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West Coast opposition?

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    West Coast opposition?

    Yes, this is a double-entendre! First, can someone enlighten us on the practice of "running opposition" for steamers in California? And second, was there any opposition to the fact that the Greene line had purchased a Sacramento River-style vessel for use on the Mississippi system, as opposed to the more traditional Western Rivers-style steamboat?

    *'Opposition boats/GREENE choice of DQ*
    Hi, Jon,
    Good question and I'm sure you'll get responses here from the gang. There were 'opposition boats' running on the Sacramento and other rivers in California in a kind of steamboat war. It came to a head in the Great Depression with freight rates being cut to the point of disaster. I'd have to dig out of my 'dusty boxes' here the Burns family papers talking about that that John Burns gave me. I 'think,' a California congressional rep in tune with Washington and the ICC, brought about a merger. The FAY TRANPSORTATION CO. was one joining with CALIFORNIA TRANSPORTATION CO. in the 1930s resulting in the formation of RIVER LINES with the DK/DQ etc.

    I had an E=Mail come in the other year from a member of the Fay family talking about all of that. I have also the original written agreement of that merger here with details similar to a Philadelphia lawyer. Again, not to sound vague, but I need to dig all out and review so as not being wrong at the top of my voice. I don't know much about much. Pull down Stan Garvey's book 'KING & QUEEN of the River' for mention.

    Capt. Tom Greene, and his GREENE LINE STEAMERS, focused on the DELTA KING/DELTA QUEEN as...well...they were stellar boats and available to carry on his new, modern vision for the GREENE LINE. Capt. Tom, as written in Capt. Fred Way's book, 'Saga of the DELTA QUEEN,' quotes Capt. Tom as saying he was "...thinking of one of them, maybe both." This said while he and Fred Way were talking on a GORDON C. GREENE Chattanooga trip--if I'm correct. Tom Greene's vision for his company with the DQ was far more modern than we think today with the focus on steamboat nostalgia. Just look at that modern, sleek stack on the DQ she carried for a time and you'll understand. Tom's favorite word for steamboat history and lore was "Steamboatiana." It's a great story and all the rest so far is history. Give me time here and I dig out what I can find. Well, what do I know?

    R. Dale Flick
    Coal haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati


      *'Steamboat war/Merger of companies*
      Hi, Jon & steamboat colleagues:
      Jon, I dug out the corporate/legal agreement RE: Merger of CALIFORNIA TRANSPORTATION CO./FAY TRSNSPORTATION CO/SACRAMENTO NAVIGATION CO. The near ten pages spell out all--and more--one would be interested in reading with near 'legalese' writing. 'Steamboat wars' in freight rates etc. similar to what our inland rivers here experience over the years. John Burns, son of old Jim Burns, had further memories written in marginal notes on the document with further words added by Stan Garvey, author of 'KING & QUEEN of the river,' following their stay here in my home.
      * * * * * * * * *

      "Formed February 1, 1932, merger of the CALIFORNIA TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, SACRAMENTO NAVIGATION CO. and FAY TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, the three being authorized by the then Railorad Commission of the State of California in Decision No. 24420 to conduct a unified operation of their transportation services under the name and style of RIVER LINES.

      The merger brought about by complaint case No. 3034 filed in the fall of 1931 by the CALIFORNIA TRANSPORTATION CO. and the SACRAMENTO NAVIGATION CO. against the FAY TRANSPORTATION CO. claiming their operations were being conducted illegally and that their rates were discriminatory and unethical and would result in a disastrous rate war unless cancelled. The FAY CO. published practically only two rates between Sacramento and Bay Points viz. 15 cents per ctw; LCL, without regard to classification and 10 cents per cwt on freight carloads regardless of classification.

      Railroad Commissioner, Stevenot...suggested to the ligitante they consider merging their respective companies under a unified operation rather than fighting each other for the 'existing' tonnage which was not of sufficient volume to support all three copanies under separate operation and management. [*Note. Great Depression was in depths]. The three companies got together and merger their operations and equipment under the name and style of: RIVER LINES--Unified operaton of CALIFORNIA TRANSPORTATION CO. SACRAMENTO TRANSPORTATION CO, the FAY TRANSPORTATION CO. Following officers were elcected:

      Capt. A.E. Anderson, Chairman of the Board
      W.P. Dwyer, President
      Capt. N.A. Fay, V.P. & Gen. Manager
      Mr. Platt Kent, Secretary-Treasurer
      Mr. John C. Stone, Traffic Manager.

      Division of Revenue was:
      FAY Co. - 20% with a guaranteer of $50,000 to the FAY Co.

      Pretty heady stuff if you're interested in the in-depth history of steamboat business. No 'romance of nostalgia' here reading between the lines.

      Records, news releases then [1947] reveal no opposition to Capt. Tom R. Greene, GREENE LINE STEAMERS, purchasing the DQ from her retirement followng service to the U.S. Navy. The night passenger trade was, for all purposes, dead with focus on freight using increasing "motor vessels." Capt. Tom got more than a deal for the DQ being his choice for operations here on our rivers. I never knew or heard of any plans on the part of the GREENE LINE to consider building a brand new boat. Tom went with his choice with it being welcomed here.

