paddlesteamers.info  :  The Internet's leading website for Side-Wheeled Paddle Steamers 
PADDLE STEAMERS IN PASSENGER SERVICE 
The steamers (and motor paddlers), where they sail, who operates them and who supports them : links to detailed information, photos and official websites

Mobile phone and small tablet users : Click here for a simplified list which is easier to use
Click on the vessel links and the operating company links for more information. A link is provided, where possible, to the operator's own commercial website

PADDLE STEAMERS 



Waverley, in the UK, is the world's last sea-going paddle steamer and the only one now offering coastal cruises. All other European paddlers now only operate on large rivers or on lakes with the exceptions of Freya which operates in northern Germany generally keeping to the Kiel Canal and Elbe estuaries, the UK's Kingswear Castle, which itself keeps to estuarine waters, and the UK's very small paddler Monarch, which are the only other "salt-water" paddlers. Some paddle steamers are retained in their original fleets, others are now owned and operated by preservation groups. In a number of cases, enthusiasts have restored decommissioned paddle steamers and subcontracted operation back to their original owners. Freya is remarkable in having been bought by a commercial operator many years after she was restored by an enthusiast and operated as part of their fleet.

Above: PS Unterwalden in Luzern in 2016. Built in 1901 she is a genuine steamer and despite many renovations, there is no idea to change this.

United Kingdom : Firth of Clyde  (photos)

Operator : Waverley Excursions (website) on behalf of Waverley Steam Navigation Co and the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society

Supporters and owners :  Paddle Steamer Preservation Society  :   (website)
Operates a varied range of full-day cruises from mid June until late August including from her home base at Glasgow and Firth of Clyde piers
Waverley also visits the
Western Isles (June), Liverpool & Llandudno (end August), Bristol Channel (September), South Coast (September) and Thames Estuary (Sept/Oct). 

Waverley  (1947)


United Kingdom : River Dart

Operator : Dartmouth Steam Railway & Riverboat Company (website) on behalf of Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust and the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society
Supporters and owners :  Paddle Steamer Preservation Society  :  (website)
Operates spring to autumn as part of a larger operation offering a wide range of cruises around Dartmouth and up-river to Totnes and rides on a heritage steam railway 

Kingswear Castle  (1924)


Switzerland : Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstattersee)   (photos)

Operator :  Schiffahrtsgesellschaft des Vierwaldstattersees (SGV)   :  (website)
Supporters : Dampferfreunde Vierwaldstattersee    (website)
SGV operates a wide range of year-round services. Paddle Steamers operate Spring to Autumn with extra services in summer and some services at Christmas/New Year

Uri   (1901)
Unterwalden   
(1902)
Schiller   
(1906)
Gallia  
(1913)
Stadt Luzern   
(1927)


Stadt Luzern is currently undergoing major renovation and is expected back in service in the spring of 2021

Switzerland : Lake Geneva (Lac Leman)

Operator :   Compagnie General de Navigation sur le Lac Leman (CGN)  :  (website)
Supporters : Association des Amis des Bateaux a Vapeur du Leman  :   (website)
GGN operates a wide range of year-round services and cross-lake commuter services.
Paddle Steamers operate Spring to Autumn with extra services in summer
CGN also operates two paddlers converted to diesel-electric drive on year-round services (Vevey and Italie) and hold one in store for possible future restoration (Helvetie).
Montreux was converted to diesel in time for the 1961 season but was converted back with a new-build diagonal steam engine, reappearing in 2001.

Montreux   (1904)
La Suisse  
(1910)
Savoie 
      (1914)
Simplon
   (1920)
Rhone 
     (1927)

Rhone is currently undergoing major renovation and is expected back in service in 2021

Switzerland : Lake Thun (Thunersee)

Operator :  
Schiffsbetrieb BLS
   :  (website)
Supporters :  Freunde der Dampfschifffahrt Thuner- und Brienzersee  :  (website)
Paddle steamer normally makes two daily return trips from Thun to Interlaken West from spring to autumn and is in service over Christmas / New Year

Blumlisalp   (1906)


Switzerland : Lake Brienz (Brienzersee)   :   (photos)

Operator :  
Schiffsbetrieb BLS
   :  (website)
Supporters :  Freunde der Dampfschifffahrt Thuner- und Brienzersee  :  (website)
Paddle Steamer usually makes one daily return trip from Interlaken-Ost to Brienz from spring to autumn

Lotschberg   (1914)


Switzerland : Lake Zurich (Zurichsee)
Operator :  
Zurichsee-Schiffahrtsgesellschaft (ZSG)
  :  (website)
Supporters :  Aktion pro Raddampfer Zurich  :   (website)
Regular trips around Lake Zurich from Zurich to Rapperswil with frequent stops. Paddlers in summer service as part of year-round public transport network

