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Report - Severn Ferry Car Crossing and the last surviving boat



Kempes

Feckless & irresponsible
28DL Full Member
#1
Well its been a long while since i posted anything as i had all my dslr camera kit nicked but took the trusty point and shoot out the other day for a few pics of this. Plenty about on the web about it but hadn't seen it on here so though might be of interest.

The ferry service had run in many different guises before but reopened in 1926 to transport cars from the Aust ferry Terminal to Beachley.
The service ran its final crossing the day before the then new Severn Bridge road bridge opened on the 8th September 1966, and the bridge opened on the 9th.

Four Boats operated the service over the years, and in 1999 the last surviving one, The Severn Princess (built 1959) was found in Ireland, sunk by some reports but definitely not in a good way. The boat was recovered back to Chepstow with the intention of restoration but seems now to just have been abandoned and rests just a mile or few upstream of the western side of the Estuary where she once worked sitting underneath Brunnels railway bridge.

The Eastern side of the Estuary, the Aust Ferry Terminal ticket office , toilets etc was used on the front of a Bob Dylan album.

Anyway few pics...

Bob Dylans Album showing the Aust terminal ...

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the sad remains of the Aust ticket office today...(thats the new Severn bridge in the background)

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the ramp to the ferry, its replacement the first road bridge in the background

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the car slipway where the cars used to queue

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The Beachley, western end. Still used for rescue craft i think hence its better condition..
You can see the other Aust end between the bridge legs

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The Severn Princess...the last surviving boat, not doing a lot to live up to its name..(bit of a fail as i didnt have a ladder to get on it and i just couldn't climb on. To pop back and have another look at it sometime). Brunels railway bridge behind. (i think its just the legs not the later top part that is Brunels design)


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The rotating part used to turn the cars on the deck, for some reason it has been lifted out but that was its job..

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The End looming, (pic from wiki), note the as yet incomplete bridge behind it...
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Thanks for looking
 

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Last edited:

MrMax

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#2
Tracked down the slipway and the boat today on my way to visit the relatives. When I got there my Dad lent me a book all about the Ferry (hes even more of a nerd than me).
Not worth a report on its own so I though I'd tag on here if thats ok. My photos not as good but I did get on board. A couple from the book too.

Slipway then and now (last day of operation 8 sept 1966)
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The Boat.

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I didn't have a ladder either but I did have a little French van :)
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Very sorry for the quality here:(. Amazingly despite all the holes on the outside, the passenger area was knee deep in water!
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Finally a pic of the boat during its service in Ireland, salvaging coal with a traced excavator on board.
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