"Taking Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Feb 19 08:35:04 EST 2009

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with nine of
the Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. I thanked Landon
Gregory for reporting to you about last week's dinner, in my absence.

I showed the Brethren Norfolk Southern's premier issue
of "BizNS", a bi-monthly employee and retiree newsletter, that
replaces the monthly "Newsbreak". Of course this prompted several
comments including "it ain't no 'N&W Magazine'". One highlight in
this "BizNS" is the recent new design for NS service anniversary
awards (10 K gold pins) with recognition of longer service time:
garnet for 20 years, emerald for 30 years and diamond for 40 and 50
years. The Brethren remembered no such recognition on the VGN.

Also passed around was Gordon Hamilton's "Bluefield Daily
Telegraph" article of 2/26/09 that talked about the importance of
Sewalls Point Pier. It stated that "Sewells Point Pier was over 5
miles closer to the open ocean than N&W Piers and was located so that
vessels can dock at any hour of the day or night as the occasion may
necessitate, and it is just west of the 1907 Jamestown Exposition and
directly across the bay from Newport News". Also passed was
a "Roanoke Times" "100 years ago today" article from last Monday's
paper that states "The first passenger train from Norfolk over the
Virginian railway, arrived here at 9 o'clock last night--right on the
dot ". Raymond East asked "was it the right day?".

We talked a little about our recent visit to the N&W HS Archives
Open House. I told them about something I discovered on the video
that VGN locomotive "geru" Greely Wyatt said. He remembered that the
Fairbanks Morse diesels were "good locomotives, but they were hard to
work on. Sometimes we had to take them all apart to fix a little
problem". I returned to Wis Sowder his photos of the August 1951 VGN
wreck at Huddleston. I checked the ICC wreck CD for a report, but
found none since there were no personal injuries in the accident.

I passed on to the Brethren that last week at the work session
of the N&W (and VGN) Historical Society Archives, we supplied Roanoke
Shops drawings, manuals and other information to assist their
overhaul of the NS 540037, former VGN B37 derrick. This diesel
powered derrick was purchased by the VGN in 1959. With this
overhaul, it looks like this old VGN workhorse will continue to serve
the needs of one of our Nation's premier rail lines into the future.

Also from the work session last week, a VGN Acceptance of Bid
for work at the Roanoke Passenger Station in 1910, stated that water
coolers and ice boxes were installed. The method of cooling the
water was running it through brass or galvanized pipe coils in the
bottom of a metal box containing ice, up to the coolers.

The ebay report includes: VGN 1939 Public Timetable $17.11; 1940
VGN Rwy ad "A National Treasure" $11.78; VGN Steam Loco 507 color
slide $29.07; 902 slide $17.17; 214 slide $17.24; 430 slide $21.59; 2
VGN Timetables-1948 and 1956 $89.67; and 45 VGN shipping tags for

The Brethren were reminded about the Model Railroad and Train
Show at the Armory in Clifton Forge this Saturday and Sunday
sponsored by the C&O Historical Society.

Frank Breedlove and Rufus Wingfield discussed a notorious VGN
brakeman who was "such a rounder, that he changed his name to protect
his parents".

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon

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