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On another theme, I promised to post my picture of BF's Goelo when I found it, and I have done so.  Apologies it is not the best quality. This picture was taken from on board Viking Victory on departu

STENA LINE used the linkspan at berths 24/25 in the Empress Dock and the linkspan at berth 30 on the Itchen Quays. The Ocean Dock is a completely different dock. Ocean Dock consists of berth

My father worked in the Port of Southampton for 42 year's. When I was a young lad he often took me to work with him (you'd never be able to anything like that now for obvious reasons). I wen

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7 hours ago, Gareth said:

I’m interested, C97, in your reference to FE2 using berth 49.  Do you know any further details about that - was it principally for layby purposes?

The early 70s timetables for FE2 don’t really show that there was a need for her to use anything other than the TT berth 7 (her scheduled calls at Soton were 1130-1230 and 2330-0030, when the Vikings were not in port).  And I remember a sailing on board her in 1974 when we departed from berth 7.  Your photo showing her at berth 6 also shows that she used the PAD. Was berth 49 mainly used when one of the Vikings was running late?

My father worked in the Port of Southampton for 42 year's.

When I was a young lad he often took me to work with him (you'd never be able to anything like that now for obvious reasons).

I went to work with him one Saturday evening in the summer of 1973 with special permission by my mother. My father was working at berth 49 for the FREE ENTERPRISE II. I can remember the event very well because the reason why I wanted to go to work with him that night was to see a late arrival of the SS FRANCE that was arriving at the nearby Ocean Terminal at berths 43/44 in the Ocean Dock.

Because of the fact that the FREE ENTERPRISE II was only in port for approximately an hour my father left me in the car with some sandwiches and a flask of drink as I watched the arrival of the SS FRANCE. I was 9 year's old at the time and remember the evening vividly.

Townsend Thoresen did use berth 49 on occasions as I can remember seeing the signage in the port at the time.

Although berth 7 was the main Townsend Thoresen berth I'm not sure what year's that they used berth 49 for the extra sailings by the FREE ENTERPRISE II but I can definitely confirm that I was there at berth 49 on a summer Saturday evening in 1973 for the 23.30/00.30 arrival and departure.

I've seen a couple of photos of the FREE ENTERPRISE II at berth 49 online and I've tried to find them before replying back to you but I've not been lucky but when I do eventually find them I will post them here for you to see.

Other than that I can't help you but rest assured my memory is absolutely in tact and before I started typing this reply I called my father just to make sure of the facts. He's 83yo but his memory is totally sharp and he immediately said about the arrival of the SS FRANCE and reminded me that a fellow work colleagues wife was also present that evening.

It may well be the case that the 23.30/00.30 arrival/departure would often be scheduled to use berth 49 just in case that berth 7 was still occupied. The FREE ENTERPRISE II could well be running early from Cherbourg or the Townsend Thoresen VIKING at berth 7 was running late for her overnight departure to Le Havre.

Either way I can definitely confirm that Townsend Thoresen used berth 49 at some point during the early seventies with the FREE ENTERPRISE II.

I will continue overtime to try and find a photo of the FREE ENTERPRISE II at berth 49 but in the meantime I'm adding an excellent view of her taken at berth 7 in the Princess Alexandra Dock in the early seventies.

On a side note.

In my previous post... when I mentioned Aznar Line I had quoted the MONTE GRANADA twice.

It should have read MONTE GRANADA and MONTE TOLEDO.

 

free_enterprise_ii.jpg

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Whilst we're on berth 49 its most famous occupant, albeit briefly, was the Sunward, one of the most influential passenger ships of the 20th Century (the first modern Caribbean cruise ship of Norwegian Caribbean Line (NCL) and also the first ship of Ted Arison (Carnival)).

This image taken during the Seamens Strike is an oldie but a goodie and is still fascinating for showing two worlds, two eras, colliding in one place.

image.thumb.png.81a3ee1d3bcb25b31bfab5dbb36c5bbc.png

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12 hours ago, canberra97 said:
19 minutes ago, canberra97 said:

My father worked in the Port of Southampton for 42 year's.

When I was a young lad he often took me to work with him (you'd never be able to anything like that now for obvious reasons).

