New Steam Engine with Remote Control
The Compagnie Génerale de Navigation sur le Lac Léman (CGN) navigates on the Swiss Lake Geneva. From 1933 to 1977 CGN converted six paddle steamers to diesel-electric paddle ships in an attempt to rationalize its operation. The number of staff was reduced by the two crew members previously attending to boiler and engine. The passenger were disappointed, searching in vain for the attractive steam engines. Not only had the steam engines been scrapped, but the classical well-balanced design of the ship had been largely destroyed (see picture below).
In 1996 four diesel-elektric paddlers were still in operation, but all components of their drive were now beyond economic repair. SLM/DLM proposed to convert these once beautiful paddle ships back to their former glory, including of course a re-conversion to steam, which makes all the difference to an ordinary motor vessel. A new fully automatic boiler and as a novelty on Swiss lakes, a remote controlled steam engine would allow to operate these paddle steamers without additional crew members ensuring the economics.
Boiler, steam engine and remote control were extensively tested before delivery. For this the entire engine room had been put up in test bed, including a water resistance brake for tests under load. The specification required a nominal power of 650 kW at 51 revs. /min. which was easily surpassed with 761 kW. This was by all means not the limit, but with respect to the new bearings, we did not want to overdue it during the running in period.
Steam engines run moothly and silent even under full load, enabling an open galley to watch the engine perform. (picture: Robert Horlacher) On motor ships, engine rooms have to be enclosed and heavily insulated against noise. High quality ear protection is necessary in the engine rooms.
Faszinating dynamics, photographed by ArminSchmutz. There is a short video showing the engine in motion on the test bed as well as in the ship.
Isn't she elegant and beautiful? (Foto: Robert Horlacher)