In 1929 Sulzer Brothers advertising material indicated that more than three miilion horsepower of Sulzer four and two-cycle diesel engines were either in service or under construction, spanning the period from 1897 - 1928. A great percentage of this number comprised relatively small engines produced in large numbers for the mundane and non-descript tasks of industry. The M.S. Uri featured on this page is just such an example of that category.
During or about 1927 the Basler Rheinschifffahrts A.G. (Basel Rhein AG) ordered twenty self propelled barges for use on the River Rhine following the successful testing of the first example.
The first of these vessels, the Uri was 180 feet long, 23 feet wide, with a cargo carrying capacity of 500 tons. This was a single screw vessel powered by a 200bhp airless-injection two-cycle Sulzer diesel engine. The convention at the time had been for the fitting of two screws to this type of vessel travelling the Rhine. The single screw vessel was more economical but was so far unproven. However under test and on the trial trip the Uri met all expectations of the designer. Travelling from Cologne to Mannheim a mean speed of 7.5 mph was achieved, whilst in the Bingerloch where the current is strongest, a mean speed of 4.5 mph was obtained.
In regular use the Uri would work the river between Strasburg and Antwerp. Goods would be received by canal from Basle, transhipped at Strasburg and delivered to Antwerp in ten days, taking five days off the current tugboat service.
In service from September 1927 - 1964 in Basle, scrapped 1985.
Built: BC Ruthof Boatyard, Mainz-Kastel in 1927
A third party enquiry in November 1928 to the Basler Rheinschifffahrt AG about the operation of the Sulzer engines in the company's barges indicated that they were much preferred to the four-cycle engines also operated by the company. No trouble had been reported with regard to the Sulzer two-cycle engines currently in service, they were much less sensitive and had a fuel consumption equal to or lower than the four-cycle type. The operating conditions on the Rhine - no nightime working and constantly varying speeds seemed to favour the two-cycle engines. Although the Sulzer engines were more costly to purchase, the initial increased outlay was then equally offset by their better availability record when compared to other makers.
Page added April 23rd 2011