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The refurbished PS Neuchatel was returned to the water on 13th August and should be back in service next year after 45 years inactivity.   More

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The Clyde summer season is now under way for Waverley. It was ticket holders only to Rothesay on Saturday 20th July, with many staying aboard for a trip through the Kyles of Bute and time ashore at the tiny Argyll hamlet of Tighnabruaich (above). More from this cruise

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Above : PS Neuchatel : Further progress by early July, particularly with regard to the construction of the fore-deck Rotunda. More

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Waverley began her Bristol Channel season in 2013 with a trip to Minehead on Wednesday June 5th. More

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Swift progress is now being made on the complete reconstruction of PS Neuchatel, which has now been out of operational service for over 40 years. If all goes to plan, she will be returned to the water in August 2013. Photo by kind courtest of Olivier Bachmann (more)


At the end of August 2012, Austria's paddle steamer Schonbrunn made a highly-successful cruise to Budapest, capital of Hungary, bringing back memories of when numerous large paddle steamers sailed up and down the mighty River Danube. Schonbrunn met the magnificently restored paddler Kossuth, which is in service as a restaurant and museum in central Budapest in a rare photo opportunity. My thanks to Zsolt Szabo, Enrico Crosti and Florian Pausch for these excellent photos of the event.         Click here for the photos


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MPV Italie lies at Bellerive dockyard on Lake Geneva, stripped down as she awaits better times. Once her quasi-sister Vevey emerges newly renovated, Italie can, with support from local enthusaist group ABVL, expect to undergo the same treatment. Much has been removed from the ship, included elements which will be replaced totally and other items which will be stored for re-installation. This has been done with the help of a local subsidised temporary jobs programme for unemployed youth. The renovation which is expected now to be at the end of 2014 will involve the installation of new diesel engines, replacing those dating from 1958.
Photo taken on 27th July 2012 by kind courtesy of Enrico Crosti

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Excursions to meet visiting cruise ships are normally very popular. A good crowd turned out on Waverley on August 2nd 2012 to see Cunard's Queen Elizabeth at and leaving Greenock.    Photo by kind courtesy of Kenny Whyte.  Click here for more

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Sunday July 15th 2012 : Waverley steams down the Firth off Skelmorlie en route to Largs, then to Campbeltown on a cruise advertised to celebrate the 80th anniverary of the much-loved turbine steamer Duchess of Hamilton which sailed as part of the Clyde excursion fleet until 1971. In those days Waverley rarely ventured as far as the Kintyre port - such long runs were normally the reserve of turbine steamers. Thanks to Kenny Whyte

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On July 8th 2012, Waverley sailed on charter to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society to Loch Riddon, a small sea loch rarely visited by the paddler although she regularly passes the entrance to the Loch as she sails round the Kyles of Bute. In a joint offereng with the Clyde River Steamer Club, Clyde Marine Services' motor ship "The Second Snark" was also chartered to act as tender and to land passengers at the rarely-used pier at the hamlet of Ormidale (see photo above) and return those wishing to sail on her back to Greenock. Photos by kind courtesy of Kenny Whyte.
Click here for more photos of this unusual cruise.

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The Western Isles mini-season ends as Waverley passes Toward Point as she returns to the upper Firth of Clyde on the evening of June 11th.
Photo by kind courtesy of Kenny Whyte

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Waverley departed Glasgow at around 07:00 hrs on Friday June 1st 2012 for Greenock, Campbeltown and Oban. Balmoral remains tied up - with two weeks to go before her season commences. Photo by kind courtesy of Kenny Whyte.    More from Waverley's Western Isles mini-season

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May 3rd 2012 : Waverley approaches her Glasgow berth on her return from dry-docking at Greenock. Here she passes her place of birth, the former A & J Inglis shipyard at Pointhouse, Glasgow, now the site of the city's Riverside Museum. Moored outside is the "Tall Ship" Glenlee. In the foreground, Fencer is operating on the recently introduced (or restored) ferry service across the river from Govan. Photo by kind courtesy of KennyWhyte.

