Thursday, 18 December 2014

Wahine memory

Bit of nostalgia here with an advert for the Wahine. It was only on the Lyttelton-Wellington run for less than two years before it sank in Wellington harbour in 1968. It was a bit odd that the Union Steamship Co persisted with steam fired machinery (oil fired boilers made steam to run turbines which generated the electricity for the propulsion motors) by this time because diesel-electric was a well proven technology used in the Cook Strait ferries and Union persisted with turbo-electric for their last ferry, the Rangatira, which was built in 1972. The problem was that running costs were higher for the turbo-electric system and this didn’t help the Rangatira in its last years which were in the middle of the oil crisis of the mid 1970s. Queen Elizabeth 2 was also built as a turbo-electric ship but mid-life its propulsion system was converted to diesel-electric which made it much more economical to operate.