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Steamship SS Rigi, Lake Lucerne 1848-1952On the route to the southThe steamship Rigi is the same age as modern Switzerland, which makes it the nation’s oldest preserved machine-driven vehicle. It originates from the earliest days of the mechanization of the link through the Alps via the Gotthard. The Rigi was built in the birthplace of industrialisation, England. Primarily envisaged for transporting freight on Lake Lucerne, the ship received a large, unencumbered deck. It transported goods destined for export from Lucerne to Flüelen and returned with imported goods. At a time dominated by horse-drawn vehicles and poor roads, the steamship was the quickest means of transport. It also provided a vital transport link on the north-south axis between Basel and Milan, which itself formed part of the Rotterdam-Genoa corridor. What you have here, then, is a forerunner of the country's newest transalpine route, the New Railway Link through the Alps NRLA.
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  • Steamship SS Rigi, Lake Lucerne 1848-1952
    On the route to the south
    The steamship Rigi is ...

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  • Steamship SS Rigi, Lake Lucerne 1848-1952
    On the route to the south

    The steamship Rigi is the same age as modern Switzerland, which makes it the nation’s oldest preserved machine-driven vehicle. It originates from the earliest days of the mechanization of the link through the Alps via the Gotthard. The Rigi was built in the birthplace of industrialisation, England. Primarily envisaged for transporting freight on Lake Lucerne, the ship received a large, unencumbered deck. It transported goods destined for export from Lucerne to Flüelen and returned with imported goods. At a time dominated by horse-drawn vehicles and poor roads, the steamship was the quickest means of transport. It also provided a vital transport link on the north-south axis between Basel and Milan, which itself formed part of the Rotterdam-Genoa corridor. What you have here, then, is a forerunner of the country's newest transalpine route, the New Railway Link through the Alps NRLA.

    Landing stage in Lucerne
    Boarding the steamship Rigi

    On entering the Lucerne harbour basin, the SS Rigi was moored at a landing stage. Owing to the height of their draught, the boats had to maintain a safe distance from the shore, so the landing stages protruded far out into the lake. These were initially built of timber, only to be replaced by stronger stone or iron constructions towards the end of the 19th century. They were used for loading and unloading goods and embarking and disembarking passengers. The goods and animals were kept on deck, while most of the passengers travelled in the cabins in the ship’s hull. At stopping places without a landing stage, passengers and goods were ferried between shore and boat by barge. Passengers embarked and disembarked via an “accommodation ladder”, a stair-type ladder hinged to a platform attached to the side of the ship. Step onto the landing stage and discover the hull of the world’s oldest surviving flush-deck side-wheeler paddle steamer.
  • Inventory No.VHS-404
  • Original/modelOriginal
  • Object typeObject (three-dimensional)
  • Manufacturer/operatorDitchburn and Mare, Manufacturer, archivalisch belegt
    Escher-Wyss und Cie. (Escher Wyss bzw. Escher, Wyss + Co., Monogramm EWC) (1805 - 1983), Engine manufacturer, archivalisch belegt
    PDG Post-Dampfschiffahrtsgesellschaft auf dem Vierwaldstättersee (Postdampfschiff-Gesellschaft) (1846 - 1870), Operator or user, archivalisch belegt
    VDGV Vereinigte Dampfschiffahrts-Gesellschaft des Vierwaldstättersees (1870 - 1872), Operator or user, archivalisch belegt
    DGV Dampfschiffgesellschaft des Vierwaldstättersees (Dampfschiff-Gesellschaft, Dampfschiffahrtsgesellschaft des Vierwaldstättersees) (1870 - 1959), Operator or user, archivalisch belegt
  • GeographyTerritory: Vierwaldstättersee
  • DatingBaujahr 1848, Maschine 1894
  • Object weightL x B x H 3715 x 850 cm
    Gewicht 90000 kg
  • Number of crew7
  • Number of passengers200
  • Type of propulsionPiston steam engine
  • Engine designoscillating,
  • Number of cylinders2
  • Steam (bar)6.85
  • Power (kW)114
  • Gross registered tonnage (GRT)90
  • Top speed (km/h)19.7