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The quick links above and on the blue main index (below) will take you to the main sections of the database where you can research paddle steamers in detail.
On this page you can learn why paddle steamers only dominated the seas for a very short period of time, but found a niche role where they can still survive today.


A chance to get PS Maid of the Loch sailing on Scotland's world-famous Loch Lomond once again

Maid othe Loch 2011.jpg

Maid of the Loch looks like she is ready to cast off from Balloch Pier on Loch Lomond. Unfortunately she has been out of service since 1981, but much work in recent years has meant she has been open to the public for static use. A major appeal by her charitable owners, the Loch Lomond Steamship Company, is now under way to finance a return to service. A plan is in place for her which indicates that she will trade sustainably should the finance be raised.  Go to the Maid of the Loch page of this database for more details about the ship and the restoration project
paddlesteamers.info comment :

The Maid of the Loch appeal has been in place since March 2013 and unfortunately has only raised a small proportion of the amount needed. This means that restoration by a small team of volunteers will be a slow and laborious process and unless a major benefactor is found or a forthcoming lottery application is successful, the chances of success will be limited. Even a successful lottery application will require matching funds to be raised - and there is no guarantee that this will happen.

The ship needs to get to a position where it can start to earn money as soon as possible. It is the view of paddlesteamers.info that loans are a more likely source of the necessary level of funds than donations as there are prospects that the loans would be repaid. With loans, the whole project could proceed apace, but otherwise it looks a very long and uncertain haul to raise the 3.3 million needed to get the ship sailing, plus the additional money for pier improvements and the proposed visitor centre. Anyone agreeing is invited to contact the webmaster on this link.

Schiller Brunnen 08.jpg

Paddle Steamer Schiller at Brunnen, Lake Lucerne in 2008. She is one of five paddle steamers operating as part of the SGV fleet in the main summer season on this beautiful lake in Switzerland - a place where such ships are seen as indispensible part of the lake's tourist industry and so retain a place in the fleet alongside modern motor vessels


UNDERSTANDING PADDLE STEAMERS - PAST AND PRESENT : Rise, decline and reasons for survival


Paddle Steamers are historical ships which are now firmly established favourites in the tourist industry, providing excursions amongst fine scenery on lake, river and in the case of the renowned Waverley, coastal cruises. Their fascinating steam engines, linked to large paddle wheels, are a unique selling point making a paddle steamer trip an extra special day out and retain many advantages over a diesel or oil engine despite their higher operating cost. Paddles also have their advantages in shallow waters and paddle steamers, like any other screw ship, can benefit from modern aids such as bow thrusters. In the appropriate place, professionally managed and marketed, paddle steamers could be a successful business proposition and a considerable benefit to the areas in which they are located.

Unique Features : Paddle steamers have something extra to offer the interested observer or passenger compared to most ships : visible engines and paddles
Significant Benefits :
 Paddle steamers are smooth, quiet and virtually smell and vibration-free in operation - all leading to a better customer experience.

Waverley paddlebox.jpg

PADDLE WHEELS

STEAM ENGINES

DECORATIVE PADDLE BOXES

The form of propulsion unique to paddle steamers

The engines are a major on-board attraction

The most distinctive feature when seen from shore

The method of propulsion used by the first steamships and still ideal for calm and shallow waters. Many paddlers have viewing port-holes on the main deck so the turning wheels and splashing waters can be seen to good effect.

On most paddle steamers the engines are clearly visible and promoted as a major on-board attraction. Here, lubrication oil is topped-up on Lake Lucerne's PS Schiller whilst the engines are stopped as she calls at a pier 

From a distance, Paddle Steamers can often be identified by their distinctive paddle boxes, with vents of different sizes and shapes, often highly decorated. The Paddle Steamer Waverley's port side vents gets a touch-up of paint whilst she waits at Tighnabruaich.

Those paddle steamers which survived the development of road networks, increased car ownership, the construction of bridges and the introduction of car ferries also had to face the pressure of ship operators which, if they were to continue at all, were under pressure to use smaller and cheaper ships. It looked bleak in the 1960s and early 1970s until enthusiast pressure groups raised the profile of this disappearing mode and the ships began to be heavily marketed for their own attractions as well as for the tourist excursion programmes they were forced to adopt as regular ferry service customers disappeared. Where conditions were right, they have survived and prospered : big marketing attractions despite higher costs than some newer technologies. Now it is almost unthinkable that paddle steamers would be withdrawn and scrapped and those still in existence are now being regularly renovated to the highest standards of structural integrity and passenger comfort. Even modern ships are being built and marketed as paddle steamers even though they are not strictly speaking either. Such is the cachet which is now associated with something which, not long ago, was seen as obsolete.

