Cunards Uncrowned Queen: The Q3 Project

Cunard is cruising royalty, and the Cunard Queens are the monarchs of the sea. However at the start of the 60’s with the growth in air travel and an aging Queen Mary, Cunard planned a new Queen to serve along with the Queen Elizabeth.

The ship would have been 75,000 carrying 2270 passengers in three classes, A Government committee was set up to discuss the project and provide £18million towards the building of the ship. The overall price of the ship was expected to be £30million, and the contract was expected to be placed with Swan Hunter on Tyneside. The delivery date was intended to be April 1965.

The above picture shows a similar profile to that of Rotterdam, with thin small funnels, the front also acting as a mast. As this ship was a replacement for Queen Mary, We believe the name would probably have been Queen Mary 2. 40 years before the actually Queen Mary 2 was born. The arrangement of the funnels was regularly changed in the proposed designs.

The project, known as Q3, was cancelled leaving nothing much than drawings and artist impressions. As the project was developing the growth in air travel continued, and the project was cancelled in favour of a smaller but more flexible ship able more suitable for cruising, the end result being the QE2.

It has been discussed that had the ship have been built, like was planned, for the traditional liner market, would have bankrupt Cunard Line, and like the France and United States no doubt have entered lay-up. Unlike the French Line and United States Line Cunard did not receive and subsidies towards the operation of the transatlantic service, so once the ship started struggling she was liked to have bought the company down.

This is a viewpoint we support, as the ship would have been a pure transatlantic liner, she would have struggled to make the change to cruising, however it would not have been impossible, as witnessed on the France to Norway. However it certainly would have had a shorter life than QE2.

The project was cancelled by Sir John Brocklebank, following pressure from shareholder Raymond Gregory, who wrote to all 20,000 Cunard shareholders advising them that the Q3 project would be a ‘gigantic waster and ruin Cunard’ of these shareholders 16% replied, 4227 in support of canceling the Q3 project and 297 in favour of building the vessel.

On 19th October 1961 Cunard cancelled the Q3 project in favour of an entirely new project, known as Q4 which would embrace the space age and change what Cunard Line was about. This ship became the Queen Elizabeth 2. 

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