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Union-Castle Line

The Last Ocean Liners


Union-Castle Line This famous British shipping company linked England and South Africa via the "Cape Mail Express" service, with a sailing every Thursday at 4:00 pm from Southampton. Their ocean liners called at Las Palmas and/or Madeira (4 days), followed by a long, non-stop voyage to Cape Town (14 days), continuing to Port Elizabeth (17 days), East London (18 days) and a turnaround at Durban (19 days).

Union-Castle Line In 1965, a faster schedule was introduced with sailings from Southampton every Friday, overall saving two days in each direction. Only seven ships were required instead of eight, including two fast freighters and with two liners transferred to Safmarine of South Africa. The passenger service was operated by the Windsor Castle, Transvaal Castle (renamed S.A. Vaal), Pendennis Castle, Edinburgh Castle and Pretoria Castle (renamed (S.A. Oranje). The last passenger sailing on this historic route was completed in 1977.

The First class accommodations were extremely spacious and delighted thousands of British travelers on extended South African holidays. Tourist class attracted immigrants, students and budget tourists. The typical deck plan included a lounge, smoking room, veranda cafe, dining room and swimming pool for each class.

Union-Castle Line Union-Castle also offered extended passenger-cargo service completely around Africa, either out by Suez or alternately via the Atlantic. The last ocean liners especially built for this "RA" run were the Rhodesia Castle, Kenya Castle and Braemar Castle.

"The 6000 mile journey to or from South Africa can be a leisurely, refreshing holiday in itself. You sail, in the main, through warm, sunlit seas. It's relaxation and enjoyment all the way, backed up, of course, by the traditional, friendly Union-Castle service."

Go to Union-Castle Line Sailing Schedules
 


Windsor Castle - 1960 - Union-Castle Line
Windsor Castle Union-Castle Line
Built: 1960 by Cammell Laird, Birkenhead, England
Gross tons: 37640 Length: 783ft (239m) Speed: 23kn
Width: 92ft (28m) Depth: 32ft (10m) Power: 49000 shp
Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw
Passengers: 237 First 585 Tourist
End of service: Sold 1977
 

Transvaal Castle - 1962 - Union-Castle Line
Transvaal Castle Union-Castle Line
Built: 1962 by John Brown & Co, Clydebank, England
Gross tons: 32697 Length: 760ft (232m) Speed: 22.5kn
Width: 90ft (27m) Depth: 32ft (10m) Power: 44000 shp
Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw
Passengers: 736 One class
End of service: Sold 1977
 

Pendennis Castle - 1958 - Union-Castle Line
Pendennis Castle Union-Castle Line
Built: 1958 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, N Ireland
Gross tons: 28582 Length: 763ft (233m) Speed: 22kn
Width: 84ft (26m) Depth: 32ft (10m) Power: 46000 shp
Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw
Passengers: 197 First 539 Tourist
End of service: Sold 1976
 

Edinburgh Castle - 1948 - Union-Castle Line
Edinburgh Castle Union-Castle Line
Built: 1948 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, N Ireland
Gross tons: 28705 Length: 747ft (228m) Speed: 22kn
Width: 84ft (26m) Depth: 32ft (10m) Power: 35000 shp
Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw
Passengers: 214 First 541 Tourist
End of service: Scrapped 1976
 

Pretoria Castle - 1948 - Union-Castle Line
Pretoria Castle Union-Castle Line
Built: 1948 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, N Ireland
Gross tons: 28705 Length: 747ft (228m) Speed: 22kn
Width: 84ft (26m) Depth: 32ft (10m) Power: 35000 shp
Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw
Passengers: 214 First 541 Tourist
End of service: Scrapped 1975
 

Rhodesia Castle - 1951 - Union-Castle Line
Rhodesia Castle Union-Castle Line
Built: 1951 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, N Ireland
Gross tons: 17041 Length: 576ft (176m) Speed: 17.5kn
Width: 74ft (23m) Depth: 26ft (8m) Power: 14400 shp
Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw
Passengers: 446 One class
End of service: Scrapped 1967
 

Kenya Castle - 1952 - Union-Castle Line
Kenya Castle Union-Castle Line
Built: 1952 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, N Ireland
Gross tons: 17041 Length: 576ft (176m) Speed: 17.5kn
Width: 74ft (23m) Depth: 26ft (8m) Power: 14400 shp
Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw
Passengers: 446 One class
End of service: Sold 1967
 

Braemar Castle - 1952 - Union-Castle Line
Braemar Castle Union-Castle Line
Built: 1952 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, N Ireland
Gross tons: 17029 Length: 576ft (176m) Speed: 17.5kn
Width: 74ft (23m) Depth: 26ft (8m) Power: 14400 shp
Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw
Passengers: 453 One class
End of service: Scrapped 1966