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Tilbury-Gravesend Ferries
 
Page 1: The Railway Ferries - 1862-1984
 
 
This page is one of a series devoted to postcards and photographs of the Tilbury-Gravesend ferries. This pages covers the railway ferries which operated the service from 1862 to 1984.
 
A steam ferry service replaced the sail and rowed ferries between Tilbury and Gravesend in 1855, using the paddle ferries Tilbury (1), Earl of Essex and Earl of Leicester of the Tilbury-Gravesend Ferry Company. The London, Tilbury & Southend Railway (LTSR) was formed in 1862, and took over operation of the Tilbury-Gravesend ferry, along with the Tilbury (1) of the Tilbury-Gravesend Ferry Company. The LTSR built a new paddler, the Tilbury (2), in 1883, followed by a series of four twin screw sister ships between 1893 and 1906, the Carlotta, Rose (1), Catherine (1) and Gertrude. They were joined by a slightly larger steamer, the Edith (1), in 1911. The following year the LTSR was acquired by the Midland Railway, although it maintained a separate identity until 1920. The Midland Railway did not need to provide additional tonnage, and Tilbury (2) was scrapped in 1922.
 
In 1923, the Midland Railway was amalgamated into the London, Midland & Scottish Railway, who provided the two car ferries Tessa and Mimie in 1924 and 1927. Carlotta was scrapped in 1930, followed by the sale of Gertrude in 1932, but the remaining passenger ferries Catherine (1), Rose (1) and Edith (1), and the car ferries Tessa and Mimie passed to British Railways (BR) in 1948. The passenger ferries survived until 1961 when they were all replaced by three new diesel passenger ferries Catherine (2), Edith (2) and Rose (2). The car ferries continued until December 31st 1964. The new ferries also operated cruises to Greenwich or Tower Pier. In the summer of 1964, cruises were run at weekends, leaving Tilbury at 10:00 on Sundays for Tower Pier, and at 9:30 on Saturdays for Greenwich. In addition, 21 cruises were run on weekdays in addition the the weekend sailings. All 1964 cruises were run by the Edith (2), whereas Catherine (2) had also been used in 1963. Three vessels on the route proved to be excessive, and the Rose (2) was sold to the Caledonian Steam Packet Co in 1967, becoming their Keppel.
 
In 1979, the ownership of Catherine (2) and Edith (2) transferred to Sealink UK Ltd, in preparation for the privatisation of the railway fleet. In 1984, Sealink was acquired by Sea Containers Ltd, including the Tilbury-Gravesend service. Catherine (2) had been laid up as spare boat in 1981, and her passenger certificate expired in 1984, leaving Edith (2) to continue alone. Catherine (2) was sold in 1989 for further service on the Tyne. In May 1990, Stena Line took over Sealink from Sea Containers. They were keen to dispose of this smallest link in their empire, and White Horse Ferries took over the service in 1991. They chartered the Edith (2) from Stena until the catamaran Great Expectations CD was delivered in 1992. Edith (2) has subsequently served as a house boat near Tower Bridge. The history of the route in private hands continues on Tilbury - Gravesend: Page 2
 
 
Sections on this Page:-
London, Tilbury & Southend Railway (LTSR)
Midland Railway
London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS)
British Railways
Sealink
 
Ferries on this Page:-
Carlotta - 1893-1930
Catherine (1) - 1903-1960
Catherine (2) - 1961-1984
Earl of Essex - 1855-18??
Earl of Leicester - 1855-18??
Edith (1) - 1911-1961
Edith (2) - 1961-1984
Gertrude - 1901-1934
Mimie - 1927-1965
Rose (1) - 1901-1961
Rose (2) - 1961-1969
Tessa - 1924-1965
Tilbury (1) - 1855-1905 (LTSR from 1862)
Tilbury (2) - 1883-1922
 
Associated Pages:-
Tilbury - Gravesend: Page 1 - Railway Ferries: 1862-1984 - this page!
Tilbury - Gravesend: Page 2 - Private Operators: 1984-
Tilbury - Gravesend: Page 3 - Piers
Tilbury - Gravesend: ferry Edith of 1961  
Invicta Line
Kingswear Castle - Page 1
Kingswear Castle - Page 2
Ferry Postcards
Cruise Ship Postcards
Ocean Liner Postcards
Simplon Postcards - Recent Updates
Simplon Postcards - Home Page
www.gres.org.uk - Gravesend Railway Enthusiasts Society
 
References:-
The Five Minute Crossing - John M.Ormiston - Thurrock Local History Society, 1998
London, Tilbury & Southend Railway - R.J.Essery - Oxford Publishing Co, 2001
London, Tilbury & Southend Album - George Dow - Ian Allan, 1981
   
 
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LTSR - Midland Railway
 
 
Earl of Essex (1855-18??)
Earl of Leicester (1855-18??)
Tilbury (1) (1855-1905)
 
A steam ferry service started between Tilbury and Gravesend in 1855 with the paddle ferries Tilbury (1), Earl of Essex and Earl of Leicester of the Tilbury-Gravesend Ferry Company. The London, Tilbury & Southend Railway was formed in 1862, and took over operation of the Tilbury-Gravesend ferry, along with the Tilbury (1).
 
