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Rivers Vltava (Moldau) and Labe (Elbe), Czechoslovakia (Bohemia)

Prague Shipping Company (PPS) 

The company was established in 1865. It concentrated on services from Prague up the Vltava to Stechovice. By 1895, the fleet consisted of eight paddle steamers, seven screw steamers and one turbine steamer (TS Premysl). The introduction of paddle steamer Smichov coincided with an expansion of services downstream to Melnik where the Vltava meets the Labe and along the larger river to the border with Germany at Hrensko.

With the establishment of the independent Czechoslovak state in 1918, the CPASL was formed to operate freight vessels on the Elbe, which included agreed rights to sail through Germany and to establish a customs-free zone at the Port of Hamburg. The company was nationalised in 1948 and from 1949 as the CPSLO (which incorporated a similar company with rights on the River Oder and port facilities at Stettin (later Szczecin in Poland) and also the PPS which was wound up . The CSPLO was de-nationalised as the CSPL in 1992 but went bankrupt shortly afterwards.

PPS regained its independent local management in 1961

Praha (1865)

Vysehrad (1866-1953)

Rudolf (1885)

Stepanska (1885)

Libuse (1886)

Frantisek Josef I (1887) later Zvbraslav then Praha

Primator Dittrich (1891)

Ferdinand I Dobrotivy (1891)

Smichov (1895-1952, Ruston) Renamed Roudnice N/L in 1918 and from 1942 it was named Smichov until it became Lidice in 1945. Reengined by CKD in 1942 (to compound diagonal). Withdrawn in 1952 with boiler damage and scrapped. 

Masaryk (1921-1935) ex- Dresden fleet.  Built in 1890 as Stadt Wehlen. Scrapped in 1937

Palacky (1921-1964)  ex- Dresden fleet. Built in 1891 as Furst Bismarck and renamed Herrenkretschen in 1919. Renamed Stechovice in 1937, Goldenkron in 1942, Stalingrad in 1946 and Sneznik in 1961. Scrapped in 1967  

Dr Edvard Benes (1938) later Labe, then Wischerad, Dr Edvard Benes and Vysehrad (until 1988 until name given to ex-Devin). Survives as a floating bar in central Prague but without deckhouses

Antonin Svehla (1938) later Karlstein, TG Masaryk, Devin and Vysehrad. Survives but laid-up and currently out of service at Prague, but used as a restaurant. Reactivation remains a possibility

After the end of World War II and the re-establishment of Czechoslovakia, a number of paddle steamers which were in the Dresden-based Elbe fleet, which had operated services along both the German and Czech stretches of the Elbe, were transferred to Czech ownership

Litomerice (1945) Built in 1893 as Leitmeritz. Later Maxim Gorkij (1952). Withdrawn in 1958. The ship (minus engines) was used as a youth hostel in Prague. Scrapped at Melnik in 1969.
Podebrady (1945) Built in 1894. Salesel  ex- Prinz Georg and Koenig Georg. Later renamed DSO Dynamo in 1949. Withdrawn in 1956 and scrapped in 1959
Podmokly (1945) Built in 1896 as Bodenbach. Later Dr Miroslav Tyrs (1948), and after withdrawal in 1959, Druzba then MSMT 2. Sank in 1969. Scrapped in 1980
Aussig (1945)  Built in 1894 as Wettin and renamed Aussig in 1919. Later Jiskra (1964), Scrapped in 1969 after crankshaft broke in 1966

Lobositz  (returned to the Dresden fleet in 1948)
Schmilka (returned to the Dresden fleet in 1948)

Still in service

Vltava (1941) Based at Prague

Labe (1949). Returned to service based on the Elbe at Decin in 2023 as Labe-Elbe, having been withdrawn in 1987 and later found owners who ran her in Germany on the River Weser


Above : Post card view

Frantisek Josef I later Zvbraslav then Praha

Built in 1887 by Prazskou akciovou strojirnu (the former Ruston factory)
Length : 44.14 m
Severely damaged by a boiler explosion at Prague on 19th May, 1898 causing three fatalities
Renamed Zbraslav in 1918
Renamed Praha in 1929
Withdrawn in 1970
Used briefly as a shop

Above : Roudnice N/L in a post card view from the Istvan Radi collection

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