Boat Trains: The English Channel & Ocean Liner Specials (Pen & Sword)

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An illustrated history of the evolution of cross-channel boat trains and the many dedicated rail services responsible for moving international passengers to and from trans-Atlantic steamers.

At the end of the nineteenth century, faster and more stable sailing vessels replaced cross-channel paddlers resulting in a significant expansion in the numbers of day excursionists and short-stay visitors heading to Belgium, France and the Channel Islands. The idea of modern-day mass tourism was born.

At the same time, greater numbers of well-heeled tourists were heading off to warmer winter climes, experimenting with the novel idea of using ocean steamers as hotels to visit an array of diverse destinations. Cruise tourism had arrived, and the ‘Ocean Special’ boat trains became an essential component of railway and port procedures.

Continental and ocean liner boat trains became synonymous with the most glamorous travel services and led shipping lines and railway companies to work closely in tandem.

This well illustrated book explores the many functions of boat train travel. Looks at Victorian and Edwardian developments, before examining the golden age for such travel in the inter-war years, and the decline of the boat train after World War II.

The second half of the book looks at particular named expresses for the cross-channel market including the Golden Arrow and Night Ferry, before looking at ocean liner specials to other ports, notably Liverpool, Southampton and Plymouth.

Boat Trains: The English Channel & Ocean Liner Specials is well illustrated throughout using archive photographs and period poster reproductions. 384 pages. Hardback.

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