With the dawn of the Twentieth Century and new technology such as oil fired engines and improved building techniques passenger liners became bigger and faster. The major trans-Atlantic shipping companies engaged in a ship-building war similar to that of the great navies with their focus on dreadnought battleships. The competition between the passenger ship companies continued after World War 1 and lead to the famous Cunard Line ‘Queen’ ships.
The most famous or infamous ship was the Titanic. When launched she was the biggest ship afloat. One of her sister ships was slightly larger but the interior fit-out of the Titanic was more luxurious and heavier giving her a slightly higher tonnage. A second sister ship was under construction and her design was changed to make her safer following the sinking of the Titanic.
What where the names of the Titanic’s sister ships and what was their fate?
a. Olympic, she was swapped with Titanic as part of an insurance fraud. The conspiracy theory follows the Olympic’s collision with HMS Hawke and her return to the Harland and Woolfe dockyards for repairs. The theory speculates the almost completed Titanic was renamed as the Olympic, while the Olympic took on the Titanic’s identity. The plan was for the ‘Titanic’ to sink during her maiden voyage and for her owners to claim the insurance.
b. Heroic was left incomplete during WW1 and then had a successful career. The Britannic, not the Heroic, was completed in early. The White Star Line planned to defer her commission until after the War to avoid the possibility of losing her at sea.
c. The Olympic and Britannic were broken up following the Titanic disaster.
d. The refitted Olympic was requisitioned by the Royal Navy and served as a troop transport during World War 1.
Correct. The Olympic was the first of the White Star Line’s trio of Olympic Class liners. Following the sinking of the Titanic she returned to dock to be refitted with higher bulkheads and more lifeboats. She was requisitioned by the Navy to serve as a troop transport during World War 1. After the War she returned to duty with White Star Lines. She was retired in 1935 after White Star merged with the Cunard Line.
The Olympic had her share of accidents. In 1911 she collided with HMS Hawke and in 1934 she collided with and sank Nantucket Lightship LV-117. A third collision was deliberate. In 1918 she rammed and sank the German U-Boat U-103.
e.The Britannic was completed and fitted as a hospital ship. She served with the Royal Navy until she hit a mine and sank in 1915.
Correct. The Britannic was the third of the Olympic Class liners. She was still under construction when the Titanic went down. Her design was changed following the sinking. She was launched just before World War 1 but White Star wanted to keep her in dock until after the War. The Royal Navy had other ideas and she was refitted as a hospital ship. In 1915 she struck a mine in the Greek Isles and sank. She was the largest ship to be sunk in WW1. Unlike her sister ship, most of the people on board were rescued.
In 1927 Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic in an aircraft. With that epic flight the dream of regular trans-Atlantic commercial aeroplane flights came a step nearer to reality. But as the North Atlantic was wide and subject to adverse weather conditions, the World’s major airlines focussed on crossing the South Atlantic. European airlines established routes between South America and West Africa.But the North Atlantic was where the money was. The Germans successfully used airships until the Hindenburg disaster. The Americans and British started with mail only flights using flying boats. In 1937 Pan American Airlines got serious and invited bids from US manufacturers for 100 seat airliner.
Which plane won the contract with Pan American Airways?
a. Short S.23 Empire Flying Boat
The Empire Flying Boat was built to meet the British Government requirements for passenger and mail services from Britain to Africa and Australia. It was successful on these routes because they had short legs of about 500 miles, but it could not match the Yankee Clipper’s range on the trans-Atlantic passenger route. However, the Short S.23 was used to carry mail between Britain and the US.
The DC4 was introduced by American Export Airlines as the first non-seaplane trans-Atlantic air service. It’s first service was between New York and Hurn near Bournemouth with a non-stop leg between Gander in Newfoundland and Shannon in Ireland. The service started in October 1945. Pan American followed a short while later with the own DC4 flights.
c. Boeing B-314 Yankee Clipper
Correct. The Yankee Clipper Flying Boat was and still is a huge aircraft. The B-314 was double-decked and had a range of 3,500 miles. It remained the largest passenger aircraft until Boeing released the 747.Pan American commenced passenger services between New York and Marseilles in June 1938 and between New York and Southampton the next month.
d. Lockheed Constellation
The Lockheed Constellation and Super Constellation aircraft followed the DC4 into service after WW2. Both of these aircraft had pressurised cabins which allowed them to fly higher.
In the modern era of travel the aim of travel is to get to the destination. The actual journey such as the flight is viewed as an unnecessary evil and something to be over quickly and cheaply.
In the Golden Age of Travel the journey was an experience in itself irrespective of whether it was by ocean liner, long distance train or an aircraft such as a luxury flying boat. Of course, this class of travel was for the well-heeled and they expected first-class service. Mere mortals travelled in steerage or second or third class.
In the modern age people are now re-visiting the travel as the end to be enjoyed rather than the means to an end.What are the names of the following train journeys currently available as an experience rather than a means of getting to a destination?
a. Rocky Mountaineer.
The Rocky Mountaineer travels from Vancouver to Calgary through the Rocky Mountains and the ski resorts of Lake Louise and Banff.
b. Glacier Express.
The Glacier Express takes 71/2 hours to travel 290 kilometres between St Moritz and Zermatt.
c. Royal Rajasthan.
The Royal Rajasthan was launched in 2009 and boasts gourmet cuisine, lavish Indian décor and impeccable service. What better way to explore the lands where maharajahs ruled from ancient times.
Twelve nights on a train in one country. The Trans-Siberia runs from Moscow to Vladivostok with a lunch break at Lake Baikal. Like the Royal Rajasthan the Trans-Siberia is a five star hotel on rails. Tchaikovsky, vodka and the vastness of Siberia, with the Urals thrown in for good measure.
e. Indian Pacific.
