Straussee Ferry is the only free-floating electric ferry in Europe, getting its power through an overhead wire.
The Strausberg Railway launched the Straussee Ferry in 1915. It uses a single vessel named “Steffi”, which is however not the boat used at inauguration, as it was built in 1967 and can transport 100 people at a time—more than enough to earn its keep in this picturesque German community.
While the United States has some passenger cable ferries like Steffi, the boat seems to be the only one of its kind in Europe. Running purely off of electricity, its overhead line is a power supply consisting of a single wire fed with a DC of 170 volts, using the lake as a return conductor.
The overhead wire of Straussee Ferry, which is fixed at the eastern shore on a 9.6 metres high and on the western shore on a 9.7 metres high pylon, has a span width of 370 metres. It may have the largest span width of all overhead wire systems used for power supply of vehicles in the world.
The boat gliding across Straussee Lake as it shuttles passengers between the city of Strausberg and a forested area. Its travel distance spans a distance of about 800 yards, the journey lasting around seven minutes.
Straussee Ferry travels all year round, but only if the Straussee doesn’t freeze over completely, and as long as the waterway can be kept free of ice. Otherwise, Steffi ceases operation until warmer weather allows.