Stadt Zurich   (1909)
Stadt Rapperswil   (1914)

Switzerland : Lakes of Neuchatel and Morat

Operators Navigation Lacs de Neuchatel et Morat SA  :  (website)
Supporters and owners : Trivapor  :   (website)
A recent restoration and re-engineing of a ship decommissioned in 1969 ship by an enthusiast group,
Neuchatel is operated by the local shipping operator as part of their published timetable


Neuchatel    (1912)  

Italy : Lake Como (Lago di Como)

Operators : 
Navigazione Lago di Como (NLC)   :   (website)
Paddle steamer operates a very limited summer schedule as part of the NLC timetabled services

Concordia   (1927)

Owners : Provincia di Como
Vessel currently not in operation. Restoration (2009-2013) of withdrawn vessel by the governement of Como Province.

Patria   (1926)

Italy : Lake Maggiore

Operators :  
Navigazione Lago di Maggiore - NLM   :   (website)
Vessel very rarely in service and usually only on infrequent charters

Piemonte   (1904)


Germany : River Elbe, Saxony

Operators :  Sachsische Dampschiffahrts GmbH & Co   :   (website)
Paddle Steamers operate the majority of spring to autumn services on the Elbe, from Dresden downstream to Meissen and upstream to Bad Schandau
Occasional special trips are operated beyond Bad Schandau to Decin and Litomerice in Czechia

Stadt Wehlen   (1879)
Diesbar 
 (1884)
Meissen   
(1885)
Krippen 
 (1886)
Pillnitz   
(1892)
Kurort Rathen 
 (1896)
Pirna   
(1898)
Dresden 
 (1926)
Leipzig   
(1929)


Germany : River Elbe, Schleswig-Holstein

Operators :
Lauenburger Elbeschiffahrtsmuseums e.V.   :   (website)
Owned by a museum society, the vessels operates a range of short trips on the River Elbe, based at Lauenburg

Kaiser Wilhelm   (1900)


Germany : River Weser at Bremen, Niedersachsen

Operators : Hal Over Gesellschaft fuer innovative Stadttouristik GmbH.   :   (website)
Operated as part of the fleet of local tourist boats at the city of Bremen

Weserstolz   (1949)


Weserstolz is currently (as at March 2020) up for sale

Germany : Kiel Canal, Schleswig-Holstein

Operators :  Adler-Schiffe Gmbh & Co, KG.   :   (website)
Adler owns a large fleet. Freya operates on the Kiel Canal mainly between Kiel and Rendsburg with occasional visits to Brunsbuttel, Laboe, Rostock and Hamburg

Freya   (1905)


Austria : Traunsee

Operators  :
Traunseeschiffahrt Karlheinz Eder GmbH
 :   (website)
Owners :   Friends of the City of Gmunden
Operated by the local tourist boat company on Sundays in July and August. Available for charters and events, otherwise moored at Gmunden

Gisela   (1871)


Austria : River Danube (based at Linz)

Operators  :   Oesterreichische Gesellschaft fuer Eisenbahn Geschichte - OGEG    :   (website)
Owned and operated by the Austrian Railway History Society and operated entirely by unpaid volunteers
Operated day trips from Linz on many weekends and also undertakes various special trips on occasion

Schonbrunn   (1913)

Austria : Lake Constance (Bodensee)

Operators   :   Hohentwiel Schifffahrtsgesellschaft mbH, trading as  Historische Schifffahrt Bodensee   :   (website)
Owners and Supporters :   Verein Internationale Schifffahrts-Museum Bodensee eV  :    (website)
Operates cruises around the international Lake Constance offering cruises with a strong emphasis on high-quality dining
The company markets both Hohentwiel and the historic motor ship Osterreich which is now owned by a separate preservation society

Hohentwiel    (1913)


Netherlands : Rotterdam

Operators :  Nederlandse Raderstoomboot Maatschappij  :  (website)
Owner : Christine Key, whose father Klemens was a well known saviour of steamships and steam engines, including this ex-Rhine steamer, Rudesheim as was
Used for dinner cruises and charter hospitality events from her Rotterdam pier at Maasboulevard or as required elsewhere on the river system in south Holland

De Majesteit    (1926)


Czech Republic : River Vltava, Prague

Operators : Prazska Paroplavebni Spolecnost as (PPS)  trading as Prague Boats   :   (website)  

Operates short cruises from central Prague and longer trips upstream to the Slapy Dam. occasional full day trips downstream to Melnik are offered

Vysehrad   (1938)
Vltava   
(1941)

Operators :  Vodni Zasilatelstvi Kedrst   (VZK)
Captain Kedrst built the small Sirius in 2010 for local round trips in Prague in association his two other motor vessels 

Sirius   (2010)

