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River Rhein, Germany


Paddle Steamer Mainz of 1929 was the last of its kind built for service on the Rhine and the last major paddler for use in continental Europe outside of the Soviet Union along with Stadt Uberlingen on Lake Constance, both built by the Christof Ruthof yard at Mainz-Kastel. Seen in 1987 in Mannheim and moored statically as a museum ship she was restored to approximate her original appearance although the glazing on the upper deck has been extended further aft than was the original design. Photo by Gordon Stewart


Today's dominating Rhein excursion ship operator KD Deutsche Rheinschiffahrt GmbH retains paddle ship Goethe in its fleet albeit now as a diesel-hydraulic vessel

The KD can trace its history back to 1853 when two earlier companies, the Preussisch-Rheinischen Dampfschiffahrtsgesellschaft (PRDG), the "Koln" company dating back to 1826 and the Dampfschiffahrtsgesellschaft fur den Nieder- und Mittelrhein (DGNM), the "Dusseldorf" company dating back to 1836, merged at a time of intense competition and the in response to the loss of much of the freight and passenger traffic along the Rhine following the expansion of the railways along its banks.

Despite the merger, the two companies, which were established in 1826 and 1836 respectively, maintained semi-independent operations ordering their own vessels which were known as "Koln" or "Dusseldorf" boats. Although other companies operated vessels during this period, especially in the more northerly and southerly stretches of the river, the KD came to dominate and absorb the competitors, such as the Mulheim Company (MDAG, based at Cologne-Mulheim and taken over in 1925),

The Dutch Steamboat Company, Nederlandsche Stoomboot Maatschappij (NSM/NSR, from 1859), which traced its inception back to 1823, ran in cooperation with the German companies from 1927 with the KD becoming the majority shareholder. After World War II, the Dutch company was reestablished as an independent entity, the Nederlandsche Stoomboot Reederij Akkermans (NSRA) but survived only until 1954 with the KD taking over its motor vessels and all remaining Dutch paddle steamers scrapped.


Absorbed Companies



The Mulheimer Dampfschiffahrtsgesellschaft was based at Mulheim, a suburb of Cologne on the east bank of the Rhine (not to be confused with the town of the same name on the River Ruhr). When it was taken over in 1925 (and called Koelner Reederei AG by that time) the remaining vessels of the company were quickly sold with the exception of Stadt Dusseldorf. Albertus Magnus, seen above in a post card view, lasted one year until being sold for use on the Elbe 

Other local operators



Although the KD and its antecedents dominated services on the river with their enormous paddle steamers, more localised services were also available with smaller operators. The vessel above was built in 1902 by Gebruder Sachsenberg at Cologne (Koln-Deutz) as Stadt Bonn for an operator based at Mondorf near Bonn and from 1923 sailed as Kreis Moers (as seen above in a post card view) when she moved to new owners based at Moers near Duisburg. She was later named Maintal and Kurfurst Ruprecht and sailed out of Heidelberg and Neckargemund.



HISTORICAL PADDLE STEAMERS : KD and antecedents




List of PRDG, DGNM and "Dutch" paddle steamers built from 1880 onwards.
Eduard Bundgen (see bibliography below), lists "Siegfried" as vessel 64 in the chronological list of Rhine steamers, indicating the scale of the fleets and the constant introduction of new tonnage.
Click on any link on the vessel name below for more information/photos
* Ships taken over from the Koelner Reederei (noted here as MDAG) in 1925

Note : Many of the photos in the vessel pages are shown with kind permission of Markus Graf (Chief Engineer at CGN Lausanne) who owns these photos, many of which were shown in the above mentioned book by Eduard Bundgen. Mr Graf's father contributed photos to the book and was given other photos by Mr Bundgen which are now in a collection owned by Mr Graf. These are scans from original photos  


Vessel Name (s)Built inForLength (m)UntilNotes
Mainz1929DGNM83.62  - Survives as a static museum ship in Mannheim

Juliana Koningin der Nederlande / Juliana   

1928

Dutch

79.00

1944

Sunk in 1944 as blockade ship at Ijmuiden

Vaterland

1926

PRDG

79.03

1972

Scrapped 1978 

Rheinland / Rudesheim1926DGNM79.10  - Remains in service as De Majesteit at Rotterdam NL
Hindenburg / Frieden1916PRDG77.801968Renamed Frieden in 1946 after reconstruction. Burnt out in Cologne Rheinauhafen in 1968

Bismarck

1914

DGNM

78.00

1974

Scrapped 1978

Goethe1913PRDG77.80  - Remains in service with KD but now with diesel-hydraulic drive

Kaiser Wilhelm II

1912

DGNM

82.00

1959

 

