A Short History and Fleet list
By: Fred Sankoff
The Bristol City Line of Steamship Limited is managed by Charles Hill & Sons and is a branch of the oldest shipping company in the world, with a continuous existence to the present day. The company was founded in 1704 and took part in privateering and special ventures; then in 1760 they started shipbuilding.
|MONTREAL CITY: Having picked up her canal pilot is now underway, inbound off Lake Ontario heading for Lock 1. Photo by Fred Sankoff
In 1879 the Bristol City Line started a regular steamship service between Bristol and New York.
In 1933 the company started in the Canadian trade and this service was extended in 1958 to cover the Canadian and U.S. Lakes as far as Chicago. The first year of operations into the Lakes was done with small chartered tonnage, then with the opening of the Seaway the S.S. TORONTO CITY was the first of the Bristol Fleet to come up the newly opened waterway.
Together with Clarke Traffic Services Ltd. of Montreal, the Compagnie Maritime Beige (Lloyd Royal) of Antwerp, and the third party being Charles Hill & Sons of Bristol have formed a consortium to be called Dart Containerline. This service commenced in 1969 from the port of Halifax with a chartered ship the C.V. JORG KRUGER built in 1969 by Elsflether Werft A.G. The second ship is the C.V. JUNO built in 1969, as was the C.V. BRITTA KRUGER. These ships have a capacity of 210-20 ft. containers, at a speed of 16.25 knots.
The new vessels for the Dart Containerline are at present under construction and will be delivered in 1970 and will have the following characteristics: L.O. 759', B.P. 715', breadth 100', depth 61', SHP 29,000 EPK, speed over 23 knots and container capacity (units of 20 ft.) 1556.
|BIRMINGTON CITY: A beautiful example of a fine looking ship; having discharged her cargo, leaving Toronto via the Western Gap, bound for the Upper Lakes. Photo by Fred Sankoff
Dart Containerline services will be implemented in two phases. During the first stage two separate lines are established. On the one hand a weekly service operated by the four Painter class container vessels between Europe via Antwerp and Southampton, and the U.S. via New York and Norfolk. The Painter class vessels are those belonging to the Lloyd Royal fleet, M.V. BREUGHEL built 1963, M.V.JORDAENS built 1963, M.V. RUBENS built 1964, and the M.V. TENIERS built 1964. All these fine ships were built at the Cockerill Yards, Hoboken, Belgium. These are large fast ships as the following specifications will bear out: L.O. 517', B.P.479' breadth 66', depth 40', SHP 9,000, speed 18 knots, 303 containers (20 ft. units).
The three German container ships will operate to Halifax wherefrom the containers are reforwarded by rail via C.N. to Montreal, Toronto and Hamilton.
In the second stage Mid 1970, the three new full container vessels will operate one weekly service, combining the two existing ones.
I am afraid that when this new service comes into being, the familiar sight of the orange hulled Bristol City Line vessels will no longer be seen in Toronto Harbour, as well as the black hulled S.S.BRISTOL CITY, probably the last ship to bear that proud name. The TORONTO CITY and the COVENTRY CITY will revert to Bibby Lines and the rest of the fleet will be sold and will probably be seen in the Lakes flying the Greek flag. Unfortunately, many a fine British ship has ended her days sailing the seas under an alien flag.
NOTES: * Year ship placed in service.
|NEW YORK CITY: With a trail of black oily smoke behind her, as she gets underway from Montreal, on a Saturday afternoon in June, downriver and overseas. Photo by Fred Sankoff
#26 X FAIRMOUNT PARK Blt. Burrard,Vancouver, B.C. 1946
#27 X EMPIRE NIGEL '47, X NANDI '48, X ARCHANGELSK '46, X EMPIRE NIGEL '43 Blt. 1943, W. Gray & Co. Ltd.
#28 X ST. INA '48, X EMPIRE MARINER '46, X RHEINGOLD '40, X SCHWARTZWALD, Blt 1922, Deutche Werft.
#29 X BASKERVILLE 1950, Blt 1946, J. Readhead & Sons, X EMPIRE CAMP '46, X VALACIA, Sold 1963 renamed SEMPORNA BAY, sold 1965 now VICTORIA BAY.
#30 X LEENA DAN '56, launched 1947 by Boeles Schps.& Mach., sold 1963 renamed OLGA, completed 1949 by Aalborg Werft
#31 Sold 1968, renamed ST. JOHN
#32 Sold 1968, renamed AVIS-ORNIS
#37 Long tern charter from Bibby Lines.
#38 Long term charter from Bibby Lines.
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Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.