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, nonstop 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, which included the Windsor Castle, Pendennis Castle, Edinburgh Castle and two fast freighters. Additionally, the Transvaal Castle and Pretoria Castle, renamed S.A. Vaal and S.A. Oranje respectively, were transferred to Safmarine South Africa while still managed by Union-Castle Line on the same service. The last sailing on this historic route was completed in 1977.

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

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) Width: 92ft (28m) Depth: 32ft (10m) Speed: 23kn Power: 49000 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 237 First 585 Tourist End of service: Sold 1977
 

Transvaal Castle - 1961 - Union-Castle Line
Transvaal Castle Union-Castle Line
Built: 1961 by John Brown & Co, Clydebank, Scotland Gross tons: 32697 Length: 760ft (232m) Width: 90ft (27m) Depth: 32ft (10m) Speed: 22.5kn 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) Width: 84ft (26m) Depth: 32ft (10m) Speed: 22.5kn 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) Width: 84ft (26m) Depth: 32ft (10m) Speed: 22kn 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) Width: 84ft (26m) Depth: 32ft (10m) Speed: 22kn 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) Width: 74ft (23m) Depth: 26ft (8m) Speed: 17.5kn 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) Width: 74ft (23m) Depth: 26ft (8m) Speed: 17.5kn 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) Width: 74ft (23m) Depth: 26ft (8m) Speed: 17.5kn Power: 14400 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 453 One class End of service: Scrapped 1966