"Taking Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Oct 15 09:55:21 EDT 2009

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with 10 of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. As we approached
"Country Cookin'" last night,Ruf announced to me that he had forgotten his
teeth again. He refused to let me take him back home to get them and said
"I can just 'eat softly tonight'". Rufus Wingfield has no trouble eating or
talking with or without his choppers.

I passed around several items for the Brethren to "chew on" including the
October "NRHS News". It reports their National Convention in Minnesota this
year that our own Landon Gregory and his wife Sondra attended. The only
local item announced the Roanoke Chapter NRHS fall excursions to Bluefield
and Shenandoah on November 7 and 8. The Bluefield trip is almost full but
there are plenty of coach seats available for Shenandoah. This train ride
up the scenic and beautiful Shenandoah Valley will be during the peak of
the fall color change. There will be a "sit down" meal at Shenandoah. For
more information and to get tickets, call 540 774 0611.

The Virginian Railway sales on ebay this time include: A small brass bell
stamped "VGN RY" sold for $61.05; "The VGN Era" by our own Lloyd Lewis for
$31.00; "VGN Rails" $68.00; Original slide of VGN #214 $27.99; Original
Slide of a Box Cab $56.10 and the deal of the year, a silver creamer marked
"VGN RWY" for $70.69.

Also passed around was Norfolk Southern September/October "BIZ/NS" that
included an article about their "next generation dispatching system".
Landon Gregory, who started out on the VGN as an operator at Abilene was
impressed. This new system is a far distance from Landon sending messages
"out on the wire" with a telegraph key using a dot-dash code...

I showed the Brethren my latest VGN artifact purchase, a manual of the 6800
HP EL-2B "with a million pounds on drivers". This booklet showed
speed-tractive effort and speed-braking effort curves that would give any
current diesel-electric locomotives a run for their money. It lists all
mechanical and electrical parts as well as accessories that included "one
double register watthour meter in each cab for measuring watt hours
consumed in motoring and the watt hours returned to the contact system
during regenerative braking".

Also shown was a photo of a diving helmet found at Sewalls Point with a
rotted rubber diving suit. Gordon's Hamilton"s find of the "Bluefield Daily
Telegraph" of 3/26/1910 was especially entertaining to the Brethren. It
stated that "Bluefield will be a 'jerkwater town' unless she gets another
railroad, when one is as near by as the VGN". I showed a clipping from
Monday's "Roanoke Times" from 100 years ago stating "Roanoke will soon be
the home of the world's largest originating coal hauling railroad. This
distinction was ascertained yesterday when the Interstate Commerce
Commission stamped approval on the merger of the Virginian and Norfolk and
Western railroads".

The DVD shown was the entire 9-11-09 Ceremony of the presentation of a flag
and flag pole at the Virginian Station. It was taken by Landon Gregory's
daughter Melissa Gregory-Smith.

Yesterday I met at the Station with Eric Grierson, Publishing Manager and
Owner of "Discover" Magazine. He took over 100 photos of the Station and is
planning an article in their next issue of our Renovation Project as well
as one during the construction work and a "before and after" comparison
article upon our completion. He provided me with enough of their current
magazines for each of the Brethren to have one. The latest one includes a
spread with many photos of the moves of the "lost engines of Roanoke" and
we are looking forward to seeing his covering or our Project.

One of the Brethren, who wants to remain anonymous, told the following
story: Two country boys were traveling late at night on a remote winding
road drinking their favorite beer. Up ahead they spotted the Sheriff's road
check. The driver pulled over and told the other to "quick, peel the label
off that Blue Ribbon and put it on your forehead. When we get to the road
block, tell them 'we're on the beer-patch trying to stop drinking'".

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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