 
Early photograph of Earl of Essex at Gravesend Town Pier.
The withdrawal date of Earl of Essex is unknown, but it was before 1880.
 
 
Art card of Earl of Essex of the Tilbury-Gravesend Ferry Company.
Painting: Ian H.Boyd. Publisher: Leander FA-008.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tilbury (2)
(1883-1922)
 
The first purpose-built ferry for the London, Tilbury & Southend Railway (LTSR) was the Tilbury (2) of 1883. She passed to the Midland Railway in 1912, and was scrapped in 1922.
 
 
Postcard of Tilbury (2) at Gravesend Town Pier.
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Art card of Tilbury (2) of the LTSR.
Painting: Ian H.Boyd. Publisher: Leander FA-006.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Carlotta
(1893-1930)
 
The LTSR built a new paddler, the Tilbury (2), in 1883, followed by a series of four twin screw sister ships between 1893 and 1906, the Carlotta, Rose (1), Catherine (1) and Gertrude. Carlotta passed to the Midland Railway in 1912, and the LMS in 1923, and was scrapped in 1930.
 
 
Postcard of Carlotta, posted 1904
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Postcard of Carlotta, posted 1905
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Photograph of Carlotta.
 
 
Postcard of one of the LTSR steamers at Greenwich Town Pier.
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Rose (1)
(1901-1961 )
 
The LTSR built a new paddler, the Tilbury (2), in 1883, followed by a series of four twin screw sister ships between 1893 and 1906, the Carlotta, Rose (1), Catherine (1) and Gertrude. Rose (1) passed to the Midland Railway in 1912, the LMS in 1923, and British Railways in 1948. She was scrapped in 1961.
 
 
Postcard of one of the LTSR steamers at Greenwich Town Pier.
Click to open larger image in new window
 
 
Photograph of Rose (1) and Catherine (1) at Tilbury in 1922, before the building of the Riverside Terminal.
Photo: © NRM
 
 
Photograph of Rose (1) at Gravesend Town Pier.
Photo: © NRM
 
 
Postcard of Rose (1).
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Postcard of Rose (1).
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Photographic postcard of Rose (1).
Photo: © A.Duncan
 
 
Bell's postcard 99559 of Rose (1).
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Bell's postcard 99559 of Rose (1).
 
 
Art postcard of Rose (1).
Painting: Ian H.Boyd. Publisher: Leander FA-001.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Catherine (1)
(1903-1960)
 
The LTSR built a new paddler, the Tilbury (2), in 1883, followed by a series of four twin screw sister ships between 1893 and 1906, the Carlotta, Rose (1), Catherine (1) and Gertrude. Catherine (1) passed to the Midland Railway in 1912, the LMS in 1923, and British Railways in 1948. She was scrapped in 1961.
 
 
Postcard of one of the LTSR steamers at Greenwich Town Pier.
Click to open larger image in new window
 
 
Photograph of Rose (1) and Catherine (1) at Tilbury in 1922, before the building of the Riverside Terminal.
Photo: © NRM
 
 
Photograph of Catherine (1) at Gravesend Town Pier.
Photo: © NRM
 
 
Photograph of Catherine (1) at Gravesend Town Pier.
Click to open larger image in new window
Photo: © NRM
 
 
 
Photographic postcard of Catherine (1).
Photo: © A.Duncan
 
 
Photographic postcard of Catherine (1).
 
 
Pamlin photographic postcard of Catherine (1) at Gravesend Town Pier.
 
 
Art postcard of Catherine (1).
Painting: Ian H.Boyd. Publisher: Leander FA-002.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gertrude
(1901-1934)
 
The LTSR built a new paddler, the Tilbury (2), in 1883, followed by a series of four twin screw sister ships between 1893 and 1906, the Carlotta, Rose (1), Catherine (1) and Gertrude. Gertrude had open an foredeck for the carriage of vehicles. Gertrude passed to the Midland Railway in 1912, and the LMS in 1923, and was sold in 1932 to The New Medway SP Co. they used her during the 1932 and 1933 seasons for Strood-Southend services, but she was sold at the end of the latter season for service with M.H.Bland of Gibraltar as the Caid.
 
 
Postcard of one of the LTSR steamers at Greenwich Town Pier.
Click to open larger image in new window
 
 
Photograph of Gertrude at Gravesend West Pier, February 1922.
Photo: © NRM
 
 
Photograph of Gertrude at Gravesend West Pier, February 1922.
Photo: © NRM
 
 
Postcard of Gertrude
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Medway Studios postcard of the Rochester Queen (1) (ex-Gertrude) in 1933 with fore saloon.
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Edith (1)
(1911-1961)
 
The LTSR built a new paddler, the Tilbury (2), in 1883, followed by a series of four twin screw sister ships between 1893 and 1906, the Carlotta, Rose (1), Catherine (1) and Gertrude. They were joined by a slightly larger steamer, the Edith (1), in 1911. Edith (1) passed to the Midland Railway in 1912, the LMS in 1923, and British Railways in 1948. She was scrapped in 1961. Edith (1) had open an foredeck for the carriage of vehicles.
 
