Around 11am on the steaming hot Friday of the 30th July the Ross Revenge slipped her anchorage near Chatham and, propelled by tugs, headed upriver towards Tilbury. Her passage was not rapid - we saw her passing Canvey Island at about 3.15pm. Her docking point was to be a floating pontoon at Tilbury used by overseas shipping as well as the local Tilbury/Gravesend Passenger Ferry; it is connected to land by a girder bridge whose seaward end rises and falls with the tide. The Ross Revenge hoved into view past Tilbury Fort at about 5.15pm in the company of two tugs. The first was towing the ship on a hawser as you might expect whilst the second one was pushing it!
A special bracket had been welded to the rear of the Ross and the second tug, the Horton, was tied to it. The trio came straight in to the quayside, slowly coming to a halt a few feet from the side.
She then drifted slowly in, the bow line was attached, and she was made fast. The bow is just past the razor-wire-topped fence which divides off the overseas (and thus Customs-controlled) section of the pontoon. This was to make sure there was enough room left at the other end for the passenger ferry to dock.
At this moment the ferry approached from Gravesend. This immediately caused a problem since the Horton was still tied onto the Ross and there was not enough room for all! The ferry hovered whilst the Horton swung its stern away from the quay and the ferry came in, making a rather tight sandwich! By the time the ferry was ready to leave the Horton had cleared away.
Peter Moore was on deck looking hot and tired but more than a little relieved. "How was the trip?" I called to him. "Well you know what they say - any trip you can walk away from has gotta be good!" he replied; clearly a trying day!!
When the OB starts on August the 7th it will be possible to visit the Ship. Access will be controlled by an office in the "Riverside Leisure Centre" in the building adjacent to the girder bridge/ramp leading to the pontoon where Lorraine from the Centre is in charge of things. Note that the ramp and pontoon are only open until just after 7pm (when the ferry stops), after this the top of the ramp is padlocked shut!
It is in fact possible to drive right down the ramp onto the pontoon but the parking spaces here are really intended for people using the passenger ferry and if you do so there is a parking charge (payable to the ferry). There are also about a dozen parking spaces at the top of the ramp by the leisure centre.
The simplest route here is turn off the A13 onto the A1089 (Tilbury Docks) turn off and follow it right down to the main boarding terminal. You will see a sign ahead pointing off the road to the right saying "Passenger Ferry". This will take you to the car park(s). There are better routes in coming from the Southend direction but they are highly complex. If you get lost ask for the Passenger Ferry or "The Worlds End" Pub!
August 1st 40oC (2004)
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