I went to work with him one Saturday evening in the summer of 1973 with special permission by my mother. My father was working at berth 49 for the FREE ENTERPRISE II. I can remember the event very well because the reason why I wanted to go to work with him that night was to see a late arrival of the SS FRANCE that was arriving at the nearby Ocean Terminal at berths 43/44 in the Ocean Dock.

Because of the fact that the FREE ENTERPRISE II was only in port for approximately an hour my father left me in the car with some sandwiches and a flask of drink as I watched the arrival of the SS FRANCE. I was 9 year's old at the time and remember the evening vividly.

Townsend Thoresen did use berth 49 on occasions as I can remember seeing the signage in the port at the time.

Although berth 7 was the main Townsend Thoresen berth I'm not sure what year's that they used berth 49 for the extra sailings by the FREE ENTERPRISE II but I can definitely confirm that I was there at berth 49 on a summer Saturday evening in 1973 for the 23.30/00.30 arrival and departure.

I've seen a couple of photos of the FREE ENTERPRISE II at berth 49 online and I've tried to find them before replying back to you but I've not been lucky but when I do eventually find them I will post them here for you to see.

Other than that I can't help you but rest assured my memory is absolutely in tact and before I started typing this reply I called my father just to make sure of the facts. He's 83yo but his memory is totally sharp and he immediately said about the arrival of the SS FRANCE and reminded me that a fellow work colleagues wife was also present that evening.

It may well be the case that the 23.30/00.30 arrival/departure would often be scheduled to use berth 49 just in case that berth 7 was still occupied. The FREE ENTERPRISE II could well be running early from Cherbourg or the Townsend Thoresen VIKING at berth 7 was running late for her overnight departure to Le Havre.

Either way I can definitely confirm that Townsend Thoresen used berth 49 at some point during the early seventies with the FREE ENTERPRISE II.

I will continue overtime to try and find a photo of the FREE ENTERPRISE II at berth 49 but in the meantime I'm adding an excellent view of her taken at berth 7 in the Princess Alexandra Dock in the early seventies.

On a side note.

In my previous post... when I mentioned Aznar Line I had quoted the MONTE GRANADA twice.

It should have read MONTE GRANADA and MONTE TOLEDO.

 

free_enterprise_ii.jpg

A few more photos.

FREE ENTERPRISE II alongside the layover berth 6

VIKING II at berth 7.

The FREE ENTERPRISE II departing from berth 7.

The VIKING I entering the Princess Alexandra Dock.

The EUROPIC FERRY having just departed berth 3 in the Princess Alexandra Dock.

An early view taken in 1964 of the "brand new" VIKING I at berth 7, British Railways Board FALAISE is seen ahead of her at berth 9. FALAISE was in her final season at Southampton operating the last remaining British Railways service from the port to St Malo.

And finally...

P&O Ferries DRAGON departing Portsmouth taken a few months after the company had relocated from Southampton.

You might have gathered by now but the history of Cross Channel Ferries from Southampton is a passion of mine.

Years ago I nearly or almost got around to writing a book regarding the history of the cross channel ferries from Southampton, from the final British Railways service and the start of the Townsend Thoresen ferries right up to Stena Line. I had problems with the proposed publishers from day one so I abandoned the project. The book was going to be entitled

The Rise & Fall of Cross Channel Ferries From Southampton.

Regards

Sean

 

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Thanks C97, very interesting.  Maybe she used berth 49 for the late night call and berth 7 for the late morning visit.  Arrival at night was only 30 mins after the Le Havre departure whereas the 1130 arrival was a good hour after the 1030 Viking departure to Cherbourg.  Great photo of her at berth 7.  The 0030 departure must have been a curious one - it left after the 2100 sailing to Cherbourg but arrived at Cherbourg (and departed again) before the 2100 arrived.  I wonder if it’s purpose was primarily freight?

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36 minutes ago, hhvferry said:

Whilst we're on berth 49 its most famous occupant, albeit briefly, was the Sunward, one of the most influential passenger ships of the 20th Century (the first modern Caribbean cruise ship of Norwegian Caribbean Line (NCL) and also the first ship of Ted Arison (Carnival)).

