Ref Number: 0064
Ref Number: 0064
The “floating railway” also known as the P.S. Carrier was first conceived as a vessel to traverse the River Tay. However, after the Tay Bridge was constructed, she was moved to the Forth River so that there would be a reserve vessel there. In point of fact, these boats were highly inefficient, but they were an alternative for when all else failed. For instance, after the collapse of the Tay Bridge in 1879, the Postal Service Carrier was allowed to resume its service via the River Tay route. Then, in 1882, once the bridge had been rebuilt, the Carrier was sold to IOWMTCo for the price of £3,400 so that it could be used to transport passengers and cargo between Langston Harbour and the island berthing at St. Helens.
While over £30,000 ( £900,000 in today’s money) was being spent on the installation of ramps and winching equipment to be put at both harbours in 1883, the Carrier was having some work done at Newhaven Harbour at the LBSCR maritime facilities. Because of the different heights of the tide at each end of the trip, the technique that was used to carry the waggons on and off the Carrier was, to put it mildly, a little bit problematic, as can be seen in the drawings that will be shown in the next section.
After only one year of operation, the company was forced to make a sub-agreement with LB&SCR dated 23rd December 1885 for the hire of both the harbor’s quays and the vessel. The Carrier ploughed this route as and when it could, as the weather and sea conditions played a significant part in its overall failure to make a profit. The service managed to only last until 1888, despite the fact that the new firm had significant challenges along the route as a result of the unpredictability of the sea conditions and the layout of the vessels. It is important to keep in mind that the Solent is not the same as the River Tay, and that the tranquil circumstances that are typical on the Tay are not always present on the Solent and thus semi flat bottom craft
The ship was utilised as a public viewing platform for Queen Victoria’s fleet revue in 1887, thus it is possible that she made further voyages after the final one that is documented, which occurred in or around March of 1888.