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Allport-class Short Hop Commuter Ferry (TL8)

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the February 2012 issue of Freelance Traveller.

Cities built on harbours or rivers often have need for commuters to be able to cross the water efficiently in large numbers. The Allport-class Short Hop Commuter Ferry is designed for short crossings of just a few minutes and can also be used as a vehicle for short cruises of a few hours visiting local coastal attractions. Even on worlds where grav technology may be available, these boats may be useful in more remote areas or where cost is a factor. Typically there are two main decks, the upper deck only partially covered, with a bridge that runs the width of the ferry providing good views of the mooring stations whether docking on the port or starboard side. 300 passengers can be carried, 250 seated and another 50 either standing or in the ‘cargo’ area which splits the lower deck longitudinally from a saloon. Life jackets are carried for 300 people along with other life-saving equipment as law or prudence dictates.

The power plant is a twin Nils RSI 1241D internal combustion engine with fuel tankage for up to 10 hours operation. Cruising speed is 9 knots (17km/h). The crew of three is augmented with an engineer and 2 stewards when conditions or regulations warrant. The ropers clip tickets as well as mooring and unmooring; on a cruise they may act as additional stewards, or as relief helmsmen. The excellent controls permit rotation through 360 of the twin azimuth propellers (fore and aft) which drive the vessel, so that the ferry can maneuver or dock very easily in restricted space. Two operator stations are located on the port and starboard sides of the bridge with large windows to provide clear views. A third is in the engine room. Entrance and egress is through steel gates to maximize passenger flow. Where usage warrants, a variant design with a half deck below the lower deck may be employed, allowing another 50 passengers.

A small kiosk on the upper deck allows a steward to serve drinks and light snacks. There is just room on the upper deck for a small band to set up towards the after end of the vessel. Dimensions: 30m (waterline), 32m (overall) 10m 7m.

Note: A real world example with specifications, illustrations and deckplans can be found at: http://www.camarc.com/#/ferrycrew-boats/4552916852 (Flash required, heavy use) by selecting the datasheet links for the 32m vessels at the bottom of the page.

The River Ferry on page 79 of Supplement 5: Civilian Vehicles, appears to have misquoted the weight of the passenger seats by a factor of 10. On the other hand, it’s very fast, particularly given the power output should be 2400 instead of 1650. (Top speed 50kph).


Short Hop Commuter Ferry (TL8) Volume (m3) Mass (kg) Cost (Cr)
Hull 2100 m3 (base 2100 m3) Standard configuration, Steel, Waterproof - 210,000.00 420,000
  Hull: 525 Structure: 525 - - -
Drive system Water-Driven 210.00 31,500.00 1,050,000
Power Plant Internal Combustion-8
Power output: 4860
Fuel Consumption: 180/hour
180.00 12,600.00 270,000
Fuel 1800 liters (10 hours operation) 1.80 1,800.00 -
Armour Steel 3 - - -
Sensors Basic (1 km, +1DM) 0.50 1.00 500
Communications Radio-10 (range 10 km) 0.00 0.25 250
Equipment Controls, excellent (Agility +3=1) 21.00 2,100.00 2,100,000
Crew 3 (1 helmsman, 2 ropers) - - -
Operating stations 3 3.75 375.00 -
Passengers 300 300.00 30,000.00 -
Utility Areas Bar 5.00 375.00 6,250
Cargo 102 Td 1,377.95 137,795.00 -
Agility +1 DM - - -
Speed Cruise: 17 km/h Top: 23 km/h - - -
TOTAL   2,100.00 426,546.00 3,847,000