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Nostalgia They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.


Seventy years ago on 6th Oct 1949 the SS “Himalaya” commenced her Maiden Voyage. To commemorate that sailing I’ve copied from a barely visible piece of paper I’ve had for 59 years the following facts and equipment names that may bring back memories for the engineers who sailed on her.

THE P&O LINER “SS HIMALAYA”
The new P&O liner “Himalaya” which sailed from Tilbury on 6th October 1949, on her maiden voyage to India and Australia is the largest and fastest liner in the P&O fleet, and on her recent sea trials she attained a speed of 25.13 knots on the measured mile off Arran and showed that her maximum power on four boilers was 42,750 s.h.p. During later endurance trials carried out at a speed of 24 knots, her machinery developed 33,400 s.h.p. That fine performance should enable her to shorten the voyage from England to Bombay from 20 to 15 days, and the voyage from England to Melbourne from thirty-eight to twenty-eight days.

The “Himalaya” was built and engined at the Barrow yard of Vickers-Armstrong Ltd for the P&O and she embodies in her construction the experience of both owners and builders. She will join the “Strathnaver”, “Strathaird”, “Strathmore” and the “Stratheden” and be later joined in the companies Far East services by the “Chusan” now under construction at Barrow.

Design and Construction
The “Himalaya” has a graceful and dignified appearance, with a raked stem and cruiser stern, a single funnel of streamlined form and a single pole mast. Large and clean open deck spaces have been obtained by giving attention to the enclosures within the deck houses of the ventilation units and other fittings.

The vessel’s main statistics are:
Builders Vickers- Armstrong Ltd Barrow-in-Furness UK
Gross Tonnage 27,955 grt
Length 215.94m loa Breadth 27.67m Depth 10.82m
Engines Single-reduction-geared steam turbines built by V-A Ltd Barrow-in-Furness
Power 42,550 shp Propulsion Twin screw Speed 22 knots
Passenger capacity 758 first class 401 tourist class
Crew 572
Cargo capacity 12,315 cubic metres including 6,663 cubic metres refrigerated.

There are eight continuous decks, seven of which are set out for the passenger and crew accommodation. First class passengers are allocated the midship portion of the accommodation decks while the tourist class is situated aft of the engine-casing except on “E” deck where the accommodation extends further forward.

Main Propelling Machinery
The “Himalaya” is propelled by a twin-screw arrangement of Parsons geared steam turbines of the Pametrada design, having a designed normal shaft horsepower of 34,000 s.h.p., the corresponding propeller revolutions for this power being 130 r.p.m. Astern turbines are fitted, having an output of not less than 65% of the ahead power. Steam is supplied to the turbines at a pressure of 500 p.s.i.g. and at a superheated temperature of 850 deg. F.
All the main turbines are equipped with Aspinall’s cut-out governors which are designed to shut off the steam to the turbines should the revolutions exceed a set figure. Arrangements are also made to automatically shut off steam in the event of any undue drop in the lubricating oil pressure.
The lubrication of the turbines and reduction gearing is effected by three Drysdale electrically-driven oil pumps, two of which are working pumps and one a standby. Each pump delivers 25,000 gallons of oil per hour with a discharge pressure of 55 psig.
The main condensers which are mounted below the turbines are of the Weir “Regenerative” type having a total cooling surface of 35,000 square feet and are built to maintain a vacuum of 28in Hg with a sea temperature of 86 deg F when steaming at normal service power.

Boiler Plant
Steam is supplied by two large and two smaller water-tube boilers of the Foster Wheeler controlled superheat design, which are arranged to give a superheat control from 850 down to 600 deg F when manoeuvring. The steam pressure at the superheater outlet is 525 psig. The boilers are fitted with Green’s economisers which are designed for a feed water temperature of 280 deg F and an outlet temperature of about 400 deg F.
Low level alarm gear and oil fuel safety shut-off gear of A.Steven and Sons’ are fitted to all the boiler drums. For the large main boilers two electrically-driven, forced-draught Howden fans are provided, each of which is designed to deliver 54,000 cubic feet per minute. There are also two electrically-driven, induced-draught fans, each having a capacity of 38,000 cubic feet per minute. Dry upflow “Vortex” dust and soot collectors of Howden make are fitted in the uptakes from each boiler. The boilers and air heaters are equipped with steam-driven soot blowers of Clyde Blowers make, and Mono Simplex CO2 recorders by J. Gordon & Co are installed.
The oil fuel installation consists of two electrically-driven Wallsend duplex pumping and heating units, each pump and heater delivering 14,000 lb of oil per hour. The pumps are by G & J Weir.

Electrical Generating Plant
The four self-contained BTH turbo-generators are installed in a generator flat along with the main switchboard. Each set is designed to develop a normal full load output of 850 kW at a voltage of 250 V d.c. with an overload capacity of 25%, 1060kW, for two hours. In addition to the main power plant there are two Allen oil-engine-driven emergency generators situated in a compartment forward on “B” deck. Each engine is a four cylinder, four stroke unit running at 500 RPM and directly coupled to a 100 kW, 200-V d.c. generator.

Refrigerating Machinery
The main refrigerating plant comprises four J&E. Hall’s CO2 horizontal compressors, each driven by a 150 h.p., 240 to 360 RPM variable speed motor by Allen. The Purser’s stores are served by an 8" x 8" Hall’s R-22 twin cylinder Monobloc compressor using a Germania brine system. There are two sea-water pumps and nine main and auxiliary brine pumps. Thermotank fans circulate cold air through the refrigerated cargo spaces. The insulation was supplied and fitted by Newalls Ltd. Galley refrigeration is served by a two twin 6" x 6" CH3Cl compressor brine system situated in a plant room in the working alleyway and is supplied by G & J Weir. Weir’s also supplied the domestic service refrigeration equipment for the bars, water-coolers, etc.

Steering Gear
The electro-hydraulic steering gear was supplied by Brown Bros. Ltd. It is operated by two 60 h.p. GEC motors each of which drives a VSG pump, operating either two or four cylinders of the steering gear. The control gear is of Allen West manufacture.

Additional note. On 30 Aug 1956 an explosion occurred in the galley refrigeration plant room in the working alleyway when she was in the Mediterranean bound for Australia. Four crew members were killed and twelve injured.

Roger Monk Ref Engr

Carthage, Surat, Perim, Strathmore, Himalaya, Somali.

Re: Nostalgia They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

Nice one Roger, I suspect that many of those skills used in the construction have now been lost forever as methods have changed. There is a Youtube around showing the build.
All we need now is the Crew list for the maiden voyage???