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Alongside at Holyhead, fresh from drydock.  © Ronnie Roberts

Cambridge Ferry

Probably one of the most unusual ferries to operate out of Holyhead, the train ferry Cambridge Ferry had two stints in service to Dun Laoghaire. The first came on  28 May 1980, seven days after the route was plunged into chaos when the St Columba broke down on passage.​

The car ferry's place had been taken by the Avalon on 22 May but she too was to fail, with boiler trouble, after one week on the 'Columba''s roster. Things were kept moving through the introduction of the Heysham Ro/Ro Lagan Bridge on 23 May, but passenger traffic was diverted to Liverpool and Fishguard. While all this was going on the Harwich-based train ferry was in Holyhead's dry dock and so the decision was taken to press her into service for a couple of days on completion of her overall.


​A level of normality returned on 30 May when Stranraer's Ailsa Princess arrived to maintain passenger services until the return of the Avalon on 2 June.  It was 12 June before the St Columba returned.

Built on the Tyne by the same yard that would produce the Holyhead Ferry 1, Hawthorn Leslie, the Cambridge Ferry entered service on the Harwich - Zeebrugge train ferry service in 1963. Amazing by today's standards, she not only lacked a stern door, but in fact the entire aft end of her train deck was exposed to the elements to a few feet above the waterline.

At the very end of her career the Cambridge Ferry once again found herself in service to Dun Laoghaire when the Stena Cambria was withdrawn for hull repairs on 11 February 1991. Operating alongside a rundown Earl William the Cambridge Ferry mopped up freight traffic until the Stena Cambria's return on 19 February. Under the command of Capt Ray Veno the veteran ferry sailed direct from Dun Laoghaire to Stranraer where upon arrival she commenced her final spell of Sealink service. One month later the 28 years old ship was laid up at Milford Haven pending sale to Italian owners.

On 21 April 1992, Cambridge Ferry was sold to Sincomar Malta and renamed Ito Uno. She departed from Milford Haven on 21 April 1992 for Valetta, where she underwent a refit. She was renamed Sirio in 1993 and was laid up at Bari, Italy. She was eventually broken up at Aliağa, Turkey in May 2003.

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