The Ship

Two new Steamships

In 1904, to marks its entry into the Atlantic, the Canadian Pacific Railway company (CPR) ordered twin Steamships from the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company of Govan in Glasgow, Scotland. They would be the largest, fastest, and most comfortable for the passage to Canada.

On November 11th, 1905, the Empress of Britain was launched, followed on the 27th of January 1906 by the Empress of Ireland. The two ships did their maiden voyages during the summer of 1906, one month apart. On these trips, speed records were established and these ships quickly became very popular with the public.

The Empresses were 167 meters (550’) long, and 20 meters (65.5’) wide. They had seven decks the highest being 14 meters (45’) above the water line. They had two bronze screws weighing 25 tons propelled by two quadruple expansion motors, giving a speed of 20 knots (37 km/h) at high sea.

Affiche CPLloyd’s of London gave the ships a *100 A-1 code in their Register, which meant that the ships had been inspected and supervised from the laying of the keel until completion of all sea trials, and were in respect of all regulations concerning passenger ships. Built along the two-compartment rule, meaning the ship could remain afloat with two of the eleven watertight compartments flooded. After the Titanic disaster in 1912, passenger safety was greatly improved. The twins had 40 lifeboats, 16 metal and 26 of wood with canvas, to accomadate 1686 people, 280 more than max allowed, also there were 24 life buoys with 2212 life jackets of which 150 were for children.

They also had the Marconi wireless telegraph system, the most modern under-water iceberg detecting sonar. Their only security weakness was their watertight doors closing system. There were 24 watertight doors to allow passage throughout the ships.