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River Vltava, Prague, Czech Republic
Prague Passenger Shipping (Prazska Paroplavebni Spolecnost) - PPS

The largest of the two remaining steam paddlers, "Vysehrad", in Prague where locks and channels are used to allow passage through the shallow river and its weirs.
Picture : courtesy of Nigel Clark

The operators of the two remaining sidewheelers is the PPS, successor to the Prague operations of the Prague City Transport Company, which took over the local fleet of the Czech state Shipping Company (CPSL) in 1961. The company has reverted to the name used until 1937 and little changed from that used since its grounding in 1865.

The largest of a number of shipping companies established in Prague in the wake of the liberalisation of the economy in the post-Communist era, the PPS has operated a rather unpredictable service of local cruises plus longer trips to the Slapy Dam, the traditional destination of cruises from Prague. Recently, PPS has operated a limited number of cruises northwards along the Vltava to the confluence of the Vltava and Labe (Elbe) at Melnik.

Paddlers Vltava and Vysehrad (ex-Devin) have been restored. The planned refurbishment of Vysehrad (III) stalled due to lack of funds and the vessel, having lost its name to Devin, remains tied up and in poor condition. PS Labe has been sold for further use in Germany.

A close cooperation agreement has now been signed with the second largest local cruise firm, EVD (Europska vodni doprava) and the fleet is marketed under the PPS-EVD banner. As well as four smaller motor vessels to complement seven motor vessels in the PPS fleet, the EVD also brought to the fleet the motor stern-wheel paddler Sumava, a converted tug.


"Vysehrad"   (name now allocated to steamer above)

OFF-TOPIC : Sternwheel Motor Paddlers 
The largest vessel in the EVD fleet at Prague. A former tug with diesel power and an unusual stern paddle propulsion method, the 57.5 metre long vessel with space for 320 passengers was built in 1952 and heavily rebuilt with enclosed passenger accommodation for its new use as a cruise boat in 1993. Sumava's unusual paddle system was devised to allow the construction of vessels with the shallow draght of paddle vessels, but the narrow lines of a screw vessel to allow access through the locks on the River Vltava. Four prototypes were built in the 1930s, and in the 1950s, eight vessels of the same design were built in Prague. Of these, Sumava survives alongside Beskydy which is available to assist shipping on the Elbe/Labe at Torgau, where strong currents often cause problems around a railway bridge. Orlik is preserved in the Netherlands, Lipno is also in passenger service in Prague now under the name "Tyrs". Kamik serves as a floating restaurant in Prague and Jesenicky a similar role in Berlin, Germany, retaining its machinery in operational condition.  
A former tug, is operated by Spolecnost Bohemia (SB). Originally named Lipno when in the service of the CSPLO, the vessel was rebuilt for passenger operation by the Brnak yard at Decin in 1992. Originally in service between Decin and Hrensko on the Labe (Elbe), she was moved to Prague in 1993 and operates only on charter.

OFF-TOPIC  : Modern but traditionally styled genuine steam-powered sternwheel sightseeing boats at Kradec Kralove, Czechia

Kralova Eliska

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