But the falling fuel cost seems to have brought the concept renewed vigour and promoters are revising a business plan reflecting the new conditions with which they will continue to chase finance. Increasing political support is evident too, Newcastle city council having endorsed the International Campaign for a Ferry to Norway (ICFN) and the consortium under the name of Norwegian Seaways. Not just the Tyne is in the frame. The Scottish Parliament has debated encouraging a link probably through Rosyth. Harwich too is to be reckoned with: they long had a Kristiansand and Oslo connection as well as the recently defunct connection to Esbjerg.
Interesting data is being analysed to foster the link. For example, London remains the most popular destination for Norwegians with Aberdeenshire next, though I would have thought that Norwegians would fly there for preference. Freight would have to be won from existing operators. It is the self-drive and coach-tour business who particularly need a ro-ro service and I would have thought require a relatively short route to a port with good road connections, plus perhaps shopping and sight-seeing for the short break-cruise market. This would favour the Tyne or perhaps Rosyth (or Leith?) On the Norwegian side it is not clear to me which port or ports would be appropriate. Bergen was the obvious choice, with Stavanger and Haugesund en route, but now I am not so sure with the increasingly excellent roads and good rail links in Norway. Kristiansand, for example, would place the West Coast of Norway, Oslo and overland to Sweden all as accessible destinations.
Though backing from Bergen interests might swing it their way. I hope some formula can indeed be devised that might give such a link a viable future. Maybe its time could come again. See this glorious image of a post WW1 Bergen scene where the Tyne link is in the form of the second ship from the left, Bergen Line’s Venus of 1893, Swan Hunter built of 1094 grt. She regularly worked the route until 1931 and was broken up in ‘33. She is astern of the Kong Haakon on Hurtigruten service though she was built for Stavangerske’s Oslo-Stavanger-Bergen mail service. Far left looks like a Royal Mail ‘A’ class liner on a cruise and the two funneller centre right is Stavangerfjord of Norwegian America Line built for Oslo-Bergen-New York service by Cammell laird in 1918. Of 14,015 grt she spent the war as a German accommodation ship and then worked on until in 1963 when she was said to be the oldest passenger liner in service. She was scrapped in Hong Kong in 1964.