Off topic. Why? because I can!

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Mark D
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Off topic. Why? because I can!

Postby Mark D » Fri Feb 17, 2006 6:02 pm

Well, since it appears this board has a place for off topic disussion, I thought I'd try it out. So far, I've made it all the way through the subject window and into the message body. So far so good.

I actually do have a topic.

In the past, I've periodically posted notices regarding what I consider to be the very last of the great transatlantic liners of the golden era of passenger steam ships. I posted them on RYPN, but it's really not on topic there. I guess I started doing that because there had been some steam ship discussions going on. Over time, there seems to be less and less interest in steam ships, so since this venue here is open to anything, here it is from now on.

The NORWAY, formerly FRANCE.
1960 vintage.
STEAM powered.
Originally designed for the North Atlantic trade, it lost money right from the start because most people by then were crossing the ocean in airplanes, not boats.
The French decided they were going to scrap it. It was only about 10 years old at the time, IIRC. The crew brought it back from the US on its last voyage, but refused to bring it in to port until the French Govt. (owners of the ship) decided that they'd try to find a buyer who would actually run the ship.
Well, they did find a buyer in the form of the Norwegian Government.
Norwegian American Cruise Lines was born.
The boat sailed under the name Norway from then on, even after Star Cruises bought Norwegian American.
A couple years ago, NORWAY was tied up in Miami, making ready to load another pile of passengers for a carribean cruise.
Somehow or other, someone in the engine room managed to have a minor boiler explosion. It killed 8 people. I guess that doesn't sound too minor until one thinks of the damage that could be caused by a major one.
Anyway, the trip was cancelled. Star Cruises orginally intended to fix the boat. They towed it to Germany where it sat while they looked for someone to build a new boiler and repair the other damage done.
In the end, they reported that it was just too expensive to do the job.
Face it, the boat was getting long in the tooth in the cruise world, and it's days were numbered anyway.
I suspect Star had decided maybe they didn't want any more high pressure steam boilers in their ships, too.
Conversion to diesel would be even worse than fixing what was there.
They looked for buyers for just about any purpose.
No takers.
They then offered it to scrappers.
They found some potential buyers, and it was towed to India last year.
It had been tentatively sold to a scrapper, but the latest news is that the ship sits and waits for its fate still, as the green people are up in arms about the asbestos still aboard the boat.
No scrap dealers will buy it now until the asbestos has been removed.
The ship has been renamed, as they always are when being readied for scrapping, and is now called "Blue Lady."
This was once one classy ship, and it still shows, even though it's now a little rusty looking.
I hate to see it go, but all things come to an end.
If ever I were to go on a cruise, it would have been on that boat. I never have, and probably never will. It isn't my sort of thing. Unless, of course, it's a steam ship.
So, anyway, for anyone out there who's familiar with Norway, that's the status of now.
Mark D.
Mark D. - The bottom of the information curve

Fitz
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Re: Off topic. Why? because I can!

Postby Fitz » Fri Feb 17, 2006 8:03 pm

Mark, you should go on one. You eat and drink (if so disposed) non-stop. Plan on gaining weight and spending a lot of money. Most of the newer ones have some very interesting activities at the ports and on board. I think they serve about six meals a day. The midnight buffet complete with ice sculptures on the tables is a hoot.
The first one my wife and I went on was a long time ago when Carnival Cruise Lines was in infancy. We didn't know anything about cruises, and learned a lot. The ship was the Mardi Gras, which I believe was formerly the Empress of Canada. She had a CN or CP logo on the stack.
We were seated at meals with a couple of "old ladies," and figured this would be boring. Well, mistake one. These ladies, from the Chicago area, were great and interesting people. We kept in touch with them for years after. Saw a lot of older people in wheelchairs and walkers, and decided right then that we would enjoy these kind of things while young, and not when we were incapacitated. We did, and don't regret it.
Went on a second one for our 25th anniversary, on the Norwegian Caribbean Line. Great trip. Went on a real submarine, though recreational, at one of the stops.
I guess Carnival now has a fleet about the size of the US Navy. Rock climbing walls and all kinds of other entertainment.
Fitz
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Hogger1225
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Re: Off topic. Why? because I can!

Postby Hogger1225 » Fri Feb 17, 2006 9:46 pm

My one and only cruise so far was on the S.S. Norway.
I get paid for doing what you like to watch! LOL! (jk)

Mark D
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Re: Off topic. Why? because I can!

Postby Mark D » Sat Feb 18, 2006 11:39 am

Hogger1225, I like your signature. I assume you mean you get paid to run while the railfans watch.
I should make my signature say "I do for free what you get paid to do."
But when I look at it, it makes me seem pretty dumb!

