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Historical Database
Attersee, Austria 

Above : Attersee's long-lived paddle steamer Unterach (ex-Franz Ferdinand, ex-Attersee) is seen in a public domain postcard view at Kammer in her days as Franz Ferdinand (1900-1947). Her Escher, Wyss oscillating engines were replaced by diesels in 1954. She received a major refit and modernisation ready for the 1972 season, but sfter a life of over a century she was withdrawn in 1978 and sank in the lake in 1979


The first steamship company on this lake in Austria's Salzkammergut was founded in 1869 by Graf Khevenhueller-Frankenburg and the small screw steamer "Ida" inagurated services in the same year. Ida was withdrawn in 1872 when PS Kammer, the second of two paddlers, joined the fleet.

Operations came under the control of Ida v. Horvath in 1887, but quickly had to be resold to Fernand Peratoner, a Viennese silk trader.
There was no competition on lake services until 1913 when the Elektro-Schiffahrts-Unternehmen (a subsidiary of the well-known local narrow-gauge railway operator Stern & Hafferl) placed two small electric boats in service.

Alma (the former Kammer) was sold after the end of World War I, but was scrapped after the deal fell through. Rudolf Randa became the new owner of the main Attersee operation in 1921, buying the Peratoner company from the daughters of the original owner, who had died in 1916. Randa brought the former Traunsee screw steamer Maria Valerie to Attersee.

In 1923, Stern & Hafferl placed the old screw steamer Burgau in service, but she was withdrawn with boiler trouble later the same year and scrapped. Stern & Hafferl were, however, able to take control of the older Attersee company during the same year.
Two smaller second-hand boats were added to the fleet (the small Attersee, in service from 1929 to 1932 and the electro-boat Hochlecken in 1941).

The paddler Unterach was refurbished in 1946 for further service and in the early war years, diesel engines were built into the existing electro-boats. Unterach was also given a diesel power unit in 1954 and electrical parts from Stern & Hafferl's old tramway cars! Although requiring fewer staff to run, Unterach was severely underpowered and a replacement was fitted - the existing unit being cascaded to the last remaining of the electro-boats.

Demand for lake services declined sharply in the period after the second world war and attempts to cut costs could not delay the inevitable - after 1964, postal and goods services were withdrawn and the service became a summer-only tourist operation.

A new motorship came second-hand to the lake and, renamed "Attersee" entered service in 1974. A new Hochlecken entered service, but she was already 46 years old when brought to the Attersee in 1977. The demise of the "Unterach" was not far off. Problems with the motor at the end of 1978 combined with hull problems identified during a late-October inspection, led to the quick decision to withdraw the 108-year old veteran. She was scrapped during the following winter.

Since 1978, services on the Attersee have been undertaken by motor vessels - two more second-hand purchases before the first "new" vessel built for the lake, the Weyregg, in 1989.

Paddle Steamers
Unterach (ex - Franz Ferdinand, ex - Attersee) : 1870 - 1978
Alma (ex- Kammer) : 1872-1918

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Historical Database