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Atlantic Transport Line History and Ephemera

Atlantic Transport Line Top Banner Logo - 1904

The Atlantic Transport Line operated transatlantic passenger service primarily between New York and London from 1881 to 1936. It was an American owned company that was operated by the British and sailed under the British flag.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, many of their ships bore the name from the State of Minnesota and cities, regions or landmarks within the State. The early years were dominated by one class -- Saloon / First Class service and in 1925 they began to offer Tourist / Third Class services. Atlantic Transport Line also transported live cattle and valuable horses.

Information from the 1908 Encyclopaedia of Ships and Shipping

Atlantic Transport Co., Ltd. Originated in London 1886, and in 1896 purchased the controlling interest in the International Steamship Co. (a line which dates back to 1863), and two years later it absorbed the fleet and American business of the Wilson's and Furness-Leyland Lines.

The company maintains a regular service from London to Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York, and its steamers are' built prinCipally for the purpose of carrying cargoes of refrigerated meat and live stock, although on some of their larger steamers excellent passenger accommodation is provided, and the three latest vessels can carry up to 250 passengers.

The Atlantic Transport Line -- The "A. T. L." -- which maintained before the first World war a superior passenger service between New York and London, but which lost its four best ships by submarine attack, and has since been out of the passenger business. This line has new passenger tonnage under construction, which will come into the company's list of new ships to be commissioned in 1923.

Passenger Lists of the Atlantic Transport Line

Passenger List, Atlantic Transport Line SS Marquette 1899

Atlantic Transport Line Passenger Lists

The Atlantic Transport Line operated transatlantic passenger service primarily between New York and London from 1881 to 1936. It was an American owned company that was operated by the British and sailed under the British flag.

Atlantic Transport Line Vintage Menus

Partial View of Dining Saloon - Atlantic Transport Line circa 1908

Menus from the Atlantic Transport Line

The Atlantic Transport Line operated transatlantic passenger service primarily between New York and London from 1881 to 1936. It was an American owned company that was operated by the British and sailed under the British flag.



Other Atlantic Transport Line Documents in the Archives

  • 1928-10-29 Letter from Passenger Zan Carroll of New York about Life and some of the passengers met on board the SS Minnetonka mailed from the Victoria Docks.

Atlantic Transport Line New York—London Direct

First Class Passengers Exclusively—No Second or Third Class

A LARGE number of discriminating transatlantic travelers, who do not care to sacrifice comfort for the mere consideration of saving a day or two in crossing the ocean, take advantage of the opportunity offered by the ships of the Atlantic Transport Line, which sail between New York and London direct.

The Atlantic Transport Line was probably the first to construct and operate large steamships, which were especially designed to carry enormous cargoes, and at the same time equipped for the transportation of a few first-class passengers exclusively.

The service on the steamers is maintained at the highest point of perfection, the table being supplied with everything the season affords and the menus as varied and tempting as can be found on any other ships. Because of this the Line enjoys the greatest popularity among experienced travelers, for they find the food to be the best, deliciously cooked and daintily served amid surroundings which “lend zest to appetite.”

The enormous cargoes of freight—added to the fact that the ships are of great beam and fitted with bilge keels—cause them to be remarkably steady under all conditions of wind and weather. Seasickness among the passengers is a very rare exception, and travelers who probably would be ill upon the “greyhounds” of the ocean, make the voyage on the Atlantic Transport Liners without the slightest “mal de mer.”

Great interest has been evinced in the recent announcement that a new twin-screw steamer—the Minnewaska—is to be added to this popular service in the near future. The Minnewaska (meaning in the Algonquin tongue “Clear Water”) now building at the Harland & Wolff yards in Belfast, will be of 14,220 tons, 616 feet long, 66 feet beam, and similar in lines to her noted contemporaries the twin-screw steamers.

Minnehaha, Minneapolis and Minnetonka, each 13,400 tons; but conforming to the broad and progressive policy of the Atlantic Transport Line, her internal arrangements will include several present-day innovations, among them a delightful and elegantly fitted Lounge where the social life of the ship will center.

The passenger accommodations on this new steamer, consisting of one hundred cabins, will offer as a chief attraction a number of special suites-deluxe with private bath and toilet rooms, insuring the maximum of comfort and luxury, and the Minnewaska will no doubt meet with instant appreciation.

The Atlantic Transport Fleet

At present four steamships, the Minneapolis, Minnehaha, Minnetonka and Mesaba, maintain the passenger service between New York and London direct, with marked regularity. These steamers boast of not only large dimensions and displacement, but, as they are of modern steel construction and built in the best British yards, they also represent the highest development of the shipbuilders’ art.

Subdivided into numerous compartments by watertight bulkheads, structurally they embody every known device for securing absolute safety. They are also fitted with the latest improved system of Marconi wireless telegraphy, and officered by men of the highest intelligence and long experience in navigation and engineering.

The passenger accommodations on all these steamers are located amidships on the upper decks, where the motion is minimized, and as but about 150 first-class passengers are carried it is possible to give each of them a most liberal allowance of space.

Upon the Minneapolis, Minnehaha and Minnetonka there are commodious suites, consisting of a sitting room and bedroom, with private bath connecting. These special apartments afford the finest and most comfortable accommodations possible.

The staterooms of the Atlantic Transport ships are all of unusual dimensions and are tastily furnished. The outside rooms have large windows or port holes and the inside rooms are abundantly lighted from above and perfectly ventilated by the most approved system. Passengers are accorded every attention by a large corps of polite and efficient stewards and stewardesses.

The dining-saloons, which are always a most important feature on board ship, are spacious and attractive apartments, occupying the entire width of the amidships section. Handsomely finished in hard woods, with high paneled ceilings, beautiful in their decorations, they are amply lighted by skylights of cathedral glass, and ports forward and on the sides.

A room of goodly proportions on the upper promenade deck, at the head of the broad staircase leading from the dining saloon, is devoted to the ship’s library. This is a most inviting apartment furnished with lounging sofas, easy chairs and writing desks; and here will be found a large and well-assorted stock of both classic and general literature as well as the periodicals of the day.

The smoking-room, also situated upon the upper promenade deck, is attractive enough to allure the most fastidious smoker. It is furnished in a manner not only artistic but conducive to the enjoyment of a cigar under conditions of luxurious comfort.

But, after everything is said, the immense area of deck is an all-important feature of these steamers. In fair weather the passengers have the entire space forward and aft of the passenger fittings for promenading, lounging and games. When the weather is inclement, they can still have recourse to the wide, covered promenade decks, equal to the space usually available on even the largest ships of other lines. Looking forward on the upper promenade deck, the traveler cannot fail to be impressed with the great length of the ship, and, reclining in an easy steamer chair, he may enjoy an unobstructed view of the boundless sea.

Saturday is the sailing day of the Atlantic Transport Line from New York City, and passengers may be certain of being landed in London in nine or ten days, that is, on the second Monday or Tuesday. This is practically but a trifle more than a week’s voyage, and the passenger is more than compensated for the small amount of additional time spent on board as compared to the faster steamers, by the fact that he lands in London and thus avoids the annoyance and inconvenience of a long rail ride from some other port.

The route followed by the steamers of the Atlantic Transport Line from Bishop Rock, on the picturesque Scilly Islands lying off the southwest point of England, to the docks on the busy Thames at London—a distance of about 350 miles—affords a magnificent panorama of the charming scenery along a most historic coast.

Source: International Mercantile Marine Company, "Atlantic Transport Line New York—London Direct," Facts For Travelers: American Line, Atlantic Transport Line, Dominion Line, Leyland Line, Red Star Line, White Star Line, 1908: P. 25-29

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