An anachronism ? : Paddle Steamer Maid of the Loch (right, at Luss in a photo by Kenny Whyte) was built in 1953 for service on Scotland's Loch Lomond.  It was the last of a long line of passenger paddle steamers built for service in the UK and many thought it was obsolete as soon as it was ordered. In mainland Europe, the last paddlers had been built 25 years earlier. It was not just the propulsion method, but the size of the ship which raised  eyebrows, but it seemed a good idea to the ship's operators at the time. The critics were probably right. The Maid accumulated increasing losses and was eventually withdrawn after the 1981 season - but still survives as a static exhibit in the care of a charitable company with a long-term hope of returning her to service.

Only three other paddle steamers were built for UK service after the Second World War, with Waverley still in operation but with Bristol Queen and Cardiff Queen failing to see out the 1960s

Maid of the Loch at Luss 800 K Whyte.jpg

The heyday for sea-going paddle steamers was short - but there remained a niche where they survived

An early technology : Man had long used wheels to harness the power of water and turning wheels were an obvious way to propel boats through water, if a way could be found to power them.
The first commercially successful steam ship is generally acknowledged to be Henry Bell's paddler Comet of 1812 which inauguarated a service between Glasgow and Helensburgh in Scotland but this was five years after Robert Fulton introduced a passenger service between New York and Albany on the Hudson River in the USA with his ship Clermont. His ship the Albany is credited as sailing from the Hudson to the Delaware River in 1808, albeit acting as a tug, and earning the accolade of the world's first sea-going paddle steamer. These were the culmination of several efforts to put steam engines to work in ships, which seemed an obvious development in the Industrial Revolution. It needed the size of engines to be reduced considerably before they could be applied to turning a paddle wheel - itself something known about for centuries - and they had to be reliable. The first paddle steamer of the industrial era is believed to be that built by Claude du Juoffroy in France in 1774 when he undertook experiments on the Doubs River but it was not until 1783 that his "Pyroscaphe" undertook the first of what can be considered any sort of journey as she sailed for a short distance on the River Saone. William Symington, a Scottish engineer, took up work on steam power culminating in the PS Charlotte Dundas of 1802 which hauled a cargo barge along the Forth and Clyde Canal, but the canal's conservative owners did not pursue this form of propulsion further. After 1812, technological developments continued apace and soon steamships were criss-crossing the globe, although initially most had auxiliary sail rigging.

Technical drawbacks : The earliest steamships were paddle propelled, but very quickly they were made obsolete by the development of the screw propeller, which replaced paddles for most marine applications. The screw, although not without its own problems, was permanently under water so was generally more efficient than the paddle wheel, whose individual floats are out of the water for most of the time as the wheel rotates, and in choppy waters this advantage was particularly apparent. Paddles were unsuited to the long-distance cargo trade, as the draught varied as coal stocks were used up, resulting in the paddles rarely working at their optimum depth. In this trade sailing ships still had advantages over steam due to not needing to carry coal stocks and themselves survived into the twentieth century. Military ships also favoured the screw because it was much less vulnerable to damage by enemy gunfire and damage from floating debris. 

.....but some timeless advantages : Paddlers found their niche in areas of calm and especially shallow water as ferries and excursion ships and found particular importance as river steamers where their shallow draughts helped navigate shifting sands and potential snags. Stern paddle wheels became particularly associated with the opening up of rivers in the American mid-west. Wheels at the back gave the mechanism extra protection from floating hazards in such waters. The military were glad of paddle steamers once again, however, during World Wars I and especially II where their shallow draught made them ideal for coastal minesweeping duties and most commercial paddlers were requisitioned for war service. A number of paddle steamers distinguished themselves at the Dunkirk evacuations but both this and minesweeping involved great risk and many were sunk by enemy action or mines as a result.

