"Taking Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jul 23 09:22:19 EDT 2009

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with eleven of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Attending for the first time
was my oldest grandson, Hunter who is 15 and an avid VGN rail fan.

The video shown was one that Hunter and I took yesterday of a coal train
that we chased on the old N&W (VGN had track work in progress)from west of
Salem to the VGN Passenger Station via the "VN" connection. Also we shot
the last remains of the old Roanoke Mills (Metropolitan and Martha White
Flour and dog food)with all of the grain elevators now down for the
Carilion Project. If you have photos of the Virginian in Roanoke anywhere
near the old Roundhouse area, the grain elevators will probably be in the
now "much more valuable" photos. Ruf remembered the mill burning down in
1944 and the burnt flour odor filled the yard for about a year until the
new silos were rebuilt in 1945. Scotty said that spotting grain cars behind
the silos was like "working on ice, when the grain was wet". This is also
the area in the news lately, concerning the moving of the "lost steam
engines" to their new homes.

I passed around photos of Aubrey Wiley's newest Virginian rail artifact, a
1932 Fairbanks Morse Sheffield Motor Car Model 41, VGN #109. Aubrey tells
me that there are only five other Sheffield Model 41s in existence. He and
his lovely wife Charlotte plan to overhaul the 8.5 HP engine and ride it on
branch line railroads that allow privately owned motor cars. Aubrey has
constructed a 2/3 size motor car shed to house it from plans sent to him by
Tom Marshall. You can visit Aubrey's collection and see this rare VGN
artifact on the afternoon of August 8 as part of Lynchburg Rail Day.
Aubrey's Relic Garden now has 32 pieces of Rail History. This prompted the
Brethren to talk of motor cars that they remember. Russell McDaniel, Master
Mechanic at Victoria at the merger, recalled riding a motor car from
Roanoke to Victoria with E. E. Jones every other month and "it was a very
bumpy ride". Ruf Wingfield said that Mr. Jones hit a box car once with his
motor car at "PD Bottom" near the west end of the Roanoke yard.

Landon brought photos sent to him by Kenny Kirkman of the last passenger
train on the VGN and a toy VGN steam locomotive and tender whittled by Roy
Matheas. Raymond East brought a very nice 12 X 12 inch VGN metal logo that
he recently purchased at a local flea market.

Russell McDaniel's lovely wife Lou visited our group for a few minutes and
told me that I had added two years to Russell's life on the Birthday card
that we prepared for him this year. I have in my records his birth date of
5-22-24 and he was actually born in 1922 making him 87 instead of 85...

The ebay report this week has the following: Slide of VGN 75-ton hopper
$7.50; 1949 ad "Virginian's New Electrics Meet All" $21.89; Negative of VGN
Squarehead #106 $9.95; Negative of VGN #806 $9.95; Two photos of VGN wreck
at Lafayette $14.95; Slide of VGN FM #115 $24.49; 1910 VGN Rwy club car
permit $38.55 and 3 VGN Annual Passes: 1910 for $38.55, 1917 for $25.37 and
1920 for $28.21.

I passed around to the Brethren a group of letters from young children to
God, sent to me by a good friend. One that I liked was from "Mickey D":
"Dear God, If you watch in Church on Sunday I will show you my new shoes".
The Brethren's favorite was from "Jane": "Dear God, Instead of letting
people die and haveing to make new ones, why don't you just keep the ones
you got now?"

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip and Hunter Salmon


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