7 JUNE 1935, Page 3

The Atlantic Blue Riband

That the Normandie ' has broken the Atlantic speed- record need occasion no surprise ; the surprise would have been if she had proved incapable of doing so. For the sole motive in building these mammoth liners is speed ; and if they fail in that, they are failures. First came the German Europa,' beating the records which the Mauretania,' a very much more practical sort of ship, had held so worthily for a quarter of a century. Then - came the Italian 'Rex,' beating the 'Europa ' ; now comes the French Normandie,' beating the Rex ' ; and before long will come the British Queen Mary,' whose whole credit will be staked on beating the Normandie.' It may prove fortunate that Great Britain comes last in the procession, and so has somewhat the best chance of retaining any honours that she may win. But the whole competition has reached a point perilously near futility. Apart from the imponderable values of "pres- tige," these monsters are almost certainly uneconomic ; and the more of them are afloat, the more that will be so.