Wightlink

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Wightlink
Type Ltd
Industry Shipping
Founded 1991
Headquarters Portsmouth
Revenue £51 million
Employees between 600 – 750
Website www.wightlink.co.uk
Wightlink ferry St Faith outbound from Portsmouth Harbour 27 June 2013

Wightlink is a ferry company operating routes between Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in southern England.

Their core routes are car ferries from Lymington to Yarmouth (30 minutes) and Portsmouth to Fishbourne (40 minutes). A fast passenger-only catamaran operates between Portsmouth Harbour and Ryde Pier Head (taking 18 minutes), and directly links into the Island Line rail line.

History[edit]

Wightlink and its forerunners have provided ferry services to and from the Isle of Wight for more than 160 years.[1] In the early nineteenth century, ferries ran to the island from Lymington and Portsmouth. Later, steam ferries operated a circular route around Lymington, Yarmouth, Cowes, Ryde and Portsmouth. When the rail companies became involved they concentrated on two direct routes, Lymington – Yarmouth and Portsmouth – Ryde.[1] Ownership of the ferries eventually passed from the British Railways Board to Sealink UK Limited.

In 1984 Sealink UK Limited was denationalised and the operating name became Sealink British Ferries, which was subsequently bought by the Bermuda based Sea Containers Ltd. When Stena Line bought Sealink British Ferries in 1990, the Isle of Wight ferries remained with Sea Containers, as ‘Wightlink’.[1] In June 1995 Wightlink was the subject of a management buy-in. In 2005 it was bought by the Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund for an estimated £240,000,000.[1]

In 2004, Wightlink renewed its sponsorship of the Wightlink Raiders ice hockey team,[citation needed]

In October 2006 Wightlink announced its intention to build two new ferries for the Yarmouth to Lymington route. These ships are slightly bigger than their predecessors, with extra vehicle space, but will only accommodate 360 passengers compared to 500 on the older vessels. Wightlink later announced that a third new ferry would enter service in spring 2009. A dispute with some Lymington residents led to delay and threatened the viability of the route.[2][3] In November 2008, the service was reduced so only 2 ships were required, allowing for the delay in the introduction of the new vessels.[4] Sea trials were not complete by November 2008 and introduction became pressing with the expiry of safety certificates on the previous fleet. Wightlink proposed interim arrangements enabling them restricted use of the new ferries until the trials can be completed in full.[5]

The previous Wightlink logo, replaced at around the time the new ferries were arriving.

In March 2008 Wightlink revealed that an order has been placed with FBMA Marine to construct 2 new passenger catamarans for the Portsmouth to Ryde service, to replace the three craft currently employed. They entered service in 2009.

From May 2008 Wightlink introduced a fuel surcharge on all crossings, linked to the price of Brent Crude oil.[6] However in November 2008 the surcharge dropped to zero following the sharp reduction in crude prices during the credit crunch and as of November 2009 is still at zero.

Wightlink planned to spend £17.5M on improving their Portsmouth-Fishbourne route.[7] This involved remodelling the terminal facilities at both Fishbourne and Portsmouth. Their flagship MV St Clare was to have its upper car deck adjusted so vehicles access it directly from on-shore ramps. Two of the older ferries were to be stretched in length by 12 metres, with upper car decks similar to St Clare's being added, replacing movable mezzanine decks. Of the remaining two ferries, St Catherine has been sold and St Helen was to be used mainly for freight.[8][9]

The planned investment was shelved to due spiraling costs, caused by:-

Legal action against the introduction of the new Lymington ships by the Lymington River Association.

Rebuilding of the wooden roadway of Ryde Pier and structural work on the Pier Head itself

Steep increases in fuel costs.

Plans for new, larger but slower car ferries have come to light (19 April 2013) after a report by BBC local television. Wightlink have yet to publish information or show details of any new ships and as to date, no instruction to build such ships seems to have been made.

Current fleet[edit]

Wight Ryder I and Wight Ryder II at Portsmouth Harbour in August 2009 prior to entry into service
Wight Light, the first of the new ferries launched in 2008 for the Lymington to Yarmouth route
Wight Sky at Yarmouth Harbour
Wightlink's former St Catherine Ferry.
Cenwulf, one of the former Lymington – Yarmouth ferries
Our Lady Pamela crossing the Solent
St Helen in foreground, and St Faith, 2013
St Clare, July 2013.
St Cecilia, July 2013.

