This winter the Lake Zurich paddle steamer Stadt Zurich, built in 1909, has undergone a major refurbishment in the covered dock in the shipyard at Wollishofen on the south west outskirts of the city after which the paddler was named.
The port paddle wheel with the feathering mechanism clearly visible. Top left is the eccentric hub which is connected to the paddle blades by the radius arms. As the wheel rotates the eccentric controls and optimises the angle at which each blade enters and leaves the water. Although earlier Dart paddle steamers had feathering wheels the River Dart Steamboat Co. reverted to old fashioned radial wheels without this for Kingswear Castle. These are less efficient but there is also much less to go wrong with them!
The newly laid foredeck. Re-decking a ship is so much easier in a covered dock like this where the work can proceed in an ambient temperature irrespective of the weather conditions outside. If deck planks are laid in the open when it is wet the timber may be in a somewhat swollen state and when the hot weather comes the planks will dry out causing the seams between them to start to open up making the deck leak.
The 500HP engine built by the shipbuilders Escher Wyss for the Stadt Zurich.
Part of the original hull plating has been cut out here and new steel inserts have been welded into place.
A new use for the newly painted ventilation cowls!
Stadt Zurich’s sister Stadt Rapperswill, built in 1914, also open to the public in the yard on 20th March. The two lake Zurich paddle steamers run on many days during the season from Easter to October but if the weather is poor are sometimes replaced on the service by smaller and hence cheaper to run Diesel vessels.
If you would like to take a trip on one of these beautiful paddle steamers have a look at the Lake Zurich website here.
Kingswear Castle returned to service in 2023 after the first part of a major rebuild which is designed to set her up for the next 25 years running on the River Dart. The Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust is now fund raising for the second phase of the rebuild. You can read more about the rebuilds and how you can help if you can here.