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British Railways - Sealink
 
Page 8: Harwich Sevices
 
This page is still under construction
 
This page is devoted to postcards and photographs of the Harwich sevices of British Railways, which was formed in 1948 with the ships from former LMS, LNER, SR and GWR fleets. British Railways was rebranded British Rail in 1965, and new corporate colours and logo were introduced. In 1968, an Act of Parliament separated the shipping interests of British Rail into a new division, for which the marketing name Sealink was adopted in 1970. In 1979, the ownership of of vessels was transferred to Sealink UK Ltd, in preparation for the privatisation of the railway fleet. In 1984, Sealink was acquired by Sea Containers Ltd, becoming Sealink British Ferries. After a lengthy battle, Stena Line completed a hostile takeover of Sealink in 1990, the company then being known as Sealink Stena Line until later absorption into the Stena Fleet.
 
An alphabetical list of ships shown on this page is shown below. The Table beneath gives links to complete history pages on selected individual ships. Below the table is a Fleet List in chronological order.
 
 
Ships on This Page:-
Amsterdam - BR/Sealink: 1950-1969
Norfolk Ferry - BR/Sealink: 1951-1981
Suffolk Ferry - BR/Sealink: 1951-1981
Essex Ferry (1) - BR: 1949-1957 - later: Essex Ferry II
Essex Ferry (2) - BR/Sealink: 1957-1983
Essex Ferry II - BR: 1957 - ex-Essex Ferry (1)
Avalon - BR/Sealink: 1963-1980
Cambridge Ferry - BR/Sealink: 1963-1984
St George - Sealink: 1968-1984
St Edmund - Sealink: 1974-1983
St Nicholas - Sealink: 1983-1990
 
British Railways Pages:-
Great Eastern Railway - Harwich Services
London & North Eastern Railway - Harwich Services
British Railways/Sealink - BR/Sealink Header Page
 
Associated Pages:-
Hellenic Maritime Lines (HML)
Ferry Postcards
Cruise Ship Postcards
Ocean Liner Postcards
Simplon Postcards - Recent Updates
Simplon Postcards - Home Page
 
References:-
         
 
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Table of Ship Histories

Name

Other names

 Built
 St Nicholas  Prinsessan Birgitta, Stena Normandy, Normandy

 1981
 
 
 
 
 
British Railways - Sealink
 
Page 8: Harwich Sevices
 
 
Essex Ferry (1) - Essex Ferry II
(BR: 1949-1957)
 
Essex Ferry was built in 1919 by Armstrong Whitworth & Co as Train Ferry No 1 for the wartime train ferry services from Richborough and Southampton to Dunkirk. There were three ships, Train Ferry No.1, Train Ferry No.2 and Train Ferry No.3, henceforth referred to as TF1, TF2 and TF3. After the war they lay idle until bought by the Great Eastern Train Ferry Company in 1924 to open a Harwich-Dunkirk trains ferry service (despite the title, the Great Eastern Railway had been taken over by the LNER in 1923). The service was taken over fully by the LNER in in 1932. During WW2, the three ships were requisitioned by the Royal Navy, TF2 was lost off Saint-Valéry en Caux June 13th 1940. In 1940 TF1 and TF3 were renamed HMS Princess Iris and HMS Daffodil, after the ex-Mersey ferries used in the famous WW1 Zeebrugge raid.
 
In 1941 HMS Princess Iris and HMS Daffodil were converted into Landing Craft Carriers. Both ships were modified with their twin funnels trunked into one, slightly improving their ungainly appearance. HMS Daffodil (ex-TF3) was lost off Dieppe on March 18th 1945, leaving only HMS Princess Iris (ex-TF1) to survive the war. She returned to civilian use in 1946, and was renamed Essex Ferry (1), running three return trips a week to Zeebrugge. She was joined by new ferries Norfolk Ferry and Suffolk Ferry in 1951. Essex Ferry (2) joined them in 1957, and Essex Ferry (1) was briefly renamed Essex Ferry II before being broken up in Grays.
 
There are a lot of conflicting details of these ferries in published works. Some sources, including H.T.Lenton, list TF2, not TF3, as becoming HMS Daffodil. Other sources suggest that HMS Princess Iris was briefly named HMS Iris, or that HMS Daffodil was later renamed HMS Princess Daffodil.
 
 
Photograph of Essex Ferry (1) at Harwich
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Photograph of Essex Ferry II at Harwich
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Amsterdam
(BR/Sealink: 1950-1969)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Norfolk Ferry
(BR/Sealink: 1951-1981)
 
 
 
 
Suffolk Ferry
(BR/Sealink: 1951-1981)
 
 
 
 
Essex Ferry (2)
(BR/Sealink: 1957-1981)
 
 
Photograph of Essex Ferry in BR service
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Photograph of Essex Ferry in Sealink service
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Photograph of Essex Ferry in Sealink service
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Avalon
(BR/Sealink: 1963-1980)
 
British Railways postcard of Avalon.
Publisher: J.Arthur Dixon
 
 
Photographic postcard of Avalon in British Railways service.
 
