A brief history of ALPHA

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The ALPHA was built in Paris in 1982 as the REGINE for Bateaux Parisien for use on the Seine – 1 of 3 sister vessels – all of which operated on the Thames as Hydrospace Alpha,Beta & Gamma,  the Beta returned to Paris in 2002 and was replaced by Hydrospace Delta

Length: 102ft
Beam: 9.60m
Draft: 4.5ft
Passengers: 363 incl 4 crew (later changed to 300)
Speed: 10 Knots
Engine: 2x Volvo Penta Turbo Diesel
Reengined 2002 – 2 x Volvo TMD 103A
Rebuilt in 2016 from deck level – Cummins engines
Year Built: 1982
Bateaux Parisien (1982-1994) as Regine
Catamaran Cruisers (1994-2007) as Hydrospace Alpha
City Cruises (2008) renamed City Alpha
Rebuilt at Denton (2016)

As REGINE in Paris

In 1993 the vessel was brought over from Paris to London as part of a £2million investment in the fleet at Catamaran Cruisers,alterations were made including removing the glass enclosed stern and creating an open back deck area among other more mior changes.  The vessel was renamed and launched under the new name HYDROSPACE ALPHA.

The vessel boasted features including a sliding glass roof which gave passengers 360 degree views of London (and a sun tan in the summer) , the boat being popular with passengers and crews alike for being able to carry an audience of up to 363 passengers which a member of the crew would give a guided tour to between Westminster to Greenwich.     The video below shows a typical guide onboard the vessel.



On route to Greenwich in 1994 (photo RJS)

Approaching St Katherines Pier 1996

The vessel continued to operate with Catamaran Cruisers until the company ceased trading in September 2007.    Between this time other alterations were made to the vessel which included adding a ladder on the foredeck which allowed easier access to the glass roof for cleaning duties , in 2002 the vessel was re-engined with 2 x Volvo Penta 103A and in 2007 the spotlights along the side decks of both the Alpha & Gamma were removed mainly due to the fact that many were broken and no longer worked.

Interior of the vessel in 2007 (photo Ian Boyle)

Wheelhouse with tradional wooden wheel, twin screw controls and 2 cctv monitors showing the forward boarding gate due to restricted viability over the glass roof when mooring the vessel alongside a pier all vision was done by cctv to be able to see the crew on deck

In early 2008 City Cruises bought the Hydrospace Alpha , Gamma & Delta from Catamaran Cruisers.     The Hydrospace Alpha entered service in Feb 2008 however still in Catamaran Cruisers blue and yellow livery with just a city cruises sticker on the windows to show the new owner

(photo Ian Boyle)

By May 2008 the Alpha had returned from drydock in a new smart red, white and blue waterline livery for City Cruises (pictured below)

In 2010 the vessels forward mounted liferafts were removed and additional orange carley floats mounted either side of the wheelhouse,  the glass panals either side of the wheelhouse were removed to allow for this

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In 2012 the vessel took part in the Queens Diamond Jubilee Pageant

In 2013 after an incident in which the vessel hit a large swell causing the forward windows to break,   the vessel had its forward windows removed and the lower section replaced with steel and a smaller glass area above (pictured below) – the City Gamma also had the same modification made at a later date

photo: RJS

In November 2015 the City Alpha was slipped at Denton and cut down to deck level to begin its rebuild , the propeller shafts and engines were also removed

Pictured below on May 6th 2016 during rebuild at Denton

On 26th July 2016 the City Alpha was relaunched after her rebuild, on the 27th July 2016 she underwent engine trials and is due to have a stability test in the KG Dock later this week before entering service

Further photos of the interior and the vessel in service will appear in the next update….


Barge Race 2016

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Two pusher tugs for BMB/Livetts

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The two vessels arrived at Tilbury last month and as of yet moved from the berth inside the dock.   FELIX and CHRISTIAN built in 2009 in Germany have an 18.50m Length, 6.20m beam and 1.80m draft powered by 2 Volvo Penta D16-600 diesels 1200bhp with a bollard pull of 15T.

The vessels are owned by BMB Joint Venture which consists of BAM Nuttall, Morgan Sindall and Balfour Beatty and a main contractor for the “Thames Tideway Tunnel” and are due to be operated by Livetts

Photos below show the vessels registered in London in Holland on April 17th and another photo showing one of the vessels with its wheelhouse raised

photos by Freijsen 



Pusher tug for S.Walsh

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S.Walsh have recently purchased the vessel JOYCE ex Eerland 3 for pushing the new 1100T hoppers to Battersea Power Station/Chambers Wharf

The vessel was built in 1972 as Neptune 8 and renamed Eeland 3 in 1986 for Smit in Rotterdam.     She has 2 x Mitsubishi engines rated at 986bhp

The vessel is due to be brought over from Holland tomorrow riding piggyback ontop of two new pontoons towed by MTS Vigilant and will arrive at Tilbury on Friday 27th May

PB Tugs leave Thames for the Medway

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The PB Alligator & PB Sabina finally emerged from West India Dock today.    The owners of the two have been a little bit of a mystery, however today may have shed some light on who the new owners could well be.

The two vessels departed West India Dock and were seen taking bunkers alongside GPS Battler at Vic Deep before departing for the River Medway.      Although unconfirmed, the crew onboard the two tugs were GPS Marine and heading for the Medway would make the new owners being GPS Marine quite likely.       Although as said above, this has not yet been confirmed.

Either way, its always nice to see new vessels arrive and enter service on the River Thames and no doubt both boats will look much smarter after refit


HMS President leaves London

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At 0645am this morning HMS President left her Blackfriars mooring where she has been moored since 1922 under tow by GPS Anglia, GPS Iberia and GPS India.    The vessel had to vacate its mooring due to the Thames Tideway Tunnel project and is due to be towed to Chatham until a new mooring can be found.


New Stan Tug arrivals

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Three stan tug 1606’s have arrived on the Thames and are currently moored on Thamescraft moorings at Greenwich.     The vessels are named PB Beadon , PB Sabina and PB Alligator, all built in 2009 by Damen and powered by 2 x Catapiller C18 TA/B engines rated at 1200bhp.

The vessel PB Beadon is confirmed as being purchased by Thamescraft Drydocking and is to be renamed DEVOUT , however the later two vessels owners are yet to be confirmed.