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Folkestone Harbour Railway Ltd

The Ferries

There may be visions of Folkestone Harbour being a new up-market marina but its almost sole historic purpose has been as a ferry port for mainly railway ferries.   Originally ships were what is now known as “Classic” carrying only passengers (sometimes with loaded cargo) and for Folkestone it was the case up to the summer of 1970 when the British Railways Board, owners of the port and operators of the ships which used it, placed an order with the naval dockyard in Brest, France for two new ships. The ships were to be specifically built with Folkestone’s limited water depth in mind and would be car ferries. The ships, delivered in the summer of 1972, received the names Hengist and Horsa, are both still operating in the Mediterranean.   Also using Folkestone for a short time were SeaCats operated by Hoverspeed but they quickly disappeared to Dover and the harbour was effectively without further use – with the current exception of the Environment Agency vessel Anglian Monarch. Ship operators are shown in the order in which they started to use Folkestone: -

 

New Commercial Steam Packet Company A nominal company, independent of the South Eastern Railway due to legal restrictions, operated the World's first rail/sea service from 1843 to the removal of the legal restrictions in 1845












Harbour Sketch (dated 1844)


South Eastern & Continental Steam Packet Company nominally independent of the railway, it operated from 1845 until 1854 when it became part of the South Eastern Railway Company some ships being transferred and also listed under that company


















South Eastern Railway Company started operations in 1854 and then merged into the South Eastern & Chatham Railway Company joint fleet in 1899























































Victoria


South Eastern & Chatham Railway Company

The South Eastern & Chatham Railway Company was formed in 1899 by the merger of the London, Dover & Chatham Railway and the South Eastern Railway until 1923 when they became part of Southern Railway












































SS Biarritz


Stoomvaart Maatschappij Zeeland

Dutch company formed in 1875 moved its UK port from Sheerness to Folkestone between 1911 and 1914 when it moved again to Gravesend














SMZ Mecklenburg



Southern Railway

Created in 1923 by the merger of the three railways operating south of London and operating until nationalisation in 1948



















Isle of Thanet


Angleterre-Lorraine-Alsace Société Anonyme de Navigation (ALA)

The ALA company was founded in 1927. In 1928 management was taken over by Southern Railway. The Folkestone to Dunkirk route was closed in 1936
















General Steam Navigation Co Ltd

This company operated its ferry under military requirements for the return of troops after World War II










Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

This company operated its ferries under military requirements for World War II and the return of troops thereafter










London Midland and Scottish Railway

This company operated its ferry under military requirements in World War II only












British Railways 

In 1948 the railways were nationalised into British Railways until the shipping division was privatised in 1979

 

































Canterbury                                                                         Maid of Orleans



Société Nationale des Chemins de fer français (SNCF)

SNCF (French State Railways) operated services to Folkestone from 1951 until 1967














Sealink, Sealink British Ferries and Stena Line

A privatised Sealink took over the ships of British Rail in 1979 until being sold to Sea Containers Limited in 1984







































Hengist                                                                                                 Horsa                 




                                













Opale Ferries start-up freight service operator

Vessel

Built

Years serving Folkestone

Tons

City of Boulogne

UNKNOWN

Folkestone – Boulogne


190

Emerald

UNKNOWN

Folkestone – Boulogne


UNKNOWN

Sir William Wallace

UNKNOWN

Folkestone – Boulogne


UNKNOWN

Vessel

Built

Years serving Folkestone

Tons

Lord Warden

1847

Folkestone – Boulogne and Oostende

308

Prince Ernest

1846

Folkestone – Boulogne

248

Princess Clementine

1846

Folkestone – Oostende

288

Princess Helena  

1847

Folkestone – Boulogne and Oostende

302

Princess Mary

1844

Folkestone – Oostende

192

Princess Maud

1844

Folkestone – Oostende

187

Queen of the Belgians

1844

Folkestone – Boulogne and Oostende

207

Vessel

Built

Years serving Folkestone

Tons

Albert Edward  


1862

Folkestone – Boulogne (wrecked off Cap Gris Nez in 1893)

365

Albert Victor  


1880

Folkestone – Boulogne (scrapped in 1899)

814

Alexandra

1864

Folkestone – Boulogne (sold in 1889)  


203

Boulogne

1878

Folkestone – Boulogne

407

Duchess of Edinburgh  

1880

Folkestone – Boulogne (sold in 1882)

812

Duchess of York  


1895

Folkestone - Boulogne

996

Eugenie

1862

Folkestone – Boulogne (sold in 1863)

428

Folkestone

1878

Folkestone – Boulogne

398

Lord Warden  


1847

Folkestone – Boulogne and Oostende (scrapped in 1881)

308

Louise Dagmar  


1880

Folkestone – Boulogne (scrapped in 1899)  


818

Mabel Grace  


1899

Folkestone - Boulogne

1289

Mary Beatrice  


1882

Folkestone - Boulogne

803

Napoleon III  


1865

Folkestone – Boulogne (scrapped in 1890)

345

Prince Ernest  


1846

Folkestone – Boulogne (scrapped in 1886)

248

Princess Clementine  


1846

Folkestone – Oostende (scrapped in 1884)

288

Princess Helena  


1847

Folkestone – Boulogne and Oostende (scrapped in 1881)

302

Princess Mary  


1844

Folkestone – Oostende (sold in 1874)

192

Princess Maud  


1844

Folkestone – Oostende (scrapped in 1886)