Many ferry operators persisted with paddle steamers in the face of new technologies. They were tried and tested and the capital cost of the engines tended to be lower and several of those companies working in areas with frequent calls at piers preferred what was, at least for some time, an advantage in paddlers' speed of acceleration and slowing. Even today, a screw motor vessel can be extremely noisy and juddery when asked to make a quick getaway from a standing start. The use of bow rudders and bow thrusters aided manoevrability, but before long, paddle steamers fell behind on this count as well, leaving the handling of such ships an increasingly skilled task with increasingly few mariners trained in its art.

Paddle out of water.jpg

Crowds at a Royal Navy review on the Clyde in the mid-1960s edge to the starboard side to view a destroyer leaving the port-side wheel largely out of the water and paddling air. The starboard wheel would have been bogged down and the paddle box full of water .............. an inefficient situation, albeit unusual for an excursion steamer in calm water !  Pictured is the Caledonian Steam Packet's PS Caledonia of 1934

Changing circumstances : The demise of paddle steamers, once found in large numbers on short ferry and excursion services around the world and also as estuarine and river tugs, was in part a result of the relentless need for operators to continuously cut their operating costs - a requirement common to any enterprise in a competitive economic environment. Although Paddle Steamer technology had constantly evolved over the years, the advent and refinement of the motor ship gave operators the prospect of substantial reductions in their fuel and crew costs. As the noise and excessive vibration which plagued motor ships was improved, they reduced what was probably their biggest disadvantage, but in this respect still lag steamships. However, that is not the whole story. The decline of passenger steamers coincided with a change in demand which meant that, with the exception of a few cases, they were not replaced at all - except by car ferries, better road connections and where feasible, bridges. That left the pure excursion traffic and in many places remaining passenger numbers meant that only considerably smaller boats were needed. Where demand was less affected, paddle steamers had a better chance of survival and in the 1970s, enthusiasts, and to some extent the public in general, embarked on campaigns which were to save threatened ships and change their prospects completely as the tourism industry and the "heritage" industry entered a period of rapid growth

Tattershall Castle 1971 J Dale 1100.jpg

Car ownership : Tattershall Castle and her sister Wingfield Castle (1934) were innovative paddlers, designed to carry cargoes on the relatively short crossing of the Humber Estuary between Hull and New Holland, and in this photo dated 1971 by Jake Dale, it can be seen that the cargo space became useful for carrying cars. Nevertheless, the two only had a few more years of working life and their younger quasi-sister Lincoln Castle only until 1978, replaced by a diesel (albeit paddle for draught reasons) car ferry temporarily introduced in anticipation of the ferry service being replaced outright by a road suspension bridge in 1981

Goethe and MV.jpg

Cost considerations : Germany's mighty River Rhine was a stronghold of paddle steamers providing connections between piers along both sides of the river - primarily for passengers, but in early years, goods as well. PS Goethe (seen right in 2000) was built in 1913 as a goods and passenger ship and has been expensively rebuilt on two occasions for her now passenger-only role. The last paddler built for the German section of the Rhine appeared in 1929 and operators KD have since then specified motor ships (often propelled by Voith-Schneider units) as road, rail and bridge connections left the ships increasingly with the tourist trade only. From 1981, Goethe was the only remaining paddler and even she was withdrawn in 1989. Restored late in 1996 after a significant rebuild she was placed on the "Nostalgic Route", the highly-scenic tourist run between Koblenz and Rudesheim. Still marketed as a nostalgic paddler, she was converted to motor operation after the 2008 season, partly on technical grounds but also as a cost-limiting measure. Fuel costs were reported to have halved after the conversion and there were also savings in engine room personnel.

Paddle Steamers can be operated successfully - but only if the circumstances are right

New roles were needed : Paddle Steamers can only survive if they operate either in cooperation with or away from the direct competition of "commercial" services and they must offer something that is a little different from what a commercial service might offer. They have largely lost their role as ferries, but need to capitalise on the considerable and still growing demand for enjoyable "days out". They must be popular attractions in their own right, providing the best of modern facilities but also showcasing their unique engineering heritage. They are a tourist attraction and must market themselves as such, but more crucuially they must go from where the public is likely to be to somewhere that they are likely to want to go to - or at least to see.

