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Indian Paddlesteamer

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Roderick Smith:
The news is scrappy.  AFAIK the big one (Ostrich) is out of use, but Lepcha and Tern survive.  The fourth at the time was screw, not paddle.  The corporation was trying to obtain modern replacements, but I don't if it succeeded.  Again, scrappy memory, but either new build as foreign aid, or second hand.   In Malawi, Ilala (screw) has just been replaced with a modern vessel, I guess as foreign aid.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Hi friends and neighbors,

a further interesting article with pictures about a Mesopotamian quarter wheeler I found in:


The British India website menroned feeres to the ships of the Briotish India Line, which went from the UK to India.
 There were two companies in India pre-partition , the  Rivers Steam Navigation Company and the India General Navigations and Raiwlasy Company. which owned the Bhopal

I found an article from Indian newspaper about PS "Bhopal", build 1945 by Denny. The boat will be restored and make journeys again - but with diesel engines. It is planned, that the steam engine will be in situ for "educational reasons". If this intentions came true, this would be an interesting further point of paddlesteamer restauration in the world.


PS Bhopal:
Hello all!

I happen to represent the company that has taken up the work of restoring and making PS Bhopal operational again. We are a 60+ year old Inland Water Transport company based out of Kolkata and working all over India.

Given the intent of the Kolkata Port Trust (now known as Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port Trust) to preserve and deploy PS Bhopal for the public to experience it, we have taken up the job of doing the needful.

To be completely frank, though we have been enthusiastic of engaging in river tourism commercially in the Hooghly River here in Kolkata, our knowledge and understanding of the history of the Paddle Steamers here is anecdotal and limited to what the Port can share with us.

One of the things we are definitely including in the final restored design is a museum within the vessel.

I request all the very enthusiastic members here to
A) Share any resources in terms of documents, drawings, books, photos etc. that could help us showcase and document the history of this vessel, paddle steamers in the Indian subcontinent in general, history of the design, history of the Firm who made Bhopal etc.
B) Share your thoughts and references on exhibits and ideas for the museum based on what you guys may have experienced around the world with other paddle steamers which are still running

In return, I shall of course be sharing regular updates on the design, manufacturing and restoration efforts going on the vessel on our end.

For now I can confirm that we are trying to restore most of the machinery to working condition, though not be steam, but either pneumatically or with hydraulic/electrical motors. Sharing the video of a vertical pump from the vessel we just restored and got working

Additionally, everyone looking to visit and take a look at this mammoth project while its ongoing, please feel free to make a trip (provided COVID restrictions allow you to travel), and please do be our guests while here to experience the Hooghly from our eyes. Our target to go live with it is September this year.


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