 
British Rail postcard of Avalon.
Publisher: J.Arthur Dixon
 
 
Photographic postcard of Avalon in British Rail service.
 
 
 
Sealink postcard of Avalon as a car ferry at Fishguard.
Publisher: J.Arthur Dixon
 
 
Photographic postcard of Avalon in Sealink service.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cambridge Ferry
(BR/Sealink: 1963-1984)
 
 
Photograph of Cambridge Ferry in British Railways service.
Photo: © Max Wilkinson
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Photograph of Cambridge Ferry in Sealink service.
 
 
 
 
 
St George
Sealink: 1968-1984
 
St George was built by Swan & Hunter Tyneside Shipsbuilders in 1968. She entered service with British Railways between Harwich and Hook of Holland, remaining on this route until withdrawn in 1983. St George was sold the following year to a Cypriot company Psatha Navigation, and entered service as Patra Express for Ventouris Lines between Greece and Italy. There were plans to use her on a new venture between Poole and Bilbao in 1990, but instead she was renamed Scandinavian Sky II and rebuilt in Immingham for use as a cruise ship. She entered service for SeaEscape from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport in August 1990, having been renamed again as Scandinavian Dawn. Owners were registered as MSJ Shipping. In 1996 she wa renamed Discovery Dawn still operating for the SeaEscape banner - follow the link for the eventful history of this company. In 1998 she was operating for New SeaEscape as the Island Dawn, reverting to Discovery Dawn the following year, operating from Port Isabel, Texas. Registered owners changed to Discovery Dawn Ltd Partnership, of Nassau. In 2000, Discovery Dawn was chartered to Viva Gaming and Resorts as the Texas Treasure, for casino cruises from Corpus Christi and Port Aransas in Texas.
 
 
Sealink postcard of St George.
Publisher: J.Arthur Dixon
 
 
Sealink postcard of St George.
Later version of the card above - Publisher: J.Arthur Dixon
 
 
Photograph of St George arriving at Harwich.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1979
 
 
Photograph of St George arriving at Harwich.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1979
 
 
Photograph of St George arriving at Harwich.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1979
 
 
Photograph of St George arriving at Harwich.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1979.
 
 
 
 
 
 
St Edmund
Sealink: 1974-1983
 
St Edmund was built in 1974 by Cammell Laird Shipbuilders, Birkenhead, on the River Mersey. She entered service for Sealink between harwich and the Hook of Holland in January 1975. In 1982 St Edmund was requisitioned for use as a troop transport in the Falklands campaign. She was retained after the end of the war, and bought by the Ministry of Defence in 1983, being renamed Keren. trooping duites finished, Keren was sold to Cenargo in 1986, adopting the name Scirocco. During the summer of 1986 Scirocco was chartered to Tirrenia for service between Genoa and Sardinia. Mediterranean charters followed to Comanav, Trasmed and Cotunav through 1987-1988, when she was chartered to British Channel Island Ferries. She re-entered service as the Rozel in in February 1989 from Poole to the Channel Islands. The charter ended in January 1992, and she reverted to the name Scirocco. Further Mediterranean charters followed to Trasmed, FerriMaroc, Comanav and Cotunav, until sale in 2004 to El Salam Maritim, Cairo, who renamed her Santa Catherine I. Further charters to Comanav and Algerie Ferries foloowed, plus pilgrim traffic to from Suez.
 
 
Sealink postcard of St Edmund.
Publisher: J.Arthur Dixon
 
 
Photograph of St Edmund off Felixstowe.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1979.
 
 
Photograph of St Edmund off Felixstowe.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1979.
 
 
 
 
 
 
St Nicholas
Sealink: 1983-1990
 
St Nicholas was built in 1981 by Götaverken Arendal AbRederi Ab for Göteborg-Frederikshavn Linjen (Sessan Linjen) as the Prinsessan Birgitta. She entered service on the Göteborg-Frederikshavn route. In 1983 she was chartered to Sealink as the St Nicholas, for their Harwich-Hook of Holland service. In 1990, Sealink was acquired by Stena Line Ab. In 1991, St Nicholas was renamed Stena Normandy, in preparation for moving to the Southampton-Cherbourg route later that year. This route closed in 1996. In 1997 she was chartered to Tallink for Tallinn-Helsinki services as the Normandy. In 1997 she was chartered to Irish Ferries as Normandy for use on their France-Ireland routes. She was purchased by Irish Ferries' parent company Irish Continental Line in 1999.
 
Complete history of St Nicholas
 
 
Sealink postcard of St Nicholas.
Publisher: J.Arthur Dixon
 
 
Postcard of St Nicholas leaving Harwich on her way to the Hook of Holland.
Local ferry Brightlingsea is arriving from Felixstowe in the foreground.
 
 
St Nicholas leaving Harwich in 1983.
Photo: © Ian Boyle.
 
 
St Nicholas leaving Harwich in 1986.
Photo: © Ian Boyle.
 
 
St Nicholas leaving Harwich in 1986.
Photo: © Ian Boyle.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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