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Goethe   (Diesel-hydraulic, ex-steam) 
Operating Area : River Rhein

Classic view of Goethe at the Loreley rock near St Goar taken on 21st July, 2012. Photo by kind courtesy of Phil Barnes.
More photos of Goethe passing the Loreley and at Rudesheim in 2012 : Click here

Built at Cologne in 1913 by Sachsenberg at Koln-Deutz

Length : 83 metres - 272 feet (extended from 77.8 m after 1951-2 rebuild)

Original engines : Compound Diagonal, 700 HP, built by Sachsenberg at Rosslau, which will be exhibited at the Kolnisches Stadtmuseum (Cologne) See photos
Original boiler : 1 x 285 m2 surface area - 500 lites per hour
Replacement boilers in 1996 : 2 x 100 m2 surface area - 350 litres per hour

Converted to twin diesel-hydraulic drive during the winter of 2008-09 :  2 x 6 cyl Iveco Cursor 13 motors - total 734 kw
Fuel consumption : Average 150 litres / hour   (approx 6 litres/ km)
Bow thruster : Schottel Pumpjet SP J57 T - 195 kw electric motor
Stern (transverse) thruster  : Schottel STT060 LK EL   - 100 kw electric motor

Originally designed as a passenger and cargo ship
Superstructure rebuilt in 1925 to increase the enclosed passenger accommodation - to the detriment of her draught and speed
Wrecked during World War II, twice hit by bombs in separate air raids over Cologne in 1942
Sunk by bombs in Oberwinter harbour in March 1945 while in use as accommodation for Russian war prisoners, resulting in 21 deaths
Raised unsuccessfully in 1949 but made watertight by the welding on of the stern section of the steamer Ostmark
Completely rebuilt at the Ruthof shipyard in Mainz in 1951 and 1952 with only the engines and the central part of the hull retained,
resuming duties in 1953.
Special light metal superstructure to improve draught and speed 
Converted to oil firing in 1955
Repainted in "nostalgia" livery with painted paddle-box vents in 1977 in an attempt to market her paddler status.
Withdrawn after the 1989 season with mechanical problems, but as the last paddler, repair was anticipated.
After some uncertainty she was completely re-fitted but given a more traditional outward appearance.
Most of the rstoration work was undertaken by the De Biesbosch Works, near Dordrecht, Netherlands
Returned to service late in the year in 1996 after major refurbishment

Converted to diesel operation with hydraulic transmission shortly after completing her 2008 season on October 5th
*** The cost of repairing a hairline crack in the entablature was estimated at Euros 400 k (and full replacement at EUR 1 m)
*** New legislation required vessels to have two independent motors for river navigation, therefore it was decided to install two diesel units (in separate compartments)
*** Conversion costed at EUR 727 k
Starboard diesel replaced in 2011 after a fire on August 18th at Oberwesel

Last in the long line of River Rhein paddlers operated by the "KD", mechanical problems almost lead to her demise in 1989, but a major refurbishment allowed a return to service in 1996 for this ship originally built in 1913. Originally an unremarkable member of a large fleet, she was extensively improved in 1925 and again in 1952 after wartime wrecking. Her rebuild prior to return to service in 1996 has made her a thoroughly modern vessel, although close attention has been given to her appearance, both internal and outward, to create a traditional feel. After the 2008 season her steam engines were removed and replaced by twin diesel-hydraulic units. 

Go to the Photograph Archive :  1988 : 2000 : 2017

Have a look around Goethe in 2000 (whilst she was still a steamer) : Click here


Above : Goethe as built. She was originally a freight and passenger ship. Photo by kind courtesy of Markus Graf from his collection

Above : Goethe after her reconstruction to be a passenger steamer in 1925. Photo by kind courtesy of Markus Graf from his collection

Above : Goethe from 1925 to 1937.  Photo by kind courtesy of Markus Graf from his collection. Publisher Kratz of Cologne, no. 588

Above : Goethe passing Mainz in the 1950s. Photo by kind courtesy of Markus Graf

Above : At Bonn in 1988 sporting her controversial "nostalgia" livery (1977-1989)

Above : Goethe in the Netherlands.  The Rhein, of course, meets the North Sea in the Netherlands, but it is not usual for Goethe to be seen outside Germany. On March 21st 1998, Hubert Kraaivanger got this photo of her at Nijmegen on her return home from Dordrecht where she had winter work undertaken at the De Biebosch yard


Above : Goethe in 2000 heading upstream at St Goar

Above : Goethe at Cologne (Koln) in August 2003. Photo by kind courtesy of Phil Barnes.  Click here for more photos by Phil
Ausbau Maschine DS Goethe (5).jpg
Above : Removal of Goethe's Steam engines : Winter 2008-09
It is rare in the modern age for paddle steamers' engines to be replaced by diesel units (in fact the last change was the other way around !) - but over the winter of 2008-09, Goethe's were!  This move caused uproar among the steamer enthusiast world, but KD had their reasons and were not to be dissuaded .......

Follow the removal of the engines and see the empty engine room and the first signs of the new machinery in photos kindly supplied by Goethe engineer Alois Mohr through my correspondent Olivier Bachmann on this link

Above : Goethe on March 31st 2009, leaving Cologne for the first time after being converted to diesel power.
Photo by Alois Mohr engineer of Goethe kindly supplied by Olivier Bachmann

Above : Goethe near Oberwesel on August 8th 2017.

In their Annual Report and Accounts for 2009, the KD company noted with respect to Goethe : The conversion to diesel-hydraulic operation was completed successfully and on time in April 2009. This has meant that there is now no risk of goethe having to be taken completely out of service due to technical reasons. The appearance of the ship remains unaltered, with paddle wheels which can be seen from outside and inside the ship. The advantages of the conversion, as well as the ship now having a second independent motor, include lower fuel consumption, better manoevrability and a more environmentally friendly operation, all with a lower crew complement. The ship has been on the daily "Nostalgia Route" between Koblenz and Ruedesheim since the beginning of the season. It was decided in cooperation with the cultural protection department of the city of Cologne and the Rhine Heritage authorities that the old engines  would be put under protection and loaned to the Cologne City Museum.

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