Prince George Leonard Frank/Vancouver Public Library
A very busy Victoria Harbour! At right are Prince George
and Prince Rupert at GTP dock.
Canadian National Railways took over Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in 1920 including its steamship operation which had been cut back to Vancouver. However, the CNR decided to go into competition with the Canadian Pacific Railway on the Triangle Route and for this three new ships were built by Cammell, Laird and Company Limited of Birkenhead, in England. Prince David, Prince Henry and Prince Robert were 366 foot long 3,892 ton turbine-powered ships capable of 24 knots. Prince Henry was the first to enter service in July 1930 on the Vancouver-Prince Rupert route with Prince David following the next month on the Triangle Route. Prince Robert joined the Triangle Route in May 1931 whereupon the two ships provided a twice daily return service. Unfortunately, the Prince Robert ran aground near Port Townsend on July 31st. The service on the Triangle Route was not profitable in the Depression and it was soon ended on September 15th. following which Prince David and Prince Henry were transferred to the east coast of Canada while Prince Robert joined the older ships Prince George and Prince Rupert sailing between Prince Rupert and Vancouver, the original Grand Trunk Pacific route.
All three of the new Prince ships were requisitioned by the navy in WWII as their original design which included four boilers and a high speed was for them to become cruisers in time of war. None were returned.
A second Prince George in 1948 replaced the first destroyed by fire in 1945, cruised to Alaska. She operated until the end of season in 1974 after which a fire damaged the ship causing it to be sold one year short of its planned retirement.
In 1955 CNR and CPR made an agreement to jointly operate a service to the north coastal settlements. The CPR provided the ship, Princess Norah which was renamed Queen of the North sailing weekly September 1955 calling at Westview, Ocean Falls, Kitimat, Prince Rupert and Ketchikan, Alaska. She was returned to the CPR December 31, 1957 and once again became Princess Norah. She was sold in July of 1958 to Northern Navigation Ltd. Canadian Prince. Out of service in October 1964 she was sold minus engines and was moored at Kodiak, Alaska as the Beachcomber restaurant and hotel. It was later scrapped.