Author Topic: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'  (Read 32144 times)

0 Members and 3 Guests are viewing this topic.

Online Rob Lightbody

  • Administrator
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 12287
  • Total likes: 15726
  • Helping to Keep The Legend Alive
    • Rob Lightbody dot com
Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #15 on: Sep 03, 2010, 07:31 PM »
Amazing stuff, thank you!!

Are you going to publish the book and if so, how?  what angle are you going for?
Passionate about QE2's service life for 40 years and creator of this website.  I have worked in IT for 28 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Online Peter Mugridge

  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 3590
  • Total likes: 3416
  • At Mach 2 three days after being on QE2...
Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #16 on: Sep 03, 2010, 11:26 PM »
I think I would be very interested in buying a copy of this book. :)
"It is a capital mistake to allow any mechanical object to realise that you are in a hurry!"

Online Rob Lightbody

  • Administrator
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 12287
  • Total likes: 15726
  • Helping to Keep The Legend Alive
    • Rob Lightbody dot com
Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #17 on: Sep 04, 2010, 04:35 PM »
I would like to know, in fairly simple terms...

(1) What advances would Q3 have had over Q1 ?
(2) What advances did Q4 have over Q3 ?
Passionate about QE2's service life for 40 years and creator of this website.  I have worked in IT for 28 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Offline Michael Gallagher

Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #18 on: Sep 04, 2010, 06:03 PM »
I think advances between Q3 and Q1 would have mainly been advances in technology / machinery.

And Q4 was more advanced because she ended up as a two-class, dual purpose, smaller ship.

Although Q3 was rejected on the whole for being the wrong ship for the jet age, her design embodied a number of progressive elements which survived. Indeed the Q4 design owed an important part of its origin to Q3. The most progressive ideas in Q3's layout and planning were brought forward and descaled to the reduced overall dimensions of Q4:

• Much of the work done by Cunard's design department in reducing structural complexity and weight in Q3 would ultimately prove vital in Q4.

• The final funnel shape of Q4 was based on initial work undertaken on that for Q3 which is somewhat resembled.

• A number of new ideas which appeared on Q4 had originally been developed for Q3: the relocation of dining rooms and crew messing facilities etc.

Q3 propulsion machinery designs were resurrected and modified until the machinery for Q4 was finally chosen. Reliability, simplicity and efficiency were the watchwords.

As a result of the experience gained in planning the machinery for Q3, it was decided to specify turbines of Pametrada design, driving two propellers and maintain an average speed of 28.5 knots.

Online Bob C.

Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #19 on: Sep 04, 2010, 11:38 PM »
    I agree with Flagship that technology was the main difference between Q1, 2, 3 and 4 but with the decline of the ocean liner  and the rise of the jet airplane as the primary source of transportation between Europe and the USA, the entire "ocean liner" concept was diminishing quickly.  I believe it was fading even more quickly than Cunard surmized in the early 60's. 
   
    Reading Potter and Frost and comparing the Cunard liner with today's ships, there are many obvious carryovers from Q1 and 2 into QE2.  Even though Q3 was eventually rejected, Potter and Frost's QE2 book shows that the "old school" trans-Atlantic liner mentality played heavily into QE2's design with much of it flying in the face of the modernizing "jet-age"world. 
     
    It was a time of global transition, technologically, but by today's business standards, Cunard was behind the power curve in developing QE2 to keep up with the changing times.  In my opinion there was far too much what I'll call "traditional liner" momentum.  In other words, Cunard either lacked the ability to read the future effectively or accept the need to change to stay competitive in the market or perhaps a bit of both.  About the only that saved QE2 was her cruising ability.  There was a brief period in the early 70's where Cunard made a true profit but QE2 and Cunard faced hard financial times in the latter part of the 70's and 80's.  National Geographic's "Superliner: Twilight of an Era" stated that QE2 was facing hard financial times with the lack of trans-Atlantic passengers and the skyrocketing price of oil and that her future was uncertain.
   
