Construction projects

New boatyard hall on Lake Thun

After a good year or more of building work, on 11 January BLS officially opened its new boatyard facility on the Lachenkanal. Thanks to this newly constructed facility, which was largely financed by the canton of Bern, the future of boat operations on Lake Thun has been guaranteed.

The old boatyard hall, which was 110 years old, was no longer technically fit for purpose and needed to be replaced for safety reasons. With the newly built hall, BLS Navigation services have been guaranteed. The company will now be able to maintain its Lake Thun fleet of vessels in the hall’s dry dock facility in a legally compliant and efficient manner.

Key dates, facts and figures

The canton of Bern provided much of the finance for the construction of the new boatyard facility, after the cantonal parliament had unanimously agreed to the investment project, worth CHF 12.8 million, in early 2015. “With the completion of this once-in-a-lifetime project, the Bernese Oberland will continue to be able to rely on navigation services, which are important both for tourism and the economy,” noted Barbara Egger-Jenzer, Member of the Governing Council, during the opening ceremony.

The new dry dock facility will make it easier for workers to maintain the fleet of boats. Whereas previously the boats, which can weigh up to 444 tonnes, had to be lifted out of the water in the old boatyard, in the new facility the water is simply pumped away to expose the underside of the boat for necessary repairs. This significantly simplifies the tasks involved in maintaining the below-water sections of the boats. Thanks to its new workshops, BLS is creating a modern working environment for its employees. The sustainability of the Swiss wood construction is further enhanced by the addition of a photovoltaic solar power system on the roof, which generates approximately one-third of the building’s total energy requirements.

Key dates

  • 24/25 March 2018: boatyard open days for the general public
  • January/February 2018: start of operations at the new workshops
  • 11 January 2018: official inauguration of the new boatyard facility
  • Late 2017: the first trial operations take place in the new hall with the MS Berner Oberland
  • Late 2016: the old hall is demolished.
  • September 2015: BLS initiates the planning approval procedure with the Federal Office of Transport (FOT).
  • Early 2015: The cantonal parliament unanimously agrees to the investment project worth a total of CHF 12.8 million

Boatyard Technical data

  • Dimensions of boatyard:
    87 metres (length) x 24 metres (width) x 18 metres (height).
  • Dry dock facility:
    • Capacity: 4.5 million litres of water (a volume equal to approx. 30,000 tubs of bathwater)
    •  Pump throughput: 287 litres per second.
  • Power needed for boatyard: 260,000 kWh per year.
  • Heating: Heat pump with groundwater
  • Photovoltaic system: Production of 180,000 kWh per year of solar energy

Construction Construction period & material

  • Construction period: 15 months (October 2016 until December 2017)
  • During the period of construction, 12,800 m3 of material were removed (45 truck journeys per day).
  • The wooden façade is made from native Swiss wood and has a surface area of 2,475 m2.
  • A total of 2,800 m3 of concrete, 370 tonnes of structural steel and 350 tonnes of reinforcing steel were used in the construction, while 84 poles were also sunk into the bottom of the lake.

Building costs Boatyard & workshops

  • CHF 12.8 million Cost of boatyard inanced by the canton of Bern
  • CHF 1 million Cost of workshops financed by BLS Ltd
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