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Steamers fought to be the fastest transatlantic ship; Shipping lines vied to be holders of the unofficial 'Blue Riband'.

Byline: CATHERINE JONES ECHO Arts Editor BodenJones @

WHILE the Queen Mary 2 - due to sail up the Mersey in May with her sister "Queens" - is the only British ship to still undertake a transatlantic service, a century ago the sea was the only way to make the crossing to the New World.

Shipping lines vied for customers and used the boast that they were either the most luxurious, or the fastest, way to make the westbound crossing of the Atlantic.

The officially fastest steamers could also make another boast - that they held the "Blue Riband", an unofficial but prestigious accolade given to the passenger liner crossing the Atlantic Ocean in regular service with the record highest speed.

THREEQUEENS Of the 35 Atlantic liners to hold the Blue Riband, 25 were British. And of those, 13 were Cunarders, 48 DAYS along with the Queen Mary, flagship of the Cunard White Star line, although while basking in the glory the accolade brought, the company always maintained that safety was the most important consideration in every voyage.

Such was the prestige of holding the Blue Riband that countries like Italy and Germany had ships built specifically to snatch it from Britain and France. Five German ships would end up holding the accolade, and one Italian.

The last Atlantic liner to hold the Blue Riband was the United States, which was designed for her potential use as a troopship as well as her service as a commercial passenger liner. The legendary fourfunnelled Mauretania has the distinction of breaking the record eight times -more than any other ship.

Meanwhile, the first Cunard ship to hold the award was the Columbia, which, in June, 1841, made the journey between Liverpool and Halifax in 10 days and 19 hours.

She was followed by the Cambria in 1845, the America and Europa in 1848, and the Asia in 1850 when the record had reduced to 8 days, 14 hours and 50 minutes.

and the Asia in 1850 when the record had reduced to 8 days, 14 hours and 50 minutes.

Etruria, Umbria, Etruria, Campania, Lucania and Lusitania and Mauretania all folTO GO The Persia, Scotia, Etruria, Umbria, Etruria, Campania, Lucania and Lusitania and Mauretania all followed in Columbia's record-breaking wake - the Mauretania during her 1909 inaug-ural season when she made the crossing in four days, 10 hours, and 51 minutes.

And the final Blue Riband holder was the Queen Mary, in 1938, when she steamed from Bishop Rock at the Scillies to Ambrose Light at New York in an amazing 3 days, 21 hours and 48 minutes.

The QM2 re-creates Cunard's first transatlantic voyage from Liverpool to mark its 175th anniversary in July.

Three Queens, One Magnificent City .runs from May 23-26.


The Mauretania, holder of the Blue Riband of the Atlantic for many years, leaving Southampton on her final voyage, to Rosyth, where she was broken up in July, 1935

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:0ATLA
Date:Apr 6, 2015
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