      Not too many years back, prior to the DQ entering her present deployment, there were some subtle moves to have the DQ returned to California to possibly continue in operation there as a tourist cruise vessel. The hard, cold financial facts, logistics etc. brought that to a quick end. Well, what do I know?

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


        To add to Dale's comments - seems like I read in in Saga of the Delta Queen, or one of Fred's other books that Tom Geene's first choice was the Delta King - for reasons that I don't remember at the moment. Might have been because one of the DQ's engines had to be repaired by the Navy at great expense during the war.
        Tom was outbid by someone - an Asian man, I think. I'll have to drag that book out and refresh my menory.


          *Capt. Tom Greene's choice.*
          Hi, John steamboating colleagues:
          A number of other things were going on at the time [1947] that didn't appear in Fred Way's book 'Saga of the DELTA QUEEN.' Mighty ISBRANSDEN Steamship Co. also was sniffing around the DK/DQ. Indeed, the QUEEN had suffered a major problem with her high pressure engine during the war. Notes sketchy, but a possible 'run through.' The Navy had a new engine cast/milled at great expense--more than the price of the DQ Tom Greene paid in 1947 according to one observer on the scene. A number of engineers on the QUEEN in successive years often "...wondered why the high pressure engine didn't ship up like the other." The KING had always been regarded as the flagship for C.T. Co. on the Sacramento since they were finished. Even Fred Way had not heard about the QUEEN's engine until many years later when all of the research, interviews out in California began on/around 1989/1990. There was just as much, if not more, fascinating history before 1947 as after.

          The long prevailing legend that Germany's KRUPP Steel had cast/milled many of the components for the boats was also revealed as a misquote given to Fred Way at the time. Another misleading quote appeared in the Sacramento newspapers at the time when the then new boats entered service. I contacted KRUPP in Essen, Germany at Villa Huegel with specifications, photos, numbers for the DK/DQ requesting data. All of KRUPP's corporate records had survived W.W. II intact. They had no record ever of any connection to the 'Delta boat project.' I don't think Jim Burns or DENNY BROS. in Scotland would have warmed to the proposition of having KRUPP mill the components so soon after the horrors of 'The Great War' 1914-1918. In many ways a good thing Capt. Tom Greene didn't take on both boats at the same time. The QUEEN was enough in her own right and even then it was precarious going.

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


            Interesting similarity between the DK & MQ being purchased by Asian concerns that might not have realized just what they bid on. The DK ultimately had a much happier fate some years later with many travails along the way.

            Hopefully Dale will dig into a "dusty box" and enlighten us on the DK purchaser and what transpired to "land" the DK in British Columbia for that chapter in her career.


              *DK/DQ continuing scenario & drama*
              Hi, Jim & steamboating colleagues,
              Jim, you're right about the continuing events with both DK/DQ well out of the realm of later 'steamboat romance and nostalgia.' At the end of W.W. II, both boats laid up in the Naval Reserve Fleet in Suisin Bay, Calif., were for all practical purposes considered 'white elephants.' Capt. Norvin Fay, now in control of RIVER LINES [See previous postings], doubted either boat could be operated with any profit due to now post war operating costs, labor etc. even on a limited seasonal basis. Freight and passengers now lost to autos, trucks, trains. Originally, 'night boat' service all year with passengers/freight paid the bills. Formerly top eschelon in the golden days of the CALIFORNIA TRANSPORTATION CO. lived very well with all expenses paid, chauffeur driven company cars, 'gifts' of automobiles to the top brass. Even the Pittsburgh 'Shovel King' John W. Hubbard couldn't equal that back here on our rivers. The Maritime Commission [Whether we like it or not] stepped in with control over the two steamers. There was a 'duel' of sorts between Capt. Tom Greene and other bidders here and in Asia.

              The horrors of W.W. II had left the European and Asian theaters in dire condition to build up from the bottom railways, shipping, manufacturing, basic food and other infrastructure for millions. This continued from 1945 well up to 1952/1953--and I can well recall some of it. The KING was outbid above Capt. Tom for $60,168 by Southeast Asia Importing/Exporting Co. of Siam. The pre W.W. II river steamboat fleets in Asia were the largest in the world and most built by DENNY BROS., Dumbarton, Scotland. Fabrication/assembly of both QUEENS were nothing new to DENNY. Nearly all Asian vessels lost/destroyed in the Asian/Pacific war. Before this the estimated market value of both the KING & QUEEN had fallen as low as $5,000 + or -. What's that tell you?

              Tom Greene and Fred Way both met Chok Roang of Asian Importing Co., who realized he'd bought unseen a boat with a flat bottom etc. "A pig in a poke" Fred Way later wrote to me. The KING was bantered around to be either scrapped, used as a floating cannery or, in time, sold to KITMAI Co. Alaska/Aluminum Co. of Canda, as a housing/barracks vessel. Engines stripped out leaving only the boilers to provide steam for the long, cold season in that region. It's a long story and we'll go no further here. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC featured this in a period issue of the day that is a real collector's item. I have two NG copies here. Photo/coverage shows the boat with crew bunked in in depths of a hard, long winter. All the rest, as they say, is history. Well, what do I know?

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


                Last paragraph, line 3 "in time" story will HOPEFULLY arise from a dusty box in the near future.