Fitz, my idea of a cruise would be more along the lines of the old transatlantic days when you were going from here to there.
The boats these days are so hideously UGGLLLLLLLEEEYYY that I can't bear to look at them.
They all look like big white Vegas hotels mounted on a barge.
Gone are the classic lines of true sea going ships that were designed to run at full speed through anything the North Atlantic could throw at them.
They had a schedule to keep, and by gosh they were going to keep it.
I am the on who would have liked to have been one of the crew on board. Seaman, not a steward.
My wife, daughter, and wifes sister did take a trip on Norway about eight years ago. My wife brought the video camera and took lots of video. She had conned an assistant engineer to show her the engine room, but the chief engineer nixed the idea in the end. Nobody allowed down there. I understand why, but I was hoping for some video of those big boilers and turbines.
Remember the "BIG RED BOAT"?
Disney's entry into the cruise market.
It's now on the beach at Alang, just about nothing left of it. I saw a picture the other day of it. All deck house structures aft to the funnel are gone. Holes are cut in the hull for access, and by now all deck house structures are gone.
To me, these old boats are as much a part of our history as the steam locomotives. Some need to be saved.
To that end, a group has managed to save the S.S. Rotterdam.
I think it's the Rotterdam.
Anyway, that's one.
Queen Mary is another.
I wish the Norway would be saved. But it ain't gonna' happen.
Mark D.
Mark D. - The bottom of the information curve

Bassman
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Re: Off topic. Why? because I can!

Postby Bassman » Mon Mar 06, 2006 5:31 pm

Meanwhile, the SS United States is quietly rusting away here in Philadelphia.

steambrake
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Re: Off topic. Why? because I can!

Postby steambrake » Mon Mar 06, 2006 7:12 pm

Let's not forget the smaller steamers either...
http://www.nationaltrust.org/magazine/911/index.htm

Mark D
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Re: Off topic. Why? because I can!

Postby Mark D » Mon Mar 06, 2006 7:50 pm

The United States is, today, owned by Star Cruises, the owners of Norway.
I never really thought they planned to put it back in service. I thought they had some other ulterior motive for buying the ship a few years ago. They did say they planned to put it in service between the US mainland and hawaii. But I always thought that was smoke and mirrors because the economics of the idea just didn't seem to work out. At least, not the way I was adding it up.
Now, however, the chances of them ever using the big U are even less. After they decided Norway wasn't worth fixing, and it needed a lot less work than the U, that would indicate they aren't likely to spend real money on the U either. Moerover, they have recently built other boats to do the job the U was ostensibly going to do.

Regarding that boat Nobska;
I think it would be a sin for the Park Service to be the ones to cause its scrapping.
But it seems the people who own it have run out of money and there's still a lot of work to do on it.
I suspect they also probably already owe a lot of money for work completed and for drydock rental.
Whomever owns the drydock can't let it sit there forever in any case, so if it cannot be made to float, and if there's no other way to move it out of the slip, then I can see where the ultimate choice will be to break it up right where it lies.
Very unfortunate. That boat looks to be a very worthwhile artifact from early in the last century. The fact that you can't save them all doesn't wash with this boat because it's already a good part of the way to being saved. Unlike the Catalina out west. That thing is already scrap. Is it still there? I thought it'd already been cut up over the past year.

Big steamships, like big locomotives, need to be saved. Of course like I was saying, you can't save them all. But some need to be saved for the historical significance. They are a visible link to our past for future generations.
Perhaps the Park Service should rethink their issue about a potential terrorist attack on Old Ironsides. If terrorists blew that thing up, it would sink so fast they couldn't get it to drydock anyway. It would have to be refloated at some future date and moved there. If it could even be salvaged.
But why would terrorists blow that up? It isn't worth it! They want maximum effect, or more bang for their buck.
To scrap a historical artifact just because someone might blow another one up some day is sort of rediculous.
My opinion only. Your mileage may vary
Mark D.
Mark D. - The bottom of the information curve

jrevans
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Re: Off topic. Why? because I can!

Postby jrevans » Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:04 am

Mark D wrote:The United States is, today, owned by Star Cruises, the owners of Norway.
I never really thought they planned to put it back in service. I thought they had some other ulterior motive for buying the ship a few years ago. They did say they planned to put it in service between the US mainland and hawaii. But I always thought that was smoke and mirrors because the economics of the idea just didn't seem to work out. At least, not the way I was adding it up.
Mark D.


