MV Regina Maris Ex Argonaut, Orion, Vixen (PG-53), Orion Argonaut – © Malcolm Cranfield Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1929 […]
This article was originally published on the 1st December 2012 but with the festive season rapidly approaching it’s time to resurrect an old favourite. As can be seen below, the ferries have certainly changed over the years (in both number and in size) but there is still one tradition that remains and that is the local fleet’s official day of rest, Christmas Day. In these modern days of the 24 hour operation at the Port of Dover it is very rare to see the ships laid up.
In January 1988 Dover Harbour Board confirmed that more sand would be dredged from the Goodwin Sands to reclaim the remainder of the Camber at the Eastern Docks. The Board obtained a licence from the Crown Estate to dredge the Goodwins and for every cubic metre of sand dredged the Harbour Board paid the Crown a fee.
Berth 1 at the Eastern Docks (ED1) was designed and installed by MacGregor-Navire (MGN). It was designed to be capable of servicing a wide range of vessels including freight only RoRo’s and car/passenger ferries.
After the transfer of much of British Rail’s classical passenger services to Folkestone and to relieve the heavily used ramps at the Eastern Docks, a new car ferry berth was to be constructed inside the knuckle of the Admiralty Pier.
The Prince of Wales Pier was completed in May 1902, having been started ten years earlier. The then Prince of Wales laid the foundation stone in 1893. Preliminary designs were done by Sir John Goode (President of the Institution of Civil Engineers), although he died in March 1892
With ships becoming much larger only vessels built up to and before the early 1970’s could fit into the original train ferry dock situated within Dover Western Docks. The new generation of ships that were then being developed were twice the size in terms of size and capacity and they could make up to five round trips of the busy Dover Straits each day.
It is probably hard to believe that it is now over sixty years since motorists were first able to drive their cars directly on and off the ships at the Port of Dover. We often take it for granted that we can drive into the port and drive directly on to our ship with the whole process taking a matter of minutes. Prior to this people taking their cars across the Channel watched from the quayside as their cars were crane loaded as cargo into the ship’s hold as they boarded the ship on foot via the gangway.