Passage times

barney b
6th June 2008, 17:25
Can any fellow seafarers help me out on this one.recently I found an old news paper clipping concerning the Holyhead/ Dunlaoghaire service in former years. According this paper the time taken for the passage between these two ports in 1896 was, and still is faster than the current conventional ferries on the run today. On a trial trip in August 1896 from Holyhead pier to Dunlaoghaire the steam ship Ulster completed the passage in Two Hours and Sixteen minutes. Today in 2008 I believe the time is somewhat over Three Hours(Cloud) .
If these ships 112 years ago were able to do this passage in this short time why aren,t todays more modern vessels able to do this passage at least in the same time, if not faster.Is there an explanation some where out there for this.Look forward to hearing your views on the matter.(==D) I am refering only of course to the conventional ferries not the Cats.

Bruce Carson
6th June 2008, 18:07
Barney in "Irish Passenger Steamship Services Volume 2:South of Ireland" there are four tables giving the timings between the two cities for the following years. These are scheduled times and not trial voyages.
I've noted the fastest times for each year:
1855: 4hrs 45min (City of Cork SP Co.)
1881: 3hrs 50min (City of Cork SP Co. and Railway Steamer)
1914: 2hrs 35min (Railway Steamer)
1939: 2hrs 55min (Railway Steamer)
A footnote states that, until October 1916, Irish time was 25 minutes behind GMT. I would think those 25 minutes would need to be added to the first three timings above to give the actual time elapsed.

Volume 2: by D. B. McNeill: David & Charles, Newton Abbot, 1971.

barney b
7th June 2008, 14:21
Hi Bruce thanks for that.Even when the adjusted time is taken into account after 1916 the times do not show much of an improvement.The time given today is 3 hours and fifteen minutes, for a big modern engined ship that is not a lot of differance.I wonder is there a speed restricition on the ships on this passage. I know with the price of fuel today they probably reduce speed to save fuel,but this did not apply some years ago.

7th June 2008, 23:32
If I can make a few comparisons with the cross-channel routes (I know these better than I know the Irish Sea routes), the same thing is true. Newhaven/Dieppe's fastest crossing is 2h36m, by the Paris, in the early C20th. The post-war steamers were all in the 25knots+ class, but none could officially better that time (Brighton[VI] may have done so, but it's a point of argument).

With the arrival of the car ferries, service speeds were dropped to 18knots, giving a 3h45m crossing. Reason? Simple, more time on board = more on board revenue. It later got stretched to 4h00m and, even though the latest two ferries can do the crossing in 3h00m, they eat fuel doing so, and the 3h45m time is usually adhered to. the extra speed is used whenever they need to make up time.


barney b
9th June 2008, 12:45
Hi Andy, never thought about it like that ,extra time on board means more money for the company.It makes sense,as there in no reason except fuel costs for doing a faster time on these routes.Some competition in the travel industry,does it exist?

9th June 2008, 22:29
Yes, amazing both on land and sea how past travel times throw up querks. Did you know that the 'high speed' Enterprise from Belfast to Dublin takes longer now than it did with the steam trains!!!!!!!!!! So much for modern diesel electric locos...

As well as the more time on board issue, nowadays with the price of fuel, I know of one company who encourage pulling back a notch and not rushing it! Their advertised crossing times are from leaving until arrival on a chosen 'trials' day. You'll never see that time again in normal service

barney b
22nd June 2008, 16:47
Just an up date on this subject, just read today, from July 1st the time from Dunlaoghaire to Holyhead on the fast ferries is to be longer,going from 99 mins to 115mins. Fuel saving is the cause.Can any one answer, are all Stena ferries now adopting fuel saving measures,or is it just on the Irish routes.