Norway : Lake Mjosa

Operator  :  A/S Oplandske Dampskibsselskab   :   (website)
Operates a short summer season of cruises from Hamar, Lillehammer or Eidsvoll, depending on the day. Cruises are often single, requiring a return by rail

Skibladner   (1856)


Denmark :  Silkeborg and Himmelbergjet


Operators  :  A/S Hjejlen   :   (website)
Services from Sikleborg through low-lying lakes to view Himmelbergjet, the highest point in Denmark

Hjejlen   (1861)


Sweden :  Forsvik

Operators : Foreningen Forsviks varv    :  (website)
Occasional summer trips and charters in the river and lake systems of south eastern Sweden, based at Forsvik
The ship is a modern reconstruction of a traditional ship of 1836 whick sank in a storm on Lake Vattern in 1856

Erik Nordevall II   (2011)


Romania : River Danube

Operators : Ministry of Education and Heritage
Operates short cruises for children out of the port of Braila and is available for charter


Borcea   (1914)

Operators : Government of Romania
Services : unknown. last reported to be used for conferences for government agencies and also available for charter

Tudor Vladimirescu    (1854)



Although many Danube paddle steamers, including Schonbrunn (see above) were fitted with limited overnight accommodation, Russian river ships have traditionally had considerable cabin accommodation and were originally used for passenger and some freight transport over long distances in remoter parts of northern Russia and Siberia. One paddle steamer is believed to survive on these runs

Russia : River Dvina at Archangelsk

Operators : Pomor Tours  :  (website)
Offers occasional  three and seven-night tours from Archagelsk

N V Gogol   (1911)


.

Other Countries (non-European) : Click on the country for more information. Includes all types of side-wheel paddle ships  :

Canada
Australia
New Zealand
Egypt
Bangladesh
North Korea


MOTOR PADDLE VESSELS (CONVERTED FROM STEAM)


Above : Goethe on the Rhine in 2017. Goethe is one of a number of paddlers which have been converted from steam to diesel operation, normally as an economy measure and especially if major work was required, such as a boiler replacement. In Goethe's case, there were fears about a hairline crack in the engine's entablature. Few paddle steamers have been so converted. The pioneer was Lake Geneva's Geneve in 1934.


Switzerland : Lake Geneva (Lac Leman)

Operator :
  Compagnie General de Navigation sur le Lac Leman (CGN)  :  (website)
The CGN operates five genuine historical paddle steamers (see above) as well as numerous motor vessels
Diesel-electic paddle vessels Vevey and Italie have been renovated and re-engined recently and due to their economy operate in year-round service

Vevey       (1907, converted in 1956)
Italie        (1908, converted in 1958)
Helvetie   
(1926, converted in 1977)

Helvetie has been out of service since early 2002 but is maintained at the GCN dockyard at Lauseanne-Ouchy. It is hoped that she can be returned to service in the future 

Germany : River Rhein

Operator  :     KD - Koln-Dusseldorfer Deutsche Rheinschiffahrt    :   (website)

Goethe was the last in a long line of paddle steamers operated by the KD company in its earlier guises and remains on the flagship "Nostalgia Route" from Koblenz to Rudesheim
She sails for spring until Autumn 

Goethe   (1913, converted in 2008)

Germany : Chiemsee, Bavaria

Operator  :  Chiemsee Schiffahrt Ludwig Fessler    :  (website)
Serves as part of a small fleet on the Chiemsee in south-east Bavaria which features the magnificent palace of Herrenchiemsee on an island in the lake

Ludwig Fessler  (1913, converted in 1973)

Ludwig Fessler's engine had been saved and was eventually used to re-engine PS Neuchatel (see steamers above)

Germany : Ammersee, Bavaria

Operator  :  Bayerische Seenschifffahrt GmbH   :  (website)
Serves as part of a small fleet on the Ammersee to the south of Munich. The company also operates the new-build motor paddler Herrsching of 2002

Diessen    
(1908, converted in 1975)

Diessen was completely rebuilt in 2006 and although lengthened, re-engined and much modernised, it still bears a resemblance to the original vesse;

Austria : Wolfgangsee

Operators : Salzkammergutbahn GmbH   :   (website)
Operates as part of the scheduled public lake timetable

Kaiser Franz Josef I    (1872, converted in 1954)

Italy :  Lake Garda (Lago di Garda)

Operators : Navigazione Lago di Garda (NLG)   :   (website)
Thre paddlers get limited summer use as part of the operator's scheduled public timetable

G Zanardelli   (1903, converted in 1983)
Italia                 
(1909, converted in 1980)

Netherlands : Amsterdam

Operators :  (website)
Available for charter for corporate or social events and can be chartered as floating accommodation anywhere accessible in the Netherlands water system

Kapitein Anna   (1911, converted in 1977)


