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Post by aukepalmhof » Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:39 am

The two funnel Clyde steamer TS QUEEN MARY was built at the William Denny shipyard at Dumbarton for Williamson-Buchanan. The 871 gross tons steamer was powered by three direct drive steam turbines, and carried 2086 passengers making her the largest (though not the longest) excursion turbine on the River Clyde.
In 1933 she joined the Williamson-Buchanan fleet, taking over from the first Clyde turbine steamer, the 1901 TS KING EDWARD on the run from Glasgow down the River and Firth of Clyde to Rothesay, Millport and Arran. In 1935 the fleet including QUEEN MARY passed to the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company, and her registered owners became Williamson-Buchanan (1936) Ltd. Also in 1935, Williamson-Buchanan were contacted by the Cunard Company which was getting ready to have its new liner launched by Her Majesty Queen Mary – so Cunard reached agreement with Williamson-Buchanan that the turbine steamer would become TS QUEEN MARY II, and presented a portrait of Her Majesty to hang in the forward lounge of the Clyde steamer, while their liner became the RMS QUEEN MARY.
TS QUEEN MARY II was a roomy and comfortable ship, well suited to the large numbers of passengers on the route, with passenger capacity making up for a modest speed of 19.7 knots on trial. She was a two class ship, with cabin passengers housed forward and the top deck extending aft giving steerage passengers a share of it as well as sheltered space below. Though the rest of the fleet was painted in the LMS livery with yellow funnels, she retained her white funnels and Williamson-Buchanan house-flag until the war.
During World War II, she worked on maintaining Clyde services while many other steamers became minesweepers or anti-aircraft vessels. After the war, she returned to service in LMS livery with yellow funnels; then, post war 1948 nationalisation of the railways brought the steamers under the Caledonian Steam Packet Company (CSP) with the same livery. As traffic increased in the 1950s, modifications were made. Over the winter of 1956-1957 the TS QUEEN MARY II was changed from coal to oil burning, the two funnels were replaced by a single well proportioned funnel and a new mainmast was added so that she now had two masts to meet changed regulations for ship's lights, with her tonnage increasing to 1014.
In the 1960s, a gradual change in holiday habits and a succession of summers with poor weather led to a decline in Clyde sailings. While other ships were retired, the QUEEN MARY II was refitted and put on cruises from Gourock to Inveraray, Brodick and Campbeltown. The CSP had been gradually merging with the west highland ferry company MacBraynes, and in 1973 the company became Caledonian MacBrayne Ltd. After a disappointing first season, they decided to reduce their fleet, with the paddle steamer PS WAVERLEY being handed to a preservation society, and its routes taken over by the QUEEN MARY (which lost the "II" as the Cunard liner had now been retired).
WAVERLEY survived and prospered, but with the shift to diesel car ferries and cost pressures the TS QUEEN MARY was retired after a last evening showboat cruise from Largs to Rothesay on 27 September 1977. She was then laid up in the East India Harbour, Greenock.
In 1981 the ship was bought by the Euroyachts Ltd (Lau family) and taken south to London, where she arrived at the King George V Dock on 2 February, to become a floating restaurant. On 26 November 1981 she suffered fire damage during fitting out. At this time, also, her second funnel was restored. She was, again, laid up in the Royal Group of Docks until 1987 where she was sold to the Bass PLC. She underwent a £2.5m refurbishment in 1987 and was moored at Victoria Embankment in July 1988. Facilities included two bars and two function rooms. The top deck of the ship was used as an open air venue with bar facilities.
In November 2009, the ship was towed out of London. She was purchased by Samuel Boudon who had plans for her renovation and mooring in La Rochelle, France, as a floating restaurant and fitness centre. However, she was still moored in Tilbury Docks as of August 2011. She was auctioned by Capital Marine Services on 24 August 2011, but failed to reach the reserve. A subsequent sale was agreed.
Name: 1933-1935: TSS QUEEN MARY
1935-1976: TSS QUEEN MARY II
Owner: 1933-1935: Williamson-Buchanan Steamers Ltd
1935-1936: Caledonian Steam Packet Company
1936-1943: Williamson-Buchanan Steamers (1936) Ltd
1943-1973: Caledonian Steam Packet Company
1973-1978: Caledonian MacBrayne
1978-1980: Glasgow District Council
1980-1981: Euroyachts
1981-1987: Tesright
1987-2009: Bass Brewery
2009: Samuel Bordon
Operator: (owners)
Port of registry:
Builder: William Denny and Brothers, Dumbarton
Yard number: 1262
Launched: 30 March 1933
Out of service: 1978
Fate: Static exhibit/restaurant
General characteristics
Tonnage: 1933-1950: 871 gross register tons (GRT)
1950-1957: 917 gross register tons (GRT)
1957-: 1,014 gross register tons (GRT)
Length: 252.5 ft (77.0 m)
Beam: 35.1 ft (10.7 m)
Draught: 10.1 ft (3.1 m)
Installed power: 350 ihp
Propulsion: 3 Parson Steam Turbines
Speed: 21 knots.
Guine Bissau 2009 3000 fcfa sg?, scott?