    But thanks to the 86/87 tranformational refit, QE2 became more of a cruise ship and less of a liner enabling her to sail into the 21st century and become the icon of the sea that she is.  Don't get me wrong, I love our old girl but she was essentially behind the times the day she slid down the ways. 
« Last Edit: Sep 05, 2010, 01:55 AM by Bob C. »

Greg78uk

  • Guest
Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #20 on: Sep 04, 2010, 11:52 PM »
Thanks for all the great information, I was not aware that Cunard had awarded the Q3 contract, Grandfather mentions in his memoir that the rumours were that the contract was going to Tyneside rather than Clydeside, but when he voiced these rumours to his ‘critics’ at John Browns they reacted angrily and said that a Cunard Queen would never be built anywhere else but at Browns. He certainly pays homage to the common sense of the board and especially Brocklebank when they do abandon Q3 and move towards Q4. Grandfather never made a big deal about his involvement and in fact the only book I have ever found that mentions him is a large hardback volume on the Queen Mary which was a reprint of the original specifications alongside her history, published after she was decommissioned.

The book is mainly centred round Grandfathers memoir, which he wrote before his death, which describes in the first person, what happened, why it happened and how it happened. What I am trying to do is to pad it out with factual evidence that I am researching at the moment. Summaries of the North Atlantic Shipping Bill and Viscount Chandos’ report on the Q3, the latter which was not released until relatively recently.

Other things I am looking at are details of the history of the Cunard transatlantic run (The Mauritania/Lusitania and the Queen Mary/ Queen Elizabeth) as well as the new competition that developed in the 1950s, with the new foreign Atlantic liners the SS France, SS United States and SS Norway, which now with the benefit of hindsight we know within about ten years caused the bankruptcy of their owners and ended up either being sold or mothballed (I believe the SS United States is still in dry-dock, 40 years later!!!).

The question I don’t know is if I will be able to find a publisher willing to do anything with it all????   

Offline Michael Gallagher

Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #21 on: Sep 05, 2010, 09:13 AM »
A preliminary meeting between Cunard and six contending shipyards was held in the Cunard Building on 15 December 1960 to discuss the preparation of the specification for the new ship. It was expected that the tender specification would be complete by the end of March 1961.

Only a few British yards were capable of handling a contract of this size and six firms were expected to tender:

   John Brown and Company, Clydebank

   Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Limited, Glasgow

   Vickers-Armstrongs (Shipbuilders), Tyne

   Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson Limited, Wellsend

   Harland and Wolff Limited, Belfast

                Cammell Laird & Company (Shipbuilders and Engineers) Limited, Merseyside

In January 1961, it was announced by the north-eastern yards that for this venture, Messrs. Vickers and Messrs. Swan Hunter proposed to join forces in order to win. The plan was to construct the hull at the Wellsend yard, birthplace of the Mauretania, and to fit it out 1.5 miles upstream at Vickers’ Walkers Naval Yard. It was a powerful combination. Both firms were at the forefront of ship construction and were arguably the most technically advanced shipbuilders in Britain. Additionally, Vicker's’ Barrow-in-Furness yard had produced the 45,000-ton Oriana for P&O in 1960, a revolutionary ship embodying many new design concepts valuable to the builders of Q3 and to the eventual owners.

In March 1961, invitations to tender for the new ship together with the detailed specifications were sent to the yards.

Cunard encouraged the yards to put forward their own ideas on her overall design concept too.

Tenders were to be received by the end of July 1961.
« Last Edit: Jul 22, 2014, 10:17 AM by Lynda Bradford »

Offline Michael Gallagher

Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #22 on: Sep 05, 2010, 09:15 AM »
The joint bid from Vickers Armstrong and Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson soon became the favourite tender. Reports prior to the contract placement indicated that their bid was the lowest (£28 million) and that they could offer (by several months) an earlier completion date which would allow Cunard to take advantage of the 1965 summer season. This meant to Cunard a year’s earnings on the transatlantic trade and 1965 would see Queen Mary celebrate her 30th Birthday.

Cunard awarded the contract to Vickers Armstrong and Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson. It was this group which offered the most progressive ideas on the ship's construction and offered the lowest tender of £28 million. In fact, the consortium had submitted two designs to Cunard: one was the all-steel four-shaft ship Cunard had asked for; the other was a smaller two-shaft alloy / steel design.

