"Taking Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jan 21 11:06:14 EST 2010

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty with ten of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We signed a "Get Well" card for
retired Clerk Ronnie Victory, son of our beloved Tom "Cornbread"
Victory. Ronnie is recovering from back surgery and is now coping with
the gout.

The ebay report this time includes: VGN 1935 Stock Certificate $19.99;
EL-2B #126 slide $20.05; Photo taken 8-3-54 of VGN Business Car parked
at the Roanoke N&W Storehouse $16.05; and Lloyd Lewis'"The Virginian
Era" for $24.95.

From this Monday's "Roanoke Times" under the "Fifty years ago today"
was: "Roanoke has 102 new workers--and their families--because of the
Norfolk and Western-Virginian Railway merger".

I reported to the Brethren from the Norfolk Southern news release that
NS is matching any employee gift of $25 or more through the American Red
Cross for Haiti earthquake relief. Also NS is donating inter modal
transportation for 10 containers (43,000 pounds each) of relief supplies.

I passed around two photos off the "Old Roanoke" web site of an
intersection in Roanoke during the forties to see if the Brethren
remembered the location. One was of a small Pure Oil Service Station and
the other showed Garland's Drug Store and a Roanoke street car. Raymond
East right away identified the location as Jefferson Street and Walnut
Ave. just one block north of the VGN Passenger Station. This prompted
Rufus Wingfield to remember when he was a call boy going to crew members
homes and boarding houses, within one and one-half mile from the Yard
Office, to actually physically wake them, or tell them that they were
called for Virginian trains. He said that he purchased, on his own and
not re-imbursed by the VGN, a street car pass to help him with these trips.

This week's jewel from the past, just like one in Landon Gregory's 23
jewel Hamilton B. W. Raymond "Over and Under", is from Tom "Cornbread"
Victory on April 15, 2004: "I remember a train of cattle cars coming
into the Virginian's Roanoke Yard, that had one car with a special
section in the end for a 'drover', who actually lived on the train with
the cattle, and took care of them".

Hogger Raymond East was asked by Wis Sowder if he ever hand-fired a
steam yard engine. I immediately asked Raymond to respond by telling
about firing the SA 0-8-0 #4 in Suffolk for two weeks, while the regular
fireman was on vacation. The #4 is the last remaining VGN steam engine
left, and it is on display in the Virginia Museum of Transportation in
Roanoke. Raymond told of firing this special engine with a
"short-handled shovel". The #4 is also highlighted on page 123 of H.
Reid's "The Virginian Railway".

I showed the Brethren a RailPictures.net Nikos Kavoori 12-10-09 photo in
Graniteville, SC of NS train 155 near the same switch that was involved
in the 1-6-05 wreck that took the lives of 9 and shut down a mill that
employed most of the town. To see the photo go to

The discussion turned to food. Ruf and Wis Sowder remembered, as lads,
raising hogs and smoking hams in their smokehouses. Wis recalled "eating
a lot of fatback but not much ham", since they sold them at the farmer's
market. Ruf said that when a favorite uncle of his would come for a
visit, he would bring a roll of bologna which was a family hit. I told
the Brethren that until I was about 13, I didn't know that a chicken had
any other parts to eat other than a neck or gizzard.

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon

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