Union-Castle Line

The Last Ocean Liners


 

Union-Castle Line This famous British shipping company traditionally linked England and South Africa via the "Cape Mail Express" service, with a sailing every Thursday at 4:00 pm from Southampton. In July 1965, a faster schedule was introduced with sailings from Southampton every Friday, overall saving two days in each direction.

Union-Castle Line Only seven ships were required instead of eight, which included Windsor Castle, Pendennis Castle, Edinburgh Castle, S.A. Vaal and S.A. Oranje. The last two were built as Transvaal Castle and Pretoria Castle respectively and were transferred in 1966 to Safmarine South Africa while still managed by Union-Castle Line. Two new fast freighters were also required.

In addition to First and Tourist class passengers, freight and mail had a very important role in the economics of the express service. Southbound holds were filled with general cargo, but gold, copper and fruit prevailed on the northbound run.

Union-Castle Line First class accommodations on Union-Castle Line ocean liners were extremely spacious, delighting thousands of British travelers on extended South African holidays. Tourist class attracted immigrants, students and budget tourists. The typical deck plan included a separate lounge, smoking room, veranda cafe, dining room and swimming pool for each class. The last sailing on this historic route was completed in 1977.

Union-Castle Line Union-Castle Line traditionally offered an extended passenger-cargo service completely around Africa via both the east and west coasts. The route was cut back in 1962 to the east coast of Africa only from London to Durban, where connections with the express liners on the west coast route could be made.

Union-Castle Line The last ocean liners especially built for this "RA" run were the Rhodesia Castle and Kenya Castle. A third sister, Braemar Castle was withdrawn from service in 1965. They were one-class vessels, which was more pleasant for the passengers who had full run of the ship. Most public rooms were on Promenade Deck, including a forward lounge, bar, gallery and smoking room. A swimming pool and pool bar were on A-Deck and dining saloon on C-Deck.

"The 6000 mile journey to or from South Africa can be a leisurely, refreshing holiday in itself. You sail, in the main, through warm, sunlit seas. It's relaxation and enjoyment all the way, backed up, of course, by the traditional, friendly Union-Castle service."


Sample minimum one-way fares from Southampton to Durban: First class $680; Tourist class $327; Fares are per person in U.S. dollars as of spring 1969.


Continue to the ships below ...



Go to Union-Castle Line sailing schedules or select schedules by ship below:


Windsor Castle - 1960 - Union-Castle Line
Windsor Castle Union-Castle Line
Built: 1960 by Cammell Laird, Birkenhead, England Gross tons: 37640 Length: 783ft (239m) Width: 92ft (28m) Draft: 32ft (10m) Speed: 23kn Power: 49000 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 237 First 585 Tourist End of service: Sold 1977
 

Pendennis Castle - 1958 - Union-Castle Line
Pendennis Castle Union-Castle Line
Built: 1958 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, N Ireland Gross tons: 28582 Length: 763ft (233m) Width: 84ft (26m) Draft: 32ft (10m) Speed: 22.5kn Power: 46000 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 197 First 539 Tourist End of service: Sold 1976
 

Edinburgh Castle - 1948 - Union-Castle Line
Edinburgh Castle Union-Castle Line
Built: 1948 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, N Ireland Gross tons: 28705 Length: 747ft (228m) Width: 84ft (26m) Draft: 32ft (10m) Speed: 22kn Power: 35000 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 214 First 541 Tourist End of service: Scrapped 1976
 

S.A. Vaal - 1961 - Union-Castle Line
S.A. Vaal Union-Castle Line
Built: 1961 by John Brown & Co, Clydebank, Scotland Gross tons: 32697 Length: 760ft (232m) Width: 90ft (27m) Draft: 32ft (10m) Speed: 22.5kn Power: 44000 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 736 One-class End of service: Sold 1977
 

S.A. Oranje - 1948 - Union-Castle Line
S.A. Oranje Union-Castle Line
Built: 1948 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, N Ireland Gross tons: 28705 Length: 747ft (228m) Width: 84ft (26m) Draft: 32ft (10m) Speed: 22kn Power: 35000 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 214 First 541 Tourist End of service: Scrapped 1975
 

Rhodesia Castle - 1951 - Union-Castle Line
Rhodesia Castle Union-Castle Line
Built: 1951 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, N Ireland Gross tons: 17041 Length: 576ft (176m) Width: 74ft (23m) Draft: 26ft (8m) Speed: 17.5kn Power: 14400 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 526 One-class End of service: Scrapped 1967
 

Kenya Castle - 1952 - Union-Castle Line
Kenya Castle Union-Castle Line
Built: 1952 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, N Ireland Gross tons: 17041 Length: 576ft (176m) Width: 74ft (23m) Draft: 26ft (8m) Speed: 17.5kn Power: 14400 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 526 One-class End of service: Sold 1967