Up in the mountains with a ship ...

In Austria there is, on top of the mountain the Bielerhöhe (2032 m.above sealevel), a artificial lake. It is called the “Silvretta Stausee”. On this lake there is the highest commercial shipping service of Europe. A ship called the “Silvretta” cruises at this lake from June until September. The rest of the year it is parked in a storage room at the freight train yard of Schruns. Every year the boat is transported to the top of the mountain by the company Sohler, also from Schruns (and in September they take it back down again). Here we see the transport at it’s starting point.

The truck they used was a ÖAF 8x8. More details about it can be found here. This truck has a steerable rear-axle which already on the first meters showed it’s advantages!!

A winch was loaded on the way. Where it is for, is something we will see later on.
The total vehicle weight is about 50 tonnes! The truck alone is 29, the drawbar trailer 8, the boat 10 and it’s transportframe about 3 tonnes heavy.

And after some small villages the transport has reached the Silvretta-Hochalpenstrasse (Silvretta-Highalps road). This toll-road leads to the Bielderhöhe and is about 20 kilometer long. It has 29 hairpins and inclines up to 14%. Here we see the ÖAF at one of the first corners. The 460 hp have to do some serious work here :-))

In the tight corners we also see the advantage of a steerable rear-axle!

Here it clearly visible how strong the incline is on this road!! The escort vehicle is a Skoda Octavia Combi.

The ZF torque converter is ideal for these kind of roads. It is very helpfull for driving away at an incline.

Here an overview over the beautifull landscape. The pipeline transports the water from the lake to another lake. The artificial lake is also used to generate electricity.

The last part of the road. Here it only has a strong incline, no hairpins anymore.

Soooo, made it again!!!

At the top, the driver has uncoupled the trailer and is now manoeuvring his truck towards the “boat-elevator”. And again the steerable rear-alxe is of advantage.

Here we see the elevator. The cart can be moved up and down over the rails. To winch is brought here to move this cart.

Here the crane is folded out. Here it is used with a remote control.

After that the cart was pulled into the highest position, the driver has repositioned it’s ÖAF so that is stands very near to the boat-elevator. The drawbar trailer is pulled beside by an Unimog. Now the lifting cables are mounted to the transportframe

Then the lifting can start. Here the Effer crane is lifting 13 tonnes!! The load is lifted over the rear side of the truck because the crane has more lifting power in this area.

The boat is placed on the cart very carefully.

The ship has been put in place. The crane can be packed together. And again the truck has to be moved.

Then the boat is lowered very slowly with the winch. The crane is in this position so that it can guide the rope of the winch.

Almost there! Only a few meters and the ship will be floating and can cruise away.

Done, the Silvretta can again cruise here rounds on the lake after which she is named.

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