The Shields Ferry fleet currently consists of two vessels - the 'Pride of the Tyne' (1993) and the 'Spirit of the Tyne' (2007). The Spirit is slightly longer than the Pride.
- The Spirit of the Tyne can carry 200 passengers for either timetabled service or on private hires or river trips. The Pride of the Tyne can carry 303 passengers during timetabled service and 240 on private hires or river trips
- The Pride's hulls are identical, but the Spirit has a conventional bow and stern
- A Voith Schneider propeller unit is sited at both ends of each ferry
- The units which propel and steer the vessels are driven by their own engine and gearbox
- Each boat has twin diesel generators to supply electrical power
- The ferries operate diagonally across the river without the need for turning. This saves time so the speed of the ferry can be reduced, saving wear and tear on the machinery and fuel without reducing frequency of the service
- The design of the ‘Pride of the Tyne’ was adapted from that of the ‘Shieldsman’. The basic configuration was retained while the standard of passenger accommodation was improved. The design of the Spirit was adapted from the Gosport ferry, which has run between Portsmouth and Gosport for many years (incidentally, the Spirit was built by VT Halmatic in Portchester, near Gosport)
- The ‘Pride’ was the first river ferry to incorporate, from new, all of the new safety features introduced in the wake of the Marchioness disaster on the Thames in 1989
- The hulls of both ferries are divided into 5 watertight compartments
- Both boats have self-inflating rafts which are mounted at each end of the main deck on the Pride, and on the Spirit
- Additionally 303 life jackets are carried on-board the Pride and 209 on the Spirit, sufficient for a full complement of passengers and crew
- Both vessels have 2m wide boarding ramps allowing easy embarkation for all passengers including those with prams, wheelchairs and bicycles
For a brief insight into the history of the Shields Ferry, which dates as far back as 1377, visit our History section here.