In the 1960s the world’s first commercial passenger hovercraft service operated between Wirral and Rhyl in north Wales.
The hovercraft service was originally intended to operate from Hoylake but after trials it was decided that the flat sands and embankment at Moreton offered a more suitable landing and takeoff at high tide. Though this information, taken from the British Caledonian community site, seems to be contradicted by this video that clearly shows the service ran from Wallasey.
The Vickers VA-3 hovercraft (pictured above – source) could carry 24 passengers and two crew and was capable of travelling at speeds of up to 70mph. Passengers sat in a rear facing seat and a single fare was £1.00 – or about £17.55 in today’s money. The 15mile journey took 20 minutes according to this article in Popular Science. Starting in July, 1962 the service ran for just a few weeks. For more information and photos visit this page.
Did any readers travel in the hovercraft or can you recall seeing the hovercraft at Hoylake and in the River Dee? Leave a comment below.