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Historical Database
Switzerland
Lacs de Neuchatel et de Morat
The paddle steamer era began on Lake Neuchatel in 1826 when a company was established in Yverdon to operate PS Union, a 26.5 metre long wooden hulled steamer. She operated until 1828 and it was not until Mr Philippe Suchard of Neuchatel brought PS L'Industriel to the lake in 1834 that paddle steam navigation began an unbroken period of operation until 1969, when PS Neuchatel was withdrawn from service after a 57-year life.

The "Societe de Navigation sur les Lacs de Neuchatel et de Morat", the current operator was established in 1872 by combining the Fribourg and Morat companies which had been founded by the local Canton of Fribourg after the demise of earlier interests with the coming of the railway along the bank of Lake Neuchatel between Biel and Yverdon in 1859.

Services concentrate on the main lake, the Lac de Neuchatel, but also serve the smaller lakes of Murat and Biel, which are linked to the main lake by channels which allow navigation between the lakes.

The two most modern steamers "Neuchatel" and "Fribourg" remained in existence as restaurants, but there is now a good possibility that Neuchatel, now owned by a preservationist group, might, one day, return to passenger service.


Historical Paddle Steamers - In preservation

Neuchatel

Fribourg


Historical Paddle Steamers
Union
1826-1827
Owners: Societe du Bateau a vapeur L'Union - based in Yverdon
Builders: Mauriac (Bordeaux, France)
Engineers: Boulton and Watt (Birmingham, England)
Length: 26.5 m
Launched at Yverdon on 10th June 1826
Inaugural sailing from Yverdon to a civic reception at Neuchatel was on 30th June 1826
Traffic on the lake failed to live up to the promoter's hopes despite the sucess of steam on Lake Geneva
Vessel severely damaged by fire during the night of 26/27th June 1827 and services were not restored
The wooden hull remained in use as a restaurant in Yverdon. The machinery was re-used in PS Helvetia on Lake Constance

L'Industriel
1834-1851
Owner: Philippe Suchard, an industrialist from Neuchatel
Builders: Cave (Paris, France)
Engineers: Cave (Paris, France)
Length: 33 m
Launched on 19th July, 1834
Requisitioned as a warship
Sold in 1847 to the Societe des Bateaux a vapeur du Lac de Neuchatel
Sold again to interests in Solothurn

Cygne later Jura
1852-1921
Owner: Societe des Bateaux a vapeur du Lac de Neuchatel
Builders / Engineers : Escher, Wyss (Zurich)
Length: 33.5 m
Ownership passed to the Societe Centrale de Navigation in 1856 and to the Soc. Fribourgeoise de Navigation in 1858
Incorporated into the fleet of the Societe de Navigation sur les Lacs de Neuchatel et de Morat
in 1872
Renamed "Jura" in 1896

Le Jura
1854-1861
Owner: Societe des Bateaux a vapeur du Lac de Neuchatel
Builders / Engineers : Escher, Wyss (Zurich)
Length: 41.5 m
Ownership passed to the Societe Centrale de Navigation in 1856 and to the Soc. Fribourgeoise de Navigation in 1858

La Fleche
1856-1865
Owner: Societe des Bateaux a vapeur du Lac de Neuchatel
Builders / Engineers : Escher, Wyss (Zurich)
Length: 38 m
Ownership passed to the Societe Centrale de Navigation in 1856 and to the Soc. Fribourgeoise de Navigation in 1858

Gaspard-Escher later Helvetie
1858-1926
Owner: Societe Centrale de Navigation
Builders / Engineers : Escher, Wyss (Zurich)
Length: 40 m
Ownership passed to the Soc. Fribourgeoise de Navigation in 1858
Incorporated into the fleet of the Societe de Navigation sur les Lacs de Neuchatel et de Morat
in 1872
Renamed "Helvetie" in 1913

Hallwyl
1870-1955
Owner: Societe Socitet de navigation a vapeur de Morat
Builders / Engineers : Sulzer (Winterthur)
Length : 35 m
Incorporated into the fleet of the Societe de Navigation sur les Lacs de Neuchatel et de Morat
in 1872

Helvetie later Yverdon
1881-1961
Builders / Engineers : Escher, Wyss (Zurich)
Length : 40.5 m
Renamed
"Yverdon" in 1912

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Historical Database