to the South Coast, especially South of Preston, I like thousands of others are faced with little or no choice when travelling to Spain with my car, or joining a Cruise Ship at Southampton. It's all down to me.

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