TradBoatSource Page

The Paddle Ship Goethe


The present Goethe is actively engaged in carrying passengers on a variety of routes including a return journey between Koblenz and  Rudesheim.  This section of the Middle Rhine with castles  and sloping vineyards is rightly know as the 'romantic' Rhine and includes the famous Loreley Gorge.  There is more about the 'romantic' Rhine and its traffic here.    

Goethe is operated today by KD Lines and is in fact the last remaining paddle ship in the KD Lines fleet which originally numbered nearly 40.


Goethe was built by Gebr Sachsenburg in 1913 at Köln-Deutz.  The original vessel was  77.8 m overall, beam 15.70m. Her compound diagonal steam plant, also built by Sachsenburg, developed approximately 750hp, sufficient to give about 15km per hour upstream and around 23 km per hour coming down with the flow.  In her original service she was open forward with an aft deck saloon but her upper deck was changed and largely covered in 1925 so that she now had two deck saloons and an emphasis on passenger work instead if mixed cargo, passenger, loads, 

She remained in her 1925 form until she was sunk by allied bombing at Oberwinter in March of 1945.


Restored, she re-entered service in 1952 after an extensive rebuild which included some lengthening so that she is now approximately 83m overall and in 1955 her steam plant was converted from coal to oil firing.   She went through a further extensive rebuild in 1989-90 in Dordrecht (NL) and was not returned to service until 1996. 


goethe paddle1.jpg (71081 bytes) goetheengine.jpg (58854 bytes) goetheinside1.jpg (71107 bytes) goethebow.jpg (71417 bytes)
View into the paddle box The original engines The aft saloon At the bow

Click on any of the above thumbnails for a larger version

The pictures here were taken on board during the Summer of  2004 and include shots of her present deck saloon which was decorated in period style.  We found that we had excellent views of the paddles in action through transparent panels in the boxes and her machinery is also visible through transparent hatches.  However her original steam plant was removed in 2008 and when she was converted to diesel-hydraulic power.  We understand that her steam plant may go on display in due course: see link to Tramscape below.

Exiting the Loreley

Here she is working downstream on the exit from the Loreley Gorge passing one of the huge container ships which use this part of the Rhine.   Note the upward extending wheelhouse on the bigger ship.

For more information and pictures of commercial river traffic go here 


More Information on Goethe


The Revell Kit produces a model at 1:160 and gives us hull length of approximately 515mm.  We have started on a build of this model, and hope to complete her early in the new year.  Pictures here as we go along.


KD Line publish a schedule of voyages in Goethe here: 

Tramscape Magazine - much paddle steamer information.


Rhineschiffart – gestern und heute"  (Rhine ship travel yesterday and today)

This book is available in most bookshops in the area but only in the German edition.  However it is heavily illustrated and with the aid of a dictionary for non-German speakers, provides an excellent summary of vessels on this part of the Rhine,  from earliest times, as well as much useful information about the Rhine signaling systems.  In 2004 it cost €9.90, approximately £6.95.  

Author: Karl-Heinz Lautensack  114 pages colour and black and white illustrations.  Many photographs both historic and modern vessels. Published by: Verlag Lautensack 55413 Weiler bei Bingen.  ISBN 3 00011331 8

KD Lines

A history of the Koln - Dusseldorfer Line is available from most of their riverside booking offices.


© Charles Smith Publications.  Brought on line: 26/11/10. Updated: 02/12/2010