"Takin' Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren by Skip Salmon

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Mar 25 08:22:40 EDT 2010

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with 14 of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We signed a special card for Landon
Gregory who is getting his left hip replaced. He got his right one replaced
last year. Rumor has it that he asked for a "menu" to see what other parts
he could have replaced...he's almost a new man now!

Congratulations are in order for our Rufus Wingfield who is now a Great
Grandfather. His granddaughter delivered Chance Gregory Ison this week.

Passed around were the Winter 2010 "NRHS Bulletin", devoted to railroad
photography and "Night Trick", a collection of O. Winston Link photos. The
"Night Trick" was given to me on Monday night by a fellow member of the
Fincastle Rifles, Camp 1326 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, that Slick
Inge helped me become a member.

AL Kresse of Romco, MI, could you please contact me again? I have misplaced
your Virginian Railway question.

The ebay report this week includes the following sales: VGN passes, 1911
for $35.07 and a 1915 for $21.05; VGN negatives, #610 2-8-8-2 for $10.51,
#443 2-8-2 for $17.00 and #231 EL-C for $16.50; VGN cast iron torch for
$95.00; Slide of Mullens Motor Barn scene $16.49 and a VGN short globe
lantern for $227.50.

The Jewel from the Past, like one in Russell R. McDaniel's 21 jewel
Hamilton 992B that he purchased in 1949 when he needed to qualify for VGN
motor car service, is from July 1, 2004: "The VGN Railway had a demerit
system for employee discipline. After the first reprimand, a point system
was used with demerits being given for offenses like lying, making mistakes
that caused monetary damage or injury to others etc. If an employee got 100
demerits, they were subject to dismissal".

Our good friend Frank Bongiovanni is researching large coal hauling
gondolas like the G-3 and G-4 Virginian-type that the N&W boys called
"battleships". He emailed me to ask the Brethren about a manual
lever/switch on the middle of the side of these cars to change from "EMPTY"
to "LOAD" for the car air brake systems. He needs to know exactly who did
the changing, when and where. I asked Rufus Wingfield, VGN Yardmaster and
Frank Breedlove, VGN Brakeman, about this. Both agreed that when these
large gons were in the VGN yard in Roanoke, nothing was done to the valves
because they were already empty or loaded. Former Virginian Master Mechanic
Russell R. McDaniel gave us the "skinny" on this situation. Russell said
that when the cars were first put into service, this valve was set to
"LOAD" by VGN brakemen and carmen when the cars were picked up at the mine
tipples and changed back to "EMPTY" after dumping them at Sewalls Point.
The idea was that if the car was left in the "LOAD" position while it was
empty, there could be slid flats on the 12 wheels on each car. However,
someone discovered, and he don't remember exactly just how, that this wheel
flattening did NOT happen with the switch in the "LOAD" position while the
car was empty. Therefore after a short period of use of this class of cars,
changing the switch each trip, they were all left in the "LOAD" position,
without consequence. Frank is a Friend of the Virginian Railway who lives
in Cleveland and is known far and wide for his expertise in law, railways
and use of the language. He once told me "You speak only one foreign
language: English".

On Monday this week, Jim Cosby and I traveled to Vansant, VA (near Grundy)
to meet with a VDOT "at large" representative who oversees grant
applications. We are applying for a grant and felt that a "face to face"
meeting with this representative would help us get a needed one for the
Virginian Station Project. While traveling and talking, we discovered that
we went to the same Junior High School, Woodrow Wilson in Roanoke. We both
remembered Principal Cook. Jim delivered newspapers then. Mr. Cook was one
of his customers, who had a cocker spaniel who would meet Jim and accept
the newspaper from him and take it home. One day Mr. Cook approached Jim
and told him that he would have to stop giving the dog the paper. Seems
that Jim had taught him well, and the dog enjoyed gathering all the
neighbors papers and taking them home also!

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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