Maritime Index Crossing the Channel - 1960s style
Shepperton Ferry
Leaving Harbour at Sunset
Free Enterprise
shepperton.jpg (104287 bytes)
Shepperton Ferry alongside the Admiralty Pier

Pictured above is the Shepperton Ferry, shown here tied up alongside the Admiralty Pier, one of three specially built train ferries, which were unusual in having the funnels placed on either side of the vessel to avoid blocking the train deck.

The bright red and black funnels are marked with the distinctive white logo of British Rail.

These ferries were built in 1934 (Twickenham and Hampton) and 1935 (Shepperton) when it was finally decided that a fixed link, via tunnel or bridge, was not going to be possible.  The Twickenham was transferred to the French flag almost immediately, while the other two were operated by the Southern Railway (later British Rail).  They sailed between Dover and Dunkirk, carrying up to 12 sleeping cars or 40 loaded goods wagons.  They also had a small garage on board for carrying up to 25 cars.

Passengers could board the train at London Victoria and have dinner on the way to Dover, before sleeping their way to Paris.  The train was gently pushed on board by a British locomotive and extracted by a French one at Dunkirk.

The Hampton was taken out of service in 1969 and replaced by the multi-purpose Vortigern.  She was re-fitted on the Clyde and towed to Greece, where she operated for 2 years before being sold for scrap in 1973.  The Twickenham was taken out of service in 1972 to be replaced by the St EloiShepperton was withdrawn from service in August 1972 to be replaced by the freight ship Anderida.  She left Dover on 12th September in tow of a German tug, bound for a breakers' yard in Bilbao.

The service, and the terminal, have long since disappeared.

Other examples of ships from this period can be found in the Wellington Basin.

Leaving at sunset The picture on the left shows a passenger ferry, so far unidentified, leaving the western end of the harbour at sunset.  The vessel is owned by the Belgian Marine, as can be seen by the colour of the funnel.
Seen here just entering the eastern entrance of Dover Harbour is one of the Townsend Thoresen "Free Enterprise" vessels.   Unfortunately, it is not possible to read the name on the bow in this photograph, taken from the sea front at a distance of about a mile.

Free Enterprise

wpe76462.gif (2400785 bytes) The vessel shown here is the "Folofohn".   It appears to be a small car ferry, but I cannot identify it.  Seen here alongside Union Street in the Wellington Dock.  In the background can be seen Marine House (headquarters of Dover Harbour Board) and the White Cliffs Hotel.