The Barry Railway Steamers (X 80)
Almost a century has elapsed since the Barry ‘Red Funnel Line’ steamers disappeared from the Bristol Channel excursion scene, and although Barry Pier has gone, as has the railway that served it, the remains are yet visible, and so the memory of the handsome fleet of paddle-steamers that were based there lingers on. The recollections of those that travelled on the former Barry vessels that survived until the Second World War have been the stimulus to ask why it was that the White Funnel Fleet of Bristol was so challenged, at a key time of the evolution on the British paddle-steamer, by the upstart South Walian Barry Railway Company.
To understand the story of the so-called ‘Barry & Bristol Channel Steamship Company’ it is necessary to consider – on the one hand – the origins of the parent Barry Railway Company and – on the the other – how P. & A. Campbell Ltd of Bristol with its ‘White Funnel Fleet’ became the dominant excursion-steamer operator in the Bristol Channel by the 1890s, the era in which this story starts.
The Barry Railway was very much a company created to serve a docks complex for the export of coal. Here, passenger train operations were somewhat secondary to the primary purpose of moving minerals traffic down from the various valleys. The company had succeeded in gaining access to numerous valleys already served by other railways in order to tap the abundant minerals traffic of the South Wales coalfield for export through its large new Barry Docks.
The White Funnel Fleet of the Bristol-based company of P. & A. Campbell Ltd had its origins as a purely excursion-steamer business trading in the Bristol Channel without any particular railway interests or involvement. The Campbell brothers saw how their rival Cardiff-based company Edwards, Robertson developed valuable links between its 'Yellow Funnel Fleet’ and the powerful Taff Vale Railway for through ticketing between South Wales valleys towns and resorts in Devon and Somerset, via Cardiff and Penarth. But by the late 1890s the White Funnel Fleet of P. & A. Campbell Ltd had taken over the vessels of its Cardiff-based competitors, and the supremacy of the Bristol ships was clear to see.
Perhaps it was only natural that the Barry interests should seek to challenge those that were perceived as threatening. As the Barry Docks complex had taken shape, it was a relatively straightforward matter to extend passenger railway operations from Barry across to Barry Island for leisure traffic, and then to push further through tunnel to what was to become Barry Pier Station, immediately adjacent to the main entrance lock to Barry Docks.
Although the Barry Railway thought in terms of controlling its own steamship operations from the outset, it was realised that this would meet with opposition from Campbells at Bristol with its large fleet, and so the Barry company initially settled for an alliance whereby the White Funnel Fleet of steamers served Barry Pier when it opened in 1899. But it was to be an uneasy alliance, and so the point was soon reached where the Barry company would feel obliged to go it alone. The struggle that followed was to be both litigious and complicated and the structure of this book is thus based on four distinct periods in the life of Barry Pier, in order to present a comprehensive picture of the passenger shipping activities of the Barry Railway Company. The first period covers the years up until 1904, before t he railway company opted to purchase its own fleet. The second period, which comprises the larger part of this account, spans the years 1905-1909 when this new fleet was operated directly in connection with the Barry Railway, and when the head-on competition between red and white funnel interests was intense, and the legal battles were high-profile. A third, brief period, came after the railway sold its three remaining vessels to a wholly separate undertaking who operated in the two seasons, 1910 and 1911. After this the red funnel disappeared from the Bristol Channel excursion passenger scene and the fourth and final period takes the story forward from 1912. This was when P. & A. Campbell Ltd took control, and ended in the 1970s, after services at Barry Pier had dwindled and were finally given up, and the pontoon dismantled.
Softback, 224 pages, 128 black & white photographs, maps
Condition: Very Good
Most orders are dispatched within two-three working days of receipt of cleared payment. If there is going to be a significant delay (more than 10 working days), we will contact you and, where possible, give you an estimated dispatch time.
Please be aware that advance orders will be sent as soon as the relevant book has been published.
When placing your order, please ensure that you add the correct full shipping address to your order. This includes house number, street name, zip code/post code. If parcels are returned on account of an incorrect shipping address we will contact you to seek the correct address and also ask that you pay a contribution towards posting the parcel to you a second time. Similarly, if a parcel is returned to us because the local mail service is unable to deliver it (or you do not collect it from the designated collection point), we will contact you and ask you for a contribution towards the cost of shipping to you for a second time.
Postage on all orders is £1.50 although orders of £25 and over are sent post free. These are normally sent via Royal Mail 48 Hour (the business equivalent of 2nd class mail) which is not tracked although Royal Mail do confirm delivery of parcels. If you require tracking for your order, tracking & courier options are available for a small fee. If the service that you require is not shown, please get in touch with us and we can quote for your desired service.
Large, bulky or high value orders may be split in to multiple consignments or sent via courier. There is no additional charge for this and you will be advised at the order fulfillment stage if this happens.
Overseas orders are charged based on weight, and postage will be automatically calculated at checkout. For a postage quotation, please add the items you want to your cart and proceed to the checkout. All orders are usually sent via Air Mail - this is not tracked. If you required your order to be tracked or sent by a different service, please contact us, preferably before checkout.
Royal Mail will only accept parcels up to 5kg in weight (2kg for Canada). If you are ordering multiple items that exceed these limits, please contact us first so that we can advise you of the appropriate shipping rate.
Due to the high volume of parcels going missing, we are no longer able to send untracked orders via third party mail handling services such as Parcel Motel. We are able to send untracked parcels to bona fide PO Box addresses, friends and family members and to work addresses.
Some countries charge import taxes and other taxes such as VAT; we suggest that in these cases, you asked for your order to be tracked so the local taxation authorities can trace your parcel.
Please note that courier services are unable to deliver to PO Box addresses. If you usually use a PO Box address, you will need to supply an alternative address if you require shipping by courier.
Shipping to the European Union
From 1 July 2021, all EU countries will be imposing VAT on all imports. In the UK, books are zero-rated for VAT proposes so there is no VAT to deduct from the prices quoted on our website. All of our orders are usually sent "DDU" (Delivered Duty Unpaid) using a courier service and the shipping prices quoted are on a DDU basis. However, we are now able to offer limited "DDP" (Delivered Duty Paid) services to certain EU destinations. If you would like to purchase books on a DDP basis, please contact us before making your purchase and we will give you a DDP price.
Therefore all of our shipments to the EU will be held by the relevant customs authority until the customer pays any VAT that is due. We understand that if no payment is received by the relevant customs authority after 30 days, the package will be either returned or destroyed. Rail-Books will not be liable for any loss resulting from the destruction or return of goods where VAT has not been paid.
We recommend that customers in the EU follow the tracking data supplied to them once we dispatch your parcel and once the parcel is showing as arriving in the destination country, make contact with either the postal or customs authorities to pay the appropriate amounts of tax/duty.
On rare occasions, parcels will be returned to us. Where this happens we will refund the customer the cost of their order less any expenses incurred by ourselves (e.g. the initial cost of sending the parcel or costs relating to damage incurred in transit). If a customer requests that a parcel be shipped again for a second time, we request the customer to place a repeat order together with shipping costs. Repeat orders to UK customers will not be eligible for free shipping.
Updated: 29 December 2021