"Taking Twenty with the Virginian Brethren"

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Oct 16 13:00:08 EDT 2008

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with eight of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway.

Rufus Wingfield mentioned passing Reserve Ave. in Roanoke recently
near where the Virginian Roundhouse was located and a new motel is
currently being built in the Carilion Complex. He remembered that
several fellow VGN workers were allowed to have a vegetable garden in
the very spot that will become a 4-star hotel/motel and close to where
Cornbread watched his own brand new Plymouth being unloaded from a
Virginian Auto Box Car.

The recent ebay VGN sales report was given: Slide of #100
Squareheads $10.61; Slide of 2-6-6-6 #906 $25; Slide of EL-C set $30;
1917 Ad showing VGN G-1s $21.78; Photo of #480 $24.25; Photo of VGN
#125 $11.78 and 1937 VGN Public Timetable $45.99. Landon Gregory
reported that at a local auction last Saturday, a VGN heart shaped brass
switch lock went for $1,000.

We talked about the opening of an adjoining display from the
Trailways Bus Company with our Virginian Railway Exhibit at the
Virginia Museum of Transportation next Tuesday 4-6 PM. Even though our
exhibit "Virginian-Roanoke's Other Raiload" is not 100% ready, we will
have a VGN showing for those who come to see the Bus side. The
Brethren were invited to join us there for this event. I brought a
replica number plate for VGN Blue Ridge Class AG 2-6-6-6 unit 906,
freshly painted in black and yellow that will be part of it. The
Brethren remembered the large VGN steam engines. Several restaurant
patrons also asked about the large number plate and were given an
explanation from the Brethren who fondly remembered seeing similar
plates on the front of the pride of the VGN Steam Fleet.

Raymond East recalled "firing" the 900s. "I fired that job, and
they were great engines. If you had good coal they were easy to fire.
They were scrapped before they got broke in good". Several remembered
the giant locos pulling coal trains out of South Yard going east. One
crew included "Speed King" Vernon and our friend "Nookie" Corning.
This discussion also turned to a famous wreck near Goose Creek where
the 903 turned over on her side. "J. B. Harding was the engineer and
the cow catcher was hanging off the bridge when she stopped" remembered

I showed the Brethren a sign I found at the N&W (and VGN)
Historical Society Archives work session last week. It reads "The
Virginian Railway Company Notice: When Club Car is occupied only for
meals, an extra charge of twenty-five cents will be made, an exception
to this rule being authorized in the case of passengers holding space
in Pullman Sleeping Cars". This prompted Ruf to recall that there was
a "night train" special during spring and summer out of Roanoke to
Norfolk that became a "Virginia Beach Special". He said that Jessee
James who later worked with Rufus and Bob Roland as a call boy, was a
supply clerk on these specials and purchased the food and beverages for
the trains on the Club cars. Also at the archives, I ran across an
Acceptance of Bid for the crossing gates at Franklin Road and Jefferson
Street in Roanoke before both bridges were built over the VGN. These
gates were pneumatically operated form nearby "shop air" and the
crossing guards were provided "crossing cabins".

I passed on to the Brethren a recent posting by our good friend
Aubrey "Junkman" Wiley, our Lynchburg correspondent. He informed us
that our beloved "Slick" Inge was found on a Seniority list with his
assigned caboose being the VGN 315. This prompted many comments about
Slick and how much we miss him.

Cornbread mentioned the upcoming election and that one of the
candidates would be visiting our fair city. Someone asked Raymond East
if he was going to see him. He responded "Not even if someone put a
gun to my head".

Frank Breedlove joined us and the discussion turned to the latest
down turn of the stock market. One of the Brethren mentioned
that "people just don't save like they used to". Landon Gregory piped
up, I save, I've even got part of my first paycheck...the stub".

Time to pull the pin on this one.

Departing Now From VGN 248,

Skip Salmon

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