A stunning development in the Delta Queen saga. Much of the obstacles in her preservation and attempts to return her to the river previously derived from the situation that the players working toward those goals were leasing her and did not own her. But not any more! Here’s the press release:

LEGENDARY DELTA QUEEN PURCHASE FINALIZED 

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Feb. 16, 2015) – DQSC, LLC (dba The Delta Queen Steamboat Company) a Delaware limited liability company, Tuesday completed the purchase of the Legendary Steamboat Delta Queen from TAC Cruise, LLC (aka Xanterra Cruise, LLC) a Delaware limited liability company.

The legendary Delta Queen began service as an overnight passenger vessel in 1927, carrying passengers, cargo and automobiles between Sacramento, Calif. and San Francisco, Calif. After a brief period of service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, the vessel was sold as war surplus to Captain Tom Greene, owner of the Greene Line Steamers of Cincinnati, Ohio. From 1946 to 2008, the Delta Queen operated as an overnight cruise vessel along many of the prominent river and waterways running through America’s heartland, including the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Cumberland and Arkansas Rivers. Later on, the vessel operated as a dockside hotel in Chattanooga, Tenn. from 2009 until 2014.

“My partners and I are thrilled to be taking this critical first step toward the preservation and restoration of this important piece of American and river history,” said Cornel Martin, President and CEO of Delta Queen Steamboat Company. “We look forward to the day when the Delta Queen will once again be able to ply America’s waterways and allow passengers to relive the experiences of Mark Twain and his unique cast of river characters from the decks of a true 1927 steamboat.”

The Delta Queen is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is classified as a National Historic Landmark. The steamboat has also recently been designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a National Treasure.

“Our goal is to have the Delta Queen return to cruising America’s waterways in 2016 following extensive mechanical and hotel renovations,” said Martin.

For more information, visit the Delta Queen on Facebook. 

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About Delta Queen Steamboat Company

The Delta Queen Steamboat Company was founded in 1890 and originally known as The Greene Line. The company’s name changed in 1974. The company is made up of several long-time supporters of the Delta Queen steamboat. The mission of the company is to preserve, restore and return the legendary Delta Queen to overnight cruise service through the inland rivers of America’s heartland.

Here we are to December (can you believe it?!) with no movement of the Senate Bill 1022 to permit the Delta Queen to return to cruising. Check in on it periodically at the Senate website here:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/s1022?utm_campaign=govtrack_feed&utm_source=govtrack/feed&utm_medium=rss

closedThe shutdown of the U.S. government since October 1 has impacted so many in devastating ways. Also caught in this needless madness is the now halted progress of legislation passed by the House on Sept 25 that could lead to the Delta Queen being permitted to return to cruising America’s rivers. The bill must also pass the Senate when our elected leaders decide to continue the work we the voters hired them to do.

In the meantime, the Delta Queen and its supporters count the days. But even when Congress returns, the backlog of work will be tremendous, the cleanup of this mess will be massive, and the delays to so many projects could be indefinite. Arrrrrgggghhhh!

Congressman Steve Chabot

Congressman Steve Chabot

In an effort led by Ohio Congressman Steve Chabot… (drum roll, please)… on Wednesday, Sep. 25, the U.S. House passed HR1961 which moves the Delta Queen one step closer to the possibility of returning to cruising America’s rivers!

Read the update from Congressman Chabot’s website here:
http://chabot.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=351162

Here’s an article from the Chattanooga Times Free Press with quotes from Delta Queen representative Cornell Martin:
http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/sep/27/vote-good-news-for-delta-queen/

Stay tuned!

 

Here is the text of a letter sent by House Representative Steve Chabot which was read meeting gathering on Saturday:

September 20, 2013

To all those gathered,

First, let me apologize for not being present at today’s event. My work in Washington and in my district is keeping me away, but I applaud everyone gathered here for your commitment to this issue.

I would like to thank and recognize Randy and Leah Ann Ingram, Phillip Johnson, Cornel Martin, and each person that has worked so hard to get the Queen moving again!

The Delta Queen is vessel that will always have a special place in my heart.

For most of my life, she docked along the banks of theOhio River, where she picked up tourists and honeymooners eager to experience America’s rivers in a unique and historic fashion.

The Delta Queen is beloved not just by me, but by many – particularly my fellow Cincinnatians who spent years watching her glide into to our city to unload passengers at dawn. And then sail out with a new group of river farers at dusk.

It is very fitting that the “Queen City” would be home to the Delta Queen. And I hope she can return there once again.

This gathering has been a long time coming.

In 2007, I introduced a bill in the House to extend the Queen’s exemption. And in the Senate, this effort was cosponsored by two men who rarely see eye-to-eye: Mitch McConnell and Barack Obama. They don’t agree on much, but they agreed on this.

Unfortunately, discord and disagreement won the day, and the vessel lost its ability to operate.

But, that was then and this now. Today, we have a renewed and strengthened coalition of support.

When I reintroduced the Delta Queen bill this Congress, I did so with a bipartisan group of lawmakers who all sharethe vision of returning the vessel to full operation.

I owe thanks to every cosponsor of this bill, but I owe special thanks to Congressman Lacey Clay of St. Louis, Missouri and Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis, Tennessee who have been my partners in this fight from the very beginning.

Senators Brown & Portman of Ohio, and Senators Landrieu and Vitter of Louisiana also deserve our thanks for introducing the bill in the Senate.

In addition to lawmakers, we also have a robust group of outside groups that understand that this bill does two very important things:

1.

It helps preserve a piece of American history

2.

And it will create and support jobs

So, I owe special thanks to the Seafarers International Union, the American Maritime Officers, and the National Historic Trust for their partnerships.

Soon the fruits of our labor will come to bear, as I am proud to announce that the House of Representatives will be voting on the Delta Queen legislation this coming Wednesday.

I am relatively confident in our chance of success, but weshould take nothing for granted.

The bill enjoys the support of both the chairman and ranking member of the Transportation Committee, but westill need everyone within earshot to tell their friends and neighbors to contact their Member of Congress andencourage them to support this bipartisan bill (H.R. 1961).

Let me close, by reminding everyone of something I think is very important.

The Delta Queen does not belong moored to a dock.

She belongs on America’s riverways.

And with the passage of this bill, that’s where she will return.

Thank you all and God bless!

Sincerely,

Steve Chabot

Member of Congress

We attended a gathering aboard the Delta Queen which included an exciting update from Cornell Martin (former Delta Queen Steamboat Company executive working to return the boat to cruising): The Congressional bill that would help open the door to the Delta Queen possibly cruising again is scheduled to be voted on by the House on Wednesday!

This is, of course the first step of many, but it is a step long waited for since the Delta Queen moored in Chattanooga in February 2008 to serve as a dockside hotel.
Former Delta Queen Captains Mike Williams and Gabe Chengary were also in attendance and shared inspiring words and lovely memories. Leah Ann and Randy Ingram shared the excitement. They are the current operators of the Delta Queen Hotel and leaders of the effort to return the vessel to cruising.
Track the Billy’s progress online here:

Here’s a link to an article from The Natchez Democrat:

http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/2013/07/27/legislators-working-to-get-steamboat-back-on-the-water/

 

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