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PS Hohentwiel

Operating Area : Bodensee (Lake Constance) : Germany / Austria / Switzerland

Above : Hohentwiel in 2016. Photo by kind courtesy of Malcolm Oliver  Click here for more

In a remarkable story of preservation, Hohentwiel, which served on Lake Constance (Bodensee) for the German Railway operators from 1913 to 1962 and did not return to service until 1990, is now the only paddle steamer on the lake. . Threatened with scrapping after 1979, an international organisation was formed to maintain and preserve the ship which had been used as a Sailing Club HQ at Bregenz on the Austrian shore of the lake, and between 1986 and 1989 she was almost totally rebuilt. Now based in Hard (Austria), provides special sailings and charters.
In Operation : 1913-1962 and 1990-date
Builders : Escher, Wyss (Zurich, Switzerland)
Length : 56.9 m x 6.5 / 13.0 m
Tonnage : Displacement - 365.
Engines : Compound Diagonal :
950 HP - Escher, Wyss, Zurich - 1913
Top speed : 16.7 knots

Built for the Royal Wurrtemberg Railways (absorbed into the German Railways in 1918)
Two fleet mates sunk in air attack at Fridrichshafen in April 1944. Hohentwiel remained at Konstanz, escaping damage.
Withdrawn in 1962
In use as a Sailing Club HQ at Bregenz (Austria) with machinery remaining intact
International Preservation Society established to save vessel from disposal led to renovation from 1986-1989
The society included German, Swiss and Austrian local authority and business interests
Two new boilers were installed and the superstructure returned to its original form
In operation for special sailings and charters since 1990

Aboard Hohentwiel in 2016 : Photos by Malcolm Oliver

Above : Aboard Hohentwiel in 2016 : Click here for more photos by Malcolm Oliver

Above : Hohentwiel at Lindau on 14th May 2006 by kind courtesy of Andreas Heene. Click here for more from this series

Hohentwiel's Compound Diagonal Engines : see more engines photos by Andreas Heene


Go to Historical Database : Vessels of the German State of Wurttemberg

Internet Links :
Hohentwiel - Official Website
: The internet site with everything about Lake Constance ships, past and present

Cruise and ferry services on Lake Constance have, until recent privatisations, been provided by the fleets of the German, Swiss and Austrian railways. The German operators, who along with their international partners, ended paddle steam operation in the 1960s, continue to run large motor vessels of traditional design, including MV Baden (of 1935) and MV Schwaben (1937) which were substantially renovated for continued use in the winter of 1998-99.

Two large motor vessels, Kempten and Allgau were scrapped in 2001 and 2002. Allgau , which entered service in 1929 and was taken out of service after the 1999 season was a landmark vessel to the extent that it represented German railways moving away from paddle and steam propulsion for its major vessels, the paddler Stadt Uberlingen also of 1929 being the last of her type on the lake. Despite her historical importance, the cost of renovation of Allgau was felt to be too much and she was broken up at Fussach. At the end of 2005, the 1935-built Uberlingen was taken out of service and scrapped shortly afterwards, leaving even fewer of the classically-styled motor vessels in the German fleet.

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Bodensee German Fleet -Historical
Historical Database - details of Swiss and Austrian fleets