Reaction Ferry In Basel Switzerland (Münsterfähre)


Reaction ferry crossing the Rhine, Basel, Switzerland

Münsterfähre

In Basel you can cross the Rhine without motorized assistance, using only the natural power of the river's current.

A reaction ferry is a cable very that uses the reaction of the current of a river against a fixed tether to propel the vessel across the river. Such ferries operate faster and more effectively in rivers with strong currents. This historic ferry of Basel have no motors, hand-operated by tiller, they cross the Rhine by tacking against the current, held in position by a rope suspended above the river and letting the current push them across from landing to landing.

The tiller  and the control cabin. Downtown Basel with the cathedral in the background. 

The tiller  and the control cabin. Downtown Basel with the cathedral in the background. 

 

The ferry in Basel “ LEU” operate using an overhead cable suspended from towers anchored on either bank of the Rhine. A "traveller" is installed on the cable and the ferry is attached to the traveller by a bridle cable. Controlling the cable or the rudder the ferry is angled into the current, and the force of the current moves the ferry across the river.

Once called the “Flying Bridges” of Basel, the Basler Ferries originated in 1854 when the Middle Rhine Bridge (Mittlere Rheinbrücke) was the only way to cross the river between the center of Basel (Grosse Basel) and its growing suburb “little Basel” (Klein Basel).

Once called the “Flying Bridges” of Basel, the Basler Ferries originated in 1854 when the Middle Rhine Bridge (Mittlere Rheinbrücke) was the only way to cross the river between the center of Basel (Grosse Basel) and its growing suburb “little Basel” (Klein Basel).

The cable. In the background the Hoffman La Roche building, icon of Basel.

The cable. In the background the Hoffman La Roche building, icon of Basel.

The cabin is the control room, the ticket office, the living room and a photographer dream.

The cabin is the control room, the ticket office, the living room and a photographer dream.