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PS Neuchatel's reconditioned engine (ex- PS Ludwig Fessler) was lowered into the renovated hull at Sugiez on May 3rd, 2012

The new boiler was also lowered into the hull. Photos by kind courtesy of Olivier Bachmann

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Balmoral and Waverley in Garvel drydock at Greenock. They left together on April 30th 2012.  Photo by kind courtesy of Kenneth Whyte

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Balmoral and Waverley entered Garvel drydock at Greenock together on April 18th 2012.  Photo by kind courtesy of Kenneth Whyte     More photos here

Swiss paddler gets a ground-up refurbishment although she has been out of operational service since 1973 .....

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Moored in central Geneva as a drop-in-centre for underpriviledged young people, MPV Geneve (right) is undergoing a major renovation. Built in 1896 and the first paddler converted to diesel in 1934, she has been able to move under her own power when necessary despite being out of service for 39 years now. Extensive reporting of the work is available on the vessel's website, where numerous photos show the extent of the work currently being undertaken.
To the left is CGN's motor paddler Vevey which is out of service but still in the fleet awaiting her own thorough renovation which is expected to take place soon. She was moved to Geneva for lay-up to create space at the CGN's Bellerive dockyard, where motor paddler Italie is also laid up. The CGN's third motor paddler Helvetie, out of service since 2002 has recently received a cosmetic renovation and has been moved out of Bellerive to the Lausanne waterfront where she is destined for temporary use as exhibition spece for the nearby Museum of the Olympics, which is itself being refurbished
Many thanks to Enrico Crosti for the photo taken in April 2012

ZSG (Lake Zurich Shipping Company) open day at Zurich on 24th March 2012

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The major Swiss passenger steamer operators have regular open days when the public is invited to wander round the companies' yards, workshops and many of their ships in days which act as excellent customer service opportunities.  Thanks to Enrico Crosti for these photos of PS Stadt Zurich in the yard's dry dock,where the public was able to get the rare opportunity to walk around "underneath" a paddle steamer.  Click here for more photos

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Work is progressing nicely on Lake Como's second paddle steamer, seen on November 8th, 2011 in a photo kindly supplied by Enrico Crosti. Earlier photos of work in progress are on the database's Patria page

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Waverley - tied up for the winter at the Science Centre, Glasgow - wondering what the future will be.   Photo by kind courtesy of Kenny Whyte
Two questions have now been raised in the UK parliament regarding Waverley which if nothing else raise the profile of Waverley. Of course, the central government is highly unlikely to subsidise Waverley directly, but it could help Waverley to access what funds might be available from public sources.

Culture, Media & Sport (Charities): Question from Julian Lewis (New Forest East, Conservative): "To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what recent discussions his Department has had with the charity operating the Waverley; what assessment his Department has made of the potential benefits of keeping the paddle-steamer in operation; and if he will make a statement."
Holding Answer from John Penrose (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Culture, Olympics, Media & Sport; Weston-Super-Mare, Conservative) 28 Oct 2011: "The Paddle Steamer Waverley is the largest operational vessel in the UK's National Historic Fleet, and is of pre-eminent national and regional significance.  National Historic Ships, a body funded by this Department which has a UK-wide remit and acts as official adviser to the UK Governments on historic vessels, has offered advice and support to the Paddle Steamer Waverley Trust.  The Director attended a meeting on 12 August 2011 with the Chairman and members of the Waverley Steam Navigation Co. Ltd to discuss what can be done through business planning development and fundraising to keep Waverley in service.  In addition the Heritage Lottery Fund, which also has UK wide remit, has awarded two grants (£2,689,000 in 1996-97 and £3,028,000 in 2001-02) in recognition of the vessel's heritage value." Although the Waverley tours many parts of the UK, it is owned by an independent charitable trust based in Scotland and thus is also related to Scottish Ministers' responsibilities.

Culture, Media & Sport (Tourism): Question from Michael Connarty (Linlithgow and East Falkirk, Labour): "To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will provide support to help preserve the paddle steamer Waverley as a tourist attraction."
Answer from John Penrose (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport; Weston-super-Mare, Conservative): "The paddle steamer (PS) Waverley is the largest operational vessel in the National Historic Fleet and as such is distinguished as being of pre-eminent national or regional significance.National Historic Ships, a body funded by this Department as the official adviser to the UK Government on historic vessels, has been supporting the PS Waverley Trust by offering support and advice on business planning, fundraising and accessing available grants. In addition, the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded PS Waverley £5,717,000 for two major restoration projects (£2,689,000 in 1996-97 and £3,028,000 in 2001-02), and has also met with the PS Waverley Trust to offer advice on accessing a small grants programme and support for business planning. Beyond this, the vessel is owned by an independent charitable trust based in Scotland and as such would fall under the remit of Scottish Ministers." 

