Longer than three football pitches and with a majestic black hull similar to the QE2, Cunard this week released the first artist’s impression of its proposed transatlantic liner, which it claims will be the largest passenger ship ever built. The Southampton-based, US-owned company said that the QE2’s sister ship, provisionally called the Queen Mary 2, would be driven by a 140,000 horsepower engine. Its passenger capacity would be 2,500 and its top speed around 30 knots. Last week The Engineer revealed that UK shipyards are likely to be passed over when one of five bidders is selected next month to build the liner. A German or Italian yard is tipped to win the estimated £360m contract. Cunard said the liner would have a British master and officers and would be based with the QE2 in Southampton.