This image taken during the Seamens Strike is an oldie but a goodie and is still fascinating for showing two worlds, two eras, colliding in one place.

image.thumb.png.81a3ee1d3bcb25b31bfab5dbb36c5bbc.png

I was just going to upload the exact same photo....you beat me to it by minutes 🤗

Kloster Ferries SUNWARD at berth 49.

In the Ocean Dock the following vessel's.

Union Castle Line REINA DEL MAR at berth 47.

Cunard Line CARMANIA ahead of her at berth 46.

Cunard Line QUEEN MARY at the Ocean Terminal at berths 43/44.

In the Empress Dock the following vessel's.

A couple of unidentifiable Red Funnel Towage tugs.

An unidentified Fyffes Line vessel at berths 24/25

An unidentified vessel at berths 26/27 (black and white funnel).

On the Itchen Quays.

Shaw Savill Line SOUTHERN CROSS and Cunard Line FRANCONIA at berths 30/31.

Union Castle Line CAPETOWN CASTLE and SA ORANJE at berths 32/33.

To the very left of the photo is the Outer Dock, (renamed the Princess Alexandra Dock in 1967).

The Vosper Thornycrofts Shipyard is on the other side of the River Itchen at Woolston.

At the very look left of the photo, just above the naval vessel alongside the quayside at Vosper Thornycrofts your immediately see some tree's, my home is opposite those tree's.

The following photo show's the KLOSTER FERRIES SUNWARD inbound to the Port of Southampton from Vigo in 1966, she is just passing Fawley on Southampton Water.

Sunward.jpg

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24 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Thanks C97, very interesting.  Maybe she used berth 49 for the late night call and berth 7 for the late morning visit.  Arrival at night was only 30 mins after the Le Havre departure whereas the 1130 arrival was a good hour after the 1030 Viking departure to Cherbourg.  Great photo of her at berth 7.  The 0030 departure must have been a curious one - it left after the 2100 sailing to Cherbourg but arrived at Cherbourg (and departed again) before the 2100 arrived.  I wonder if it’s purpose was primarily freight?

There was definitely passengers and vehicles going onboard the FREE ENTERPRISE II on the occasion of my visit to see her at berth 49 in 1973.

I think that it may well have been the case that the FREE ENTERPRISE II used berth 49 for the late night call. If one of the VIKINGS was late departing berth 7 it would definitely have impacted on her tight schedule to Cherbourg. There was definitely signage in the port for Townsend Thoresen at berth 49 during that period.

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Yes, it was a very tight schedule, with no leeway for making up lost time (except a few days in the week when the night departure didn’t run).  That’s a good point, they couldn’t afford to be held up by a late running Viking.

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Exactly it was an extremely tight schedule and I think that is why the late evening departure probably used berth 49. 

Townsend Thoresen couldn't afford the possibility that the FREE ENTERPRISE II would be held up by a late running VIKING.

It's because of the tight schedule by the FREE ENTERPRISE II between Southampton and Cherbourg that the Portsmouth Continental Ferry Port came about. Townsend Thoresen had been in discussions with Portsmouth who we're keen to build a cross channel ferry terminal.

1975 was the last year that the FREE ENTERPRISE II was the permanent seasonal vessel on Southampton to Cherbourg.

In June 1976 with the opening of the Portsmouth Continental Ferry Port the extra seasonal summer sailings to Cherbourg we're relocated from Southampton. The VIKING I was renamed the VIKING VICTORY and she operated the peak twice daily sailings to Cherbourg with a "slightly" relaxed schedule compared to the previous one at Southampton with the FREE ENTERPRISE II.

With the opening of the Portsmouth Continental Ferry Port in June 1976 it was the start of the decline in cross channel ferry's from the Port of Southampton. From 1976 the Port of Southampton were continuously in disputes and strike's which was affecting the incumbents as in Normandy Ferries and Townsend Thoresen.

The rest is history and is well documented!

I can't find it now as you know what it's like when you see a photo online but I've seen a photo of the FREE ENTERPRISE II sailing around Dock Head at Southampton obviously making her way from her layover at berth 6 in the Princess Alexandra Dock to berth 49.

