TS Dover (III) – Past and Present

TS Tuxedo Royale

ex Sol Express, Earl Siward, Dover (III)

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

Steel twin screw turbine steamer, built by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Newcastle, (Yard No. 2013) for the British Railways Board in 1965. Engined by the Wallsend Slipway & Engineering Co. Ltd 

Technical Data

  • Length on Deck: 112.47 m (369 ft)(overall), 105.61 m (346.5 ft) (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth of Hull: 17.40 m (57.1 ft) (extreme)
  • Depth: 10.52 m (34.5 ft) (moulded)
  • Draught: 3.87 m (12.7 ft) (maximum),
  • Tonnage: 3,602 gross, 1,217 net, 818 deadweight
  • Engines: 4 Pametrada steam turbines, double reduction gearing, driving two, screw shafts.
  • Power: 12000 S.H.P./ 8,827 kW
  • Speed: 19.5 knots
  • Capacity: 1,000 passengers, 200 cars.
  • Call Sign: GQQA ( (1965 – ), H2DE (Sol Express)
  • Registry: London (1965 – 1992), Limassol/Cyprus, Middlesbrough
  • ID Number: 5162528,
  • Official Number: 307813

History

March 17th 1965:Launched.

June 1965: Delivered to British Railways Board. This was the first ship to appear in the B.R. livery of “monastral” blue hull, with white waterline/ chocolate brown boot-topping; white superstructure, pearl grey masts, ventilators and davits, and red funnel with the white device of two railway lines with crossings between them. At the same time a pale blue house flag was adopted, having the same emblem.

June 6th 1965: Arrived in Dover.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

September 1965: Operated between Dover – Calais.

Roy Thornton Collection  Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection  Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection  Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

June 13th 1965: A press trip to Boulogne, the vessel on her arrival opening the newly- built car ferry terminal there.

June 14th 1965: Press visit to the Pool of London.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

© Frank Phillips, courtesy of the World Ship Society, East Kent Branch  © Frank Phillips, courtesy of the World Ship Society, East Kent Branch

© Frank Phillips, courtesy of the World Ship Society, East Kent Branch

© Frank Phillips, courtesy of the World Ship Society, East Kent Branch

June 24th 1965: Entered proper service.

June 28th 1965: Suffered shortage of power, decreasing speed and intense vibration. Withdrawn.

July 5th 1965: Faults rectified and resumed service.

© Ted Ingham  © Ted Ingham

© Ted Ingham

© David Ingham   © Fotoflite, Courtesy of Michael Woodland

© David Ingham (left) and © Fotoflite, Courtesy of Michael Woodland

September 1965: Operated between Dover – Calais.

July 14th 1966 (20.46 hrs): At Dover collided with the “Breakwater” upon entering the harbour prior to berthing at Eastern Docks. Also operated Fishguard – Rosslare

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

February 9th 1967: Carried out ramp tests at the Central Electricity Generating Board ramp at Folkestone. Results were inconclusive because the state of tides caused her car deck to be some 4 ft below the top of the quay.

1967 (Early): Sailed a short time between Newhaven – Dieppe.

© Andy Gilbert

© Andy Gilbert

1967 (Spring): Her restaurant was made self-service.

© A G Jones   © A G Jones

© A G Jones

© A G Jones (all)

October 6th 1967 – January 9th 1968: Operated between Newhaven – Dieppe.

© A G Jones

© A G Jones

October 1968: Operated again between Newhaven – Dieppe.

December 1968 (late):Left Newhaven for Dover, then operated Dover – Boulogne (off turn) service.

Roy Thornton Collection   © Ted Ingham

Roy Thornton Collection (left) and © Ted Ingham (right)

1969 (summer): Operated between Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire when the VORTIGERN joined the Sealink service at Dover in July.

May 1969 (last two weeks):Dry-dock at Holyhead.

June 1st 1969: Operated between Preston – Dieppe/Boulogne (?) transporting 200 Ford cars. (NB. First Railway ship, in over 30 years, to enter Preston)

November 1969: It was announced that British Rail’s Shipping and International Services Division (SISD) had adopted the new brand name Sealink and as a consequence all vessels would, in the future, be painted in the new house colours.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

May 22nd 1970 – September 19th 1970: Operated between Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire with experimental sailings from Dun Laoghaire (non profit making and ceased).

September 28th 1971 – December 12th 1971: Operated between Newhaven – Dieppe.

October 23rd 1971: Collided with the West Pier and suffered propeller damage. Repaired in Southampton.

November 8th 1971: Reinstated and returned to Dover.

