Having made up a series of silly answers to the ridiculous new App store security questions I was allowed to download the YouTube app, I still have no idea where it disappeared to but that’s another matter. A lazy Sunday afternoon spent watching goats talking (thanks Michael) led, as it invariably does, to views of the beloved Isle. I won’t try and explain the route that led me from the Isle of Wight to Sealink but I found an entertaining internal video released shortly after privatisation.
For those of you that don’t know, Sealink was the operating name for ferries from the UK, France and Holland and the UK operations were sold off from the parent British Rail in the 80’s. It has never occurred to me before to question why the nationalised railways had a ferry division, a lazy Sunday afternoon was the perfect opportunity. Sealink was geographically integrated into BR originally, it was only hived off for sale, so ferries to France were run by the BR Southern region and to Holland by Network South East. The link between ferries and railways? The ferries were considered to be an extension of the railways, essentially they were the original channel tunnel, a way to travel from the UK to Europe and of course the high CapEx involved naturally called for government pockets.
If your wondering why the idle interest in Sealink then that seems reasonable, I will share it here but we shall declare the person involved Mr X as I have not researched all of the legality. Before Mr X started in industry he spent some time on a dredger courtesy of a freind of his mothers, it was during this time that Sealink was privatised. Part of the process of privatisation involved laying a number of ships up and they were anchored off the coast as a sensible security precaution, after all who would steal from a ship moored off the coast . . .
When your moored off the coast amongst a number of fully equipped ships that are due for scrapping, souvenir hunting* is almost obligatory especially among the working class. These ferries were essentially treated as hotels by BR and were fitted out by British Transport Hotels,in its various guises, everything was labelled, every item was embossed or embroidered, I guess as much as a theft deterrent as a branding exercise. It was a mistake to think that the branding was a theft deterrent, my mothers home, my freind’s homes and even my first home were furnished with tableware and towels that proudly proclaimed the various names of operating divisions of the old BR hotel brands.
*There is some debate over the boundary between souvenir hunting and piracy, Mr X will remain anonymous until we are sure he does not need an eye patch and a parrot