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December 2000
Dover to Calais Hovercraft History
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Originally there were two hovercraft operators between England and France.   Seaspeed ran from Dover, and Hoverlloyd ran from Ramsgate.   Seen at Pegwell bay in July 1973 is Hoverlloyd's Swift. In 1982, Seaspeed and Hoverlloyd merged to become Hoverspeed, owned by Sealink.   When Sealink was privatised in 1985, Sea Containers bought Hoverspeed.   Swift is seen in the English Channel in April 1990
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Latterly Hoverspeed ran only between Dover and Calais with two hovercraft.   Princess Margaret is seen leaving Calais on a blustery day in December 1998. One of the original hovercraft passed to the Hovercraft Museum at Lee-On-Solent in 1994.  Swift is seen at the museum in March 1998.
Click to enlarge photos.

Hovercraft Farewell  
In August 2000, Hoverspeed announced unexpectedly that their hovercraft service between Dover and Calais was to close.   The two hovercraft are to be replaced by two Seacats, which although slightly slower, would be more economical.   Below are some photographs of the last day of operation on Sunday 1st October 2000.
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Out with the old, in with the new.   Princess Margaret arrives for the last sailing passing her successor, Seacat Danmark. The first car boards the last departure on Princess Margaret.   Note the photo-call, and the TV crews in front of the terminal building.
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Like a famous Hollywood actress, Princess Margaret pauses at the edge of the ramp for all the photographers. Gone but not forgotten.   Princess Margaret passes the crowds at the pier cafe and accepts the salute from the Dover tug.
Operator Links
Hoverspeed operate Seacat services from England to France
P&O Stena Line and Seafrance operate ferry services between Dover and Calais
Other Links
The Hovercraft Museum has preserved a hovercraft, and their website has a complete photographic history of the services between England and France
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