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South Coast of England : Portsmouth - Ryde Ferry
Southern Railway (1923-1947), British Railways / British Rail (1948-1984)
On railway amalgamation, the Southern Railway took over the Portsmouth-Ryde ferry and set about modernising the fleet of paddlers, introducing seven large passenger vessels in fourteen years.
Whilst primarily providing railway connection services between Portsmouth and Ryde, occasional excursions were offered
Click here for the Lymington to Yarmouth ferry service

Paddlers taken over from the joint LBSCR and LSWR Fleet in 1923
Duchess of Albany (until 1928)
Princess Margaret (until 1928)
Duchess of Fife (until 1928)
Duchess of Kent (until 1933)
Duchess of Norfolk (until 1937)

New Build - Paddle Steamers
Shanklin (1924-1951)
Merstone (1928-1950)
Portsdown (1928-1941)
Southsea (1930-1941)
Whippingham (1930-1963)
Sandown (1934-1966)
Ryde (1937-1969)

After World War II, in which two of the vessels were lost, the company planned to make good the tonnage. The original plan to order new paddlers was quickly changed , to an order for ultimately two diesel-powered vessels, which were launched in 1948 from Denny's yard at Dumbarton. A third similar vessel was delivered in in 1951 as the scheduled replacement for PS Shanklin, but the high capacity (of up to 1331) of the new vessels allowed the earlier than anticipated withdrawal of the paddler Merstone in 1948. With the market for passenger-only vessels diminishing, the traditional crossing suffered at the hands of the Portsmouth-Fishbourne car-ferry route and traditional vessels were displaced from the Ryde route by the arrival of so-called "Fast Ferries" in the shape of Australian hydrofoils.These new vessels were puechased by the new private operators who had bought the "Sealink" operation from British Railways, marking the end of a long association of the route with railway ownership.

Attempts at offering cruises to other Isle of Wight ports and into Southampton water were attempted from time to time but with little success. MV Southsea, laid up in 1986 alongside her sister Brading, was immediately recommisioned in one last attempt to offer cruises, but by 1989 she was back out of service and up for sale. It was not until 2005 that she was finally sold to Danish shipbreakers after many years of lay up with preservation attempts failing. She arrived at Esjberg on March 15th of 2005.

New Build - Passenger-Only Motor Vessels
Southsea (1948-1989)
Brading (1948-1986)
Shanklin (1951-1980)

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South Coast
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