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  • Mark Twain

    I know the Columbia is drivin by propellers is the Mark Twain the same way or do the paddles actually work?
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  • #2
    Re: Mark twain.

    The Mark Twain is and has always been steam powered.

    The automatic marine boiler sits in the "cage" near the bow. Here, you can see the fire through a small peep hole, and you can see the water level in the sight glass over by the starboard companionway (right staircase). The boiler is automatically fired and operated.

    You can see the pipe along the ceiling that carries the steam to the two long-stroke pistons at the stern. These are masterfully constructed--almost like two mechanical works of art. The valve gear that directs the steam into and out of the cylinders are the bright polished-steel rods on top of the piston. It's fascinating to watch them operate.

    It's said that the cylinders themselves were designed by a steam aficionado who knew Disney named Ed Bagley. Bagley allegedly designed them after Walt gave him a woodcut showing a similar piston. Not much to work from, but the results are astounding. The large arm that rotates the wheel is called a "Pittman Arm." Feel free to stump your friends with that little piece of trivia the next time you ride.

    The two large smokestacks at the front of the ship expel only diesel exhaust. You can find thermometers for each one on the main deck. Up on the other decks, you can place your hand on them, and feel the warmth. Often, only one stack is used to vent the exhaust.

    The two stacks at the stern vent expended steam.

    The paddle wheel alone propels the ship; If "thrown into reverse" when coming into the dock, it also acts as the ship's "brake."

    The ship used to have a steam-driven generator that provided electricity for the lights and other electrical equipment, but now the ship uses a diesel generator--and this can be heard near the stern as a dull rumble, leading some to mistakenly think the boat's powered by an internal-combustion engine.

    In the engineer's cage at the rear, you can see the throttle--a large plate-sized valve wheel near the ceiling that controls steam to the pistons. There is also a large reverse lever on the floor--called a Johnson Bar. You can also see the gauges that register the steam pressure. These are the only controls for the boat's movement. The pilot does have some responsibility--he communicates with the engineer though a series of bell signals. The engineers, fittingly, are the same folks who run the steam trains.

    The boat is guided through the ROA on two "caissons" that follow the rail. Obviously, the large wheel in the pilot house is for show only--although the steam that blows the whistle is quite real. The headlight is also alleged to be an authentic old-time steam locomotive box headlight.

    As Ward Kimball has said, Walt Disney was very proud of both the authentic steam trains, and the Mark Twain. He considered them "the seventh and eighth wonders of the world."

    There you have it: the abbreviated version of "Mark Twain 101!"
    Last edited by Steve DeGaetano; 02-05-2007, 11:52 AM.

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    • #3
      Re: Mark twain.

      Originally posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post

      There you have it: the abbreviated version of "Mark Twain 101!"
      A little know fact as of 1993 the Mark Twain was one of only two steam powered river boats west of the Mississippi, the other is the Elizebath Louise that makes its run on the Sacramento river.
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      • #4
        Re: Mark Twain

        I knew that but not in such detail.

        What I don't know is Colombia's propulsion. Anyone feel like cluing me in?

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        • #5
          Re: Mark twain.

          Originally posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
          The Mark Twain is and has always been steam powered.
          So the Mark Twain accually drives? It just is going along the track?

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          • #6
            Re: Mark Twain

            It is on a track

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            • #7
              Re: Mark Twain

              I have an old copy of a Disneyland Line, where a photo is shown of the ROA, when it was drained and you can see the track.

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              • #8
                Re: Mark twain.

                Originally posted by tahoebob54 View Post
                A little know fact as of 1993 the Mark Twain was one of only two steam powered river boats west of the Mississippi, the other is the Elizebath Louise that makes its run on the Sacramento river.
                Interesting!

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                • #9
                  Re: Mark Twain

                  Originally posted by PLAZAINN1 View Post
                  It is on a track
                  I know. But i'm saying. It hasnt been tweaked to run on an operator's board? It is run on a track and the captain up in the wheelhouse controls it from there?

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                  • #10
                    Re: Mark Twain

                    Read that 2nd post again, I know it's long and goes on and on, but that guy knows what he's talking about.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Mark Twain

                      Originally posted by barfownz View Post
                      It hasnt been tweaked to run on an operator's board? It is run on a track and the captain up in the wheelhouse controls it from there?
                      The Mark Twain is self-contained and does not operate from a "board." There is no E-stop button or someone controlling it from a distance.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Mark Twain

                        Originally posted by PLAZAINN1 View Post
                        I have an old copy of a Disneyland Line, where a photo is shown of the ROA, when it was drained and you can see the track.
                        I remember when they were retrofitting ROA in order to put in Fantasmic in the early 90's. They had a fence going the length of ROA, but it stopped just about where the TSI rafts are now. At that point I was able to peek around the side of the fence and look at EVERYTHING. The river was drained and all I could see was a huge concrete ditch with tracks going along the bottom. I wish I had a camera! (Oh well, thank goodness I still have my memory!)

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                        • #13
                          Re: Mark twain.

                          Originally posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
                          There you have it: the abbreviated version of "Mark Twain 101!"
                          I really appreciate you taking the time to post this Steve!!!! Printed it out actually, time to visit an old friend and peek a little closer!

                          John

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                          • #14
                            Re: Mark Twain

                            When I was little, I used to think that the paddle was real but everything else was fake such as the engine and the steam billowing out of the pipes in the back of the boat (I thought it was fog machines letting out massive amounts of fog at one time)

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                            • #15
                              Re: Mark Twain

                              Impressive fog machines, in that case.
                              Terribly interesting stuff. I just noticed the engineers working at Twain's engines the other day.

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