The city of Kyiv has all imaginable methods of transport. Bus, trolleybus, tram, suburban railway, metro, and even afunicular. Add a cable car and you will have the full list. But did you know that Kyiv also has a small network of public boats, called the river tram?
Once the biggest river port in all of Russian empire, Kyiv has a rich history of water transportation. In 1961, the river station opened, after 8 years of construction. Its appearance resembles a ship. The capacity of the station is 550 people at a time. The opening was grand, with an orchestra and students of the naval school and the river technical school. During the Soviet period, the river port fleet transported up to 4 million passengers a year. Rockets and meteors went to Cherkassy, Zaporozhye, Dnipro city (not real rockets or meteors, that was the name of the ships!)
The mentioned ship, “rocket” or raketa was one of a kind. It was a hydrofoil boat, and therefore could achieve unbelievable speeds which wowed the visitors. The first ones were planned in the late 40s but began regular production in late 60s. the maximum speed they could go at was 70kmh, making them a marvel of engineering. Instead of interacting with water as a whole vessel, raketa had underwater wings, similar to the ones on an aircraft produced lift. Being much more fluid dynamic than a whole boat raketa easily moved at 70kmh. What is more interesting, it did so with 66 passengers while having only 1000hp on board.
The future is bright for Kyiv’s river transport. A year or so ago, Raketas made a comeback to the city. Additionally, there is a lot of investment and interest in preserving and building on Kyiv’s aquatic past.