W Argyle and Bute 2013 Skel KW.jpg

Restricted roles : Paddle Steamer Waverley cruises up and down the Firth of Clyde. Here she is seen heading homewards off Skelmorlie in 2013 in a photo kindly supplied by Kenny Whyte.  She now fulfils a purely excursion cruise role. Ferry services were once handled by similar paddle steamers, but the link between Wemyss Bay on the mainland and Rothesay on the Isle of Bute is now maintained by car ferries on a shuttle service. The current holders of that roster are the Polish-built twins Argyle and Bute, seen above crossing the Firth with the Cowal coastline behind and the higher hills of Argyll in the distance

Paddlers remained suitable in certain areas : Large paddlers are now confined largely to the Swiss lakes, where there is the happy convergence of most of the factors needed to sustain excursion ships of this size : a sizeable local resident population, large tourist numbers, attractive local scenery and popular lakeside resorts equipped with landing stages, accessible maintenance facilities, supportive local authorities and tourist development boards and a large supply of local enthusiasts. Most of all, they are owned and operated by their original owners on a strictly commercial basis alongside a fleet of motor vessels. It is known that they attract more customers than an equivalent motor vessel but being part of a fleet allows the additional costs of a paddler to be absorbed in a wider business. Smaller paddlers survive in great numbers at the German city of Dresden largely for the same reasons. Only in Australia, now the "home" of the paddle steamer, have they survived in large numbers and are even being built new, but these ships are much smaller than seen in Europe and many are small enough to be operated a private houseboats or occasional vessels and only on inland rivers, primarily the Murray

Waverley Largs Queue 2011.jpg

Still popular ! : At the right place at the right time and going to the right places, paddle steamers can attract the crowds like Waverley at Largs in 2011

The cost of operating and maintaining large ships, especially in the tough and ever toughening regulatory environment concerning maritime matters is enormous. These issues are particularly relevant to "sea-going" vessels and why the UK's PS Waverley is such a rare survivor. It is not despite her age, but probably because of her age. Being a paddle steamer is a unique selling point and one which attracts excursionists when otherwise there might be little or no demand, but they do have to beware of serving primarily the existing "enthusiast" market. It probably will not be enough to ensure long-term sustainability.

As paddle steamers and historic ships in general are now so rare in public service, they are less "visible" and therefore less able to attract public awareness and develop a pool of potential enthusiasts, whose support is has been essential in keeping most running. It is little surprise that the strongest pool of support, proportionately, is in Switzerland, where numerous examples of paddle steamers survive. (More about preservation and its successes in Switzerland.....). Nevertheless, valiant attempts continue to ensure that paddle steamers survive elsewhere and if they can attract sufficient custom to fill their (generally large) capacities, they can be successful financially and continue to provide what is now an educational experience in past engineering methods and an enjoyable outing for the general tourist.

Here are three examples of how the tide has turned in different ways to the benefit of paddle steamers :

RIVER ELBE - GERMANY

SWISS LAKES

RIVER DANUBE - AUSTRIA

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Schonbrunn at aschach.jpg

A global shipping corporation took control of the paddle steamer fleet based in Dresden, the world's largest fleet, and refurbished the ships, many over 100 years old to a magnificent standard. Most people thought that the economic realities of the capitalist world would spell the end of this East German fleet - but not so. Nine paddle steamers are thriving. 

The larger Swiss Lakes would be unthinkable without their immaculately maintained paddle steamers, although only 40 years ago it was assumed that as the ships came to the "end of their lives" they would be replaced by motor vessels. The paddlers have remained alongside the newer motor vessels in this most technologically advanced and high-cost country.

Enterprising enthusiast and preservationist groups have shown that it is possible to take a paddle steamer disposed of by its "commercial" owners, and even after many years of lay-up, return it to operational service. Schonbrunn, above, the last of a long line of steam paddlers on the Danube in Austria, was saved in such a way.

In view of the difficulties, financial, regulatory and increasingly personnel wise as the number of steam-certified engineers diminsh, it is surprising that projects still exist to restore derelict paddle steamers. It is one thing to take on a newly-withdrawn paddler such as Waverley when gifted to the UK's Paddle Steamer Preservation Society in 1974 but another thing to take over a derelict or near-derelict ship and restore her for service. This could be regarded as in the realm of unrealistic dreams for nostalgic enthusiasts, but it has been shown that it can be done. The most recent project concerns PS Patria on lake Como, Italy, where the quasi-state-owned company NLC are refitting the ship as a steamer. She has been out of service since 1990 with only local enthusiasts to promote her cause. It is quite remarkable that the operating company, already owning PS Concordia and only using her sparingly, decided on this course of action. A return to service as a motor ship had been mooted in the past, but this new turn of events was unexpected.

