"The Pacific Empresses: An Illustrated History of Canadian Pacific Railway's Empress Liners on the Pacific Ocean" (used book)

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The Pacific Empresses: An Illustrated History of Canadian Pacific Railway's Empress Liners on the Pacific Ocean

by Robert D. Turner


About the Book

Used Book. Paperback. Like New. 

-- From the dust jacket

The Empresses were the finest, fastest lines on the Pacific. They forged a link across the North Pacific from the west coast of Canada to Japan, China, and later the Philippines that lasted for over 50 years.

The first Empresses came to the Pacific in 1891, providing a fast, reliable steamship service connecting the western terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway with the Orient. The ships were the beautiful clipper-bowed Empresses of India, China, and Japan. Later, as steamship design advanced and the service grew, the larger, record-breaking Empress of Russia and Empress of Asia joined the fleet.

In peacetime, the Empresses carried the rich and the famous as well as thousands of immigrants to and from the Orient. Their cargoes were silk, tea, spices, and other high-value goods that required speed and efficient handling. Consistently, they broke speed records for the North Pacific and set standards of service and reliability that few steamship lines could match.

The 1920’s saw the arrival on the Pacific of the Empress of Canada and for a time, the Empresses of Australia and France. The completion of the second Empress of Japan in 1930 marked the culmination of the Canadian Pacific’s shipbuilding for the Pacific service. She shattered the trans-Pacific record and raised still higher the standards of passenger accommodation on the Pacific.

In wartime, the Empresses took on new duties: as armed merchant cruisers and troop transports. One became a hospital ship. In World War I, they hounded the German cruiser Emden and shelled Turkish forts along the Red Sea. In World War II, they carried thousands of Allied troops in every theatre of the war and the Empress of Canada was a key unit in a commando raid. But war service took its toll: the Empress of Canada was torpedoed off the African coast; the Empress of Asia was sunk during the siege of Singapore; and the Empress of Russia, being refitted just after the end of the war, was destroyed by fire. Only the Empress of Japan survived. Air travel dominated the post-war years and the Empress fleet was never replaced on the Pacific. An era came to an end.

This is the dramatic story of the Canadian Pacific’s Empresses on the trans-Pacific service, from record-breaking runs and million-dollar silk cargoes to typhoons and war service.