Fishguard Harbour - Information for Passengers (1900s)
Information for Passengers
Fishguard is situated on the south-west coast of Wales, and is the nearest British port to New York used by Atlantic liners. It affords the quickest means of reaching London, and is also a convenient port for the Continent. In addition, many parts of England and Wales are within easy access of Fishguard; the Metropolis is 262 miles away and this distance is covered in under five hours.
The Approach to the New Port
The approach to Fishguard is easily discernible to the passenger. The bold headland of Strumble Head is rounded and this is some seven miles or so from Fishguard. Then Dinas Head comes into view; and, stretching from the land between, is the long straight breakwater close to which the Cunard steamers anchor.
In Connection with the landing of passengers at Fishguard, a bell will be rung five minutes before the tender is ready to receive passengers. Passengers will, therefore, find it more comfortable and convenient not to wait about in the companionways and entrances.
Seats Reserved on the Train
Tickets for seats in the special train from Fishguard to London will be furnished to Saloon passengers holding railway coupons. Passengers who do not hold coupons can purchase same at Purser's Office before leaving the steamer. All seats are numbered and reserved on the special train, and passengers should obtain seat tickets at Purser's Office as early as possible during the trip. An Assistant Purser attends in the Second Cabin dining saloon at the time stated on the notice board, to issue railroad tickets and deal with all matters relating to the landing of passengers at Fishguard. An Assistant Purser also attends for the same purpose in the Third Class dining saloon at the hour posted.
Single tickets and outward halves of return tickets between Fishguard and London are available for three months if purchased in America, or if issued in exchange for vouchers obtained in America. In other circumstances they are available for ten days. Passengers are permitted to break the journey at any station on the route, provided the journey be completed within the periods named above. Return tickets are available for six months.
On board the trains passengers will find ample provision for their comfort. The seating accommodation is on the most generous scale, and passengers can dine or lunch on the restaurant cars or be served with light refreshments if required.
How to Fnd Your Seat
Passengers will have no difficulty in finding their seats in the trains. Each carriage bears a large card outside showing the numbers of the seats in that carriage, and in one of the compartments of that carriage the passenger will find the numbered seat corresponding to the number on the card received from the Purser. Thus all confusion is obviated, and the dispatch secured has won the highest opinions from experienced travelers who have used the route, and who are well acquainted with railway traveling on both sides of the Atlantic.
Telegrams and Cables
Facilities are provided on the landing quay to enable passengers to write and dispatch telegrams and cables.
The baggage of London-bound passengers is ready labeled, "London, via Fishguard," the lettering being white on a purple ground, the bold lettering and the distinctive coloring precluding the possibility of confusion. As soon as the liner drops her anchor, the waiting takes the mails, another the baggage, which is conveniently disposed on the steamer for speedy removal to the tender, while a third is used for passengers. The latter has ample saloon accommodation, so that the short journey of a few minutes' duration from ship to shore is made under the most comfortable conditions.
The passengers' tender is usually the last to leave the ship, and when the passenger walks ashore, he finds his baggage awaiting him in that section of the Customs' platform indicated by the initial letter of his name. It is, therefore, essential for passengers to make sure that "initial" labels are put on their baggage, and, as an additional safeguard, it is desirable that all trunks, bags, etc., should also have a tag-label with the full name, and if possible, the address of the passenger. Customs' inspectors proceed with their work of examination, and when this is performed, the baggage is at once transferred by porters to the train. Passengers are relieved of all trouble in connection with their baggage by the porters, who will land it, unpack for Customs' examination, repack, and label it to destination station, free of charge.
Baggage Warehoused or Forwarded
Baggage can be warehoused at a small charge, if desired, or it will be sent by passenger train to the destination station (if on the G. W. R. system) free (if within weight allowed) and warehoused there. Arrangements can also be made for its delivery at destination at a moderate charge.
Arrival in London
Paddington is reached after a pleasant and interesting journey under five hours after leaving Fishguard, and passengers will find that excellent arrangements have been made to deal with the baggage. The heavy pieces are carried in special vans, and on arrival at Paddington are landed on the platform at the front part of the train and again sorted out in alphabetical order. Vehicles of every description are drawn up alongside the platform at Paddington, which is situated in the west-end of London, and is within easy access of all parts of the Metropolis.
Fishguard to London
The route from Fishguard to London, passing through the industrial centres in South Wales and the charming scenes of the Thames valley, is full of interest. The speed at which the run is covered is the most potent tribute to the excellence of the Great Western's iron road and their rolling stock. Only one stop is made, and this of a very short duration, at Cardiff. The waters of the Bristol Channel are skirted for a portion of the journey, and the more populous industrial centres of South Wales will be of peculiar interest, particularly to the business man. The estuary of the Severn is negotiated by the Severn tunnel, which is nearly 4.5 miles long, and which is justly regarded as one of the world's principal engineering triumphs.
Shortly after the Severn is passed the train enters the Thames valley, where charming vistas of "Father Thames" are obtained. Here are primitive ferries, with typical old-fashioned English inns adjacent, rural homesteads, hanging woods, and quaint weather-worn churches, surrounded by their hallowed areas where sleep the rude forefathers of the hamlet. In short, the traveller enjoys a panorama of varied beauty, upon which the best English artists have exercised their genius for centuries past.
Fishguard of Today
Between the Fishguard of today and that of even a decade ago there is a great difference. A bay which boasted but of a departing or rather departed fishing industry, and was visited by only a few coastwise traders and fishing craft seeking shelter, has been converted into a splendid harbour, a harbour in which great natural advantages have been ably supplemented by the works which the Great Western Railway Company have constructed. Fishguard Bay is protected on the east, south, and west by headlands and hills 300 or 400 feet high, and to the north by a substantial breakwater 2,000 feet in length. The bay is six miles across.
The breakwater affords shelter from the north and north-easterly winds and seas, and extends seawards for a distance of over 2,000 feet. It is of the rubble type, with a width on the sea floor of 300 feet, a height from the sea bed of 90 feet, and a top width below the apron of 60 feet. In the centre of the breakwater above the water line is a concrete core, which is built out as the breakwater advances, and has been found most efficacious.
On the shore side of the breakwater, and near where it connects with the land, a quay has been constructed. This is the Ocean Quay at which the mails are disembarked and dispatched by special mail train to London. The construction of this railway, which also runs alongside the quay at which passengers and their luggage are landed, may be classed among the great engineering feats of the century. Originally the cliffs rose sheer from the water as they do now from the back of the station, and it was necessary to prepare a terrace for the quay and railway.
Blasting operations were resorted to, as much as 113,000 tons of rock being removed at a single operation. The spoil thus obtained was used in the construction of the breakwater, and also as filling for the quay, which is practically built upon a platform, obtained by dumping spoil from the blasting operations until a wall rising above the water level was secured.
Fishguard to Ireland
In this way a broad foundation of rock was made for the quay and also for the railway station, with its up-to-date equipment for both passengers and goods. At the quay by the railway station the splendid fleet of turbine steamers running between Fishguard and Rosslare (Ireland) are berthed, and here are the most modern appliances for the speedy transfer from ship to train, or vice versa, of goods and baggage.