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London & South Western Railway : English Channel : Southampton to Le Havre and to the Channel Islands


Above : Brittany enters Le Havre. It was the larger of two paddle steamers built new for the company after the railway company had absorbed its shipping subsidiary. It was the last new paddle steamer to enter service, being built in 1864, although the company did buy a number of older paddle steamers a few years later. Along with the older Alliance it survived until 1900.
Photo : published in jerripedia


The L&SWR  shipping services were based at Southampton, having failed to establish at Weymouth in the face of competition from the Great Western Railway.  It offered services to Le Havre in France and to the Channel Islands, Granville and St Malo with their vessels handling both passengers and cargoes and many of the ships used were screw steamers and, post 1900, turbine powered. In the 1923 railway company amalgamations, it became part of the Southern Railway

The railway also ran local ferry services from Lymington to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight and was part of a group operating to ferry from Portsmouth to Ryde on the same island

The South Western Steam Navigation Company was set up by the L&SWR in 1842 to operate ships and had a ready-made fleet by taking over the British & Foreign Steam Navigation Company. In 1847 the New South Western Steam Navigation Company was established after the takeover of the South of England Steam Packet Company and was run semi-independently until taken into direct railway ownership in 1863.

Services to Jersey, including mail services, were inaugurated by the South Western and its eponymous paddle steamer in 1843. The ship also spent some time offering cruises out of Jersey and to France

Paddle Steamers built for the South Western Steam Navigation Company

South Western (1843-1862)
Wonder (1844-1874)
Courier (1847-1881)
Express (1847-1859)
Alliance (1855-1900)
Havre (1856-1875)

Paddle Steamers built for the South Western Railway

Normandy (1863-1870)
Built by J Ash & Co, London. 209.9 ft : 425 GRT : Engines Oscillating by J Stewart & Sons. Lost after a collision on March 18th 1870

Brittany (1864-1900)
Built by J Ash & Co, London. 215.6 ft : 529 (later 678) GRT : Engines Oscillating 2 cyl simple 60 x 60 in. by J Stewart & Sons. Reengined in 1883 Compound oscillating 40 and 68 in x 60 in by Day, Summers & Co (Southampton). Lengthened in 1873. Jersey route until 1889 then on Le Havre route. Scrapped in 1900


Second-hand purchases

Waverley (1868-1873)
Built in 1865 by A&J Inglis, Glasgow. 222.2 ft : 592 GRT : Engines Oscillating. Built for the North British Steam Packet Co's service out of Silloth. Bought in 1868 and placed on the Channel Islands run. Wrecked on June 5th, 1873

Fannie (1869-1890)
Built in 1859 by Caird & Co, Greenock. 231.5 ft : 654 GRT : Engines Oscillating. Built for use at St Petersburg as Orion. Blockade runner (1862-5 as Fannie). Caledonian Railway (1866-9)

Alice (1869-1888)
Built in 1859 by Caird & Co, Greenock. 231.6 ft : 635 GRT : Engines Oscillating. Built for use at St Petersburg as Sirius. Blockade runner (1862-5 as Alice). Caledonian Railway (1866-9)

Wolf (1871-1896)

Built in 1863 by R Napier & Sons, Govan. 242.7 ft : 763 GRT : Engines Oscillating (compounded in 1873). Built for G&J Burns Belfast service. Sank in Belfast Lough in 1867 after a collision. Reemerged with one funnel only in 1869. From 1896 a seamen's hospital and quarantine centre at Southampton then Liverpool. Scrapped in 1900



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