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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!

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/

 

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has endorsed a bill which could allow the steamboat “Delta Queen” to return to cruising America’s rivers. This action moves the bill out of committee and to the House for a vote.

Read the full article here:

http://arkansasnews.com/sections/news/arkansas/delta-queen-gathers-steam-congress.html

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Cincinnati Enquirer: “The Delta Queen could come back home to Cincinnati. But she has four other serious suitors: Louisville; Sacramento, Calif.; New York’s Manhattan Island; and Chattanooga, Tenn., where the boat currently rests as a floating hotel.”

To read the full article from the Cincinnati Enquirer, CLICK HERE.

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