Fishbourne[edit]

The following car ferries are used on the Fishbourne to Portsmouth route:

Ryde[edit]

The following passenger-only catamarans operate on the Ryde Pier head to Portsmouth route:

Wight Ryder I and Wight Ryder II entered service in September 2009.[10]

Yarmouth[edit]

The following car ferries are used on the Yarmouth to Lymington route:

The introduction of the Wight class ferries was a much discussed affair, with some Lymington residents claiming that the increased size of the ferries posed a risk, both in environmental terms and to users of pleasure craft on the Lymington river.

Historic fleet[edit]

The following ferries have operated historically on routes run by Wightlink or previous companies that have been absorbed by Wightlink.[11][12]

Lymington-Yarmouth[edit]

Ship Service Company Notes
PS Glasgow 1830–1850 Solent Steam Packet Co
PS Red Lion 1858–1880 Solent Steam Packet Co
PS Solent 1841–1861 Solent Steam Packet Co
PS Solent 1863 Solent Steam Packet Co
PS Mayflower 1866 Solent Steam Packet Co
PS Lymington 1893 London and South Western Railway
PS Solent 1902 London and South Western Railway
PS Freshwater 1927-1959 Southern Railway Sold and renamed Sussex Queen renamed Swanage Queen
MV Lymington 1938–1973 Southern Railway First Voith Schneider driven ferry. Sold and renamed Sound of Sanda
PMV Farringford 1948–1974 British Transport Commission
MV Freshwater 1959–1983 British Transport Commission
MV Cenwulf 1973–2009 Sealink Isle of Wight
MV Cenred 1974–2009 Sealink Isle of Wight
MV Caedmon 1983–2009 Sealink Isle of Wight

Portsmouth-Ryde[edit]

Ship Service Company Notes
PS Arrow 1825–1851 Portsmouth & Ryde Steam Packet Co
PS Union 1825 Portsmouth & Ryde Steam Packet Co
PS Lord Yarborough 1826–1851 Portsmouth & Ryde Steam Packet Co
PS Lord Spencer 1833
PS Prince Albert 1847–1868 Portsmouth & Ryde Steam Packet Co
PS Prince of Wales 1850 Portsea, Portsmouth, Gosport & Isle of Wight Steam Packet Co
PS Princess Royal 1850 Portsea, Portsmouth, Gosport & Isle of Wight Steam Packet Co
PS Her Majesty 1850-1883 Portsmouth & Ryde Steam Packet Co
PS Prince Consort 1859–1882 Port of Portsmouth & Ryde United Steam Packet Co
PS Princess of Wales 1865–1885 Port of Portsmouth & Ryde United Steam Packet Co
PS Duke of Edinburgh 1869–1884 Port of Portsmouth & Ryde United Steam Packet Co
PS Princess Alice 1869–1882 Port of Portsmouth & Ryde United Steam Packet Co
TS Ventnor 1873–1879 Southsea & Isle of Wight Steam Packet Co
TS Shanklin 1873–1879 Southsea & Isle of Wight Steam Packet Co
TS Ryde 1873–1879 Southsea & Isle of Wight Steam Packet Co
TS Southsea 1873–1879 Southsea & Isle of Wight Steam Packet Co
TS Princess Louise 1873–1874 Port of Portsmouth & Ryde United Steam Packet Co
TS Princess Beatrice 1874-1874 Port of Portsmouth & Ryde United Steam Packet Co
PS Heather Bell 1875 Port of Portsmouth & Ryde United Steam Packet Co
PS Albert Edward 1878 Port of Portsmouth & Ryde United Steam Packet Co
PS Alexandra 1879–1913 Port of Portsmouth & Ryde United Steam Packet Co Sold to Cosens & Co Ltd
PS Victoria 1881–1899 Joint Railway Companies Steampacket Service
PS Duchess of Edinburgh 1884–1910 Joint Railway Companies Steampacket Service
PS Duchess of Connaught 1884–1910 Joint Railway Companies Steampacket Service
PS Duchess of Albany 1890–1927 Joint Railway Companies Steampacket Service
PS Princess Margaret 1893–1927 Joint Railway Companies Steampacket Service
PS Duchess of Kent 1897–1933 Joint Railway Companies Steampacket Service Sold and renamed Clacton Queen
PS Duchess of Fife 1890–1929 Joint Railway Companies Steampacket Service
PS Duchess of Richmond 1910–1915 Joint Railway Companies Steampacket Service Mined in the Mediterranean
PS Duchess of Norfolk 1911–1937 Joint Railway Companies Steampacket Service Sold and renamed Embassy
PS Shanklin 1924–1950 Southern Railway Sold and renamed Monarch
PS Merstone 1928–1952 Southern Railway
PS Portsdown 1928–1941 Southern Railway Mined off Southsea
PS Southsea 1930–1941 Southern Railway J113 HMS Southsea mined off the River Tyne
PS Whippingham 1930–1962 Southern Railway J136 HMS Whippingham in WW2
PS Sandown 1934–1965 Southern Railway J20 HMS Sandown in WW2, evacuated 3000 men at Dunkirk
PS Ryde 1937–1969 Southern Railway J132 HMS Ryde in WW2
MV Brading 1948–1986 British Transport Commission
MV Southsea 1948–1988 British Transport Commission
MV Shanklin 1951–1980 British Transport Commission Sold and renamed Prince Ivanhoe
HSC Our Lady Patricia 1986–2008 Sealink
HSC Our Lady Pamela 1986–2008 Sealink
HSC FastCat Shanklin 1996–2009 Wightlink Sold and renamed Sochi 2
HSC FastCat Ryde 1996–2010 Wightlink Sold and renamed Rapparee, renamed Sochi 1