There are some neat pictures out there of the S.S. United States with some trains.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=116382

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=114544

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=114543

http://www.trainweb.org/railpix/miscpix/cp5511r1.jpg

http://www.mineun.com/pages/unitedstates.htm

Mark D
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Re: Off topic. Why? because I can!

Postby Mark D » Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:22 am

GREAT pictures, jrevans!
Did you take those? Or, some of them?
I noticed that the Railpictures.net photo link required me to refuse over 30 cookies for each link. This tells me that this operation is taking personal information from users computers. I refuse nearly all cookies.
The mineun.com on the other hand only asked for four cookies. All were refused, of course.
I liked the one from the parking lot showing the forward 3/4 or so of the ship the best. It gives a good perspective of the size of that beast.
I wonder how many people who read this know that this ship is still by far the fastest liner ever built. It was built in the early fifties to be used as a rapid troop transport, but to be used as a passenger liner otherwise. Therefor, it was built with extensive use of aluminum to keep weight down. It is said that even the piano in the lounge was aluminum.
The power is almost identical to that used in several aircraft carriers of the time.
Top speed was classified, but it is known that the ship could run a sustained 48 knots. That's roughly 52 mph!
It took the blue riband from the Cunard Queen Elizibeth (?) on its first crossing, and they never ran over half power.
At 990 feet, somewhat shorter than France, but not by much. Essentially the same size boat over all.
I think if the United States ever sails under its own power again, it will be with some big MAN or such diesels. I sort of think nobody will try to breath new life into the existing power plant. Way too expensive to operate.
Mark D.
Mark D. - The bottom of the information curve

steambrake
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Re: Off topic. Why? because I can!

Postby steambrake » Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:29 am

Mark,
The Catalina is still stuck in the mud in Ensenada. The groups which are trying to save her have had many ups and downs (and squabbles) but have not given up yet. They have a Yahoo group if you are interested.http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sscatalina/

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Re: Off topic. Why? because I can!

Postby Fitz » Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:07 pm

Mark, there's an article in the August 2005 Railfan & Railroad mag about the CP in Philadelphia. The cover and several shots in the article, authored by Mike Harting, feature the United States, and yeah, she's BIG. :shock:
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Mark D
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Re: Off topic. Why? because I can!

Postby Mark D » Fri Mar 10, 2006 11:52 am

Fitz, I would have liked to have seen that photo. Oh well. I don't get R&R anymore. Gave that up during an economy drive. I had a choice of that or Trains. I kept Trains.

On Catalina, I feel for the group who are trying to save that ship, but honestly my feeling is that is one boat that is not worth saving. In my opinion it is too far shot and not complete enough to be worth salvaging. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's my opinion. To me, the money and effort they expend on their favorite boat could be better put into something that has a better chance. Like KALAKALA maybe.

I'd like to see a large group of very well healed, knowledgable, and imaginative philanthropists go out to the Agean Sea and raise, stabilize and structurally restore BRITANNIC. Now, that would really be a museum worth visiting!
My opinion only. Your mileage may vary
Mark D.
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jrevans
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Re: Off topic. Why? because I can!

Postby jrevans » Thu Mar 16, 2006 12:12 am

Mark D wrote:GREAT pictures, jrevans!
Did you take those? Or, some of them?


I'm glad that you liked them, Mark, but I didn't take any of them. I suppose that I could drive the hour and a half down to Philly, find where the America is located and take some pictures, but I didn't.... It was much easier for me to hit some search engines and find the pictures. :)

Mark D wrote:I noticed that the Railpictures.net photo link required me to refuse over 30 cookies for each link. This tells me that this operation is taking personal information from users computers. I refuse nearly all cookies.
The mineun.com on the other hand only asked for four cookies. All were refused, of course.


I just grab a big glass of milk and swallow all of those cookies. :)

Mark D wrote:I liked the one from the parking lot showing the forward 3/4 or so of the ship the best. It gives a good perspective of the size of that beast.


It's amazing how big that thing is. Especially in proportion to other things that I consider to be large.

Mark D wrote:I wonder how many people who read this know that this ship is still by far the fastest liner ever built. It was built in the early fifties to be used as a rapid troop transport, but to be used as a passenger liner otherwise. Therefor, it was built with extensive use of aluminum to keep weight down. It is said that even the piano in the lounge was aluminum.
The power is almost identical to that used in several aircraft carriers of the time.
Top speed was classified, but it is known that the ship could run a sustained 48 knots. That's roughly 52 mph!
It took the blue riband from the Cunard Queen Elizibeth (?) on its first crossing, and they never ran over half power.


I had no idea about those things. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

Mark D wrote:Mark D.


JimE
http://jrevans.fbody.com/trains.html


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