new steam engines for ships
paddle steamer "Montreux" with new, remote controlled 650 kW marine steam engine
Between 1933 and 1977, the Compagnie Générale de Navigation sur le Lac Léman (CGN) equipped six paddle steamers with diesel-electric propulsion to rationalise their operation. In particular, the two machinists could be made redundant. The steam engines, which were attractive to passengers, were scrapped, and the previously balanced classical ship architecture was also affected by an unfashionable modernisation (see picture).
In 1996 four diesel-electric 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, thereby ensuring its economic operation.
Boiler, steam engine and remote control were extensively tested before delivery, and prior to installation into the "Montreux", the entire steam system was assembled on test benches and extensively tested, 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, however, in view of the new bearings, the machine was not subjected to higher loads on the test stand.
Steam engines run smoothly and silently even under full load, enabling an open galley to watch the engine perform. (Picture: Robert Horlacher). In comparison, on motor ships engine rooms have to be enclosed and heavily insulated against noise, and high quality ear protection is necessary.
Faszinierende Dynamik, festgehalten durch Armin Schmutz. Im Kapitel "Galerie/Videos" ist ein kurzer Film des Prüfstandes und der "Montreux" im Betrieb zu sehen.
Isn't she elegant and beautiful? (Image: Robert Horlacher)
As part of the revamp, the architecture of the ship has also been carefully updated.