The disturbing news for the John Brown yard was that the consortium’s four shaft all-steel design was preferred on cost and design to their own. It was later found that Clydebank’s price was £1.8 million higher than the consortium’s. John Brown’s hull would have cost £2.15 million more to build although it’s machinery was £0.35 million lower. John Brown’s hull was a much heavier and stiffer structure than the consortium’s and required more power and therefore more expense to propel it.

However, it was the consortium’s smaller two-shaft design which caused Cunard to pause. Many of the features it embraced were based on the Oriana – a fact that placed an entirely different perspective on Q3.

Compared with John brown’s specification for Q3, the Swan Hunter/ Vickers design variant had a shorter hull by 70-feet (21.3 metres), at 920-feet (280.4 metres) overall. The accommodation, for 2,270 passengers, was spread over 12 decks. Four Pametrada steam turbines would have given her the required service speed if 30 knots when rated at 112,500-shp, but it was calculated that the powerplant had sufficient reserve for her to challenge the United States’ grasp on the Atlantic Blue Riband, if so desired, for she had the potential for an astonishing 40 knots at the maximum output of 140,000-shp! Doubtless the performance of the John Brown design would have been comparable, but it has to be remembered that this is pure conjecture.

Assuming the order had been received before the end of 1961, the keel would have been laid in May 1962, the launch would have taken place in December 1963, and the new ‘Queen’ would have been delivered to Cunard in April 1965 – during the company’s 165th Anniversary year.

Online Rob Lightbody

  • Administrator
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 12287
  • Total likes: 15726
  • Helping to Keep The Legend Alive
    • Rob Lightbody dot com
Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #23 on: Sep 05, 2010, 11:44 AM »
Bob,

Your comments don't really tally with anything else I've read.  Q4 was really quite advanced - and a lot of Cunard regulars were upset that she was so different.

Stephen Payne, QM2's designer and lifelong QE2 fan, was absolutely clear last year when I heard him talk - QE2 always made money - lots of money.  Thats what he says.

And... I don't really see how the 86/7 made her more fit for cruising specifically - it just made her more "fit" in general! - it really made her more fit for the transatlantic, with more power and redundancy, and the fuel-saving meaning that her high speed for 5 nights wasn't as big an issue.

The Clive Harvey book has an interesting piece about QE going cruising.  She was more successful than people realise - more successful than Mary.  When I get home I'll dig it out.  He says that she could have cruised for many years (at a profit), and that was indeed the intention with her big refit in the late 60s in Greenock.
Passionate about QE2's service life for 40 years and creator of this website.  I have worked in IT for 28 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Offline Michael Gallagher

Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #24 on: Sep 05, 2010, 12:14 PM »
Rob - I don't want to burst a bubble but QE2 did not make money every year. That's not to say she wasn't fantastically profitable over her lifetime but Bob is right by the late 1970s and early 1980s  she was struggling. Struggling in terms of profits, struggling mechanically and struggling in terms of reputation. I would say the Falklands did a lot to save her - in terms of the money Cunard got for the charter and the prestige going to war did for her. Like with Canberra both ships never really looked back after their war service but both ships had a helluva time in the 1970s.

On what basis does Clive Harvey say the original QE could have gone on and made profits? Does he have knowledge of the inner workings of Cunard at the time and does he pocess a crystal ball in an alternative reality. By the mid 1960s the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth were grand old ships and that was there problem - too grand and too old for the markets they found themselves in. By 1968 the new dawn of the modern cruise ship from the likes of Norwegian Caribbean and Royal Caribbean was about to start. And there is no way Cunard could have kept two Elizabeths on the Atlantic run. The only chance QE2 had was to break free from the past so the Mary and Elizabeth had to have gone by the time she entered service and with it that style, service and 'Cunardness' of that era had to go.

Online Rob Lightbody

  • Administrator
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 12287
  • Total likes: 15726
  • Helping to Keep The Legend Alive
    • Rob Lightbody dot com
Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #25 on: Sep 05, 2010, 12:21 PM »
Ok thanks for the correction Michael - taken on board (and I'll need to re-write that bit of my talks!) - but i'm sure thats not what Mr. P said!  Maybe i'm remembering it wrong... maybe someone said she "never made money" and he corrected them.  I wish I'd recorded his talk somehow, it was excellent.