187

Princess of Wales  


1898

Folkestone – Boulogne

1009

Queen of the Belgians  


1844

Folkestone – Boulogne and Oostende (scrapped in 1881)

207

Victoria

1861

Folkestone-Boulogne (scrapped in 1895)

359

Vessel

Built

Years serving Folkestone

Tons

Biarritz

1914

Folkestone – Boulogne and Calais and Saw Royal Navy service 1915 – 1918)

2495

Boulogne

1878

Folkestone – Boulogne (sold in 1903)

407

Duchess of York  


1895

Folkestone – Boulogne (scrapped in 1904)

996

Empress

1907

Folkestone – Boulogne and Calais (sold in 1923)

(Saw Royal Navy service 1914 - 1918)

1689

Engadine

1911

Folkestone – Boulogne

(Saw Royal Navy service 1914 – 1920)

1676

Folkestone

1878

Folkestone – Boulogne (scrapped in 1903)

398

Invicta

1905

Folkestone/Dover - Boulogne/Calais (sold in 1923)

1680

Mabel Grace  


1899

Folkestone - Boulogne (scapped in 1909)

1289

Maid of Orleans  


1918

Folkestone – Boulogne and Calais

2384

Mary Beatrice  


1882

Folkestone – Boulogne (scrapped in 1900)

803

Onward

1905

Folkestone – Boulogne
until 1918 sank after fire at Folkestone)

1671

Princess of Wales  


1898

Folkestone – Boulogne (sold in 1910)

1009

The Queen  


1903

Folkestone – Boulogne and Calais
captured and sunk by German destroyer in 1916)

1676

Vessel

Built

Years serving Folkestone

Tons

Mecklenburg  

1909

Folkestone – Vlissingen  


2885

Oranje Nassau  


1909

Folkestone – Vlissingen  


2885

Prinses Juliana  

1909

Folkestone – Vlissingen  


2885

Vessel

Built

Years serving Folkestone

Tons

Biarritz

1914

Folkestone – Boulogne and Calais  

2495

Canterbury

1929

Folkestone – Boulogne and Calais  

2912

Dinard

1924

Folkestone – Boulogne and Calais from July 1947  

1769

Engadine

1911

Folkestone – Boulogne (sold in 1933)  

1676

Isle of Thanet  

1925

Folkestone – Boulogne and Calais  

2701

Maid of Kent  

1925

Folkestone – Boulogne and Calais (sunk 1940)  

2657

Vessel

Built

Years serving Folkestone

Tons

Alsacien

1909

Folkestone – Dunkerque  


2052

Flamand

1904

Folkestone – Dunkerque  


2086

Lorrain

1908

Folkestone - Dunkerque (scrapped in 1932)  


1559

Picard

1909

Folkestone - Dunkerque (sold in 1936)  

2052

Vessel

Built

Years serving Folkestone

Tons

Royal Daffodil

1939

Folkestone - Calais (during 1946)  


2060

Vessel

Built

Years serving Folkestone

Tons

Ben-my-Chree  


1927

Folkestone - Calais and Dunkerque (1939 - 1940)  

1641

Victoria

1907

Folkestone - Calais and Dunkerque (1945 - 1947)  

1641

Vessel

Built

Years serving Folkestone

Tons

Princess Maud  


1933

Folkestone - Boulogne and Calais
relief to Canterbury 1945)

2886

Vessel

Built

Years serving Folkestone

Tons

Biarritz

1914

Folkestone – Boulogne and Calais (scrapped in 1949)  

2495

Caesarea

1960

Folkestone – Boulogne and Calais  

4174

Canterbury

1929

Folkestone – Boulogne and Calais (scrapped in 1965)  

2912

Dover

1965

Folkestone - Boulogne in 1972 and early 1981

3602

Falaise

1946

Two cruises from Folkestone in 1961  

3710

Isle of Thanet  


1925

Folkestone – Boulogne and Calais (scrapped in 1964)  

2701

Lord Warden  


1952

Folkestone – Boulogne (sold in 1979)  

3333

Maid of Orleans  


1949

Folkestone – Boulogne (scrapped in 1975)

3776

Normannia

1951

Folkestone – Boulogne and Calais in mid 1964  


3542

St Patrick  


1947

Folkestone – Boulogne 1965 - 1972

1318

Sarnia

1960

Folkestone – Boulogne two short periods in 1962 and 1967

4174

Vortigern

1969

Folkestone – Boulogne two short periods in January 1979 and 1988

4371

Vessel

Built

Years serving Folkestone

Tons

Chantilly

1965

Folkestone - Boulogne in January 1984 (sold 1987)  

3255

Chartres

1973

Folkestone - Boulogne in autumn 1990

4590

Cote d'Azur  


1951

Folkestone - Calais  

4037

Valencay

1965

Folkestone - Calais in winter 1975/6

3430

Vessel

Built

Years serving Folkestone

Tons

Ailsa Princess

1970

Folkestone - Boulogne and Oostende early 1984 for "H" ships

6177

Hengist

1972

Folkestone - Boulogne and Oostende (sold in 1991)

5590

Horsa

1972

Folkestone - Boulogne and Oostende (sold in 1992)

5590

St. Anselm

1980

Folkestone – Boulogne in 1992

7405

St Eloi

1972

Folkestone – Boulogne for short period in 1988

4649

Senlac

1972

Folkestone – Boulogne winter 1975/6 as cover for "H" ships

5590

Vortigen

1969

Folkestone - Boulogne and Oostende as cover for "H" ships

4371