The Indian Pacific travels between Sydney and Perth for a more relaxed way of crossing Australia.
f. Hiram Bingham.
The Hiram Bingham is a luxurious way of visiting Machu Pinchu. Named after the explorer who discovered the remains of Machu Pinchu the train boasts 1920’s style Pullman carriages and delivers passengers for a five hour tour of the ruins. After the tour the lucky passengers relax on the way back to Cusco with a gourmet Andean Dinner.
g. Oriental Express.
Not to be confused with the Orient Express the Oriental Express is the cool way to travel through the steamy jungles of Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
h. This is the Orient Express, but is now called the Venice Simplon-Orient Express. It is luxury all the way from London in Pullman carriages, through the Michelin ranked menu served in luxurious 1920s dining cars and overnight to Venice in plush wood-panelled cabins.
What do the following have in common?
• Model T Ford
• Boeing 747 Jumbo
• The M1
• Austin 7
• Morris Minor
a. They resulted from advances in technology.
The Model T and Boeing 747 were made possible by advances in technology. The Austin 7 less so. The Morris Minor, while important, was not a great advance in technology, but an advance in design. The technology underpinning the M1 was 30 years old.
b. All were made following the advances made in mass production introduced by Henry Ford.
The M1 was not mass produced. The Austin 7 was mass produced, but also produced as a chassis and bodied by a large number of body manufacturers, including Swallow Cars. Swallow later became Jaguar.
c. They were sold around the World.
All but the M1 were sold around the World. The three cars were also manufactured in a number of countries.
d. Each contributed in its own way to bringing travel to the common people.
Correct. The Model T Ford was made and sold in the millions for nearly 20 years both before and after WW1. The Model T has been credited as the first car available for the mass market.
What the Model T did for the motoring public in the first three decades of the Twentieth Century the Jumbo did for the World in the 70’s. The advent of jet airliners started to bring destinations closer together and prices started to come down. The Boeing 707 kicked this along in the 60s, but it was the 747 that truly brought prices down and made long-distance air travel a reality for many people.
The M1 was Britain’s first motorway and heralded the era of fast long distance motor way travel for the British. This was something the Americans and Europeans had been enjoying for decades.
While the Model T was popular in the UK, it was the small Austin 7 that gave many of British their first taste of motoring. The Morris Minor continued the popularity of the motor car in the UK after the War. Both the Austin and Morris were relatively cheap and capable of carrying a family of four, albeit fairly slowly.
Quick pop quiz:
What do the following have in common?
a. A huge statue of Christ. Rio or Lisbon
b. Jungle only metres from each side of your ship. On a ship in the Panama Canal.
c. Desert only metres from each side of your ship. On a ship in the Suez Canal.
d. A coat hanger above a smiling face. In an aircraft over the Sydney Opera House looking at the Harbour Bridge, nicknamed the Coat Hanger, with the Face of Luna Park below.
e. A fish called Nemo. Under water on a coral reef, say the Barrier Reef. Looking at a tropical fish tank is cheating.
f. Sacre Coeur. Montmarte in Paris.
g. The snow-capped Mt Ararat. In a plane flying over Turkey.
h. The Zambezi along way straight down, but closer if you had jumped off the bridge with a big elastic band attached to your legs. Standing on a bailey bridge over the Zambezi between Zimbabwe and Zambia, or hanging from the bridge after your bungee jump.
i. A Star Ferry. Hong Kong Harbour.
j. A large length of the Great Wall of China. The Space Station.
k. 1950s American cars in daily use. Cuba.
What do the following have in common?
l. The Flying Scotsman. Train, a very fast steam train.
m. The Queen Elizabeth. Ocean Liner, or if you are picky various Royal Navy ships. The liner sank in Hong Kong.
n. The Hindenburg. A Zeppelin airship.
o. An A380. The big Airbus aircraft.
p. A Trabant. East Germany’s answer to mass motoring, a car.
q. The Cooma Mail. A train that carried mail from Sydney to Cooma and stopped at every sheep to see if there was a letter for the sheep. A long and cold way to get to the ski fields.
Which country or city would you have to go to to see?
r. Table Mountain. Cape Town in South Africa. Don’t be lazy, walk up.
s. Mt Etna. If you journey to the centre of the Earth this is where you emerge.
t. Volcanoes with totally unpronounceable names that keep erupting and interrupting flights in Europe. Iceland.
u. Where Indiana Jones chose wisely. (For non-movie buffs, try the ancient city of Petra). For extra points what did Indie choose wisely (answer in Question 6)? Lisbon.
v. The Mona Lisa. The Louvre in Paris.
w. General Robert E Lee’s house. If you said Washington DC you are close, if you said Washington State you are very wrong. Lee’s house is in Arlington, Virginia but it is an easy walk from the White House and even shorter from the Lincoln Memorial.
x. The names of Australia’s war dead. All Australians must visit the Australian War Memorial in Canberra at least once.
y. Bullet Trains. Japan.
z. Schindler’s factory. It is still there, in Krakow, Poland.
Question 6: Extra Points, what did Indie choose wisely?
a. London’s main airport. Heathrow.
b. What the British called East Asia. The Orient.
c. Capital of Peru. Lima.
d. What they sail between Sydney and Hobart. Yachts.
e. Country that is the home of the modern Olympics. Greece.
f. The Mediterranean, the Suez Canal, then which Sea? Red.
g. Generally if you fly from Sydney to London you would be in a plane made by Boeing or by which company? Airbus.
h. The Ring of Kerry is in which country? Republic of Ireland.
i. During WW2 trans-Atlantic flights landed in which Iberian city? Lisbon.
This quiz first appeared in The Australia Times History Magazine.