This is a project that I have been waiting a long time to do. I finally found some time, so after a few weeks of frustrating work with LDD, I present to you: a UCS Double-Ended Ferry. This is a model of a typical inland ferry -- a flat-bottomed, low-draught vessel capable of transporting approximately 30 cars. While I can't claim that this model is an exact duplicate of any existing ferry, it was inspired very, very heavily by the ferries Galena and Shelter Bay that operate on Upper Arrow Lake near Revelstoke, BC, Canada (there are some great pictures of them here
When I originally conceived of this model, I had thought of doing it at minifig scale (roughly 1:40), but I soon realized that it would be unmanageably large at that scale, so I chose the next logical step down in size -- a scale compatible with 4-wide vehicles (roughly 1:75). At this scale the ferry is 35 studs wide (28 cm) and a little over 80 studs long (65 cm).
My goals in designing this model were to create something that looked great, was fun to build, and even more fun to play with. Hopefully, I have succeeded on all three counts. The build includes a number of advanced techniques, including a Technic lattice to support the hull and the deck and large amount of SNOT building. To improve the playability of this set, I have included a large number of 4-wide vehicles, most of which have working features themselves.
Like all double-ended ferries, this one has working ramps at both the bow and stern, to enable vehicles to quickly load and unload. The picture below shows some of the finer details of the wheelhouse and the cabin upper decks, as well as some of the vehicles. You can get a pretty good look at the railing, engineering compartments, navigation electronics, and exhaust stacks here.