British Railways Board (BRB)British Transport Commission (BTC)Caledonian Steam PacketFerriesPast and PresentSealink

TS Caledonian Princess – Past and Present

IMO Number: 5057840

TS Prince

ex Tuxedo Princess, Caledonian Princess

World Ship Society

World Ship Society

Steel twin screw steam turbine vessel, built and engined by Wm Denny & Bros, Ltd., Dumbarton, in 1961 (Yard No. 1501) for Caledonian Steam Packet Co (Irish Services) Ltd., as a passenger and car ferry 

Technical Data

  • Length on deck: 107.60m (353 ft) (overall)/101.04m (331.6 ft) (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth of hull: 17.43m (57.2 ft) (moulded)
  • Depth: 5.33m (17.5 ft)
  • Draught: 3.66m (12.0 ft) (maximum)
  • Tonnage: 3,630 gross (1961), 4,042 (1976)/1,306 net ( 1961), 1,769 (1976)/620 deadweight
  • Engines: 2 Pametrada steam turbines, double reduction gearing.
  • Boilers: 2 x Babcock & Wilcox wt
  • Power: 8,459 kW
  • Speed: 19 knots (20.9 knots sea trials), astern 85% of power
  • Capacity: 400 first class, 100 second class passengers, 103 cars/53 cars – 29 trailers (1961)/1,400 one class passengers and 103 cars/53 cars – 29 trailers. (1976)
  • Crew: 77 (1961), 60 (1976)
  • Call Sign: GHQF
  • IMO Number: 5057840
  • Official Number: 168902
  • Registry: Stranraer/UK 🇬🇧


1959 (Autumn): Ordered.

April 5th 1961: Launched for by Mrs D.H. Cameron of Lochiel for Caledonian Steam Packet Co. Ltd. The vessel was the successor to the PRINCESS VICTORIA, and was the last of a very long line of railway steamers to be built at Denny’s. The ship introduced a new funnel marking having the Caledonian red lion rampant on each side of the yellow portion of the funnel.

“She combines the facilities of a modern passenger liner with the ability to carry cars and trailers, which are driven on and off by the stern. To seal the stern opening there is a massive watertight door, opening upwards and outwards, and held in the position by safety latches (Glasgow Herald)”.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

September 23rd 1961: Sea Trials in the Firth of Clyde. A knock developed in the starboard engine and she was returned to the builder.

Roy Thornton Collection  Roy Thornton Collection 

 Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection  Roy Thornton Collection  

Roy Thornton Collection

© William Macdonald © William Macdonald

© William Macdonald (Both)

November 24th 1961: Delivered to British Transport Commission, London home port Stranraer.


Roy Thornton Collection Roy Thornton Collection Roy Thornton Collection Roy Thornton Collection Roy Thornton Collection Roy Thornton Collection Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

October 2nd 1961: Due to enter service, but developed a defect in her starboard turbine gearing and she was retired to dry-dock at Greenock. The fault was worse than first thought and she was forced to return to Dumbarton where the offending turbine was opened up and rectified.

November 25th 1961: Arrived at Stranraer and had “open days” on both sides of the North Channel.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

December 16th 1961 – July 6th 1971: Maiden voyage then operated service for Caledonian Steam Packet Co. (Irish Services) Ltd between Stranraer – Larne.

© William MacDonald  Nigel Thornton Collection  

© William MacDonald (Left) Nigel Thornton Collection (Right)

© Ian Collard

🆕 © Ian Collard (Leaving Larne)

January 1st 1963: British Railways Board succeeded British Transport Commission.

July 6th 1964: In summer SLEIVE DONARD joined her to carry 60 cars, but with their passengers being aboard CALEDONIAN PRINCESS.

1965 (summer): SLEIVE DONARD was unpopular so she was replaced by LOHENGRIN

January 1st 1967: Vessels were painted in the new livery of British Railways, (blue hull and red funnels) and the “Double -Arrow”, and for tax avoidance purposes ownership registered to British Railways Board.

