Saturn Fly-boat

Waterways Heritage Afloat

Saturn is a canal “Fly Boat” (express delivery boat), built by the Shropshire Union Railways & Canal Company in 1906. She has been restored to her original working condition and is now both an outdoor classroom for schools and an 'eye-opening' historical experience for adults. 

Saturn's history is fascinating - & you could be part of her future!


Fly-boats operated regular schedules running 24 hours.

More about Fly-boats

Canal Life

Boat peoples' lives were hard and very different to ours.

More about Canal Life

Horse Boating

Horses could pull 50 times as much cargo on water.

More about Horseboating

Saturn - a concise history

  • Saturn was built 1906 in Chester for the Shropshire Union Railways & Canal Company. 
  • Entirely wooden construction – oak sides, elm bottoms.
  • Horse-drawn she would usually carry between 12 and 16 tons 
  • Worked on the Llangollen Canal in the early 20th century 
  • Only surviving Shropshire Union fly-boat in original condition
  • Saturn specialised in carrying cheese from Cheshire and North Shropshire to Manchester 
  • Saturn remained a horse-drawn cargo boat into the 1950s, by then working around the Wolverhampton area 
  • Mid 1950s to 1980s she was converted to work as a hotel boat 
  • Fully restored in 2005. To see more about her Restoration click here.
  • She is now run by The Saturn Project, a trust whose volunteers present her as a travelling education resource and heritage attraction.