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Side-Wheeled Paddle Steamers
Operating Area : River
Classic view of Goethe at the Loreley rock near St Goar taken on 21st July, 2012. Photo by kind courtesy of Phil Barnes.
More photos of Goethe passing the Loreley and at Rudesheim in 2012 : Click here
Built at Cologne in 1913
by Sachsenberg at Koln-Deutz
Length : 83 metres - 272 feet (extended from 77.8 m after 1951-2
Original engines : Compound Diagonal, built by Sachsenberg at
Rosslau, which will be exhibited at the Kolnisches Stadtmuseum (Cologne) See
Converted to twin diesel-hydraulic drive during the winter of 2008-09
Originally designed as a passenger and cargo ship
rebuilt in 1925 to increase the enclosed passenger accommodation - to the detriment of her draught and speed
Wrecked during World War II, twice hit by bombs in separate air raids over Cologne in 1942
by bombs in Oberwinter harbour in March 1945 while in use as
accommodation for Russian war prisoners, resulting in 21 deaths
Raised unsuccessfully in 1949 but made watertight by the welding on of the stern section of the steamer Ostmark
Completely rebuilt at the Ruthof shipyard in Mainz in 1951 and
1952 with only the engines and the central part of the hull retained, resuming duties in 1953.
Special light metal superstructure to improve draught and speed
Converted to oil firing in 1955
Repainted in "nostalgia" livery with painted paddle-box vents in 1977
in an attempt to market her paddler status.
Withdrawn after the 1989 season with mechanical problems, but as the
last paddler, repair was anticipated.
After some uncertainty she was completely re-fitted but given a more
traditional outward appearance.
Most of the rstoration work was undertaken by the De Biesbosch Works,
near Dordrecht, Netherlands
Returned to service late in the year in 1996 after major
Converted to diesel operation shortly after completing her 2008 season
on October 5th
Last in the
long line of River Rhein paddlers operated by the "KD", mechanical
problems almost lead to her demise in 1989, but a major refurbishment
allowed a return to service in 1996 for this ship originally built in
1913. Originally an unremarkable member of a large fleet, she was
extensively improved in 1925 and again in 1952 after wartime
wrecking. Her rebuild prior to return to service in 1996 has made her
a thoroughly modern vessel, although close attention has been given
to her appearance, both internal and outward, to create a traditional
feel. After the 2008 season her steam engines were removed and replaced by twin
From the paddlesteamers.info archive
By 1988, Goethe was the last of a long
line of Rhine paddlers
sporting "nostalgia" livery with
painted-on paddle vents
Despite this, she still had an
uninspiring saloon decoration......
Until she reappeared in 1996 after a long
She now has a much more traditional
and is a big success, sailing between
Koblenz and Rudesheim
Go to the paddlesteamers.info photograph
Above : Goethe in the Netherlands. The
Rhein, of course, meets the North Sea in the Netherlands, but it
is not usual for Goethe to be seen outside Germany. On March 21st
1998, Hubert Kraaivanger got this photo of her at Nijmegen on her
return home from Dordrecht where she had winter work undertaken
at the De Biebosch yard
Above : Goethe in 2000 heading upstream at St Goar
Above : Another view at St Goar in 2000
Above : Goethe at Cologne (Koln) in August 2003. Photo by kind courtesy of Phil Barnes. Click here for more photos by Phil
Above : Removal of Goethe's Steam engines : Winter
It is rare in the modern age for paddle steamers'
engines to be replaced by diesel units (in fact the last change
was the other way around !) - but over the winter of 2008-09, Goethe's
were! This move caused uproar among the steamer enthusiast
world, but KD had their reasons and were not to be dissuaded .......
the removal of the engines and see the empty engine room and the
first signs of the new machinery in photos kindly supplied by Goethe
engineer Alois Mohr through my correspondent Olivier Bachmann on
Above : Goethe on March 31st 2009, leaving Cologne for the first
time after being converted to diesel power.
Photo by Alois Mohr engineer of Goethe
kindly supplied by Olivier Bachmann
Above : Goethe at Boppard on August 8th 2027 by Gordon Stewart.
Click here for more from that day with Goethe near Oberwesel, at Boppard and in the evening at Koblenz
Have a look around Goethe in 2000 (whilst she was still
a steamer) : Click
In their Annual Report and Accounts for 2009, the KD company noted with respect
to Goethe : The conversion to diesel-hydraulic operation was completed successfully
and on time in April 2009. This has meant that there is now no risk of goethe
having to be taken completely out of service due to technical reasons. The appearance
of the ship remains unaltered, with paddle wheels which can be seen from outside
and inside the ship. The advantages of the conversion, as well as the ship now
having a second independent motor, include lower fuel consumption, better manoevrability
and a more environmentally friendly operation, all with a lower crew complement.
The ship has been on the daily "Nostalgia Route" between Koblenz and
Ruedesheim since the beginning of the season. It was decided in cooperation
with the cultural protection department of the city of Cologne and the Rhine
Heritage authorities that the old engines would be put under protection
and loaned to the Cologne City Museum.
GOETHE PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION
Goethe and other Rhein passenger
vessels in 1988
Goethe and other Rhein passenger
vessels in 2000
KD / Rhein : Historical