June 2011:
Lake Geneva Paddle Steamer Simplon

June 2011:
Lake Geneva Paddle Steamer Simplon

Lake Geneva Paddle Steamer Simplon has just emerged from a major re-build and refurbishment. Here she is seen arriving at Lausanne Ouchy on Saturday May 21 2011 ready to take up the 11.45 sailing to Chateau Chillon.

In the years running up to the First World War tourism boomed in Switzerland and one paddle steamer after another was built to meet the increasing demand. Simplon was ordered in 1913 which, with the benefit of hindsight, was not an auspicious date to invest in tourism. The following year the world dissolved into the chaos and destruction of war so Simplon was not completed and did not finally enter service until 1920 by which time much of Europe was bankrupt.

On the upper deck looking aft. Let’s order a coffee!

On the upper deck looking forward. How about lunch?

The excellent dining saloon on the main deck offers a wonderful Belle Epoque atmosphere for some serious dining.

The engine has had a lot of work done on it.

And, like La Suisse in her re-build a couple of years ago, now has some black paint replacing the previous rather splendid red.

In the bow, like all the Swiss paddlers, Simplon retains a hand operated windlass for the anchors. Look at the lovely new galvanised anchor chains .

Tucked away below deck is a newly installed bow thrust unit.

A perfect day on a perfect boat on a perfect lake. Heaven on earth!

In recent years, the Simplon has been one of the least used of the operational Lake Geneva paddle steamers. However, this season she is scheduled to be out and about much more and, in the peak weeks, is likely to be taking the sailing from Geneva at 10.15 to Lausanne and Evian back to Geneva by 19.20.

Simplon is the second Swiss paddle steamer to emerge from a major restoration this summer. The other is the Unterwalden on Lake Lucerne. More of her anon.