The first solar-powered boat trips along Derby’s River Derwent are expected to take place later this year.
After a year of design and construction, work on the environmentally-friendly Derby Riverboat is now complete.
The Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust hopes to start running the riverboat service this spring, regional and national restrictions permitting.
Passengers will board the boat by Exeter Bridge, with trips taking a dozen people a time on a 45-minute return journey up the river, past the Silk Mill, to Darley Abbey Mills.
An electric lift will allow passengers in wheelchairs to use the boat, and once on-board passengers will listen to an audio commentary as they cruise – revealing facts about Derby’s history and its plans for the future.
The boat, which has been named “Outram” after Derbyshire-born Benjamin Outram, one of the country’s leading engineering consultants at the start of the industrial revolution, will also have an on-board mini-café, plus educational entertainment for children.
Designed with the environment in mind, the zero-emission river boat’s propulsion system is fully electric with the batteries being partially charged using solar panels.
Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust was originally founded in 1993 with the aim of restoring a 12.5-mile stretch of canal between Derby and Sandiacre to connect to the Trent and Mersey and Erewash Canals.
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The Trust first revealed plans to start operating cruises on the river back in November 2018.
Construction of the boat started in October, 2019, and was completed in November, 2020. Following the launch, the riverboat cruises will run from spring to autumn each year.
Initially there will only be one boarding/disembarking point by Exeter Bridge but the Trust says this maybe expanded in future years.