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Point of Vue Houma Magazine

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    Point of Vue Houma Magazine

    I was made aware of an article on the Queen in a Houma and thought I'd share it with you all. Sorry if it's a duplicate of any other prior posts.

    Here's the link, hopefully it will come through.

    delta queen | Search Results | Point of Vue Magazine

    In the article is this paragraph;
    "The original cast iron deck drains had rusted. They have since been replaced by aluminum drains, which improve the drainage and should extend the ship’s lifespan significantly. The decades-old engines and boilers will be replaced with more efficient and ecofriendly diesel machines."
    I do hope and pray that this is a misunderstanding by the author! I also find it amusing that diesel machines are considered "ecofriendly" when steam can be generated much more cleanly. And there's nothing wrong with "decades-old engines" when they're steam and have been cared for properly.
    But, of course "Soot Happens"! :)


      *DQ in 'Point of Vue Homa Magazine/"Ecofriendly*
      Steamboating colleagues:
      Thanks to Mike for passing along the above link to 'Point of Vue Houma Magazine' and to very keen eyed David Dewey for his comments. I just clicked to read here this cold, snowy morning. This piece based on nearly word by word interview with Mr. Cornell Martin no better or worse than many similar on the boat in recent years. In fact, I'd say the article much better with clear history, present plans etc. The days of major daily newspapers having a river or marine section--let alone a river reporter--long in the past with disastrous results we've all read or viewed on TV, appearing on internet official" web sites or social networking like FACEBOOK, TWITTER etc. in recent years. This piece fits in the category of 'soft news' but yet interesting. Reporters/journalists, unless trained in investigative work, often take what they are fed supplemented by questions some don't always know to ask. Again, when inspections, recommendations made by our U.S. Coast Guard appear people bristle and pout adding the Coast Guard to the increasing long list of "those to hate." The very congressional rep people pillory now may be important as a supporter tomorrow. 'Politics makes for strange bed fellows.' Whether we like the findings they make or not, they have a job to do and that's it. Comments in the past RE: "The Coast Guard will change their findings if instructed by congress" not only dangerous but wrong.

      I saw no misinterpretion of Mr. Martin's words or embroidery by a jounalist or reporter and it isn't easy being interviewed. The concept of the boat as a turn of the century example is more on the line of her being designed, built for the 1920s flapper era complete with Art Decco design features. But why argue little points like that? Betty Blake got caught in her own rhetoric at first passing the boat off as "a grand Mississippi River cotton packet." Later she toned it down to, "Remember, take the DELTA QUEEN for what she is." Question to Mike: What was the report circulating that the present new location of Kisswick, Mo. was flooded with water up high in the proposed corporate buildings? What about the statement/findings that the DQ's main steam line would be required to be replaced and relocated? So many questions and so few giving answers with authority.

      The piece still leaves a number of questions dangling in the air. Mr. Martin so right about congress in this current frantic, busy election year being but a "blip on the radar." I also read with no misunderstanding what David drew our attention to replace the "decades old engines...ecofriendly" etc. "Steam can be generated much more cleanly" also a two-edged sword. Even present modern big diesel tows, other internal combustion vessels even at sea, have had to revamp, upgrade their "ecofriendly" engines with great expense to meet even more strigent environmental regulations. Another factor quoted some years ago was obtaining the required bunker fuel oil for the DQ boilers. I'm sure Capts. Bill Judd, Bob Reynolds and others who had and have hands-on experience could provide additional insights. So, in my minds eye, there go the present aged boilers etc. This article elicits many more questions than answers as not really a news item more than a local interest article. Again, let Mr. Martin and his company be the ones with news updates, releases, use of an updated company press kit. I still wish Mr. Martin and his group all the best of luck. Keep pluggin' along. At this point I'll shut up and move on. Again, what do I know?

      R. Dale Flick
      ld Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati


        As Dale pointed out, my statement that steam can be generated more cleanly than diesel engines was only part of the story. Because steam is raised by external combustion, a variety of fuels can be chosen to do so, and burners can be designed to optimize that combustion, leading to lower pollutants. One of the causes of troublesome emissions in an internal combustion engine is the high temperatures & pressures create other substances. However; raising the steam is just providing the means of power; one then has to use it, and this creates all sorts of other problems. In the old days there were folks around who could deal with these issues. Nowadays, those folks are rare, and becoming rarer. All of this costs more money than operating what is now considered a "normal" means of propulsion. As time moves farther and farther away from the steam propulsion era, such talent becomes even more rarefied.

        Also, one reason the boilers in the Delta Queen have served her these many decades is that they were over-designed for the demands of the Delta Queen. This happened because, during the DQ's & DKs's construction, they were available much cheaper than a custom-built boiler. I don't know what actual shape the boilers are in now, but you can bet that there is wastage of the pressure vessel's metal; it's the nature of boilers. Sometimes this can be replaced, and sometimes it is less expensive to just replace the entire pressure vessel. Some have said that new boilers are part of the plans (this is given that she will remain steam-powered); what dismays me is that the new steam plant will likely be designed to just meet the current DQ steam requirements, not exceed them like the current boilers did. This means, by the very nature of modern engineering, they won't last nearly as long. I worry about "modern engineering" where everything is built to the most economical standards known, and often to a planned obsolescence. For an example, a daily-life thing we can all relate to; We are encouraged to change out our florescent light fixture ballasts for modern, more energy-efficient ones. So we take out the old ballast, likely it's more than 15 years old, and put in the smaller, newer "efficient" ones. I've done this in commercial installations. I found the new ones usually failing shortly after their 5-year warranty expires. I asked a power company engineer about this, "off the record." His response was, "Yes, the new units do not have the life-span of the old ones; it's part of the cost of the efficiency." Hmm, I don't think they figured out the cost (both to the consumer and of the raw materials and manufacturing costs) of the multiple replacements over time compared to the old!
        But, this is a different soapbox I'm standing on! The one I started standing on was just one clarifying my statement that while steam can be generated more eco-friendly than an internal-combustion engine, I needed to add that steam generation is only part of the equation, the operating costs go up when you convert the steam into motion, both in machinery and in personnel. Life is never simple, is it?


          Dale according to what I saw on Facebook the flooding in Kimmswick was not as bad as it could have been. The town was well prepared and there was no damage to the new corporate HQ or downtown itself. As far as the other comments, Phillip Johnson is the best qualified to post the answers.