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Schedule Time Across The Atlantic - Quickening the Time It Takes to Cross the Atlantic - 1889


LONDON to New York in four days and nineteen hours

LONDON to New York in four days and nineteen hours ! Is it feasible or even probable ? Well, yes ; OCEAN thinks it is, and that it is only a question of time, in view of what has already been accomplished in the matter of reducing the record across the Atlantic. So strong is the faith of practical men and capitalists in this scheme, that it is whispered in business circles that a syndicate proposes shortly to test the feasibility of the route.

Considerable enthusiasm is manifested in the revival of this popular project, and it would not be a matter of great surprise, if, very shortly, a line of steamships, second to none afloat in point of speed, accommodations, and weather qualities generally, should be placed on the Atlantic, with the American flag waving aft, instead of from the fore—as is usually the case now.

Let it be purely an American undertaking, combining patriotism with business, for Americans are enthusiastic on this subject, and would prefer to patronize a line of steamships that would be purely and distinctly national in character, design and organization. By all means have them built on American soil, officered and manned by an American crew, and sailed under the American flag. They should be larger than any now afloat, their furnishings should be more elaborate, and their speed greater than that of the reigning queen of the Atlantic, the City of Paris. Let the departure be made on that basis, and the public, in a manner peculiarly characteristic of the American people, will respond in such a manner as to insure success from the start.

What Route to Take

And now as to the route ! Take a terrestrial globe, trace a line from London to the metropolis of the new world, New York, this line will follow the route of the Great Western Railway, striking the Atlantic Ocean at Milford Haven. It will run sufficiently south of Ireland to afford ample sea room and safety.

On nearing the Western continent it will first pass near Block Island Light, and touch land at the eastern end of Long Island, near to Montauk Light. From that point it will follow the line of the Long Island Railway, and, crossing East River, terminate at the city of New York.

The Port of Milford Haven

As a port, Milford Haven has no superior, if an equal, on either continent, and a steamship drawing thirty feet of water would experience no difficulty in passing in or out. The railway at this writing is constructed to the point where embarkation could take place, and no delays from any cause could interfere with sailing at a fixed hour throughout the year. Near Montauk Light is a harbor smaller in capacity, but large enough to accommodate all the passenger steamships which now ply between London and New York.

Port of Montauk Point - Long Island, New York

Let the American terminus be at Montauk Point, the extreme East end of Long Island, which is fully one hundred and twenty miles nearer Europe than New York City, and the saving of time which it will lead to will be considerably greater than is represented by the chart measurement, because of the slow rate at which ocean steamships must govern themselves when once they steam through the Narrows leading to the present harbor. The delays and countless annoyances arising from floating craft of all descriptions will be avoided, which fact in itself, to commander and subordinates, often making port, weary and faint from long and harassing vigils, would be a boon and a great improvement.

Within a radius of six miles from the light referred to, and keeping it always in sight, a ship could pass, with not less than seven fathoms of water in any place, through a passage about ten miles wide, and midway between the two most powerful lights on the American coast, into smooth water and berth in Fort Pond Bay, where it would find at its pier at all states of the tide not less than six fathoms.

To this point the Long Island Railway has been surveyed and lands granted. It could be finished to the point of embarkation at a nominal figure, and when completed it would be possible to travel from central Europe to San Francisco—one-quarter of the way round the world—without entering an hotel, calling a carriage, or walking more than 3o rods at one time.

The construction of new docks would be an event of no little importance, and they should be constructed on a scale to correspond with the general magnificence and importance of the scheme. There is money enough and pluck enough, to say nothing of the energy and enterprise, to eclipse anything in steamship and mercantile accommodation at present extant in any portion of the globe.

In this connection a dry-dock, fitted with every known modern improvement, should form part of the plant, capable of accommodating the largest vessels afloat, especially these carrying the distinguishing flag of THE RAPID TRANSIT STEAMSHIP COMPANY. It has been -stated that eight steamships, of 12,000 tons each, at an average cost of $1,250,000 each, could be furnished for the scheme, ready for sea within two years from signing the contract.

The Theory On How The Voyage Would Proceed

Passengers could leave London with the mails at 8 o'clock in the evening, reach Milford Haven at 2 o'clock, and at once go to their staterooms and to bed. In an hour they would be outside of the headlands ; in less than four and a half days more they would land on the pier at Montauk, passing under cover to the train, where barges could be in waiting on which the trains could be run, and in two and a half hours they would be in the heart of New York city. The mails could be conveyed from the Post Office in St. Martin's-le-Grand to the Post Office at City Hall Park in 4 days and 19 hours, against the present average time made across the Atlantic.

If necessary to secure the success of the new steamship line, and to insure their being distinctively American, political influence could be brought to bear to have the navigation laws amended or repealed.

Let any one interested in the subject follow carefully over the route as described above, and figure carefully the distance and time. The plan as proposed by OCEAN, which believes in progression, will be found both feasible and possible, and may yet be adopted.

Source: Ocean: Magazine of Travel, Vol. III, No. 2, September 1889, Page 40

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