I will endeavour overtime to find these photos, but bear with me 😉.

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Thanks C97, will be very interesting if you can find them.  (Mind you, if FE2’s calls at berth 49 were primarily between 2330 and 0030 then a photo of her there would have been hard to come by).

I’m pretty sure that FE2 was back at Dover in 1975, and that her last year at Soton was 1974.  She’s certainly not in the 1975 schedules I posted a couple of weeks ago.  In 1975, Townsend sent FE1 to Cairnryan (then switched with FE4 in 1976), so I think FE2 took her place back at Dover.

Completely agree, however, that this tightness was the reason for the development of Portsmouth CFP.  FE2 wasn’t the only area where the schedules were tight - there were times when the afternoon sailing to Le Havre was taken by a ship that had come in that morning from Le Havre (as opposed to the more normal crossing from Cherbourg), and the scheduled turnaround for that Le Havre ship was only 30 minutes.  Once the CFP had become established, it was this call at Soton that started to be diverted to Pompey in 1977 when the Portsmouth - Le Havre route was launched.

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Your absolutely correct regarding the photos being rare for the FREE ENTERPRISE II at berth 49 considering the time of departure but as I've previously commented upon I've seen photos somewhere online of the FREE ENTERPRISE II sailing around Dock Head towards berth 49 presumably to take up her position for the evening sailing departure to Cherbourg. As I've previously pointed out I've also seen a photo of the FREE ENTERPRISE II alongside berth 49.

I will definitely persevere with searching for the photos but it'll take some time.

I've just checked and your correct that the last season of the FREE ENTERPRISE II at Southampton was indeed in 1974. With the advent of the "Super Viking" VIKING VENTURER at Southampton on the 11 January 1975 there was a surplus in the fleet and the extra summer seasonal sailings to Cherbourg were operated by the existing VIKINGS during 1975.

The afternoon arrival at Southampton from Le Havre was invariably late when there was bad weather, I can distinctly remember the "very tight" turnarounds.

As you've rightly pointed out, Portsmouth to Le Havre commenced in 1977 for the reasons you've clearly stated.

From the start of the summer season in 1977 the morning departure from Le Havre went to Portsmouth a few times a week instead of Southampton. By 1978 the afternoon arrival from Le Havre at Southampton was totally discontinued in favour of Portsmouth. By losing that extra hour back and forth down Southampton Water it made a huge difference on the day time Le Havre schedule.

On one of the other site's that I have a presence on, very much more so than here I eventually found a particular photo that I was looking for which took me several months, much to my excitement!

In fact my recent posts on BFE are my first since mid December after vowing to myself never to post or get involved on this site ever again but because the history of the cross channel ferries from Southampton is such a passion of mine I couldn't resist myself.

I have Townsend Thoresen brochures and timetables dating from 1972 onwards, along with Bergen Line, B+I Line, Britanny Ferries, DFDS, Fred Olsen Line, Manx Line, Normandy Ferries, Olau Line, Prinz Ferries, Sealink, Southern Ferries, Swedish Lloyd, Tor Line, etc. My oldest brochures are of Cunard Line from 1968.

I have several work colleagues and friends from the Townsend Thoresen year's and I took some to work with me last year much to their enjoyment. I have hundreds and I mean hundreds of cruise and ferry brochures and timetables from the early seventies to the mid to late eighties.

 

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59 minutes ago, canberra97 said:

Your absolutely correct regarding the photos being rare for the FREE ENTERPRISE II at berth 49 considering the time of departure but as I've previously commented upon I've seen photos somewhere online of the FREE ENTERPRISE II sailing around Dock Head towards berth 49 presumably to take up her position for the evening sailing departure to Cherbourg. As I've previously pointed out I've also seen a photo of the FREE ENTERPRISE II alongside berth 49.

I will definitely persevere with searching for the photos but it'll take some time.

I've just checked and your correct that the last season of the FREE ENTERPRISE II at Southampton was indeed in 1974. With the advent of the "Super Viking" VIKING VENTURER at Southampton on the 11 January 1975 there was a surplus in the fleet and the extra summer seasonal sailings to Cherbourg were operated by the existing VIKINGS during 1975.

