A journey of its kind
Any Telugu man immediately recalls the short story, \'Padava Prayanam\' written by the noted short story writer Palagummi Padmaraju whenever he thinks of a boat journey. However, this boat journey is of a different kind.
Any Telugu man immediately recalls the short story, 'Padava Prayanam' written by the noted short story writer Palagummi Padmaraju whenever he thinks of a boat journey. However, this boat journey is of a different kind.
Elblag canal, Poland, has a historic boat ride that travels on a rail track, in operation since early 19th century
The case in point is the 36-km long and five-hour journey on a boat on Elblag canal near Elblag City in Northern Poland is something to be cherished.
During the trip to visit my son in Poland, my wife and I along with our daughter were introduced to the famous boat journey which has been in operation since 1880 in the then Kingdom of Prussia. It became a tourist attraction in the later years.
During the early 1800s, there was a terrific demand for pinewood timber which was available aplenty around Elblag City for the shipping industry to the port city of Gdansk.
Since there was no good road transportation for pinewood timber in those days, the King of Prussia accorded permission to dig a canal which was a gigantic task with the land locating at various sea levels.
They connected the canal to a naturally formed fresh water lake and it is now a good bird sanctuary. The bird sanctuary gives shelter to a number of birds from various parts of the world. It reminds one the Kolleru Lake in Andhra Pradesh. Similar boat trips could be arranged at Kolleru Lake also to promote tourism in the vicinity.
They built railway track at five places throughout the length of the canal where they had to shift the boat to a higher level.
There was no electricity in those days to pull the boat to a higher level from the lower level. There came the engineering excellence of Georg Steenke.
He utilised hydropower by using huge wheels and cables to drag the boat on the railway track at five places. The five inclines consist of two parallel rail tracks. Boats are carried are on carriages which run on these rails.
The inclines rise from the lower level of the canal to a summit and down to the next shorter incline to the upper canal level. A carriage is lowered down the incline to counterbalance the upward moving carriage.
Once the downward moving carriage carrying boat reaches the summit and starts down the main incline its weight helps to pull up the upward moving carriage.
After the Second World War, the canal came under Poland in 1945. It became a tourist attraction in 1948 after the war damage was repaired.
At the end of the five-hour journey, the tourists are taken to a museum to have a glance at the history of the Elblag canal. The tourists would be brought back to Elblag on a bus within 45 minutes.
Elblag is situated in Northern Poland with the nearest airport Gdansk. The boat is open for tourists after the winter season on May 1.
By:MV Shyam Sundar