Shields ferry celebrates 10th birthday

The newer of the River Tyne's two passenger ferries is celebrating its tenth anniversary.
The Spirit Of The Tyne is marking its 10th anniversary.The Spirit Of The Tyne is marking its 10th anniversary.
The Spirit Of The Tyne is marking its 10th anniversary.

Spirit of the Tyne was officially named by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne at South Shields Ferry landing on March 1, 2007.

Nexus, the public body which owns and operates the cross-Tyne Shields Ferry, invested £1.9m to purchase the new vessel in 2005.

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A competition was held which allowed Shields Gazette and News Guardian readers to choose the name.

She replaced the Shieldsman, the former Tyne ferry, which saw 30 years of service on the river and now operates alongside the Pride of the Tyne, which was launched in 1993.

Shields Ferry Manager, Carol Timlin, said: “The Spirit of the Tyne has given our passengers excellent service over the decade, and she’s got plenty more years ahead of her too.

“It doesn’t feel like that long, but it’s actually now ten years since she arrived on the Tyne and we had that official naming ceremony and the Royal visit.

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“Since then she has played a huge part in taking the daily river crossings between North Shields and South Shields. She carries thousands of passengers a year.”

Spirit of the Tyne’s hull and super structure were fabricated at a shipyard in Harlingen in the Netherlands before she was floated and towed across the North Sea to Portsmouth.

She was then fitted out and made fully sea-worthy before her journey up to the Tyne.

After an extensive period of trials and crew training the Spirit began carrying passengers shortly after the Royal naming ceremony by Princess Anne.