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Slackening Stena

I’ve not much time for blogging at the moment unfortunately, so the promised comprehensive coverage of the new TrawsCymru T5 service will have to wait. Some other news has just reached me that I really thought should be covered though, so here goes.

HSS ferry Stena Explorer at Dún Laoghaire
Stena Explorer at Dún Laoghaire. Source: Wikipedia, Benjamin.nagel, Wexcan.
Reading this week’s North Wales Rail web newsletter, I have discovered that the Stena HSS (Highspeed Sea Service) sailings between Holyhead and Dún Laoghaire have been withdrawn. I believe the high-speed vessel, ‘Stena Explorer’, once ran several services a day year-round. Over the years that has reduced to a seasonal services, but now the end has come. According to Wikipedia the ‘Stena Explorer’ had two sister ships. The ‘Stena Discovery’) was once used between England (Harwich) and the Netherlands (Hoek Van Holland) but was sold off by Stena some time ago. The other, the ‘Stena Voyager’, worked between Belfast and Stranraer, but both that service and the ship have now been scrapped. In all cases a conventional ferry service has and will continue (although Stranraer sailings have moved to a different port in the same region), but Stena’s fast ferry services are now gone from UK shores. The ‘Stena Lynx III’, a different design of fast ferry, once ran seasonally between Fishguard and Rosslare but that service ended some time ago, before the extra Fishguard rail services could provide connections into it. Speaking of Fishguard-Rosslare, the conventional ferry ‘Stena Europe’ is temporarily out of service. While in the past I have seen Stena temporarily provide an alternative ferry for the route, this time passengers are asked to use Pembroke port instead of Fishguard, which has no sailings until 17th February.

While Stena has now axed all three of its fast ferries between Wales/Scotland and Ireland, Irish Ferries are still advertising their “Jonathan Swift” fast ferry between Holyhead and Dublin. Stena’s reasoning for stopping the fast ferries (and in their last days running slower than before) apparently was high fuel costs. Surely Irish Ferries must have a similar problem with the “Jonathan Swift”, so perhaps that is under threat too. It is a shame that air travel does not appear to be suffering from high costs in the same way; aeroplanes cause higher greenhouse effect than most other modes of transport and as such a decline in air services would be most welcome.

Credit where it’s due for the photo (obtained from Wikipedia as I haven’t a good picture of a ferry to use).