Main The Fleet Fleet Features Waverley and Queen Mary (II) in Competition?!

Exactly a year after Waverley's first passenger sailing from Glasgow under PSPS, this was the scene at Anderston Quay on 24th May 1976...

Stung by the success of their former vessel in the revival of the doon the watter sailings from Glasgow, CalMac management decided to enter into direct competition with the preservationist company by returning to the city that they had abandoned six years earlier. The turbine steamer Queen Mary II was renamed Queen Mary in May 1976 (her original title) and sailed from the city at weekends though not from her previous base at Bridge Wharf (South Side). She sailed from Anderston Quay, the former Burns & Laird Irish services berth which had become the 'Waverley Terminal' in May 1975. Under the terms of the sale of Waverley from CalMac to Waverley Steam Navigation in August 1974 the paddler was prohibited from sailing in direct competition to her former owners on their established routes but the opposite did not apply. The odds seemed to be stacked against the paddler but (in the words of the 'Sunday Mail') a 'David and Goliath' struggle developed and, especially on the up-river sailings, the public favoured the underdog.

It was fitting that Queen Mary should return to the route with which she had been so closely associated from 1933 to 1969 (excepting WW2 when she was predominantly on Firth ferry services) for her last two Clyde seasons (1976-77) but it was sad to see her traverse the river in those years with such low numbers aboard.

Text: Stuart Cameron.

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