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Delta Queen's magic still there for others

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Old 11-10-2009, 01:03 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Northern California above Lake Oroville on "Dewey Mountain"
Posts: 1,153
Default Delta Queen's magic still there for others

Hi all,
Here's some postings from the Steam Whistle forum that I though you'd like to read. The poster has been traveling the rivers in his own boat for the past year and posts now and again about his adventures. This time it involves the DQ!

We are on a Tennessee River cruise aboard our boat Annie and
arrived in Chattanooga yesterday after four days on the river.
Took a little longer than we planned as the river is higher than
normal and there was a consistent two knot current on our nose
all along the way. Left Joe Wheeler State Park on Thursday and
have been enjoying the fall foliage and ideal fall cruising
weather along the way. The days are clear and in the high 60 and
low 70's but the temp drops to the mid 40's and upper 30's at
night which makes for lots of fog on the river in the morning.We
have guests aboard and the son of one of our friends lives here
in Chattanooga and they wanted to see the boat. They have two boys
ages 5 and 9 so we elected to pick them and take them on a short
run up and down the river before tying the boat up for the night.
The Delta Queen is tied up on the north side of the river here in
downtown Chattanooga. We picked up the kids at the city dock and
headed up river a few miles and we let the kids steer the boat.
And of course they wanted to blow the whistle. Annie has a 4"
Lunkenheimer chime as her primary signaling whistle and a 6"
Kahlenberg horn as a secondary sound source. As we were coming
back down river 5 year old Kyle was steering with my supervision
and I let him blow the whistle. There were no other boats around
but as soon as we sounded the whistle I heard the low rumble of a
huge whistle and looked out and saw steam coming from the Delta
Queen's 10" Lunkenheimer chime. Initially I thought it was just a
coincidence but I blew our whistle again and she blew hers right
back. We responded again with ours and she answered. We blew back
and forth for six or seven "toots". I am sure she did not have
full steam up but it was still a pretty impressive sounding
whistle almost a deep rumble. This was pretty cool in and of
itself but there is a tremendous amount of cement along the
riverfront here in downtown Chattanooga between the museum, the
amphitheater on the river, the aquarium and the bridges. Each
time we blew our whistle we could hear at least two echoes of our
whistle coming back at us reverberating back and forth off all of
the cement walls on the riverfront. . This was one of the high
points of the trip so far .The wives are leaving today and
driving back to Florence Alabama where we live and I and Ron
Cowan my boating compatriot are heading upstream. I have never
been much further upriver that Chattanooga on the river so this
will be a new adventure for both of us. Whistledoc

Then he posted:

Took the dinghy over to the Delta Queen which is moored across the river here in Chattanooga . It's currently being used as a hotel. I went aboard and had a grand tour. Took lots of images but the things of interest to the group are her whistle and her calliope.Some of the images show Annie across the river in the background. There is a photo file called the Delta Queen Final Voyage. I added images of the whistle and the calliope. Of interest is her whistle which appears to be a 10" Lunkenheimer with a flange base.If the whistle is a 10" Lunk they usually had 2.5 inch inlets It appears that the valve is either an electric solenoid or may be a traditional valve located somewhere in the pilot house because it was not visible from my vantage point and this whistle appears to have a 1.5" steam line going to it. I doubt that it could perform to it full potential with that type of reduction in the supply line. Also added a few images of the calliope and the keyboard. I didn't count the notes on the keyboard or the whistles but it looked to have two and a half octave range. Annie's new calliope will have 61 notes which is almost 4 and a half octaves. The new calliope for Annie is in the basement of my house ready for a trial before going back on Annie's top deck. Have lots and lots of images of the rest of the Delta Queen if anyone is interested. Ron

And another poster ( our Richard W.) added:

The Delta Queen does have a 10" Lunkenheimer. When they relocated their whistle several years ago they re plumbed it with a 1.5" line. Of course this isn't right. I wrote about it shortly after it happened on steamboats and paddlewheelers | but they didn't pay me much attention. It was also around this time that they added a motor driven piston horn. It is no wonder why.

For the pics , etc. go to: steam-whistles : Steam Whistles

David D.
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