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Monday May 7th, 2012 – 10am, from Dresden Terrassenufer

Andrew Thompson is following up on the successful visit to Czech town Usti-nad-Labem in 2009 with a new charter in association with the Sachsische Dampfschiffahrt Company - heading down-river this time - and advises as follows on a sailing opportunity well worth supporting :
"As part of its spring tour to Germany and the Czech Republic, the Railway Touring Company will charter the historic paddle steamer „Krippen“ (built in 1892) from the Sächsische Dampfschiffahrt for a truly unique cruise on the River Elbe. This trip will allow the side-wheeler to cover river mileage well beyond the routes regularly served on public sails. Normally steamers turn around at Seusslitz, while no steamboat trips have gone to Riesa in a really, really long time either! All the more rare and special are therefore the downriver destinations of Strehla and Lössnig, well beyond Riesa! Between these two quaint Saxon towns the Elbe indeed forms two magnificent bends in immediate succession, making for a picturesque „reverse S“ set in a gorgeous landscape. Indeed the river bend at Strehla is considered to be one of the most beautiful anywhere along the Elbe, which has its source in the Giant Mountains and eventually flows into the North Sea after Hamburg. In case you are interested in joining this cruise as an independent, individual guest, your participation is definitely possible and most welcome! The cost of the all-day cruise is 70 Euro. (Children under 16 travel at half price.) You are simply required to make an advance reservation by email. Please send your advance booking to: Payment to the Railway Touring Company can be made on the day of the cruise directly onboard the steamer. The “Krippen” will depart Dresden at 10am and return after 9pm. There will be no intermediate landing, as there are no landing slips at Riesa or Strehla either. The ship will feature a full catering/culinary service with food and drinks that you can purchase individually.Perhaps you care to join RTC and the Sächsische Dampfschiffahrt on this special steamboat charter!"
Please note that the webmaster of is publicising the Railway Touring Company's proposal in good faith and without any warranty as to the content or availability of the cruise. Anyone interested in this excursion should, as indicated above, register and maintain contact with the promoters for any relevant updates.

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Winter maintenance costs are expected to exceed the owner's depleted cash assets despite the extra income resulting from the "Save the Waverley" appeal. (see official website for more information - and how to support the appeal)

A new "Development Committee" has been established fronted by three prominent gentlemen from the worlds of business and politics whose aim is to increase the fundraising profile of the organisation in order to improve the longer-term financial footing. Messrs Charlie Gordon, Jim Pettigrew and Sir William McAlpine will bring a welcome range of experience and contacts to the organisation.

Contributions to the appeal by Inverclyde and North Ayrshire Councils and an increased grant from Glasgow City Council contingent on the ship sailing in 2012 have been received. An Early Day Motion (EDM) regarding support for Waverley has been submitted in the UK and Scottish parliaments.
An EDM is a proposal for a topic for the House of Commons to debate. Many are raised and few are ever debated, but if nothing else they do gain publicity for an issue as these are published by the House. The text of the EDM published on 17/10/11 is shown below 
That this House regrets that summer season 2011 might see the last sailing of the paddle steamer Waverley; notes that the Waverley is the only such British vessel that has been preserved and still continues with its original function; recognises that it is the last ocean-going paddle steamer in the world; understands that an increase in the price of oil means that fuel now costs the Waverley £5,000 each day; welcomes the Waverley Appeal, launched by the Waverley Steam Navigation Co Ltd to keep the ship sailing; congratulates the campaigners on raising more than £140,000 towards their £350,000 target; encourages everyone to get behind the campaign; understands that, in July 2011 alone, the steamer had 32,500 passengers; further recognises the economic contribution that the Waverley and her passengers make to the many towns at which she berths on her regular excursions around the Firth of Clyde from the Glasgow Science Centre quay, as well as on her visits to many other ports around the British coast and her cruises under Tower Bridge; and hopes that the Waverley will still be sailing to celebrate the 200th anniversary of steam navigation on the Clyde next year.
The equivalent motion in the Scottish parliament was basically the same but slightly expanded.
That the Parliament regrets that summer season 2011 might see the last sailing of the Paddle Steamer Waverley on the River Clyde; notes that, for the past 199 years, with the exception of one summer, the waters of the Clyde have been churned by a paddle steamer; further notes that the Waverley is the only such British machine that has been preserved and still continues with its original function; recognises that she is the last ocean-going paddle steamer in the world; understands that an increase in the price of oil means that fuel now costs the Waverley £5,000 each day; welcomes the Waverley Appeal, launched by the Waverley Steam Navigation Co Ltd, to keep the ship sailing; congratulates the campaigners on raising more than £140,000 towards their £350,000 target; encourages everyone to get behind the campaign; understands that, in July 2011 alone, she had 32,500 passengers; recognises the economic contribution that the Waverley and her passengers make to the many towns at which she berths, from the Glasgow Science Centre quay down the Clyde to destinations including Largs, Rothesay and Millport; considers that the Waverley is a fantastic ambassador for Scotland as she sails annually down the Thames under Tower Bridge, and across the Bristol Channel, and hopes that the Waverley will still be sailing to celebrate the 200th anniversary of steam navigation on the River Clyde next year  