The afternoon arrival at Southampton from Le Havre was invariably late when there was bad weather, I can distinctly remember the "very tight" turnarounds.

As you've rightly pointed out, Portsmouth to Le Havre commenced in 1977 for the reasons you've clearly stated.

From the start of the summer season in 1977 the morning departure from Le Havre went to Portsmouth a few times a week instead of Southampton. By 1978 the afternoon arrival from Le Havre at Southampton was totally discontinued in favour of Portsmouth. By losing that extra hour back and forth down Southampton Water it made a huge difference on the day time Le Havre schedule.

On one of the other site's that I have a presence on, very much more so than here I eventually found a particular photo that I was looking for which took me several months, much to my excitement!

In fact my recent posts on BFE are my first since mid December after vowing to myself never to post or get involved on this site ever again but because the history of the cross channel ferries from Southampton is such a passion of mine I couldn't resist myself.

I have Townsend Thoresen brochures and timetables dating from 1972 onwards, along with Bergen Line, B+I Line, Britanny Ferries, DFDS, Fred Olsen Line, Manx Line, Normandy Ferries, Olau Line, Prinz Ferries, Sealink, Southern Ferries, Swedish Lloyd, Tor Line, etc. My oldest brochures are of Cunard Line from 1968.

I have several work colleagues and friends from the Townsend Thoresen year's and I took some to work with me last year much to their enjoyment. I have hundreds and I mean hundreds of cruise and ferry brochures and timetables from the early seventies to the mid to late eighties.

 

Can you please share images of your Manx Line brochure. That service was innovative and a game changer for the Isle of Man. Was it the 1978 brochure?

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Hi Nick

I'll have to get them out and take photos of the brochure on my tablet as my scanner doesn't work. Not sure but I think that I have a copy of the 1978 brochure. Give me a day or so and hopefully I can upload the images.

Sean

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I notice that the review states that the "DUC DE NORMANDIE operates on the new route between Plymouth, England and, the area of France in which her name implies, Normandy. The port city is Ostrehen, connected by highway and rail to the larger city of Caen".

American reviews always tend to be full of errors.

For example, anyone that takes the Berlitz travel guide's seriously are obviously unaware of the amount of mistakes in their publications.

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2 minutes ago, canberra97 said:

I notice that the review states that the "DUC DE NORMANDIE operates on the new route between Plymouth, England and, the area of France in which her name implies, Normandy. The port city is Ostrehen, connected by highway and rail to the larger city of Caen".

American reviews always tend to be full of errors.

For example, anyone that takes the Berlitz travel guide's seriously are obviously unaware of the amount of mistakes in their publications.

To be fair to the Murphys Ouistreham hadn't opened at the time they wrote their book so they hadn't been there; for all the stuff they'd actually experienced (which was essentially every overnight car ferry in Europe, north and south at the time) the accuracy is pretty high from what I can tell.

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Regardless of the fact that Ouistreham hadn't opened at the time that they wrote their book it was still there on a map, the port wasn't just invented with the arrival of Britanny Ferries. They obviously knew the details of the route and the ship when the guide was published, but spelt Ouistreham incorrectly

Plus they made a very obvious mistake by stating that the UK departure port for the route was Plymouth. No excuse for that either!

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Just to add to my previous post.

I forgot to add another error from the guide.

They state that Ostrehen "rather than Ouistreham" is well connected by highway and rail to Caen. The nearest railway station to Ouistreham is actually Caen Railway Station itself which is 18 km from the Port of Ouistreham.

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6 hours ago, canberra97 said:

Hi Nick

I'll have to get them out and take photos of the brochure on my tablet as my scanner doesn't work. Not sure but I think that I have a copy of the 1978 brochure. Give me a day or so and hopefully I can upload the images.

Sean

Thank you Sean, much appreciated. I travelled on the Manx Line service as a young child in 1979 as a young child and have had an interest in that service ever since. Back then Manx Line marketed the service as "the moderm alternative" which it certainly was in terms of it being ro ro, superior onboard accommodation and clever marketing. Still had a real soft spot for their rivals at the time, IOM Steam Packet.

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The TT 1975 schedules from the Solent were peculiarly thin compared with both 1974 and 1976.

