Woolwich Ferry - the end of an era

Discussion in 'Other Public Transport' started by Mikey C, 3 Oct 2018.

  1. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

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    As the other thread below has been closed, it's worth noting that this is the final week that the current ferries will be operating, with Friday the final day. There will then be no service for a few months while the jetties are adapted

    The old boats are off to be scrapped in France, indeed the first one will depart tomorrow I think :frown:. I took a final trip this afternoon, quite sad actually.

    https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/woolwich-ferry.140655/
     
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  3. Clip

    Clip On Moderation

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    They have seen better days though and really did need new ones
     
  4. Highlandspring

    Highlandspring Established Member

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    Possibly the last Dundee built ships still in use anywhere..?
     
  5. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    I’m going to try and get on one today. Never actually used the ferry before!
     
  6. theageofthetra

    theageofthetra Established Member

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    Are they heading to scrap yards under their own power?
     
  7. John Webb

    John Webb Established Member

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    It wouldn't be easy for them to be towed, I would have thought; all three are flat-bottomed, no keel and no rudder.
    In service they use a "Voith-Schneider Cycloidal propeller" at each end of the boat. This consists of 5 vertical blades whose angle can be altered to move the boat in any direction - rather as helicopter rotor blades are used. They came down from Dundee under their own power back in 1963. I remember their arrival, and the departure of the steam-fired paddle boats with some sorrow!
    I'm a little surprised the new boats couldn't be designed to suit the existing loading/unloading ramps so that they could go straight into service without having to modify the ramps.

    John Webb (Former resident of Woolwich and ferry user)
     
  8. rebmcr

    rebmcr Established Member

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    They almost certainly could, however the ramp modification is in fact to upgrade them to automatic magnetic docking.

    The same system is used for tug boats in harbours. It's very powerful, but doesn't really do high speeds.
     
  9. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

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    I believe they are being towed by tug to France to be scrapped
     
  10. Chris125

    Chris125 Established Member

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    Isn't that also true of the Isle of Wight car ferries? This summer 'Victoria of Wight' was towed all the way from Turkey, despite the three Lymington vessels being sailed from Croatia under their own power.
     
    Last edited: 5 Oct 2018
  11. 43055

    43055 Member

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    Yeah the Isle of Wight ferries have the same system. I think the Victoria of Wight got towed because of a lack of accommodation but I would think the Lymington ferries would be the same.
     
  12. Chris125

    Chris125 Established Member

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    The Lymington ferries had temporary accommodation installed on the deck, for some reason they didn't (couldn't?) do likewise with 'Vicky'.
     
  13. philthetube

    philthetube Established Member

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    No calls to preserve one? <(
     
  14. theageofthetra

    theageofthetra Established Member

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    John Burns finally left this morning and was towed.
     
  15. Ploughman

    Ploughman Established Member

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    I believe that one of the reasons for the ferry being retained was for dangerous loads banned in the tunnels. Posssibly also on the bridges.
    What is the route for these loads now?
     
  16. John Webb

    John Webb Established Member

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    Certainly Rotherhithe and Blackwall tunnels South to North won't take certain loads. The Dartford crossing bridge may be used for North-South traffic, but the tunnel isn't allowed in the reverse direction? (I recollect, possibly incorrectly, when the tunnel was first opened that they had an escorted convoy system for some hazardous loads. I assume traffic is just too heavy these days for such block movements.)
     
  17. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    Where's it to be preserved? It would require enormous amounts of time and effort, even assuming somewhere suitable, and secure, was found, which in itself is unlikely. An example of the previous generation of boats would have been ideal to preserve, but such thinking wasn't mainstream then, unfortunately.
     
  18. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

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    Certain loads are still escorted through, I imagine that this is only done at "quieter" times!

    Otherwise, will hazardous loads have to use London or Tower Bridge, or go all the way around the M25?
     
  19. John Webb

    John Webb Established Member

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    A few pictures of the ferry over the years from the Geograph website. (Click on the photos to go to the larger originals.)
    Woolwich Free Ferry, River Thames 1960
    [​IMG]

    © Copyright Ray Bird and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

    One of the old landing ramps but in use by one of the 1963 boats:
    Military Scammell Scarab leaves the Woolwich Ferry
    [​IMG]

    © Copyright Roger Kidd and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

    One of the 1963 boats (James Newman):
    The Woolwich ferry (June 1991)
    [​IMG]

    © Copyright Albert Bridge and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

    The South side terminal and the 'gridiron' with a boat on it for servicing:
    Woolwich Ferry: Southern Terminal
    [​IMG]

    © Copyright Nigel Cox and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

    The North side terminal:
    Woolwich Ferry
    [​IMG]

    © Copyright PAUL FARMER and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
     
  20. Ploughman

    Ploughman Established Member

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    From my only trip across Sept 2015
     

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  21. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

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    A few I took last week. Sorry not sure how to post thumbnails!
    [​IMG]
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  22. rebmcr

    rebmcr Established Member

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    The ferry is retained because of legal obligation.
     
  23. Ploughman

    Ploughman Established Member

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    But what happens between now and entry into service of the new ferrys?
     
  24. John Webb

    John Webb Established Member

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    According to posts #1 and #7 above, there is no service for several months while "the ramp modification is in fact to upgrade them to automatic magnetic docking." I assume this means that the ferry captain will take over the lowering and lifting of the ramp remotely rather than some poor bloke stuck in the control cabin on each side for hours at a time!
     
  25. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

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    Walking past Woolwich earlier this week, the 2 remaining ferries are still there, moored a short distance along the Thames.I'm surprised they haven't already gone for scrap as well
     

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