News from 1909: Megantic's maiden voyage

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Mark Baber

The Gazette, Montreal, 28 June 1909
Retrieved from Google News

Megantic Reached Port on Saturday Morning After Completing Maiden Voyage
Was Not Pushed, but Speed on One Day's Run showed 17 1/2 Miles and Hour

Sharing with her sister ship the Laurentic the distinction of being the
largest vessel in the Canadian trade, and by far the biggest to come right
up to the port of Montreal, the R.M.S. Megantic, Commander H. Smith, R. N.
R., of the White Star-Dominion Line, swung round the bend of the pier at 11
o'clock on Saturday morning, and, in the presence of a large crowd of
interested spectators, moored alongside at 11:30, after completing her
maiden voyage from Liverpool to Montreal. The big steamer Englishman, which
had been shifted to the lower end of the wharf to allow the majestic new
arrival to take the top position, in comparison looked like a gun-boat
against a battleship.

Both the Megantic and the Laurentic are of 15,000 tons, and have created an
epoch in Canadian shipping, as being the first and only vessels of their
great tonnage and magnificent passenger accommodation to come up to the port
of Montreal. The Laurentic has made two voyages. This is the first trip of
the Megantic.

Amongst those on the pier awaiting her arrival were Mr. James Thom, the
Montreal agent of the White Star-Dominion Line, and Mr. R. F. Macfarlane,
the passenger manager.

It was by many thought probable the Megantic would not be finished in time
to take up her scheduled run from Liverpool on the 17th, but an army of
2,000 men, who had been employed on the Laurentic, were drafted in bulk on
to her sister ship, in addition to other men who had been going on with the
work getting her ready at the yards of Harland and Wolff, Ltd., at Belfast,
and these additional men had the advantage of knowledge of similar details,
and the Megantic was ready on time. On her trial trip, Mr. Bruce Ismay, of
the White Star Line, Lord Pirrie, of Harland and Wolff, and Mr. H. A.
Sanderson and party were on board and were greatly pleased with everything.

The Megantic passed Liverpool Bar at 7 p.m. on the 17th inst., and her Log
records the following daily runs: June 18, 278; 19th, 414; 20th, 397; 21st,
404; 22nd, 363; 23rd, 206; 24th, 422; then to Father Point, 207, total 2,691
miles. Time, 7 days 9 hours 27 minutes. The day's run of 422 miles made on
the 24th in clear weather represents slightly over 17 1/2 miles an hour.
The vessel was twice delayed by fog, and Captain Smith was on the bridge for
48 hours off the Banks, and also had little respite up the river.

The ship sighted several large bergs on the 23rd and many small bergs for a
considerable distance on the 24th. Apart from this, and the fog
experienced, the passage was uneventful and the passengers were highly
delighted with the vessel.

At Quebec, Pilot Alberic Angers, who also brought up the Laurentic, took
charge, leaving the breakwater at 11 p.m. on Friday and bringing the vessel
right through during the night.

Captain H. Smith was formerly in command of the Doric and the Coptic, of the
White Star Line. The surgeon of the ship, Dr. W. Graeme Robertson, is a
Montrealer born, and Mr. A. Percy Taylor, the purser, was well known in
Montreal when he was on the Lake Erie.

The Megantic is almost an exact copy of the Laurentic, but the latter has a
combination of reciprocating engines with low pressure turbine, while the
Megantic is fitted with quadruple reciprocating engines only. The Megantic,
having completed her first voyage, the company will now be in a position to
compare the two different systems. The coal consumption of the Megantic has
not yet been worked out, but that of the Laurentic was 1.1 pounds per
indicated horse-power hour, and 11 pounds of water per indicated horse-power
hour was used. The Megantic is designed to carry over 260 first-class, 430
second-class, and over a thousand third-class passengers. Her passenger
accommodation throughout, and her saloons, lounges, smoke-rooms, and
libraries are on the same lavish style as her sister ship, and she proved
herself an equally steady boat at sea, while her perfect system of automatic
ventilation provides delightful coolness in every part of the ship. It is
safe to predict the Megantic will prove a favorite with Canadian passengers.

The following saloon passengers were carried: Miss Catherine Allen, John
Baillie, W. H. Cawthra, Mrs. Cawthra, Werner Sonrad, J. W. Dansie, Frank
Dods, Bernard Dunell, John Fairweather, Mrs. Fairweather, Beresford Fox,
Mrs. Fox, Miss Fox, Thos. E. Hodgson, W. J. Kernohan, W. H. Kyle, H. B.
Lefroy, A. G. Lefroy, A. McDougall, Miss McDougall, B. H. Moss, Mrs. Moss,
E. Neel, Mrs. Neel, Brigadier John Noble, Herbert J. Page, R. J. Parke,
Alex. Patterson, Alex. Patterson, Jr., Mrs. Peacock, Mrs. Peck, Edmund
Raftery, Mrs. Raftery, Howard Raftery, Albert E. Reed, William Reed, W. F.
Sadler, J. Sandham, William Starke, A. Turnbull, James Walker, A. J.

The second-class passengers numbered 146, and third-class 357, a total of

Tomorrow afternoon, from 2 to 5, the Megantic will be thrown open to the
public at a charge of 25 cents, with 10 cents for children. Visitors will,
therefore, have the opportunity of inspecting the latest luxurious floating
hotel and at the same time benefitting the Montreal Sailors' Institute and
the Catholic Sailors' Club, between which institutions, which do much for
the sailors at the port, the proceeds will be divided.

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