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Thread: How many miles has the DQ traveled

  1. #1
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    Default How many miles has the DQ traveled

    I am working on an article for a local paper about the lack of overnight steamboats to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the New Orleans. I was wondering if anyone had a guess of how many miles the DQ traveled in her 82 year career?

    thanks

  2. #2
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    *RE: Miles DELTA QUEEN has steamed.*
    Hi, Dan and steamboating colleagues:
    Good question RE: 'How many miles the DQ traveled' in her 82 + year career beginning with her first voyage on May 24, 1927 would be an astronomical job to calculate even with log entries etc. Yet, it could be done within reason with the usual notation to add miles on the higher side.

    Stan Garvey's book 'KING & QUEEN of the River,' hints at the miles the QUEEN and KING marked up just in the 13 years they ran in service on the Sacramento night boat run. Stan's estimate was 9,000 round trips for EACH boat totaling on/around 1,000,000 miles of water travel.

    No doubt Shipyard, Bob Reynolds, Alan Bates, Jim Blum--and many others in the know--could possibly give you a general estimate for each year the QUEEN ran here up to the present.

    Just catching up with the web after two exhausting weeks of jury duty. I hope none of you all get seated for a big corporate or bankruptcy case. You see, hear and learn plenty.

    Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River.

  3. #3
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    Default DQ mileage over the years 1,785,600 on Mississippi System

    Well, I'm not Shipyard, Bob, Alan, Jim or even licensed, but since I know a bit about the DQ's travels and like to fool with math, here's my rough guess, without consulting individual year's brochures:

    maximum miles per day= 192 24 hrs. x 8 mph (unless downbound in high water!)
    likely miles per day = 120 15 hrs. cruising x 8 mph
    8 month season March - October = 240 days
    one year's mileage for 240 days/15hrs/8mph = 28,800
    62 years on the Mississippi System x 28,800 = 1,785,600 miles from 1948-2008
    1,785,600 miles

    Now that doesn't seem like enough compared to 474,000 in just 13 California years,(Garvey's million total is for BOTH boats together), but consider:
    she ran daily year-round in California.

    On the Mississippi system, her season varied from perhaps March to November, or April to December, or April to January. She rarely ran more than 9 months a year. And we have partial years in 1948 and the bankruptcy years, whatever they were, recently.

    In the early Greene Line days, she ran 21 day roundtrips to New Orleans from Cincinnati. That round trip would be 2740 miles, or an average of 130 miles per day. They made fewer stops than in later Greene Line days, and certainly cruised much more than in these last 15 or so years with so many all day shore stops. On a 'steamboatin' day, such as from Hannibal to Dubuque, that covered 271 miles, but not in 24 hrs but rather 36 hrs. or more. Then you have the day of cruising from Davenport to Burlington (77 miles) or Dubuque to Prairie du Chien ( 56 miles) to lower averages too. So I'd think 120 miles per day is a good average for a guess. It takes into account both long and short cruising days, and is figured at her maximum normal mph, so it would be a little high, if anything. Now if someone has the time and desire to go through each year's brochures to figure out the number of days in operation for that year, one could get a more accurate total.

    Just looked at Doc's log book for the 1962 season: they left Cincy for NOLA on Feb. 24th and ended the season in Cincy on Nov. 6th. Add a round trip mileage to Dravo to the 256 day cruising season total too...

  4. #4
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    Default Doc's log of the 1962 season

    Just went through Doc's logbook hurriedly. During the 1962 season, which began on Feb. 24 and ended on Nov.6th, with a trip to Dravo afterward, the DELTA QUEEN traveled 32,386 miles. Its a fascinating log book, and I'll add more later, but right now its too sunny and nice to be inside....

  5. #5
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    *RE: DQ miles/Great 'ciphering.'*
    Hi, Judy:
    Excellent 'ciphering' RE: DQ's accumulated miles through the last 82 + years. Yet, Garvey calculates the miles for the boats at 1,000,000 each in California days. An incredible amount of miles with, from what we find in the records, not that many lay-ups or engine problems. Jim Burns was right in demanding the very best in materials, engines, boilers etc. for the two boats. A number of big blue water ships have never even approached the career of the DQ. I'd take your figures as on the mark.

    Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River.

  6. #6
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    Default for 'oldtimers'

    Welcome back to the outside world Dale. Check my new postings from Doc's log book - I'm sure the names will ring bells for you!

  7. #7
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    Don't ask me! I have no idea even how to start to learn such an esoteric number. I'll bert that BoL, Idlewild and Avalon could match or beat it.

  8. #8
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    Default More mileage

    No question that the I/A/B has exceeded the DQ's mileage, not only because of her added years, but because she kept moving with little downtime during her seasons. Only question is how long were her seasons? She started in Pittsburgh with proms and stuff didn't she, before tramping the summer as the AVALON? Of course, her BELLE years' mileage isn't nearly as much as the DQ's during those years, so it could be close....

  9. #9
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    Default DQ California mileage

    I've never talked to Stan Garvey about it, so I don't know how he calculated that the DQ and the DK each traveled about a million miles in California, but I find that impossible:
    Check the timetables - each boat made one one-way trip a day between Sacramento and San Francisco. They made 6 trips a week, not running on Sundays. I don't know the exact river mileage between those cities, but I presume its about 100 miles. So that would make 600 miles a week per boat. If they ran all 52 weeks of the year, that would be 31,200 miles per year. They ran for 13 years before the Navy years, so that would be a total of 405,600 miles per boat, not a million. Also, during those 13 years there were disruptions in service, like a labor dispute in 1936, so that they only ran 9 months, not all 12. This would have lowered the 405,600 miles considerably.

    In order to have reached the million mile mark in California, they would have had to cover over 100,000 miles a year during the Navy years in the San Francisco harbor, a feat I find unlikely although I have nothing to show how many trips they made in the harbor each day/year. I'm guessing that would have been at least 27 round trips in the harbor every single day for 5 years, which timewise doesn't add up - no way to make a round trip from the dock, discharge the servicemen to the ship or receive them back, and get back to the dock and unload/load in less than an hour.

    Now here's one other possibility, which I don't think occurred: while the boats were in between overnight trips in Sacramento and SF, did they take out day excursions? If so, I doubt if that would have added more than 20 miles a day, or 120 miles a week, or 6240 miles a year, or 81,720 for the California career. This would have upped the California total to 486,600, still no where near a million....

  10. #10
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    Default

    Also just a note, the boats spent some time as stationary barracks in their early war years. The King I know housed men working on the submarine net that was laced across the entrance the golden gate.

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