So if Cunard were on its knees when it BUILT QE2, and needed a loan to do so, how did they pay the loan back so quickly?  How did they survive at all if she wasn't making money?

I will dig the bit out of Clive's book when I get home... I won't trust my memory again!
Passionate about QE2's service life for 40 years and creator of this website.  I have worked in IT for 28 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Offline Michael Gallagher

Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #26 on: Sep 05, 2010, 12:32 PM »
She did make money initially and the loan was repaid back quicker than expected. By the end of her first year Cunard had repaid £2.5 million - one eighth - of the loan. I'm talking about the late 1970s and early 1980s. The ship was in a mess in terms of profits, mechanically and onboard in terms of decor.

I think the withdrawl of the France in 1974 - a ship which even Cunard internal reports state was far superior in terms of service, quality etc - helped QE2 over the mid 1970s as that left her as the only big ship on the Atlantic and gave her the cachet of largest passenger ship in te world (until the return of France as Norway in 1980).

One of the reasons Cunard outlived all its competitors was the fact that it alone was never subsidised by a Government. Cunard instead took loans out to build their prestige ships (Mauretania /Lusitania, Queen Mary / Queen Elizabeth, QE2) and all of those loans were repaid. If the company had been subsidised I suspect the Government would have pulled the plug at some point prior to Trafalgar House taking over and things would have turned out a LOT differently.

Online cunardqueen

Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #27 on: Sep 05, 2010, 05:50 PM »
What about an online publisher? Is that an option?
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Online cunardqueen

Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #28 on: Sep 05, 2010, 06:24 PM »
Quote
   I don't want to burst a bubble but QE2 did not make money every year.   

If we remember the excerpt from Whickers world with Sir Nigel Broackes commented on the income was around 50 million and the outlay was 45 milliion which left a profit of 5 million.A figure he seemed happy with.
And lets face it in later years QE2 wasnt for eveyone. Who hasnt met a passenger on a cruise that felt QE2 didnt live upto the hype
When you look at the booking process when l booked in 1986 we had no travel agents discount or onboard credit you actually paid the brochure fare and were quite happy with that
Would Cunard back then have been in the position of discounting fares to fill up the ship, or were they quite happy for the ship to sell itself and if she sailed with empty berths so be it?

It would be interesting to know when the price of building the QM2 can be expected to be paid back, lm guessing such information might be classed as commercially sensitive. still no harm in asking, One imagines a ship that size sailing full most of the time must be for want of a better phrase raking it in... :-X
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Cruise_Princess

  • Guest
Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #29 on: Sep 05, 2010, 06:46 PM »
I suppose the 21st century can be said to be the best time ever for building passenger cruise ships and of course the  easier access to bank borrowing necessary to build them in the first place, is perhaps more  available than ever ( taking out the recession right now...though it doesn't LOOK like it!).,,.,.with the cheap pricing that  didn't happen till Carnival days it will look very good indeed on cashflow forecasts etc done for the purpose of borrowing the funds.....better to sell 100 cabins at a knock down price than not sell them at all...

(which brings to mind...whilst on a Capetown Cruise many of us decided we would like to sail home to Soton rather than fly back...the majority of us were in the same cabin grade yet when we enquired at the onboard sales office were all given very different astronomical prices for the return sail home....therefore those cabins remained empty all the way back to Southampton....as the ship was half empty....
( and they wouldn't allow us to go ashore in Capetwon to a travel agent to ook it on a bargain deal as when a passenger you are a captive audience......so they told us,.)
.
CHANGED DAYS!

 

QE2s Captain Chair for sale...

Started by cunardqueenBoard Miscellaneous QE2

Replies: 1
Views: 1468
Last post Sep 24, 2016, 10:45 PM
by Pete Hamill
Were QE2s propellers the most powerful in the world?

Started by Rob LightbodyBoard Technical Matters

Replies: 8
Views: 2719
Last post Oct 13, 2018, 10:57 AM
by Rob Lightbody