Enthusiast support groups are now well established and fully contibuting to paddle steamer operations

Enthusiasts played a vital role in saving the last of the paddle steamers when strict financial criteria dictated against them and public interest in industrial and maritime heritage was still only in its early days. Now, organisations are well established and instrumental in ensuring their continued survival, either by supporting existing operators or owning paddle steamers in their own right. This makes it easy for the enthusiast to get involved directly and make a positive contribution either financially or by helping to promote or maintain the ships and know that their efforts are contributing to securing the long term futures of our remaining paddle steamers.

Unterwalden 2011 nadia.jpg

109 years old and as good as new ! : With the help of enthusiasts and under the control of a sympathetic shipping company, PS Unterwalden (left, one of a fleet of five paddle steamers on Lake Lucerne) returned to service in May 2011 after a major refit. She was restored to closer to her original profile, but with a glass-enclosed upper deck to meet modern expectations. Clever design, however, means she looks much more like she once did, with the heavy construction of the 1961 refit removed.

This photo of Unterwalden, back in service for the first time since 2009 was kindly supplied by Nadia Joehr

Having a "paddle steamer" is good for your marketing

It is unlikely that many, if any, new genuine paddle steamers will be built although the term "paddle steamer" retains a fair bit of "cache" and numerous boats, primarily Mississippi-style sternwheelers are built for tourist purposes. These capitalise of the theme but the boats are powered by modern cost-effective diesels and the propulsion is actually by submerged screw with the paddle wheels often for decorative purposes only and are therefore not genuine "paddle steamers". The ships rarely recreate the atmosphere of a historic ship completely. Remarkably the operators of the shipping services on Germany's Ammersee, a lake in southern Bavaria, decided to build a completely new vessel as a side-wheeler. MS Herrsching entered service in 2002 and although not powered by steam, she otherwise is a fine vessel.

Herrsching.jpg

Why a paddler ? : MPV Herrsching - one of a new generation of ships with a genuine set of paddle wheels. It was a surprise that the ship was a paddler. It would have been even more of a surprise if she had been a paddle steamer - an option which did receive genuine consideration, but was ultimately ruled out on cost grounds. Nevertheless, the operating company saw advantages in having a modern yet "traditional" vessel

Ships with a side-wheels which are for decorative purposes only are not included in this database. However, the addition of a wheel to a ship indicates that even appearing to be a "paddle steamer" gives a ship and important selling point. Mock wheels tend to be more common on motor ships trying to imitate Mississippi-style steamers, but mock side-wheels are not unknown.

Yarmouth Belle 2010 Garry Knight.jpg

Why the side wheels ? : On the left is the Yarmouth Belle, taken on the Upper River Thames near London in 2010 and kindly made available under Creative Commons License by owner Garry Knight. What is interesting and disturbing about Yarmouth Belle, now owned by the renowned and historical Turks shipping company, is that its wheel, a very poor decorative representation, has been added only recently to what was a magnificent historical vessel. Yarmouth Belle was built in 1892 and was originally a steamship and as well as the not-unexpected conversion, she also had a modern deckhouse added aft to spoil her original profile. The paddle wheel certainly detracts from her authenticity and, to the webmaster's mind, her looks, but clearly it was a deliberate decision by the owners to claim her on their website as a "traditional English side wheeler" (which she clearly isn't) adding that it offers elegance and versatility unrivalled on the Upper Thames.                    


The world's Paddle Steamer fleet is growing !
Neuchatel
2013 saw the return to working order of two paddle steamers which had been out of service for many years and only recently had any hope of such a renaissance. The provincial government at Como, Italy, sponsored the restoration of PS Patria and a local enthusiasts' group in Switzerland, with local government support, arranged the renovation of PS Neuchatel (above). The Swiss paddler had been used as a restaurant ship for many years and needed the installation of an engine and boiler. Photo by kind courtesy of Sebastien Jacobi (via Olivier Bachmann)

With the help of the public it can grow further 

Maid othe Loch 2011.jpg

Maid of the Loch looks like she is ready to cast off from Balloch Pier on Loch Lomond. Unfortunately she has been out of service since 1981, but much work in recent years has meant she has been open to the public for static use. A major appeal by her charitable owners, the Loch Lomond Steamship Company, is now under way to finance a return to service and  a plan is in place for her should the finance be raised. 