Portsmouth-Fishbourne[edit]

Ship Service Company Notes
MV Fishbourne 1927–1961 Southern Railway Sent to Dunkirk in 1940
MV Wootton 1928–1961 Southern Railway Sent to Dunkirk in 1940
MV Hillsea 1930–1961 Southern Railway
MV Fishbourne 1961–1983 British Transport Commission
MV Camber Queen 1961–1984 British Transport Commission
MV Cuthred 1969–1986 British Transport Commission
MV Caedmon 1973–1983 Sealink
MV St Catherine 1983–2010 Sealink

Langston Harbour-Bembridge[edit]

Ship Service Company Notes
TF Carrier 1885–1888 Isle of Wight Marine Transit Co Ex Firth of Tay ferry

Figures[edit]

Every year, Wightlink carries:

  • 5 ½ million passengers
  • over 1.2 million cars
  • almost 200,000 coaches and freight vehicles
  • Annual revenue £51 million

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "History". Wightlink. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  2. ^ "Threat to ferry route". Isle of Wight County Press. 7 November 2008. Retrieved 1 April 2009. 
  3. ^ "Isle of Wight: MP Andrew Turner asks why introduction of new Wightlink ferry is being delayed". Isle of Wight County Press. 14 November 2008. Retrieved 21 November 2008. [dead link]
  4. ^ "New Lymington Timetable". Wightlink. Retrieved 21 November 2008. [dead link]
  5. ^ Andrew Wilson (20 November 2008). "Press Statement: Introduction of new Ferries". Retrieved 29 March 2009. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Fuel Surcharge". Wightlink. Archived from the original on 22 August 2008. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  7. ^ "Portsmouth to Fishbourne Investment". Wightlink. Retrieved 2009-03-27. 
  8. ^ "Portsmouth to Fishbourne Car Ferry Service – The Way Forward". Wightlink. Summer 2008. 
  9. ^ Lorraine Parker (18 April 2008). "Wightlink Stretching Capacity on Board". Isle of Wight County Press. Retrieved 27 March 2009. 
  10. ^ "WightLink chronological history". Wightlink. 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2010. 
  11. ^ "History of Isle of Wight Ferries – Wightlink". Archived from the original on 4 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  12. ^ Hendy, John. (1989) Sealink Isle of Wight, Ferry Publications

External links[edit]