Main Fleet Features What Is...?!

WHAT IS...?!
Now and then you may stumble across a object on your travels and it will have you asking 'What is That?!' or 'What does that do'?! Well, in this section we aim to answer those questions. See if your item is pictured below first - if not email us the picture and we'll do our best to explain what it is or does...
 1. 'Trailer Tug or Tugmaster'

This useful Truck based hauler is one of the car decks best friends. Mainly found on the NorthLink vessels they can also be found on crossings such as the Stornoway - Ullapool where there is a large amount of freight to be carried. They are designed specifically for hauling large goods vehicle trailers on and off a ferry usually with 4 wheel drive. A conventional tractor unit then collects its trailer for forwarding on main roads saving driving time for the driver, this method can therefore be operational in all hours safely. They have increased visibility for the confines of a vehicle deck are highly manoeuvrable, powerful and economical.

More Information on the Terberg Tugmaster Here (external link)

 2. 'NavMaster'

Now found on the majority of the modern fleet this display shows information broadcast directly from the bridge. The monitors are normally found in the public areas such as the observation lounge on the Hebrides, Lochnevis and Clansman they can sometimes be found in other areas onboard. The flat panel display shows details such as the ships current location, heading, speed and estimated time of arrival in designated port.

More information on the NavMaster Here (external link)

 3. 'Royal Mail Safe'

Found on some members of the fleet this one is pictured on the current Lochnevis, at the forward end of her car deck, on the port side. The main purpose of this 'safe' is to store and mail of parcels that are being transported to the Small Isles safely so that they can be collected at the port of arrival. It can be locked and is suitable for carrying mail on any crossing.

4. 'Baggage Trains'

These were once used on the majority of major routes in the network. Comprising a tractor unit and several trailers joined together to form a train. Foot passengers would leave their bags in the care of the shore crew, who would then in turn load the bags securely into the trailers. Once all bags were on, a crew member would drive the whole lot onto the ferry. On an Oban - Craignure sailing for example, they would be loaded onto the Caledonia last. At Craignure it would be offloaded and the tractor unit detached. This would then hook onto the waiting trailers for shipment back to Oban, again loading last after all vehicles were aboard. This service for foot passengers was ceased some years ago on most routes, however this trolley train, pictured at Brodick in October 2004, still has a job to do and nowadays loads boxes of provisions etc.

 5. 'Mezzanine Decks'

Mezzanine or 'Mezz' decks are usually found in the larger members of the fleet, for example Hebrides. These moveable decks inside the car deck allow the vessel to carry an increased amount of vehicles on a busy crossing. The deck usually runs almost the full length of one side of the vessel, usually the car only side allowing the full height of the HGV / PCV deck to be used for Lorries and Coaches etc.
Picture one is a Mezz Deck in its stowed position (see diagram below) on the Caledonian Isles looking up from the lower Car Deck.
A quick guide to how they work:
1. Section in red through vessel where Mezz deck is found.
2. The black outline shows the deck in its 'stowed' position to allow the full height of the car deck to be used.
3. For use, the deck is lowered right down to the bottom of the car deck below using a combination of pulleys and hydraulics. Cars can then drive straight onto the deck.
4. The deck is then raised to half the height of the full car deck to line up with passenger access doors for the main accommodation. (these are only in use when the Mezz Deck is in operation).
5. The space below can then be used for additional vehicles giving the ship twice the car capacity. Obviously this section is loaded last and unloaded first to allow the upper deck to lower.
6. The full height of the HGV / PCV lane is kept on the opposite side of the ship to accommodate the taller vehicles. If necessary ballast tanks level out the weight difference to keep the ship stable.

Send us your relevant pictures via our forum. These can be anything to do with the ships or the workings around them...

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