paddlesteamers.info : The Internet's leading website for
Side-Wheeled Paddle Steamers
: (includes notes on the operational quarter-wheeler Karim and possible surviving stern-wheelers)
River Nile, lifeblood of Egyptian civilisations throughout the
millenia, can still count paddle steamers amongst the numerous
vessels plying its waters.
The river has attracted tourists for many years and Nile cruises take
visitors to some of the greatest archaelogical remains on the earth.
British tourists in the 19th
century were the driving force for the construction of paddle steamers. In 1869,
28 years after organising his first escorted outing to nearby Loughborough in
the English midlands, Leicester-based Thomas Cook, had hired two paddlers for
his tours of the Nile. They went on to built their own hotels and had a virtual
monopoly over the tourist trade in the area. After 1885 they really began to
expand their own fleet and for the 1896 season, the Anglo-American Nile Navigation
Company entered competition as tourists from the USA became particularly numerous.
In the winter of 1905/06 Anglo-American was taken over by the German-owned Hamburg-American
Company along with their steamers Puritan and Mayflower and four others, whilst
a new American concern, the Express Nile Navigation Company entered the market
with their new steamers Virginian and America. The Hamburg company also put
two new steamers on order for introduction the following season as competition
really began to heat up - just as it had done, for example, on the Firth of Clyde
only a few years earlier.
There are very few sources of information
which makes it difficult to give precise information about the exact date of
construction or indeed the actual builders of the paddle steamers still in existence
in Egypt and old records appear to have been lost. The vessels themselves have
been considerable altered over time, although most have their old machinery
virtually untouched. In one case the engineer's plate displayed clearly does
not relate to the original engine and has been a later addition !
tend to be run by tour operating companies on long-term charter from their owners,
so sometimes it is unclear who actually owns them and who markets them each
season - and of course travel agents in many cases arrange cruise holidays on
their own account in association with the lead operator.
Thomas Cook's Sudan
was returned to service after many years of dereliction is is the only overnight
paddler in service
Sudan Seen in 2011 in a photo kindly supplied by Kevin
One paddler has reportedly been
converted to diesel operation although retains her steam machinery on board
PV Andrea Manasterly : seen above as PS Nile Peking (ex
- Time Machine, ex - Mahasen) : Seen in 2011 in a photo
kindly supplied by Kevin Hoggett
Also check the following pages :
preserved Side-wheel Paddle Steamers outside Europe - for PS Le Pacha
side-wheel paddle Steamers Outside Europe - for PS Memnon
More Egyptian Paddle Steamers:
Paddle Steamers of the Past
OTHER EXTERNAL WEBSITE LINKS
A historical review by Alan Dumelow
FORMER SIDE-WHEELER STILL IN OPERATION
The yacht El Mahroussa
survives in magnificent condition at Alexandria where she serves as
Egypt's presidential yacht and makes occasional short sailings. She was
originally built in 1865 by Samuda Brothers at Wapping, London, as
a paddle steamer for the Khedive Ismail Pasha. The vessel, which
remained in royal service until 1952, is much changed from the ship
originally delivered. Lengthened by 40 ft in an Italian yard in 1872
then again by 16 ft at Inglis' yard in Glasgow in 1905, she was also
converted to screw propulsion and fitted with Parsons steam turbines
built at their own engine works. In 1905, turbines were still a new
form of marine engineering, the first commercial ship to be so equipped
being only four years previously. She has had an interesting history,
being the first vessel to sail through the Suez Canal when officially
opened in 1869, escorted royalty into exile, including ex-King Farouk
in 1952 (at the time the ship was renamed as El Horriya)
and even went to the United States for that country's bi-centennial
celebrations in New York in 1976. She returned to her original name in
2000. In 2015 she was the ship used to inaugurate the New Suez Canal
built alongside the original canal to increase capacity
: Quarter-Wheel Steamer Karim
The British Army, still in Egypt after World War I brought
over some paddlers - one of which became a Royal Yacht, and now a luxury river
A steam-fired paddler, built in 1917. She is understood to have been built to
a design of the Lytham Shipbuilding & Engineering Co for use
on the Rivers Tigris and Eurphrates in Baghdad for the British Army.
A number of vessels were sent to Iraq, but possibly six (one of
which which became Karim), went for use in Egypt instead. Soon afterwards
she was used by the then Sultan, later King Fuad
I of Egypt and later by his son and, after the republican revolution, state presidents.
She has been in regular passenger service for public cruises
since refurbishment in 1991. The 45.8
metre long vessel has 15 luxury cabins and is equipped for 30
passengers. Her normal schedule is for 7-night cruises from Luxor to
the Aswan Dam at Lake Nasser and is operated by local company Spring Tours.
She has stern-placed side wheels, the so-called "quarter-wheel"
arrangement, which can be operated independently and are driven
by two compound engines.
Photo kindly supplied by Mr Morsi Shehata, General
Manager of Spring Tours
Click here for
more photos from Mr Shehata
Click here for photos kindly
supplied by Kevin Hoggett in 2011
Karim websites: http://springtours.com.gridhosted.co.uk/steam-ship-karim/
: Possible Laid-up Stern-wheelers (believed to exist as at 2004 but status could well have changed)
Two other former
British army stern-wheel paddle
steamers built by Fairfields at Govan are still in existence.......but not in
1886 by Fairfield at Govan, Glasgow (yard no 295) for the British Expeditionary force in Egypt
which was sent to relieve Major-General Gordon under siege in Khartoum in the
Sudan. Her engines bear the plate of John Elder, also located at Govan, whose
business ended in 1885 just as Fairfields established theirs on the Govan site.
Spent many years on the
Wadi Haifa to Aswan run after conversion to a passenger steamer. Was understood to be under refit for a future cruising
role (as at 2004) but this appears to have been deferred and it is understood
that she is now being converted for a role as a restaurant ship.
Clydesite's Clydebuilt database (as at Dec 2009) lists Akasha, a sister ship
of Ibis, also built by Fairfields (no 296) as still active , but I have no further
information as to exactly where she is.
The Thomas Cook Company were pioneers in "holidaymaking"
and owned an extensive fleet of Nile Paddle Steamers : Two sternwheelers survive
Laid up at Esna near Luxor. Believed to have sunk at some stage.
Former Thomas Cook fleet steamer.
Photo by kind courtest
of Paul Smith (Archivist, Thomas Cook)
paddler is up for sale with Luxor Marine Services as broker. Current
theories suggest she is Thomas Cook's PS
Fostat. After her regular career ended she had various uses. In
1962 and 1963 she was in service for the University of Chicago Institute
of Oriental Studies and used by the American Research Centre
in Cairo in the early 1990s.
here for more photos and information
October 2009. This and other photos of taken in October 2009
are by kind courtesy of Connie Tindale
The Anglo-American Nile Navigation Company were
the first main competitiors to Thomas Cook and two old stern-wheelers survive
from their fleet
Both are understood to have a common owner,
a steam enthusiast, who is looking for buyers who will restore them and return them
to service and both were seen at Minya shipyard in April 2018
known as Farida and Queen Farida