British Railways Board (BRB)British Transport Commission (BTC)Eastern regionFerriesPast and PresentSealink

MV Norfolk Ferry – Past and Present

MV Norfolk Ferry

© National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

Norfolk Ferry © National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1951 at John Brown & Co., (Clydebank) Ltd (Yard No 661) for The British Railways, Southern Region as a passenger and train ferry

Technical Data

  • Length: 121.88 m (overall) 118.12 m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth: 18.70 m
  • Depth: 5.80 m
  • Draught: 3.677 m
  • Tonnage: 2936 – 3157 gross/1346 – 1406 net/1986t deadweight
  • Engines: 2 Oil 2SA 6-cylinder Sulzer (John Brown and Co) diesels
  • Power: 1850 kW/2480 BHP
  • Speed: 12.25 knots (service) 14.6 knots (max)
  • Capacity: 12 passengers, 39 International railway wagons
  • Call Sign: MLSY
  • IMO Number: 5255985
  • Official Number: 182204
  • Port of Registry: Harwich/UK
  • Sister Ships: Essex Ferry, Suffolk Ferry


March 8th 1951: Launched. First cost £459,796.0

© National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

© National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

July 1951: Delivered to British Transport Commission, Southern Region, Harwich, England.

July 17th 1951: Commenced service between Harwich – Zeebrügge.

January 1st 1963: Registered to British Railways Board Eastern Region.

1964: Vessels painted in the new livery of British Railways, (blue hull and red funnels) and the “Double – Arrow”.

Andreas Wörteler Collection

Andreas Wörteler Collection (05/06/1066)

October 2nd 1967: Commenced service between Harwich – Dunkerque.

© A G Jones

© A G Jones (Harwich, 03/08/1969)

May 23rd 1972: Operated for a short while between Holyhead – Dublin.

1973: Registered to Passtruck Shipping Co. Ltd.

© Derek Longly  © Fotoflite

© Derek Longly (10/10/1978) (Left) and © Fotoflite (Right)

January 1st 1979: Registered to Sealink UK Ltd.

August 1981: Final crossing between Harwich – Zeebrügge.

September 1981 – October 1981:  Returned to service between Harwich – Zeebrügge.

October 1981: Laid up in Blackwater.

© John Jones  © Fotoflite

© John Jones (Blackwater, 16/10/1982) (Left) and © Fotoflite (Right)

April 14th 1983: Towed by tug BANCKERT from Blackwater to Ouderkerk.

April 16th 1983: Arrived at Vianen bei Marel B.V. Vianen, Netherlands for breaking.

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: A G Jones, John Jones, Derek Longly and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature.

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

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