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Passengers And Mail


For both passengers and mail, good communications were vital, Fast trains needed to connect the port to major centres of population. Ideally, stations needed to be as close as possible to where the ship berthed. Staff needed to be skilled at dealing with passengers` needs and complaints. There needed to be enough porters to ensure that luggage could be carried on or off board. Others needed to do their bit, for instance those who supplied foodstuffs, or worked in laundries. The local town also needed to offer facilities. For instance, passengers might need accommodation in the port before or after their voyage. Its facilities meant that Southampton successfully beat off competition from ports better placed geographically. For instance, ships crossing the Atlantic could have landed passenger ships and mail sooner if they called at Milford Haven in South Wales, from where trains sped up to London. However, by offering better services and facilities, Southampton retained its trade until passenger and mails moved from using ships to planes. Today, mail usually flies and the only ships carrying passengers are cruise liners and ferries. The same rules still apply: the ports that are well placed geographically, and can physically handle the passengers get the business.

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