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Koln-Dusseldorfer Deutsche Rheinschiffahrt AG

The "KD" operates an extensive service along the River Rhein, primarily between Cologne (Koln) and Mainz, with Koblenz at the mid-point. Now almost totally a service for tourists, a large fleet of motor vessels and one paddler, MPV Goethe, share the busy river with freight barges passing some magnificent scenery and calling at numerous attractive riverside towns and villages.
The KD operated 38 paddlers at the outbreak of World War I and 20 at the outbreak of World War II and although the latter war in particular brought severe losses, it was still felt suitable to raise and rebuilt wrecked vessels for further service. The last survivor, Goethe, returned to service in heavily rebuilt form in 1952, and for the 1953 season, there ware 14 large paddlers on the roster. In 1969 this had been reduced to 6 although the shortfall in capacity had been made up by the introduction of similar sized motor vessels. After 1974, with the withdrawal of Cecilie and Bismarck, three paddlers remained, all of which survive. Goethe remains the only vessel now serving with the KD and has been the last example of paddle propulsion since Rudesheim was laid up after the 1981 season. The future looked bleak for Goethe in 1989, but a commitment to save her despite changing ownership of the KD (with a bank becoming the majority shareholder), led to a triumphant return to service in 1996 as a thoroughly modern, yet traditional steamer. During 2008, the KD announced that Goethe was to be converted to dieel-hydraulic drive, thus ending the long history of paddle steamers on the German section of the Rhine.

The majority shareholding in the KD company was bought by investment company Premicon AG in March 2000 and in 2016 the majority was acquired by KD River Invest GmbH as a subsidiary of the Basel-based River Advice AG, with a bid expected to be made to buy out the small number of minority shareholders. River Advice is the leading operator and manager of River Cruise ships on the Rhine, with its services subcontracted to each vessel's owners.   


MPV Goethe

Built 1913 but superstructure modified several times. Returned to service in late 1996 after a seven-year lay-up and controversially converted to diesel hydraulic operation after the 2008 season. Seen at St Goar in 2000

PS Mainz (1929-1980)
PS Rudesheim (ex-Rheinland( 1926-1981)
PS Hansa (1886-1924)

Click here for Historical Paddle Steamers of the Rhein

KD: Official Website

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