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"Surface route London UK to Vancouver Canada" Personal Page by PeterVancouver

London (LGW) - Southampton Docks

Leaving London Gatwick airport at 10am on the 29th August 11 we ventured down to the platform under the airport, to catch a Southern Rail train direct to Southampton. We of course were heading to Southampton docks, and although this is shown on many rail maps, the only passenger service is to the town, and from there a taxi for the four miles or so to the dock area.
The rail journey was pretty uneventful passing by some very pleasent English countyside with rolling green hills throughout, and arrived around noon which gave us plenty of time to get to the Queen Mary 2 by way of a five Pound taxi ride. Here the main bags were taken from us for delivery to our cabin although we were unable persuade the dock handlers to take our hand luggage which perhaps was just as well bearing in mind some valuables were in them.
Having divested ourselves of the large cases, and with plenty of time to spare for the 16.00hrs embrarcation of the QM2, our taxi driver took us back into town pointing out a few interesting points a number of which related to the passengers and crew of the Titanic which of course had also sailed from Southampton on its fateful journey over the same route we were about to depart. One of the places we discovered was the original South Western Hotel which in its day, was the most luxurious hotel in town and where many of the wealthy passengers stayed the night before the Titanic sailed being located just across the road from the docks. It is no longer a hotel but is now a Grade II listed building due to its constuction which commenced in 1876. In its day itt was has had QEII staying there and also Winston Churchill and Ike who apparently finalised the D Day landings in a room at the hotel

Titanic Memorial Southampton

One of a number of memorials in Southampton for those lost in the sinking of the Titanic.

On the other side of the Atlantic in Halifax NS, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic holds a number of artifacts from the ship:-

One of the in-depth theories as to why the Titanic sank so quickly, are explored in the Engineering Review on

In summary it concludes

On April 14, 1912, the R.M.S. Titanic collided with a massive iceberg and sank in less than three hours. At the time, more than 2200 passengers and crew were aboard the Titanic for her maiden voyage to the United States. Only 705 survived. According to the builders of the Titanic, even in the worst possible accident at sea, the ship should have stayed afloat for two to three days. This article discusses the material failures and design flaws that contributed to the rapid sinking of the Titanic. At the time of her construction, the Titanic was the largest ship ever built. She was nearly 900 feet long, stood 25 stories high, and weighed an incredible 46,000 tons [Division, 1997]. With turn-of-the-century design and technology, including sixteen major watertight compartments in her lower section that could easily be sealed off in the event of a punctured hull, the Titanic was deemed an unsinkable ship. According to her builders, even in the worst possible accident at sea, two ships colliding, the Titanic would stay afloat for two to three days, which would provide enough time for nearby ships to help [Gannon, 1995].

On April 14, 1912, however, the Titanic sideswiped a massive iceberg and sank in less than three hours. Damaging nearly 300 feet of the ship's hull, the collision allowed water to flood six of her sixteen major watertight compartments [Gannon, 1995]. She was on her maiden voyage to the United States, carrying more than 2200 passengers and crew, when she foundered. Only 705 of those aboard the Titanic ever reached their destination [Hill, 1996]. After what seemed like a minor collision with an iceberg, the largest ship ever built sank in a fraction of the time estimated for her worst possible accident at sea.
The failure of the hull steel resulted from brittle fractures caused by the high sulphur content of the steel, the low temperature water on the night of the disaster, and the high impact loading of the collision with the iceberg. When the Titanic hit the iceberg, the hull plates split open and continued cracking as the water flooded the ship. Low water temperatures and high impact loading also caused the brittle failure of the rivets used to fasten the hull plates to the ship's main structure. On impact, the rivets were either sheared off or the heads popped off because of excessive loading, which opened up riveted seams. Also, the rivets around the perimeter of the plates elongated due to the stresses applied by the water, which broke the caulking and provided another inlet for the water.

The rapid sinking of the Titanic was worsened by the poor design of the transverse bulkheads of the watertight compartments. As water flooded the damaged compartments of the hull, the ship began to pitch forward, and water in the damaged compartments was able to spill over into adjacent compartments. Not only did the compartments not control the flooding, but they also contained the water in the bow, which increased the rate of sinking.

Southampton dock

Just part of the length of this vessel from deck 11 from the bow towards the stern including part of Soputhampton dock area

QM2 alongside in Southampton

Medieval Historic House, Southampton, circa 1290

This house which is a very short walk from the dock area, has seen much history since being first occupied in the early part of the 14th century. It has been used for many purposes mainly as a residence and place of business including originally for a wine merchant, a boarding house, pub, and even as a brothel at the start of WWII.

Despite attacks and damage incurred from invading armies from France in the 1300's, and German bombs in World War II the building remained basically intact until taken over by English Heritage in 1985 when a major refurbishment was carried out to bring the building back into the style of its original construction some 700 years previously

Opening times

Opening time for the Heritage building is limited only to Sundays between the months from April to the end of November each year

on board QM2

Once through the medical questionair and a security screening similar to that of an airport we boarded the vessel to be greated immediatly with the sheer luxury of the interior of the vessel


One of the entrances to the main evening dining room on board which naturally required either black tie or formal attire each night. This dining area has seating some 1,250 guests at 246 tables on two levels.

  • Page Updated Dec 2, 2011
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