Nigel Thornton Collection  © Alasdair Young

Nigel Thornton Collection (Left) © Alasdair Young (Right)

© William Macdonald © William Macdonald

© William MacDonald

© Trevor Kidd

© Trevor Kidd

June 26th 1968: Day charter and became the first stern loader to visit Douglas I.O.M

Matt Murtland Collection  Matt Murtland Collection 

Matt Murtland Collection

Matt Murtland Collection (all)

July 5th 1968 – September 5th 1968: Operated between Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire, returning to Stranraer for the winter.

Nigel Thornton Collection Nigel Thornton Collection 

Nigel Thornton Collection

January 1st 1969: Registered to British Transport Ship Management (Scotland) Ltd. Given side loading doors.

May 20th 1969 – July 8th 1969: Operated between Fishguard – Rosslare.

July 9th 1969 – August 3rd 1969: Operated between Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire.

© William Macdonald

© William MacDonald

August 4th 1969 – October 11th 1969: Operated between Fishguard – Rosslare.

Nigel Thornton Collection  Nigel Thornton Collection 

Nigel Thornton Collection

February 16th 1970 – February 23rd 1970: Operated between Heysham – Belfast.

May 1970 – September 1970: Operated between Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire.

December 12th 1970 – January 1971: Operated between Fishguard – Rosslare.

January 1st 1971: Chartered for 5 weeks to Fishguard, Rosslare Railway and Harbour Co.

March 1971: Commenced service between Heysham – Belfast.

July 7th 1971: Commenced service between Fishguard – Rosslare.

November 1st 1971 – November 25th 1971: Operated between Stranraer – Larne.

May 11th 1972 – June 21st 1972: Operated between Newhaven – Dieppe for B.R./S.N.C.F.

May 14th 1972: During heavy storms at Dieppe damaged her belting and was off service for three days.

June 20th 1972: Completed Newhaven crossings and left for Fishguard.

June 27th 1972 – September 1972: Operated between Fishguard – Rosslare.

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

September 26th 1974 – October 26th 1974: Used between Weymouth – Cherbourg .

October 29th 1974 : Services between Fishguard – Rosslare.

June 19th 1975: Last day in operation between Fishguard – Rosslare.

1975: Laid up in reserve at Newhaven.

July 15th 1975: Again took up service between Weymouth – Jersey – Guernsey.

January 31st 1976: Completed service between Weymouth – Jersey – Guernsey.

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

May 12th 1976 – December 14th 1976: After rebuild, resumed service between Weymouth – Jersey – Guernsey, from where she went to Fishguard acting as relief.

January 18th /19th 1976 – February 1976 (early): Again operated between Newhaven – Dieppe.

April 1978 – May 1st 1978: Dry docking, then resumed Weymouth – Channel islands service.

© Kenneth Whyte

© Kenneth Whyte

December 1978: En-route Channel Islands -Weymouth, she was forced to put into Cherbourg. All animals aboard had to go into UK anti-rabies quarantine for six months.

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood

October 12th 1979 – November 15th 1979: Operated between Heysham – Belfast.

© Chris Howell

Courtesy of Chris Howell (Weymouth, February 1980)

May 1st 1980: Operated as cover, for the EARL WILLIAM which suffered generator problems, between Weymouth – Jersey – Guernsey.

May 1979: Commenced service between Stranraer – Larne.

1981 – May 3rd 1981: Operated between Weymouth – Jersey – Guernsey.

May 31st 1981 – September 26th 1981: After refit in Avonmouth operated between Dover/Folkestone – Boulogne. Overnight sailings were even operated Folkestone – Ostend, but her lack of headroom on her main vehicle deck caused immediate operational problems

© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (Folkestone, July 1981)

© Nigel Turner

© Nigel Turner (Dover, August 1981)

© Tony Garner

© Tony Garner (Dover Western Docks, 21/09/1981)


© Ken Larwood (both)

Courtesy of Jim Ashby  Courtesy of Jim Ashby 

Courtesy of Jim Ashby  Courtesy of Jim Ashby  

Courtesy of Jim Ashby  Courtesy of Jim Ashby  

Courtesy of Jim Ashby

September 26th 1981: Final sailing to Boulogne.

© John Hendy

© John Hendy (Dover, 26/09/1981)

© Bob Cable  Courtesy of the family of Gerry Stevens

Courtesy of the family of Gerry Stevens (Left)  © Bob Cable (Right) (Boulogne, 26/09/1981)

September 27th 1981: Laid up in the Wellington Dock, Dover.