 
Photograph of Edith (1) at Tilbury Riverside in 1934.
Photo: © NRM
 
 
Photograph of Edith (1).
 
 
Photographic postcard of Edith (1).
Photo: © A.Duncan
 
 
Art postcard of Edith (1).
Painting: Ian H.Boyd. Publisher: Leander FA-003.
 
 
 
 
 
 
LMS
 
The London, Midland & Scottish Railway took over the LTSR in 1923. They provided the two car ferries Tessa and Mimie in 1924 and 1927. However, their main contribution to the area was the building of the massive Tilbury Riverside passenger terminal.
 
 
Tessa
(1924-1965)
 
The London, Midland & Scottish Railway provided the two car ferries Tessa and Mimie in 1924 and 1927. Both passed to British Railways in 1948. They continued running after the arrival of the new ferries in 1961, and were withdrawn and scrapped in 1965 after the opening of the Dartford tunnel in 1963 reduced traffic. The last day of car ferry operation was 31st December 1964.
 
 
Photographic postcard of Tessa.
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Photographic postcard of Tessa.
Photo: © A.Duncan
 
 
Photographic postcard of Tessa.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mimie
(1927-1965)
 
The London, Midland & Scottish Railway provided the two car ferries Tessa and Mimie in 1924 and 1927. Both passed to British Railways in 1948. They continued running after the arrival of the new ferries in 1961, and were withdrawn and scrapped in 1965 after the opening of the Dartford tunnel in 1963 reduced traffic. The last day of car ferry operation was 31st December 1964.
 
 
Photographic postcard of Mimie.
Photo: © A.Duncan
 
 
Art postcard of Mimie.
Painting: Ian H.Boyd. Publisher: Leander FA-004.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
British Railways - Sealink
 
The ferries Catherine (1), Rose (1), Edith (1), Tessa and Mimie passed to British Railways (BR) in 1948. They survived until 1961 when they were all replaced by three new diesel passenger ferries Catherine (2), Edith (2) and Rose (2). Three vessels proved to be excessive, and the Rose (2) was sold to the Caledonian Steam Packet Co in 1967, becoming their Keppel.
 
In 1979, the ownership of Catherine (2) and Edith (2) transferred to Sealink UK Ltd, in preparation for the privatisation of the railway fleet. In 1984, Sealink was acquired by Sea Containers Ltd, including the Tilbury-Gravesend service. Catherine (2) had been laid up as spare boat in 1981, and her passenger certificate expired in 1984, leaving Edith (2) to continue alone. She was sold in 1989 for further service on the Tyne. In May 1990, Stena Line took over Sealink from Sea Containers. They were keen to dispose of this smallest link in their empire, and White Horse Ferries took over the service in 1991. They chartered the Edith (2) from Stena until the catamaran Great Expectations CD was delivered in 1992. In 2006 Edith (2) is still undergoing conversion, and is located near Greenwich. The history of the route in private hands continues on Tilbury - Gravesend: Page 2
 
 
 
Catherine (2) (1961-1984)
 
Photographic postcard of Catherine (2) and Edith (2)
 
 
Photographic postcard of Catherine (2) or Edith (2)
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Rose (2) (1961-1969)
 
Photographic postcard of Rose (2).
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Photographic postcard of Rose (2).
Can anyone identify the location?
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Edith (2) (1961-1984)
 
Photographic postcard of Catherine (2) and Edith (2).
 
 
Art postcard of Edith (2).
Painting: Ian H.Boyd. Publisher: Leander FA-005.
 
 
Edith arriving at Tilbury from Gravesend, by this time owned by Sea Containers.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1985.
 
 
Edith arriving at Tilbury from Gravesend.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1985.
 
 
Edith arriving at Tilbury from Gravesend.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1985.
 
 
Edith leaving at Tilbury for Gravesend.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1985.
 
 
Edith leaving at Tilbury for Gravesend.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1985.
 
 
Edith arriving at Tilbury from Gravesend.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1986.
 
 
Edith arriving at Tilbury from Gravesend.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1986.
 
 
Edith arriving at Tilbury from Gravesend.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1986.
 
 
Edith arriving at Tilbury from Gravesend.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1986.
 
 
Edith leaving at Tilbury for Gravesend.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1986.
 
 
Edith leaving at Tilbury for Gravesend.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1986.
 
 
Edith leaving at Tilbury for Gravesend.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1986.
 
 
Edith arriving at Tilbury from Gravesend.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1986.
 
 
Edith arriving at Tilbury from Gravesend, on charter from Stena Line to White Horse Ferries.
Note removal of Sealink logo.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1992.
 
 
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1992.
 
 
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1992.
 
 
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1992.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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