Bluecher

1912

PRDG

84.30

1944

Sunk by bombing at Koln -14/10/44 - Scrapped 1946

Kronprinzessin Cecilie / Cecilie

1910

PRDG

77.80

1974

Sunk 1945. Rebuilt 1950 and renamed Cecilie. In reserve from 1967. Scrapped 1983

Loreley / Ostmark

1908

DGNM

73.00

1945

Rebuilt and renamed Ostmark in 1931

Prins-Hendrik

1907

Dutch

81.72

1955

 

Stadt Dusseldorf *

1907

MDAG

60.25

1944

To KD in 1925. Sunk 22/4/44

Grossherzog Ernst Ludwig / Ernst Ludwig

1906

DGNM

75.50

1963

Scrapped 1964

Albertus Magnus *

1906

MDAG

57.00

1926

To KD in 1925, to Magdeburg in 1926 as Markgraf . Sold in 1936 to Hamburg as a tug. Scrap 1960

Schiller

1905

PRDG

72.30

1944

Lost to bombing 18/12/44. Scrapped 1946

Elberfeld

1905

DGNM

73.00

1967

 

Barbarossa

1903

PRDG

76.00

1970

In reserve from 1963

Rheingold

1902

DGNM

73.00

1966

Scrapped 1967

Parcival / De Zeeuw / Stahleck

1902

DGNM

73.00

1945

Sold to Dutch (1930) as De Zeeuw, bought back (1935) as Stahleck

Neptun / De Nederlander

1901

PRDG

71.00

1943

Sold 1929 to Dutch as De Nederlander

Gutenberg / Rheinstein / Siegfried

1900

DGNM

73.00

1945

Renamed Rheinstein in 1911. Sold to Dutch as Siegfried. Survived until 1945

Borussia

1899

PRDG

85.85

1921

Sold for use as tug. Scrapped 1934

Kaiserin Auguste Viktoria

1899

DGNM

85.85

1921

Sold. Bombed and sunk in 1945

Rotterdam

1898

Dutch

 

1954

 

Kaiserin Friedrich

1897

PRDG

68.50

1944

Bombed and sunk at Ludwigshafen on 13/9/44

Deutschland / De Rijn

1896

DGNM

72.50

1946

To Dutch in 1929. Renamed De Rijn

Stadt Koln *

1896

MDAG

52.00

1925

KD 1925, Lauenburg/Elbe (1925-57), Holland (1957-63) Burnt out

Hollandia

1894

Dutch

72.62

1955

 

Elsa

1894

PRDG

71.60

1932

Sold for use as Restaurant. Burnt out in 1945

Undine / Stolzenfels

1894

PRDG

67.75

1945

Sold to Dutch, renamed Stolzenfels (1929). Sunk 15/3/45

Stolzenfels / Amicitia

1892

PRDG

77.50

1942

Sold to Dutch, renamed Amicitia (1929). Sunk 31/5/42.

Arnold Walpod

1892

DGNM

71.60

1933

Sold to Dutch. Out of service from 1933

Willem III Koning der Nederlande / Willem III

1891

Dutch

72.50

1954

 

Wilhelmina Koningin der Nederlande / Wilhelmina / Willem

1890

Dutch

73.00

1954

Renamed Willem in 1950

Overstolz

1890

PRDG

68.00

1941

Bombed and sunk 1/3/41

Lohengrin

1890

PRDG

68.00

1938

 

Frauenlob

1890

DGNM

68.60

1956

Scrapped 1960

Emma

1889

Dutch

73.00

1936

 

Drachenfels

1888

DGNM

68.60

1960

Scrapped 1963

Rhein

1888

PRDG

67.00

1924

Sold to Hamburg intersts as "Hamburg II". Scrap 1948

Hansa

1886

PRDG

67.00

1924

Sold 1924 for in use as restaurant - Derelict hull was still extant at Cologne in 2005

Niederwald

1886

DGNM

67.00

1930

Sold for use as a house - boat

Hohenstaufen

1884

PRDG

61.25

1920

Sold but not used again - scrapped 1936

Bismarck / Freiherr von Stein / Westmark

1883

DGNM

67.00

1951

Renamed Freiherr vom Stein (1914), Westmark (1931)

Moltke

1882

PRDG

70.50

1928

Sold - Stadt Magdeburg (1928) then to Duisburg as Gluckauf in 1930

Willem I Koning der Nederlande / Willem I

1881

Dutch

71.00

1936

Survived as restaurant shipat Ludwigshafen into the 1960s

Chriemhilde

1880

Dutch

71.00

1945

Scuttled 1945 and later scrapped

Siegfried

1880

Dutch

71.00

1936

House boat and restaurant. Bombed & sunk in 1944




BIBLIOGRAPHY
Die Personenschiffahrt auf dem Rhein : Vom Schaufelraddampfer zum Kabinenschiff
Eduard Bundgen
1987
ISBN : 3-88255-501-7
EK-Verlag, Postfach 5560, 7800 Freiburg, Germany
The definitive 444 page history, highly illustrated with old black and white photos and vitually every available fact about the vessels.

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