Sources: Wikipedia; Merchant Fleets No. 26 – Britain’s Railway Steamers by Duncan Haws.

Peter Crichton

john sefton
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Post by john sefton » Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:29 am

Every year, the TS Queen Mary transported thousands of people away from the grind of working life to the clean air and beautiful scenery found “Doon the Watter”.The steamer was the largest ever to sail out of Glasgow city centre with its passage west allowing the industrial backdrop of the shipyards to fall away, even just for a day, and bring the pretty shores of Dunoon, the palm trees of Bute and the peaks of the Isle of Arran into view as it ventured down the Firth of Clyde.
It is no wonder that the vessel, which today sails into Glasgow city centre for the first time in almost 40 years, is held in such affection by so many.
Today, the turbine steamer will berth in the Canting Basin at Glasgow Science Centre for the winter as trustees of the Friends of TS Queen Mary, lead by actor Robbie Coltrane, work to raise £2m to fully restore the vessel and turn it into an arts, culture and heritage attraction.
Charity Trustee Iain Sim said: “Glasgow Science Centre has been fantastic in offering us this berth, giving us a safe place to berth her over the winter months. We’re sure the people of Glasgow will look after her well and will be chuffed to have her back.”
It will be the first time it has ventured into the city since 1977 with the voyage another major milestone in the history of the TS Queen Mary, which spent 20 years in London where it was used as a bar and restaurant near Waterloo Bridge.
Built in 1933, by Denny of Dumbarton and owned latterly by Caledonian MacBrayne, the steamer - today benefitting from a fresh paint job - was fitted out in the Art Deco style of the day with plenty of room both inside and out on deck.
Described in publicity of the day as “palatial”, she was the largest carrier on the Firth with room for just over 2,000 passengers.
According to Gordon Stewart, author of paddlesteamers.info, her usual service was from Glasgow’s Bridge Wharf, next to Jamaica Street Bridge, to Dunoon and Rothesay, with non-landing trips to Arran and Skipness.
On Saturdays she sailed for Dunoon, Rothesay and the Kyles of Bute.

In 1935, the name of the steamer was changed to Queen Mary II on the request of the Cunard White Star Line who wanted the Queen Mary monicker for its transatlantic liner then being built at John Brown’s shipyard in Clydebank.
In 1976, the Clyde Steamer was renamed Queen Mary by Scots actor Roddy McMillan.
Passenger trips on the Queen Mary steamer were halted during World War II as it operated the Gourock to Dunoon Ferry Service from March 1940 to May 1946.
Following the conflict’s end, the steamer had another 24 years on the water before it was moved to Gourock. Following the withdrawal of the PS Waverley from the water in 1973, the Queen Mary took on the role as the only operational Clyde Steamer.
The Waverley came back into service in 1975 amid major public support for its restoration, The last public sailing of the TS Queen Mary was on Monday September 12 1977 when it voyaged from Largs to Rothesay.

A plan by Glasgow City Council to turn the steamer into a museum did not deliver with the vessel sold to brewers Bass Charrington in 1987. An estimated £4.5m was spent on its renovation but the TS Queen Mary closed for businesses in January 2009 due to licensing issues.
After more failed plans to turn it into a floating hotel in France, the vessel was bought by the Friends of TS Queen Mary in October 2015 who brought the steamer to Greenock in May.
Due to arrive in Finnieston today (Wednesday), many believe the TS Queen Mary is finally heading back where she truly belongs.
The Scotsman 9th November 2016

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