Severn Link Announce Plans to Create Affordable Ferry From Ilfracombe to Swansea

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By A_McCormack | Thursday, October 29, 2009, 07:50

Today, ferry operator Severn Link has announced plans to transform the lives of

thousands of people living, working in and visiting the South West of England –

with the creation of a regular fast, fun and affordable passenger ferry service

between Ilfracombe and Swansea, due to commence operation early next

year.

The Severn Link service will be the very first time a regular

modern ferry route has joined the two shores of the Bristol Channel – creating a

unique and much-needed connection between one of England’s most visited tourist

regions and the populous economic and cultural hub of Wales. The Severn Link

service is a bold new step to reconnect the communities, heritage and history of

two areas which, despite lying within sight of each other, have never before had

the opportunity within modern times to take advantage of their neighbouring

status – whether practically, economically and socially.

Regular

transport links between the two areas have, in modern times, been limited to

road or rail travel, adding many hours onto travel times and many more pounds

onto travel costs.  By travelling via Severn Link ferry, travel times and

environmental impact will be drastically cut – with its swift 34 knot, 360

passenger catamarans taking just fifty minutes to complete a journey which would

typically take around three and a half hours by road.

Severn Link is the

brainchild of Somerset-based Chris Marrow, a highly respected marine

professional and pioneer of international repute - and one of the few people in

the UK with a proven track record in creating new ferry routes, all of which are

in operation today. Chris has brought together a team of the highest possible

calibre who share the Severn Link vision - including one of Britain’s top marine

engineers, a world renowned fast ferry specialist and internationally respected

financial expertise.

Speaking of the reasons behind the inception of

Severn Link, Chris said, “To my knowledge, there is no other comparable stretch

of water in the world, linking similarly populated areas, which doesn’t have a

heavily utilised ferry service – and market research1 has shown that there is a

huge demand for this ferry route within South West England. The Severn Link

ferries will open up multiple opportunities – not just for ease of travel into

the South West, therefore bringing a considerable increase in tourism and

economic benefits - but to also bring the business, cultural, sporting and

retail aspects of South Wales into easy reach of those living in our

region.”

Chris shared his vision of how Severn Link will become a key

element in the South West’s crucial tourism economy, whilst also benefitting

local people. “As a local resident, I understand all too well how overstretched

the current road and rail links into the region have become. I strongly feel

that the ferry service will bring huge benefits to the many thousands of

visitors to our area by immensely improving the transport connections to Devon,

Somerset and Cornwall in an environmentally friendly manner and without undue

impact upon our countryside and helping to retain its natural beauty.

“In

addition, I hope that Severn Link will become instrumental in helping to sustain

the historic and longstanding connections between the two Celtic nations of

Wales and Cornwall. Many thousands of families are separated by the Bristol

Channel, and the provision of a fast, affordable and regular ferry service can

only benefit families and friends by helping to bring them together.”

The

Ilfracombe – Swansea route is just the first route in a series of planned major

destinations on both sides of the Bristol Channel, with plans for more exciting

and affordable Severn Link routes between South Wales and the northern coast of

South West England currently in development and due to be announced next year -

adding additional travel options for those living in and travelling to the South

West.

Support for the forthcoming ferry service has been widespread with

businesses, tourism chiefs and council dignitaries in the region all lending

their patronage. Des Brailey, Leader of North Devon Council, commented, “This is

fantastic news for Ilfracombe and will present a tremendous boost to the economy

as it presents so many opportunities for the town itself and the wider North

Devon.”  Councillor Paul Yabsley, Ilfracombe District Councillor and chair of

the Ilfracombe Harbour Board, is in agreement about the benefits for the entire

region. “The Severn Link ferry will bring massive opportunities to Ilfracombe,

North Devon and the South West.” Phillip Webb, Mayor for Ilfracombe, said, “It

is great news that the ferry between Ilfracombe and Swansea will be starting

next spring – it’s one of the most significant events for our town in many

years.”

The Severn Link website is now live and

available to view destinations, ferry information, book advance tickets and

discover further details about the company. You can also visit and follow Severn

Link on Facebook and Twitter and see a sneak preview of the ferry fleet on

YouTube.

      

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