WHAT IS IT LIKE ABOARD A PADDLE STEAMER ?


Come aboard and take a detailed look around some of our paddle steamers, going on deck, looking into the deck houses, cafeteria and restaurant and, of course, the attraction specific to paddle steamers : the engines.

All Aboard - click here

All aboard queue.jpg


FIND OUT MORE ABOUT PADDLE STEAMERS : with the internet's leading information source


The main sections of this database are listed on the blue main menu below. The main menu can be found on the entry pages to each section and at other points in the database. You will normally be able to get back to the entry page for each section by following the return links at the bottom of individual pages.

Homepage

 

Operational Paddle Steamers
Paddle Steamer Reactivation Projects
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Clyde Steamers
British Paddle Steamer Index
Paddle Tugs
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In public service, their operating companies and website links (includes motor paddlers)
Paddle Steamers under restoration for a possible return to service
Paddle Steamers out of service with no current plans for renovation
Paddle Steamers decommissioned and now with new roles as restaurants, museums etc
Projects for new paddle steamers
Vessels scrapped in recent years
By country and area : Paddle Steamers and service operators of the past
General Description and link to view Operational and preserved paddle steamer engines
The ultimate fleet of coastal cruising steamers
Search here for British Paddle Steamers
Preserved paddle Tugs
Steamships or diesel conversions propelled by a stern wheel (Mississippi-style)

Paddle Steamer Photography of Gordon Stewart

The webmaster's extensive paddle steamer photograph portfolio in reduced size

Photographs
Good quality, interesting and topical photographs are welcomed. paddlesteamers.info webmaster Gordon Stewart has a large collection of his own work shown in reduced size format on this website (see link above) as well as many other page-sized photos helping to illustrate this database. This database deliberately excludes movies. With the growth of internet-based private movie platforms, illustrative film is now easy to access.

Topical photographs:

This database is not a news service, but topical photos, if received by the webmaster, may be published on this page or in the topical photograph archive.
The webmaster can only publish photos which the supplier owns the copyright of (or has obtained permission for its use)

Click this link for earlier topical photos


ABOUT THIS WEBSITE


paddlesteamers.info is researched, designed and maintained by Gordon Stewart and is based in England
The website aims to be a source of basic reference, setting the scene for those who wish to understand the general situation regarding paddle steamers. Those who wish to research further are directed to the appropriate sources shown in the bibliography sections of the relevant past of the historical database. Links to external websites are provided to take viewers to steamer operators' websites and for general research purposes only. It is not responsible for the content of these websites. Please report any broken or corrupted links to webmaster
The webmaster attempts to keep information as up-to-date as possible but does not guarantee that any information such as ship status etc is necessarily current. If you have any news updates or corrections, please advise the webmaster so these pages can be updated. Any views expressed are those of the webmaster alone unless otherwise indicated.

Send an e-mail to the Webmaster, Gordon Stewart   Your comments and views, questions or information requests are welcomed

What counts as a Paddle Steamer in this database ?

Steam powered side and stern-wheelers including those which have been converted to diesel power and those which survive statically (even if the machinery has been removed). Side-wheelers built as motor vessels are also included where they can be regarded as equivalent in size to the steamers covered. Stern-wheelers built as motor vessels are excluded because a large number have been built in recent times (some are genuine paddlers, others have screw propulsion and wheels mainly for effect only). Very small steamships of the "hobby steamboating" nature are excluded.  The historical database is limited to lake, river, estuarine and inshore paddle ships

Copyright and re-use of information and images

All material and photographs displayed on this website are the property of Gordon Stewart, Tramscape or accredited photographer where shown and not for re-use without permission of webmaster (uncredited photos are those of the webmaster) or photographer unless allowed under the appropriate Creative Commons licence (quoted alongside all photos used under this permission).
All information is presented in good faith based on meticulous research. If any information is clearly wrong, please advise the webmaster and it shall be corrected
Tramscape and Gordon Stewart.
All photographs displayed are with the permission of the acknowledged photographer but are not to be copied for re-use for any other website or publication without the specific authorisation of the photographer. You are welcome to use the text from this website as a research source and basis for your own work but it should not be copied and republished elsewhere verbatim or only slightly altered.
All material on the paddlesteamers.info database (formerly and including the Paddle Steamer Resources by Tramscape database) is Tramscape and Gordon Stewart or the individual photographer where acknowledged. Photos not otherwised attributed are by Gordon Stewart

