British Transport Commission (BTC)FerriesPast and PresentSealink

TS Duke of Lancaster (III) – Past and Present

IMO Number: 5094496

TS Duke of Lancaster (III)

© British Railways Board (National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)

Duke of Lancaster  – © British Railways Board (National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)

Steel twin screw motor vessel built by William Denny & Bros, Ltd., Dumbarton in 1956 (Yard No 1540) for The British Transport Commission originally as a passenger and cargo vessel

Technical Data

  • Length: 114.64m (overall) 107.91m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth of hull: 17.48m (extreme)
  • Depth: 5.95m
  • Draught: 4.522m (maximum)
  • Tonnage: 4,450 gross/1,962 gross/849 deadweight
  • Engines: Four Denny Pametrada double reduction geared steam turbines
  • Power: 7833 kW/ 10,500 shp
  • Speed: 14 knots (service), 21 knots (max)
  • Capacity: 600 first-class and 1,200 second-class passengers (1956)/1,200 passengers and 105 cars (max)(1970)
  • Call Sign: GVDY
  • IMO Number: 5094496
  • Official Number: 165014
  • Registry: Lancaster/United Kingdom.

History

December 14th 1955: Launched. The Duke of Lancaster was the first of the three Duke’s, the others being DUKE OF ARGYLL and the DUKE OF ROTHESAY.


Launch

© British Railways Board (National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library) © British Railways Board (National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library) © British Railways Board (National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library) © British Railways Board (National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)

Duke of Lancaster  – © British Railways Board (National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)

 


Trials

© British Railways Board (National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)  © British Railways Board (National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)

© British Railways Board (National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)  © British Railways Board (National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)

© British Railways Board (National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)  © British Railways Board (National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)

© British Railways Board (National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)

Duke of Lancaster  – © British Railways Board (National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)


August 1956: The Duke of Lancaster was delivered to The British Transport Commission (Midland Region).

Courtesy of Jim Ashby Courtesy of Jim Ashby Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Duke of Lancaster  – Courtesy of Jim Ashby


Interior

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library  National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library  National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library  National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library  National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library  National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library  National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library  National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library  National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library  National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library  National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library  National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library  National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

Duke of Lancaster  – © British Railways Board (National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)


August 1956: Commenced services between Heysham – Belfast.

© William Macdonald

Duke of Lancaster  – © William Macdonald

June 1958: Maiden cruise sailing from Southampton for Amsterdam, Ostend and Rouen.

Duke of Lancaster  – @ Ostend

July 12th 1958: Collided with PRINCESS MAUD in Heysham Harbour.

September 19th 1959: “First West Highland Cruise”: Left Heysham for inter alia Oban, Skye, Iona (16 day)

June 16th 1961 “First from Harwich”: Left Harwich for Amsterdam, Antwerp, Ostend (6 Day)

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

© Derek Longly

Duke of Lancaster  – © Derek Longly (Southampton)

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

‘til 1966: Various long-distance cruises, to the Western Highlands, Norway, Denmark, Holland and Spain etc.,

1967: Required continuously on the Heysham – Belfast service

November 1969: It was announced that British Rail’s Shipping and International Services Division (S.I.S.D.) had adopted the new brand name Sealink and as a consequence all vessels were painted in the new house colours.

Courtesy of Jim Ashby Courtesy of Jim Ashby  

Duke of Lancaster  – Courtesy of Jim Ashby

January 3rd 1970: Last passenger sailing before entering Harland & Wolff for conversion to car ferry.

Courtesy of Jim Ashby Courtesy of Jim Ashby  

Duke of Lancaster  – Courtesy of Jim Ashby

April 25th 1970: Resumed commercial service between Heysham – Belfast.

1973: Sealink trading name painted on hulls

Courtesy of Jim Ashby Courtesy of Jim Ashby  

Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Duke of Lancaster  – Courtesy of Jim Ashby

April 5th 1975: Service closed and made last sailing from Belfast – Heysham.

April 1975: Laid up in Barrow.

June 19th 1975: Relief on Fishguard – Rosslare service.

July 15th 1975: Support vessel on Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire services.

© Chris Howell © Chris Howell  

Duke of Lancaster  – © Chris Howell (06/1977)(Left) (07/1977)(Right)

November 9th 1978: Last commercial sailing as relief between Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire, then laid up in Holyhead.

January 1st 1979: Registered to Sealink UK Ltd.

Januaruy 21st 1979: Sold to Empirewise of Liverpool and towed to Barrow.

August 10th 1979: Arrived at a landlocked berth at Llanerch-y-Mor, near Mostyn, North Wales, where she currently lays. Plans to convert her to an entertainments centre have never materialised.

© Malcom Cranfield © Carsten Dettmer  

Duke of Lancaster  – © Malcolm Cranfield (07/05/2005)  (Left) © Carsten Dettmer (19/10/2016)(Right)


All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions found. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Jim Ashby, Terry Conybeare, Malcom Cranfield, Carsten Dettmer, Chris Howell, Derek Longly, the National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library and William Macdonald for their assistance in compiling this feature.

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

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