© A G Jones © A G Jones © A G Jones

© A G Jones (all)

October 11th 1981: Laid up in Newhaven.

1981: Plans to convert the sale-listed vessel into a five class ship for service between Port Harcourt and Lagos fell through after an import embargo was imposed by the Nigerian government.

© Ken Larwood 

© Ken Larwood

© Chris Howell

© Chris Howell (Newhaven, 17/01/1982)

© Ken Larwood 

© Ken Larwood

© Andy Gilbert

© Andy Gilbert

October 13th 1982: Sold to Riverzest Ltd, Newcastle for £96,000.

December 14th 1982: Sold to Michael Quadrini Group.

February 27th 1983: Towed to Gateshead, Tyne by the tug PULLWELL DELTA for planned conversion to a leisure/entertainments complex. Registered to Riverzest Ltd, and renamed TUXEDO PRINCESS.

November 29th 1984: A minor fire broke out on board the vessel and the damage caused was easily repaired.

July 1988: Towed to Glasgow and laid up as an entertainments ship.


May 15th 1998: Towed from Glasgow to Newcastle, later renamed TUXEDO PRINCESS.

© John Jones © John Jones 

© John Jones (Left) and © Robert J Smith (Right)

December 2007: Information suggested that, as a result of the regeneration of Gateshead Quayside, her days on the Tyne were limited.She was due to close after a 2007 New Years Eve party and suggestions were that she would be moved to Northern Ireland where she would continue as an entertainments ship.

July 25th 2008: Noted that announcement made “On Sunday Tyneside will wave goodbye to floating nightclub the Tuxedo Princess after more than 25 years on the River Tyne. Its owners Absolute Leisure sold the vessel – locally known as The Boat – to foreign investors and it is now set to drop anchor in Greece.

July 26th 2008: Port of Tyne Authority said it was due to set sail during low tide on Sunday (July 28th 2008) morning when it will be towed to Northumbria Quay, North Shields. She former will then be collected by a salvage tug where it will sail out of the Tyne and into the North Sea on Monday morning destined for Piraeus, near Athens in Greece.”

© Ken Lubi  © Ken Lubi 

© Ken Lubi  © Ken Lubi 

© Ken Lubi (all)

July 27th 2008: Noted as being on her way down river from Gateshead to Northumbrian Quay, towed by Yarm Cross and Svitzer Maltby.

July 28th 2008: According to AIS the towing tug, PANTODYNAM, is making 7 knots just off the North East coast. She has an ETA of 19/8 at Pireaus.

July 30th 2008: Passes Dover en-route to Piraeus.

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton 

© Nigel Thornton (Both)

August 2008: Arrived off Piraeus and appeared to be renamed PRINCE

© Frank Lose

© Frank Lose

August 22nd 2008: Towed from Piraeus to Aliaga, Turkey

August 2008: Arrived at Aliaga, Turkey for scrapping.

© Selim San  © Selim San

© Selim San

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: Jim Ashby, Bob Cable, Ian Collard, Tony Garner, Andy Gilbert, Chris Howell, A G Jones, John Jones, Trevor Kidd, Ken Larwood, Frank Lose, Ken Lubi, William MacDonald, Matt Murtland, Selim San, Robert J Smith, Nigel Turner, Kenneth Whyte, Andreas Wörteler and Alasdair Young for their assistance in producing this feature.

Special thanks go to Terry Conybeare, John Hendy, the family of Gerry Stevens and the World Ship Society (East Kent Branch)

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


  1. CAPTAIN DAVE TRIPP – Hello. I wonder if you can help me? I am looking for information on a seafaring friend of my father who he said captained the Stranraer to Lane Ferry, at a guess c. between 1960’s and early 70’s. Do you know where my best chance of finding this information would be as I see the ferry companies kept changing. I think I recall dad saying Dave had passed away before he died in 1983. I have tried the National Archives and Ancestry websites but nothing coming up. I knew him too from my visits to dad’s ships and have his photo. too. Many thanks. H

    1. Helen,

      I have been directed to a Facebook Group named “Ferries, ships and lifeboats of the Irish sea & beyond” with a suggestion that you join.

      I hope this assists?

      Nigel T

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