Roy Thornton Collection

Southern Railway


The Southern Railway (SR) was a British railway company established in the 1923. It linked London with the Channel ports, South West England, South coast resorts and Kent. The railway was formed by the amalgamation of several smaller railway companies, the largest of which were the London & South Western Railway (LSWR), the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) and the South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SE&CR). The Southern Railway inherited a number of ships from its constituent companies, some of which were converted to car ferries when this mode of transport became more common. Such conversions were needed on the French routes, where holidays by car were beginning to become popular. Services to the Channel Islands began in 1924, along with services to Brittany in 1933 and finally Normandy commencing just prior to nationalisation in 1947. The Southern Railway was nationalised in 1948, becoming the Southern Region of British Railways and all shipping activities were eventually brought under the Sealink umbrella.

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© National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

TS St Helier – Past and Present

TS St Helier, ex HMS St Helier, St Helier – Steel twin screw turbine vessel, built in 1925 by John Brown & Company Ltd., Clydebank (Yard No. 510), for the Great Western Railway (British Railways).

TS Isle of Guernsey - Past and Present

TS Isle of Guernsey – Past and Present

Ts Isle of Guernsey, ex HMS Isle of Guernsey, Hospital Carrier No 26, Isle of Guernsey – Steel twin screw turbine vessel, built in 1930 by Wm Denny & Bros, Dumbarton, (Yard No 1233), for Southern Railways as a passenger and cargo vessel

TS Isle of Jersey - Past and Present

TS Isle of Jersey – Past and Present

TS Libda, ex Isle of Jersey, Hospital Ship 3, Isle of Jersey – Steel twin screw turbine vessel, built in 1930 by Wm Denny & Bros, Dumbarton, (Yard No 1233), for Southern Railways as a passenger and cargo vessel.

Roy Thornton Collection

TS Worthing – Past and Present

TS Phryni, ex Worthing, HMS Brigadier, HMS Worthing, Hospital Ship No 30, Worthing – Steel twin screw turbine vessel built in 1928 at Denny’s of Dumbarton, (Yard No 1203) for Southern Railway as a passenger/mail vessel

The Night Ferry - Shipping Timeline

The Night Ferry – Shipping Timeline

Introduced on the night of the 14th-15th October 1936, the Night Ferry was an international sleeper train operating between London Victoria and Paris Gare du Nord. In later years Brussels was also served. The service was operated by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits, SNCF (French National Railways) and the Southern Railway.

© A G Jones

TS Shepperton Ferry – Past and Present

TS Shepperton Ferry – Steel twin screw turbine steamer, one of three identical stern-loading railway ferry boats ordered by the Southern Railway in 1933 for their intended new Dover-Dunkirk ferry service. Built by Messrs. Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd., Walker-on-Tyne (Yard No. 1450), and engined by Parsons Marine Steam Turbine Co. Ltd.

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