Bulgaria : River Danube at Kozloduy

Operators : Kozloduy Museum   (website)
Maintained in operational condition for occasional educatuional trips but otherwise serves as a museum celebrating the life of independence fighter Hristo Botev

Radetzky   (1954, converted in 1993)

Converted from a Soviet  732 Series tug and rebuilt in 1966 to approximate the appearance of Austrian passenger ship Radetsky of 1861 and used by Botev in 1866 in his insurrection against Ottoman Turkish rule

Ukraine : River Dnepr at Kiev

Operators :
Based in Kiev with 31 hotel rooms available. can be hired for corporate and private events and can sail on charter in the summer months


Bogdan Khmelnitskiy   (1954, converted in 2004)

One of the numerous Soviet Project 737 river paddlers, but built at Budapest, Hungary. sailed in the Soviet Ukraine on the Dneipr until 1976. Rebuilt with new motor engines after extensive fire damage


MISCELLANEOUS SMALLER PADDLE VESSELS in Europe

SMALL COMMERCIAL AND NON-COMMERCIAL STEAM PADDLE VESSELS (UP TO 12 PASSENGER CAPACITY) 



United KingdomMonarchBuilt in 1994. Offers short commercial trips on the River Frome at Wareham in Dorset. Click here
United Kingdom Heron

 

 

United Kingdom

Autumn Breeze

Located on the Norfolk Broads

Click here

United Kingdom

L'Aigle

Built by Peter Shott. 14 feet x 5 ft 6 in. Simple expansion, three cylinder diagonal engine

 

United Kingdom

Walkin' Belle

Owned by L Spencer on Thames. 17 ft 6 in x 6 ft 6 in. 2-cylinder walking beam engine

 

United Kingdom

Firecrest

Owned by D Garrick at Sleaford. 15 ft 3 in x 5 ft 10 in. Built in 1972

 

Switzerland Liberty Belle Owned by Beat and Martha Bolzern of Emmenbrucke. Transportable by road 

Click here

Switzerland

Waldstaetter

Based on Lake Lucerne but can be transported elsewhere and has sailed on Italian Lakes

Click here

Netherlands

De Jonge Wachter

Based at the De Wachter Mill Museum at Zuidlaren which has numerous steam engines in store and display, this small paddle steamer (10 m long with single cylinder engine dating from around 1920) was built by enthusiasts and entered service in 2003 

Click here 

Czech Republic

Hrebeny

Based on River Vltava near Prague

 


Off-topic : Genuine Steam-powered Sternwheelers in Czechia


Fascinating modern built small but steam powered sternwheel sightseeing boats Hradec and Kralovna Eliska on the River Elbe at Hradec Kralove, Czechia
BIBLIOGRAPHY & REFERENCES
The essential reference book for Paddle Steamer enthusiasts is:

Paddle Steamers in the 1990s
By Russell Plummer
Published 1994 by GMS Enterprises, 67 Pyhill, Bretton, Peterborough, England Tel (0)1733-265123
IBSN 1 870384 27 X
This book gives extensive details of all known paddlers remaining in Europe, including motor powered paddlers

Also the following which also includes screw steamers and diesel conversions, including those in static roles

Steam Ships of Europe
by Alistair Deayton
Published in 1988 by Conway Maritime press Ltd, 24 Bride Lane, Fleet Street, London EC4Y 8DR
ISBN 0 81577 478 4


PADDLE SHIPS BUILT AS MOTOR VESSELS


Once diesel power became widely available for excusion ships in the late 1920s, new ships around most of Europe were screw-driven. Only on the Clyde in the UK did the London & North Eastern Railway experiment with diesel electric drive for their paddler Talisman of 1935, one year after Lake Geneva had so converted their paddle steamer Geneve. The experiment was not repeated although a number of screw-ships in Scottish waters received diesel-electric drives in the 1930s, with MV Lochfyne being a pioneer in 193.1

The Austrian DDSG's Stadt Wien and Stadt Passau (now Grof Szechenyi) of 1939 and 1940, with geared diesel drives, were unusual and unique. There were no further new-builds until the modern era when "paddle steamers" had become popular from a heritage aspect and replica or heritage-styled vessels came in demand, but the costs associated with obsolete steam power were deemed unacceptable.  Elias Lonnrot (1986) which replicated an older steamer was an early example of a side-wheeler, whilst "Mississippi-style" sternwheelers became popular as novelty vessels.  Diesels were chosen for the brand new Herrsching (2002, see photo taken in 2003, above) on Germany's Ammersee.

MPV Stadt Wien and Grof Szechenyi have cabins for overnight accommodation but these ships are no longer used on their original long-distance services on the Danube and these are not used in service. Stadt Wien was open for overnight accommodation at Tulln, Austria.

For more about motor paddle ships, click here

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