"Aue" Motor barge fit for permanent use
The "Aue" barge is back on the Alster following extensive restoration work, during which the substance of the museum boat, built in 1926, was thoroughly overhauled and rebuilt. As a result, it can now been preserved for posterity. The work was carried out by the Hamburg-based youth training association Jugend in Arbeit e.V., at their boatyard in Harburg Binnenhafen.
The "Aue" is the last barge on the Alster. It is relatively low and shorter than the other boats on the Alster. This makes it flexible enough to be used on the Alster, the Alster canals, the Fleete canals and the Bille canals around Hammerbrook (City Süd). The ATG wants to start up new trips in this area.
The "Aue" belonged to a fleet of eleven barges used commercially by Alster shipping after the First World War. The barges were built at the Johann Oelker boatyard in Hamburg-Neuhof and were the first motor vessels on the Alster. A century ago the Alster boats were still a quite usual means of local transport in Hamburg. They carried commuters across the Alster virtually round the clock. However, the steamboats in regular use until the Second World War eventually became unprofitable, whilst modern trams, underground railways and buses attracted more and more passengers. In response, Alster shipping, which was run at the time by the Lütgens & Reimers shipping company, improved its provision. Half-open barges had for a long time been conventionally used in the port of Hamburg, and these were now deployed on new lines and at specific times. These motor vessels were inexpensive and could be operated flexibly. In addition, Alster shipping used them for daily tourist trips to the Stadtpark and Ohlsdorf.
After the Second World War, Alster shipping brought four more barges into service, mainly on lines with few transport links. In 1960 the "Aue" - like the "Kollau" barge a year previously - was extensively modernised at the Dutch Neerlandica shipyard in Hillegom, where it was given its present-day appearance. It then became one of the first Alster boats to be equipped with docking magnets, which meant it could be used for low cost one-man operation. It was in regular service until 1989, lastly as a reserve boat. In 1990 the Alster steamboat association acquired the "Aue" on loan as a museum boat. In 1998, it was due to be scrapped because of its poor condition. However, Hamburg's monument conservation office recognised the boat's value and the ATG decided to preserve it for posterity.