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Operational sternwheel steamboats with steam dynamos

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    Operational sternwheel steamboats with steam dynamos


    About the MQ you wrote:
    >> However, she is the only steamboat in the country which makes her
    >> own electricity from her steam.

    Not meaning to split-hairs, but at least one other operating sternwheel steamboat has a steam powered AC/dynamo, that being, of all things, the LIBERTY BELLE at Disney World (formerly the Richard F. Irvine). She's obviously not an overnight passenger boat, nor in the MQ's league, but just wanted to point that out as FYI. (I responded in this forum to avoid clutter on the DQ forum). :-)
    Last edited by Steve Huffman; 09-02-2007, 12:22 PM.


    Since hairs are a precious commodity of which I have precious few...I concede this one to you, as I was not aware the Disney boats used steam for anything other than the engines and whistle.

    Perhaps I should have stated Commercial Steamboat on the Western Rivers.

    Does anyone know what happened to the old PORTS O' CALL, the walking beam sidewheeler they used to have? Did they keep the machinery? Seems all the Disney boats (save for the MARK TWAIN in California and the LIBERTY BELLE in Florida) have disappeared.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but were there not 2 sternwheel steamboats (on rails) at each of the American addition to the sidewheeler on the lake at Florida? The Disney Tokyo boat looks authentic enough...but, no one at Disney sems to be able to confirm or deny this.

    Skipperliner of LaCrosse, WI built the LIBERTY BELLE according to their website. I had also thought I read somewhere she was a hull up rebuild of the Florida MARK TWAIN. Would be very interesting to see the history of the Disney boats from concept to today.

    Last edited by inactive user 02; 09-02-2007, 03:14 PM. Reason: addition


      Travis/Steve: Doesn't the BOL have a steam turbine driven generator in the engine room?? I don't remember if it is an Elliott or a Terry...there beside the break table on the starboard side...couldn't say if it's been run this century



        Regarding sternwheel steamboats at Disney, I only recall the Skipperliner-built RICHARD F. IRVINE, which is now the LIBERTY BELLE, and in California, the MARK TWAIN. Both tied to underwater tracks, but propelled by their own power.

        There was a larger "faux" sternwheel steamboat restaurant at Disney World, which is no more. The original name of it escapes me.

        Funny how the Mississippi-style MARK TWAIN is on the west coast, while the LIBERTY BELLE, which has west coast steamboat features (i.e. stack behind pilothouse) is in Florida.

        I think John Fryant posted recently that the walking beam sidewheelers are scrapped.

        There has been some "musical chairs" with nameboards in the past decade. One of the faux steam ferries that shuttles people to/from the parking area (on Lake Buena Vista?) now has the name RICHARD F. IRVINE.

        I always thought it would be neat to free the LIBERTY BELLE from her "moat" and put her on the Ohio. As is, she would need a lot more horsepower however!
        Last edited by Steve Huffman; 09-02-2007, 03:43 PM.


          The Belle of Louisville has two diesel generator sets and one turbine generator. Any combination of one, two or three can be put on line.


            And let's not forget the Alan Bates-designed CHAUTAUQUA BELLE, which has a large steam turbine light plant. In fact, the generator uses far more steam than the main engines.


              Steve, Travis, There were one-stacked sternwheelers in Florida; thats probably why they made the Irvine with a single stack. Is the Liberty Belle just a name change, or did they modify the superstructure too?

              I think I mentioned that I have super-eight film of either the Ports O Call or her sister, complete with shots of the engine running. I have plans of the Mark Twain and I think the other sternwheelers were built from those plans with relatively minor mods to the superstructures.



                Too bad I will not be at S&D, I'd love to see those!



                  I think I know what you mean - the Ocklawaha River sternwheelers with the recessed wheels.

                  The Liberty Belle name was strickly a nameboard change, nothing else. One of the crew told me why they renamed it, but I forget now. This was in 2001. Apparently it had been renamed since my last visit in 1984. The boat still looks the same as it did in my 1976 pictures of it.

