Trade between Great Britain and the European Continent has been carried on for centuries but has developed most rapidly in the last hundred years or so consequent upon the construction of railways which facilitated the movement of passengers and goods to ports and upon the provision by the railways of cross‐channel steamer services. Transhipment at ports was necessary until 1918 when ferry ships carrying trains or wagons across the sea were introduced between Richborough and Calais by the War Department; these vessels began to operate a civil service between Harwich and Zeebrugge in 1924, but the facility was still confined to rail traffic.
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