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London & South Western Railway : Southern Railway : British Railways

Lymington - Yarmouth Ferry Service

The L&SWR railway services reached Lymington in 1858 and was extended to the current pier station in 1860. Connections to the Isle of Wight were operated but private ship owners

Vessels taken over from the private owner the Solent Steam Packet Company in 1884 :

(1884-1901, originally built in 1863) :  Length 85.4 ft : 56 GRT : by G & J Inman of Lymington
Mayflower (1884-1905, originally built in 1866)   :  Length 98.3 ft : 69 GRT : by Marshall Bros, Willington Quay, North Tyneside

New build

Lymington (1893) : Length 120.2 ft : 130 GRT : by Day, Summers & Co, Southampton. Engines  Compound diagonal 24 and 40 in x 36 in
Solent (1901) : Not accepted by the company and sold on the stocks to the Metropolitan Aysylums Board as an ambulance carrier on the Thames
Solent (1902) :  Length 135.5 ft : 161 GRT : by Mordey, Carney & Co, Southampton. Engines  Compound diagonal 17 and 32 in x 42 in

After railway amalgamation in 1923, the operation became part of the Southern Railway and the remaining paddlers were transferred to the new company

The Southern Railway, on its establishment in 1923 after the grouping of regional railway companies into major conglomerates, obtained two ferry crossings to the Isle of Wight. Whilst the Portsmouth-Ryde crossing was primarily a passenger-only service with large paddler steamers employed to cross Spithead, the "quieter" crossing from Lymington in rural Dorset had been characterised by cargo and especially vehicular traffic. Towed cargo barges were an early feature of this crossing, making tugs equally prominent as passenger vessels, and the crossing was an early convert to drive-through motor ferries, including the pioneering British ferry MV Lymington, driven by Voith-Schneider propellor units introduced in 1938.

The railway company reverted to paddle propulsion, albeit backed by a diesel-electric unit, when the drive-through ferry DEPV Farringford was launched in 1947. The passenger paddler PS Freshwater was out of the fleet by 1960. Farringford's last run was on November 8th, 1973 after which she was transferred for further service on the Hull-New Holland ferry.
The service continues with drive-through motor vessels

Paddle steamer taken over after railway amalgamations of 1923

(1893-1929) Sold for use as a houseboat and later became a Sea Cadets training ship
(1902-1948) Bought from Pounds scrapyard and opened as Bert's Cafe along the A27

New build by Southern Railway

Freshwater (1927-1959)

Farringford (1947-1974)  Diesel-electric Paddle Vessel

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