In 1974, the three Vikings and FE2 between them operated up to 6 departures per day between them, generally 2 to Le Havre and 4 to Cherbourg.

In 1976, two Vikings and two Super Vikings operated 6 departures per day, 4 from Soton and 2 from Portsmouth.

However, in 1975, with FE2 (back at Dover) and Viking II (over at Felixstowe) replaced by the single Viking Venturer, they operated a three-ship service from Soton offering between just 3 and 4 departures per day.  I wonder if they thought the extra capacity of Venturer would make up for the reduced frequency.  Or maybe it was just needs must and the fleet was being stretched pretty thin at that stage. Opening of Felixstowe-Zeebrugge and deploying a passenger ship to Cairnryan-Larne, before the arrival of all of the new builds from Aalborg, must have left them juggling priorities.

C97, I'm glad you've returned to posting on the forum, and your insight is invaluable.  Was one of the people you knew from TT days Captain Chris Clarke by any chance?

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1 hour ago, canberra97 said:

Just to add to my previous post.

I forgot to add another error from the guide.

They state that Ostrehen "rather than Ouistreham" is well connected by highway and rail to Caen. The nearest railway station to Ouistreham is actually Caen Railway Station itself which is 18 km from the Port of Ouistreham.

Ouistreham and the other local communities did have railway links in the past. The one to Ouistreham itself was the last to close, on D-day apparently. If the authors used previously-published guides for their information then it's possible they believed the railway line was still in operation. 

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemins_de_Fer_du_Calvados&ved=2ahUKEwj7ssWWjabpAhWNEBQKHdFpCUAQFjANegQIBRAC&usg=AOvVaw260uvpSwME6VoTPNVb6wHa

Ed

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3 hours ago, Gareth said:

The TT 1975 schedules from the Solent were peculiarly thin compared with both 1974 and 1976.

In 1974, the three Vikings and FE2 between them operated up to 6 departures per day between them, generally 2 to Le Havre and 4 to Cherbourg.

In 1976, two Vikings and two Super Vikings operated 6 departures per day, 4 from Soton and 2 from Portsmouth.
 

I wonder to what degree it was affected by factors outside TT?

In the ferry world competition and capacity had ramped up in 1974 with Sealink open up quite successfully on the Weymouth-Cherbourg line and Truckline properly sorting things on Poole-Cherbourg for freight, so loadings may have dipped slightly in that year anyway, compounded by things like the three day week and Britain's economic and social chaos. I can imagine 1974 carryings were significantly affected which would have been factored into the 1975 schedules, especially when there was a new ship coming which could soak up some of the slack from reducing the ship numbers. Plus in 1975 they could see TT Line and the Mary Poppins coming to operate Southampton-St Malo which inevitably would have had some impact. With perhaps more compelling demands elsewhere presumably they felt they could cope.

The quadrupling of oil prices through 1974 also might have been a factor - operating larger ships with greater capacity became key, and running a smaller ship back and forth at top speed to keep to a tight timetable started to look a bit bonkers.

But going back to Weymouth, I wonder if the initial intention was simply to effectively divert those FE2 sailings to that port in 1975. Having seen how successful the Maid of Kent had been we know TTEF applied for use of the Weymouth linkspan for the summer of 1975. And that the authorities in Weymouth indicated this would be ok before backtracking in around October 1974 after BR blew a gasket at the prospect, ultimately leading to a court decision in TTEF's favour. But by then their interest had evidently dissipated.

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As I'm bored, I might as well relate a trip on FE2 in the late 60s from Dover in the height of summer.  The lime green paintwork attracted 10 million ladybirds and our brief foray onto the open deck as we left Dover was swiftly abandoned...

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On 09/05/2020 at 07:54, Gareth said:

  Was one of the people you knew from TT days Captain Chris Clarke by any chance?

Was that captain Chris J Clark who was the Master of Europic ferry during the battle of San Carlos water during the Falklands war Gareth?

That would make his usual Portsmouth - Cherbourg run seem quite a doddle. I well remember his tannoy announcements prior to sailing on either Pride of Winchester or Pride of Cherbourg...

Chris

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