Acknowledgements

The webmaster gratefully acknowledges many sources of information, including websites shown on the links page, magazines such as Paddle Wheels and Dampferzeitung and published books which he has read and absorbed information from. Many of these are listed in the Bibliography sections of the main pages to which they refer and readers of this website are referred to these books for much more detailed information about the relevant subjects. Thanks go to everyone who has submitted photos. They are acknowledged on the website alongside their photos. 

Paddle Steamer Information Requests

Most of the information available to me is presented in abbreviated form in this database and it is unlikely that I will be able to help with ships which are not included in this database, but please Send the webmaster an e-mail and I will give as much assistance as I can. I can for example also give general guidance about paddle steamer services in Europe (e.g. Swiss lake steamers operations) and guide you to the best sources of external information. The website www.paddleducks.co.uk  is the home of the world-wide modelling community where there is a lively forum for information about paddle steamers as well as modelling issues. Paddleducks members often have access to ship plans and other information of specific relevance to modellers.  Paddle Steamer Preservation Society in the UK accepts enquiries for inspection of the material in its historical collection for research purposes. Coverage is of UK operators only. Click here to go to website for more details

Can You Help With This database ?

The webmaster would be delighted to receive any updates of relevant information and photographs (of which you own copyright) which could help to keep this database as up-to-date as possible and fill in gaps in the historical record


ASSOCIATED WEBSITES


Clyde Turbine Steamers

Although Clyde Steamer fleets were dominated by paddle steamers, the introduction of the turbine steamer King Edward in 1901 dramatically improved the quality of the long-distance day excursion fleet. The world's first ever passenger ship powered by turbines brought a new level of speed, comfort and smoothness and in the next 35 years a number of excellent vessels joined the Clyde fleet.

The only surviving example is TS Queen Mary (seen right in 2007 when she served as a floating restaurant and bar in central London) which sailed from 1933 to 1977.

This website aims to draw particular attention to TS Queen Mary and the webmaster maintains close contacts with the ship's current owner.
 

Queen mary 2007.jpg

Selected Steam-Powered Passenger Excursion Steamers

A selection of photos and photograph catalogue covering steam-powered passenger excursion steamers from the webmaster's collection.

Includes photos from Loch Katrine (Scotland), River Spree (Germany), Gothenburg (Sweden) and Stockholm (Sweden).  SS Storskar (seen right in 2008 approaching Waxholm pier) is one of four historic ships retaining steam power regularly sailing from the Swedish capital city.

Also covered are the eight Glasgow-built steamers from 1961 which sailed on the Bosphoros ferry service until the final withdrawal of the last of the set in 1994

Storskar menu item.jpg

The Tramscape Webmaster's Favourite Motor Ships

Motor ships might be more economical than steamers both in fuel consumption and in manpower needed to run and maintain, but they can never offer the smoothness and quiteness of the ride offered by steamers. Without the engines to see, there is also something missing for the interested passenger, but nevertheless, there have been and remain many excellent traditionally styled passenger ferries.

MV Maltepe which served on the busy Bosphoros crossing from Istanbul from 1962 until 2010 was one of a number of the webmaster's favourites.


 

Maltepe menu item.jpg

Tramscape Tramway Cities

The Tramscape tramway photograph archive includes over 24,000 photos of 118 mainly European tram systems from the 1970s up until the present day.

The photos are primarily intended to illustrate trams in their environments - the city surroundings, the track alignments and the tramstops served - to provide a detailed snapshot of tram systems at given points in time. The aim is to have a record of as much of each route of the tram system as possible - something not necessarily available from the numerous other sources of tramway information on the internet.

Many will be attractive pictures in their own right with well-balanced views of tram and surrounding architecture and street life. No particular attention is paid to the design features of the trams depicted. Trams are the focal point of the photos and the common thread throughout.
 

Montpellier tram.jpg

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