Here are photos of some of the Woodside luggage boats, from Maund and Boumphrey books. All these boats had double twin screws, i.e. with props at both ends. Their carrying peak was in 1934 with 1,150,000 vehicles but this suddenly reduced in 1935 to 478,000 with the opening of the Tunnel. At the start of WW2 two boats were fitted with cranes for transfering American-built aircraft from ship to shore and final assembly at Speke. There's a photo somewhere of the fighters being hauled through a Liverpool street. The regular service ended in 1942, killed off by the Mersey Tunnel and the war. The 2 Lairds boats lasted till 1949, presumably on special jobs like carrying dangerous goods across. Thus ended a great service to Merseyside and the War Effort.
1,150,000 vehicles divided by 365 days = 3150 a day. The boats must have been running non-stop right through that year. Do you know how the vehicles got on the boats drive on at the rear end and off at the front end?
I've been on quite a few small sized car carrying ferries, mainly in Scotland and Norway. They were all Aft loading and forward debarkation. The pics Bri has put up appear to have side ramps. On saying that, some of the ferries I have been on don't have an obvious forward and aft, same both ends. They do only have one prop and tend to reverse into the slipway or debarkation point when required.
God help us, Come yourself, Don't send Jesus, This is no place for children.
Put like that,3150 per day does sound a lot. The book does say 'Woodside' so doesn't include Seacombe boats. I suppose they were counting each fare from 'lorry/horse and cart' to 'person with parcel' and in each direction. Say half hour per trip for a 15 hour day = 30 trips. The boat looks as though it could take 20 vehicles, plus say 30 smaller walking/pushing cart customers = 50 for each trip. Using 2 boats gives about the 3000 figure. No 'Out of service' excuses allowed!
Re: Vehicle ferry info wanted
#675972 14th Mar 201212:03pm14th Mar 201212:03pm
The boats would come in side-on to the pontoons the same as the passenger boats. The ramps were steam driven, presumably because they would have been heavier construction than the 'clanging' ones I remember on the passenger boats. I would like to know exactly how the double twin-screw drive system was operated, since the Birkenhead boat bridges appear to be one-directional, with the funnel right behind. There must have been some kind of clutch to chose which end of the boat was operating, otherwise docking would be difficult. The modern ship with an azipod at each corner is a doddle!
There's hardly any difference twixt bow and stern on the luggage boats. However, the bridge forward of the funnel would indicate the boat mainly went "ahead". The bow always has to be punching the tide, so say on a flood tide at Woodside, vehicles would load on the port side and discharge on the starboard side at the Pier Head.
Big stuff, like the bus on the last photo, would just drive straight across the deck. Cars and small vans could shuffle around to suit.
Having never see one "in the flesh" in operation, this maybe a case of 2+2 = 5.
I presume these were running at the same time as the passenger boats. Surely it must have taken quite a time to load and unload the vehicles ie driving on that backing up into position front and back with the last ones on either driving straight on and backing off or vice versa How many of these boats were running each day. 1,2,3 ?
They couldn't have been the speediest things to load/unload. From other photos I've seen, the luggage boats had different berths from the passenger steamers. Woodside was immediately north of the passenger stage - more or less opposite the foot of the floating roadway. The Liverpool one was likewise near the foot of the floating roadway (south of the I.O.M. berth). There are some nice shots of a luggage boat unloading at L'pool. It's on one of Angus Tilston's videos. Can't recall which one. Excuse for a trawl through tonight !
Yes, Seacombe had them - hence the reason for the floating roadway there too.
Last edited by Pinzgauer; 16th Mar 201210:18am. Reason: Addendum re: Seacombe.
Re: Vehicle ferry info wanted
#676485 16th Mar 201210:31am16th Mar 201210:31am