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North British Steam Packet Co :  Silloth services
Silloth was developed as a port to relieve the small quay at Port Carlisle on the Solway estuary which was prone to silting up. Port carlisle had been developed by industrialists in Carlisle to export their produce because the river Eden was not sufficiently navigable to the city. Originally dug as a canal (with hopes of providing a cross-county link from Tyneside), the link to the city was converted to a railway and quickly diverted to Silloth as the new port was established. Efforts were also made to create a seaside resort at Silloth.  

The North British Railway were seeking a way to transport goods from their east of Scotland base to English industrial centres in the west of the country and forged what became known as the Waverley Line from Edinburgh to Carlisle via Hawick which opened in the summer of 1862. Onward transport of goods was impossible because the existing line south from Carlisle was in the hands of competitors, with the link north to Glasgow in the hands of their deadly rivals, the Caledonian Railway. In order to overcome this, in 1861 (and before the Midland Railway, with whom the North British established an agreement, had reached Carlisle via their line from Settle via Ribblehead in 1876),  the North British obtained powers to run over the Silloth line and eventually absorbed it into their network. From Silloth it was possible not only to transport goods to Ireland but to the industrial north-west of England via existing cargo steamers to Liverpool. Passengers could also be transported to Liverpool realtively cheaply by sea. The railway company decided to operate its own steamers, with the Liverpool and Dublin routes continuing successfully for many years.

Silloth retained importance as a small port handling local cargoes and imports but once railway competition had been removed there was little need for the Liverpool service nor for passengers to use that route.

A cross-Solway passenger and small packet service was offered from Silloth to Annan and Dumfries.

Ariel (1862-1867)
Built by J Reid & Co, Port Glasgow for the Dublin, Cork & Glasgow Steam Packet Co
123 ft : 474 GRT: later 173.3 ft : 417 GRT
Engines : 2 x side lever, ex-Mercury by Coates & Young of Belfast
1858 : Returned to builders J&G Thomson of Govan in part-payment for a new vessel
1859 : Caithness Steamship Company, Wick
1862 : North British Steam Packet Co : Silloth-Dublin service
1868 : Liverpool owners
1867 : Rigged as a barque with engine removed
1873 : Scrapped

Carham (1864-1868)
Small paddle steamer for the Silloth to Dumfries and Annan cross-Solway service
Transferred to newly opened Clyde service
Click for details

Waverley (1864-1865)
Built by C Mitchell & Co, Low Walker, Northumberland
220 ft : 519 GRT
Engines : 2 cyl. by R Stephenson & Co of Newcastle.
Built for the Silloth-Dublin route
Returned to engine builders as deemed unsatisfactory
Sold to the Leith & Clyde Steam Navigation Co for use out of Aberdeen as St Magnus
Reengined by J Howden & Co of Glasgow in 1875
Sold for use in Gibraltar in 1904 and renamed Magnus
Scrapped in 1912 at Rotterdam

Waverley (1865-1867)
Built by A&J Inglis, Glasgow
222.2 ft : 592 GRT
1868 : London & South Western Railway Co : Southampton-Channel Islands service
1873 : Wrecked on June 5th, 1873

Chartered Vessels

Prince of Wales (1867)
Built in 1842 by Tod & Macgregor of Glasgow
159.5 ft : 500 GRT
Beam engine
Built for the North Lancashire Steamship Company (based at Fleetwood) which was a subsidiaty of the Preston & Wyre Railway
The P&W became jointly owned by the Lancashire & Yorkshire and the London & North Western Railways
Spent almost all of her life on Irish Sea services between Great Britain and Ireland
Operated on the NB SP's Silloth-Dublin service on charter in 1867

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Historical Database