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Timeline 1957-1960 (Rise of the Ocean Liners)

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The events taking place between September 1957-December 1960.

1957

September

  • Cunard, pleasantly surprised by the sudden rise in Transatlantic passenger travel, decides to abandon any plans to retire the RMS Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. It also refits its existing ships, favoring luxury over capacity. The Mauretania and Sylvania are dispatched to the West Coast via the Panama Canal to sail routes from San Francisco-Tokyo and Los Angeles-San Francisco-Seattle. The Carinthia and Caronia begin sailing routes between Liverpool-Boston, while the Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth and Saxonia continue the traditional Southampton-New York.
  • United States Line, realizing air travel is quickly tanking, starts pushing the limits of its fleet in an attempt to compete with Cunard. The SS United States and SS America are refitted with emphasis on speed and capacity. Passengers complain of ghetto-like conditions and sickening motion, but USL responds to none of them, hellbent on running Cunard down.

October

  • The Mauretania and Sylvania experience record growth, proving that the San Francisco-Tokyo and Los Angeles-San Francisco-Seattle routes are lucrative. The New York-Southampton route reaches its zenith, as so many passengers want passage to New York and Southampton. Cunard begins exploring the possibility of a New York-Marseille route, which would necessitate another ship, as the other ships are occupied with their routes. Also explored is a New York-Hamburg or Southampton-Hamburg route.
  • USL experiences a sharp decline in ridership, thanks to horrible conditions that are overpriced. USL ignores the pleas for better conditions, simply saying "money is more important than you suckers". Passengers respond by flocking to Cunard.
  • Pan Am cuts 1,000 of employees in the face of a sharp decline in business.

November

  • Cunard transfers the Saxonia to the West Coast to supplement the Mauretania and Sylvania. Meanwhile, the Queen Mary sets a new speed record, reclaiming the Blue Riband from the United States. The Caronia is transferred back to the New York-Southampton route in the Saxonia's absence.
  • USL continues to push the limits of the steam turbines on the United States and America, to the point where the motion causes several deaths as a result of knives falling off of shelves and killing chefs. Passengers continue to flock to Cunard instead.
  • Flying Tiger Lines goes out of business.

December

  • Cunard brings the Ivernia and Scythia out of mothball and places them on the new New York-Marseille route. The Queen Mary sets yet another speed record. Meanwhile, the Media is converted into a straight passenger liner for the New York-Southampton route.
  • USL pushes the limits on the steam turbines too hard, and the America experiences an explosion of its #3 Turbine, causing the ship to sink, with a loss of 1,424 lives. USL is bombarded by the media and the governments of the USA and UK. USL responds with a statement saying "Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry dock Co. is at fault for making steam turbines incapable of keeping up with the competitive pace they were trying to set". The USA and UK order a joint shutdown of USL, and the UK government seizes the United States and donates it to Cunard as consolation for having to compete with "such a horrid line". Cunard renames the ship Queen Victoria, continuing the naming tradition.

1958

January

  • Cunard puts the Queen Victoria into service on the New York-Southampton route, meaning all 3 Queens are in service on the same route.
  • Compagnie Générale Transatlantique enters the SS Liberte and SS Antilles into competition against Cunard, but vows not to make the same mistakes as USL, instead looking for a balance between speed and luxury.

February

  • Cunard orders 3 new ocean liners for various routes. The names are Queen Anne, Lusitania, and Aquatania. All ships are constructed at Clydebank.
  • The Liberte and Antilles are entered into service on the New York-Marseille route.

June

  • The Media is torpedoed by a Soviet submarine by mistake. Thankfully, the ship stays afloat and manages to limp to Southampton. Repairs are carried out at Clydebank. Soviet officials later apologize, blaming a faulty trigger.

November

  • The Queen Mary enters the dry dock for refit, this time to replace all of the cabins with larger and more luxurious staterooms. Meanwhile, the Caronia is transferred to a West Caribbean cruise itinerary as part of a pilot program. The ship sails out of New York on the cruises.

1959

June

  • The Queen Mary re-enters service, back on the New York-Southampton route. One of the holdovers from the Cunard White Star days, the Titanic, which is famous for narrowly avoiding an iceberg during her maiden voyage in 1912, and also outsmarting U-Boats during World War I, goes to the dry dock under her own power for the last time to begin the conversion into a hotel/museum ship, with plans to be moored in front of the Cunard House in Liverpool. Meanwhile, construction on the new liners continues at a surprisingly fast pace, with estimates saying the Queen Anne could be sailing the New York-Southampton route by 1961.

December

  • The Queen Elizabeth enters the dry dock for the same reason her sister did: cabin replacement.

1960

April

  • The Queen Elizabeth re-enters service.
  • The Titanic's conversion is complete. Tugboats bring her to the new dock in front of the Cunard Building, with the Queen Mary as a witness. The final touches are added while docked.

May

  • The Titanic hotel/museum is opened to the public.

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