                  I asked if I could go up to the pilothouse, and surpringly, they obliged. Normally it's off-limits. The interior was not bad and period decorated. The pilotwheel turns, but like a steering wheel on a locomotive, it does nothing with that pesky track under the boat...


                    How long will it be, I wonder, will a body have to go to Disney World if they want to see an operating steamboat?


                      We've all heard of diesel electric power. It appears the Chatauqua Belle could become the first steam electric.

                      Originally posted by Bob Reynolds View Post
                      And let's not forget the Alan Bates-designed CHAUTAUQUA BELLE, which has a large steam turbine light plant. In fact, the generator uses far more steam than the main engines.


                        Just one of the Mississippi Queen turbine generators uses more steam than the engine when cruising.

                        During maneuvering, an inexperienced person at the throttle can starve the turbine by too rapid opening of the throttle valve. This problem is then usually compounded by the sudden application of the bow thruster electric load.

                        Steam management is a good reason to pair the throttle watch with an experienced engineer during maneuvering.



                          I've lost the beginning of this thread but there was a question about the DQ.

                          When built the DQ had a relatively smal DC generator powered by a verticl reciprocating steam engine. It was located about where the engine room log desk is currently. Direct current was used for lighting, searchlight power, ventilation fans and a small ammonia refrigeration plant. Remember they could take stores evry day and did not need long term food storage.

                          The upper decks of the boat were cooled if necessary by a evaporative (swamp) cooler in the main air duct.

                          All the galley ovens and ranges were oil fired. I do not know if it was #2 oil or kerosene.

                          I do not know when the boat was changed to Alternating Current. It probably happened when it was remodeled at Dravo. Two small spaces were created near the main deck bow to house small Caterpillar AC generators. (alternators to be precise).

                          The galley was electrified and much refrigeration and AC equipment was added.

                          When I first worked on her in 1979 the diesel gen sets were there in addition to a turbine generator in the lower engine room.

                          In the winter the the two diesels carried the load with no problem but the summertime load with all the added air conditioning machinery was too much for them. The additional turbine was needed.

                          At that time, due to the differing governor response characteristics of steam and diesel prime movers, all three could not be paralleled to share the load. The solution was to split off the AC load to a separate control board that was fed solely from the turbine. The diesels carried the rest of the boat load.

                          This was so complicated as a result of adding, adding, adding load without planning.
                          It was a great training ground for a young engineer. :-)

                          Major changes were done when the new hull was installed. Three larger diesel generator sets were installed in pods in the lower fireroom. Any two will carry the load in the summer. The third must be isolated from the main bus to power the stern thruster. That is a procedure that can take some minutes, rendering the stern thruster never available for instant maneuvering.

                          When the stern thruster was installed, it was delivered with a 440 volt motor and power control system. This in turn required a extremely large and heavy step-up transformer located in the steering compartment to feed it.

                          That additional weight in the stern spelled the demise of the turbine generator set. It was removed despite strong protest that it was a valuable "get home" alternative to diesel power generation.

                          I feel certain that you have asked "What time is it?" and I have told you how to build a clock! :-) Old retired engineers tend to get a little garrulous.



                            Headed to Disney World soon

                            I'm headed to WDW in a few weeks, so I'll get to see the Liberty Belle. Unfortunately, it is scheduled for servicing during a portion of my stay.

                            In another posting on this website, there was some discussion of the Disney steamboats. There is one steamboat, the Mark Twain, at California's Disneyland. At Walt Disney World in Florida, there were originally the Richard F Irvine, now Liberty Belle, and the Admiral Joe Fowler, which died in 1984. In the Seven Seas Lagoon/Bay Lake, there were two steamboat ferries. The Ports O Call was scrapped in 1984. The other steamboat, Southern Seas, lasted until 1997.

                            The names Richard F Irvine, Admiral Joe Fowler, and General Joe Potter are now the names of the current Seven Seas Lagoon non-steamboat ferries.


                              Somewhere around the moat that the Liberty Belle travels there is a cut-off that leads back to a maintenance area. There is no good way to see it, but there is some sort of dry-dock, or perhaps a graving dock back there where they can do hull maintenance and their 5-year CG inspections on the boat.