Vesuvius Re-visited.

nw-mailing-list at nw-mailing-list at
Wed Jan 4 21:12:32 EST 2006

Sad to say, I have temporarily misplaced the photos, but around 1990 while
driving up Interstate 81 in Virginia I decided to re-trace some of the foot
steps of O. Winston Link. In his book "Steam Steel And Stars" you will rcall
the interior view f the general store in Vesuvius, Va., and the old gentleman
outside putting gas in a convertible automobile as a northbound passenger
train passes in the background on the doubletrack N&W in front of the
store. I turned off I-81 to go over to Vesuvius and on the state road near
Vesuvius on the right, I spotted an ACY covered hopper, minus trucks
mounted about 15 or 18 feet high on two concrete piers with room for
Virginia Dept. Of Highways dump trucks to drive underneath to receive
gravel to spread on roads during icy weather. The top of the coverd hopper
is located up against a steep fill where other trucks can dump gravel into
the hopper to be dumped into the smaller dump trucks. Obviously I took a
photo of that. To my surprise, although long closed, that general store
building was still intact! That gravity gasoline pump in the Winston Link
photo was still right there in the front of the building. I stood in the
exact same spot that Link must have been standing when that photo was made
and got a daytime shot of that gas tank. If only I could have had a
N&W Mountain class "J look-alike" passsing in the background with a
northbound passenger train headed for Stuart's Draft and Waynesboro to
complete the scene. You see, I do have a warm spot for the N&W. Too
bad some of you don't feel the same way about the ACL instead of making
fun of it. If I do say so, A couple of ACL P-5-a or P-5-b Pacifics
doubleheading a passenger or freight train was a sight to gladden the heart.
In my case something to be a part of in that I would be the fireman on
either the lead or second locomotive. If you really want a dirty job, try
firing the second locomotive on a doubleheaded passenger train. You get
to eat the smoke and cinders of both locomotives up to around 70 MPH.
You don't need your coal pusher then, as the vibration at high speeds
will shake down the coal pile until coal is ankle-deep n the deck of the
locomotive. Been there, done that. Bill Sellers.

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