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Great Eastern Railway

Local ferry and river excursion Services in East Anglia

The Great Eastern Railway also operated a number of river excursions between Ipswich and Harwich with small paddle steamers and some slightly larger vessels on coastal excursions from Harwich. It had taken over the Eastern Counties Railway and its River Orwell and Stour ferries in 1862 and in 1863 obtained its own powers to sail out of Harwich.

Ipswich (1864-1873)
Stour (1864-1878)
Pacific (1872-1877, originally built in 1864)
Orwell (1873-1897)
Stour (1878-1900, later used on the River Thames by the Thames Seamboat Co (1897) Ltd)

Suffolk (1881-1885)
(1882-1897, later Onyx for the Eastham Ferry Pleasure Gardens and Hotel Company)

Essex (1896-1913, sold for further use. In Greece 1919-1929)
Suffolk (1895-1931)
Norfolk (1900-1931. Sold for use at Edinburgh by D Tweedie. Scrapped in 1935)

Above : post card view of Norfolk. The ultimate coastal and estuary steamer for the Great Eastern's local services was a ship comparable with those of many of the UK's coastal cruising areas except that she and her newer fleet mates were double-ended. This design was particularly useful for serving Ipswich. She was withdrawn along with her older fleet mate Suffolk in 1931, bringing about the end of paddle steamer operations in the area
Acknowledgement : Clydeships database / R Cox collection. Image in the public domain


Built in 1900 by Gourlay Bros. of Dundee (Yard no. 194)
Length : 184 ft (56 m)
Engines : Compound diagonal  23.5 and 45 in x 45 in.

Gourlay Brothers only built ten paddle steamers : five in the period 1861-75 and five from 1894-1903. Norfolk was their second-last.

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