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If Waverley is withdrawn from Clyde service, passenger-only services will be left in the hands of a small number of much smaller vessels, such as Ali Cat, seen passing Waverley on her new Gourock-Dunoon shuttle service in 2011. Photo by kind courtesy of Kenny Whyte.

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THE "NEW" MEDWAY QUEEN TAKES SHAPE IN BRISTOL Photo (Oct 2011) by kind courtesy of Kenny Whyte

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Although out of service since late 2002 and with little prospect of being returned to service for many years, if at all, she has been refurbished in the CGN dry dock in advance of being used as temporary exhibition space for the nearby lakeside Olympics Museum. This has the added benefit of arresting the decay of the ship's fabric whilst she is out of service.

More photos of Helvetie on the CGN open day : 24th September 2011 by EnricoCrosti 

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PS Rhone at Bellerive on 24th September 2011 with temporary weather protection over her damaged starboard sponson.

As well as damaged floats and paddle wheel, the entire starboard paddle shaft sheared. Photos courtesy of Enrico Crosti

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June 2011 sees MPV Helvetie in the dry dock at Ouchy for a part-refurbishment to arrest decay in the ship which has been out of service since the end of 2002.
Click for photos
Photos by kind courtesy of Erhard Koller

Supporters of the lake Geneva paddlers can breathe a sigh of relief now that Helvetie has been taken into dry-dock at Bellerive for cosmetic attention. Not only will this make her ready for her forthcoming temporary role as a museum ship linked to the Museum of the Olympics at Ouchy, but will ensure that she is not left todeteriorate further after almost nine years of lay-up.

Although it is hard to see how such a large unit can fit into any future CGN timetable, it would appearthat one day she will return to service. In June 2011 final confirmation came through that all eight lake Geneva paddlers will be protected as national "monuments" to heritage - one of the terms of the restructuring of the CGN agreed late in 2010

PS Waverley

Waverley belatedly opened her short early summer Bristol Channel season on 10th June 2011 after delays to her programme resulting from problems with her steering gear discovered during dry-docking at Greenock in May 2011. She lost nine scheduled public cruises on the Clyde and Bristol Channel. Atrocious weather resulted in her cruise to Porthcawl and the South Wales Heritage Coast on Sunday 12th June being cancelled but the weather improved and on Monday 13th she cruised from Clevedon to Penarth, Minehead and Porlock Bay.

She is seen (right) at Minehead on the 13th.

The unexpected repairs and lost cruises have further affected the operating result of Waverley which has advised customers that an appeal has been made for a further GBP 250,000 to be raised to offset rapidly rising fuel costs and provide financing for next winter's essential maintenance.

Thumbnail photos of this day's cruise in the Photograph Archive : Click here

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Waverley delayed in Garvel Dry Dock, Greenock

After her short visit to the Western Isles, Waverley was due a dry-docking in advance of her main season. Problems found with her steering gear meant an extended stay - and the cancellation of the first part of her scheduled Bristiol Channel programme

Photo by kind courtesy of Kenny Whyte  2011

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Waverley in Garvel Dry Dock, Greenock : 30th May 2011. Photo by Kenny Whyte

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