June 1972: Passenger only sailings Folkestone – Boulogne.

September 25th 1972: Operated between Newhaven – Dieppe to relieve VILLANDRY and VALENCAY away on refit.

December 4th 1972: Arrived back off Dover then spent 3 days riding out heavy storms before entering the harbour. Resumed Dover – Calais.

1973: Sealink trading name painted on hulls

Roy Thornton Collection   Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

June 1974 – 1975 (end): Operated as extra cover for Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire in exchange for the HOLYHEAD I. The change was brought about by the need to provide more vehicle capacity at the port owing to unexpectedly heavy bookings

© A G Jones

© A G Jones (Dover 04/12/1974)

June 14th 1976: At Dover collided with the “Breakwater” upon entering the harbour prior to berthing at Eastern Docks. Also operated Fishguard – Rosslare

October 17th 1976: Returned to Holyhead to cover for damaged AVALON.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

1977: Rebuilt at Aalborg Værft, Aalborg, Denmark as a drive through ferry (bow door etc… added). Renamed EARL SIWARD

July 1st 1977: Due back in Dover after conversion.

Roy Thornton Collection  Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

October 19th 1977: Operated between Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

January 1st 1979: Registered to Sealink U.K. Ltd. Operated on the Irish sea for a short while.

May 1979 (summer): Covered VORTIGERN (train ferry duties at Dover) at Folkestone and during a French fishermen’s blockade of Channel ports, sailed to Ostend.

© Bob Scott  Courtesy of Michael Woodland

© Bob Scott (27/10/1980) (left) and Courtesy of Michael Woodland (right)

November 2nd 1980: Stripped a turbine blade.

November 2nd 1980 – December 17th 1980: Repairs in Wellington Dock, Dover.

© Bob Scott

© Bob Scott

January 16th 1981: Commenced service between Folkestone – Ostend (cover for VORTIGERN, off service after electrical fire).

January 18th 1981: Off service with boiler problems.

January 26th 1981: Resumed service

February 28th 1981 – March 1st 1981: Suffered engine failure and off service for repairs.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

March 6th/7th 1981: At Folkestone, caught offshore wires around one of her screws taking 36 to remove.

April 14th 1981: Final crossing between Folkestone – Calais. Thereafter laid up in Newhaven.

June 22nd 1981 – July 9th 1981: Operated between Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire.

© Kenneth Whyte

July 11th 1981 – July 9th 1981: Operated between Weymouth – Jersey – Guernsey.

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood

1981: Laid up in Newhaven.

November 25th 1981: Sold to Sol Ferries Ltd., Limassol, Cyprus. Renamed SOL EXPRESS.

1982: Refit in Perama, Greece.

1982: Service between Brindisi – Igoumenitsa – Patras

1983: Suffered turbine failure and laid up in Limassol.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

1986: Sold to Quadrini Group, Chanson Lines Ltd.

March 6th 1986: Towed from Limassol to Newcastle.

Roy Thornton Collection  Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

© Kenneth Whyte

April 18th 1986: Arrived in Newcastle for conversion to a casino/restaurant/night club and renamed TUXEDO ROYALE.

© Steven Brown  © Steven Brown

© Steven Brown

April 9th 2006: The End? “Departure of TUXEDO ROYALE (Middlesbrough Dock for Hull) seems to have been put back at present to 13.30 on Tuesday, 11 April.”

April 20th 2006: Left Middlesbrough Dock for Graythorpe Basin

2008: Moored at Able’s yard Hartlepool.

January 16th 2009: “Moved from Able UK to berth on Tees by Transporter bridge this morning. Seen with Tees Tugs: SVITZER SUN, FIERY CROSS and ORMESBY CROSS

May 5th 2011: Reportedly sinking at her moorings.

© Yevgeniy B  © Yevgeniy B

© Yevgeniy B

May 31st 2017: Fire breaks out on the bridge of the vessel causing extensive damage to the forward section of the vessels accommodation.

“Five fire engines are battling a huge blaze on the Tuxedo Royale ship docked on the River Tees in Middlehaven. Thick black smoke is billowing across the river, and obscuring the view of the Transporter Bridge from the Riverside Stadium and the A66 as it comes into Middlesbrough town centre.”

Source: Chronicle Live

  


All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Steven Brown, Andy Gilbert, A G Jones, Ken Larwood, Bob Scott, The World Ship Society (East Kent Branch), Yevgeniy B, Frank Phillips, Michael Woodland  and Andreas Wörteler. A Special thanks goe to Ted Ingham.

Article © Nigel Thornton and Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos Group)


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