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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Apr 8 08:59:53 EDT 2010

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with seven of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. I showed them some of the responses
that I got about that "phantom" 1937 Virginian Calendar from last week. You
might say that finding one today would be equivalent of finding living "Big
Foot" in the motor barn in Mullens.

Passed around was the March/April issue of "Biz/NS". The cover shows a
black and white photo of a steam engine with the top pulled out to reveal
the NS 999 battery powered "green" loco of the present. It stated that "NS
health care costs are up 18% and growing at an unsustainable rate". Also on
page 15 was a paragraph that provoked a lot of discussion among the
Brethren. "In more recent times, NS has tightened its hiring policy
regarding relatives. Now, a person cannot be employed in a position that
supervises or is supervised by a family member". Several of the Brethren
told of supervisors who were their relatives boss. Wis Sowder supervised
his brother. Ruf Wingfield supervised his son, etc.. Also passed was the
May issue of "Trains" magazine that included on page 60 something that I
did not discover in the almost 40 years that I worked on diesel
locomotives. In their listing of diesel locomotive model numbers they gave
the meaning of the lettering in front of the numbers on models. GP was for
"General Purpose, SD for "Special Duty", BL for "Branch Line", FRS for
"Road Switcher" etc. but the two that I had never seen before were EMDs FT
and E models. "Trains" says that the F like in an F7 stands for Fourteen
hundred horsepower (rounded up from the actual 1350) and Eighteen hundred
horsepower units of this type were "E" locos...I wonder if the "H" in
H24-66 in Fairbanks Morse Trainmasters stood for "Henry" or "Huddleston"?
or "H" Reid?...(not another phantom please)

I showed the Brethren the "snit-it" from Monday's "Roanoke Times" "100
years ago today": The passenger depot of the Virginian railroad will be
open to the public April 15". (1910)

The Jewel from the Past is like one in Louis Newton's Watham Cresent Model
1892, 21-jewel given to him by his grandfather, James A. Newton, Railway
Postal Clerk is from July 1, 2004: "Keith Sowder, VGN clerk said that for a
while he came home to Roanoke from Sewells Point every weekend and would
ride VGN trains both days. Several times near Algreen, where the N&W and
VGN were almost side by side and the track is pretty straight, the VGN 900s
pulling the crack Ford Train #72 would walk away from the N&W Powhatan Arrow.

For "Show and Tell" I showed the Brethren two drawings that I recently
purchased on ebay. They are VGN Station Maps-Tracks and Structures, The
first is "Roanoke V-2 S. T. 64b, M.P. 243-244 showing the entire Roanoke
Yard. The second S. T. 64a is M. P. 242-243 that shows all of the trackage
into the old Viscose (Silk Mill). I am donating these to the N&W Historical
Society system with reservation to include them in the newly renovated
Roanoke Passenger Station. A copy of each will be on file at the N&W HS

We discussed the recent mine explosion at Massey near Beckley and the
hazards of coal mining that made our beloved VGN what it was. Several of
the Brethren knew miners that were killed "down in the hole".

Finally, Gibby Davis told of a friend who went to see his doctor with a
swollen leg. After a careful examination, the doctor gave him a tablet big
enough to choke a horse. "I'll be right back with some water," the doctor
told him. After a long period of time, the doctor did not return so Gibby's
friend went to a drinking fountain and forced the pill down his throat with
some water. He then hobbles back to the examining room. Eventually, the
doctor came back with a bucket of water and said "Okay, after the tablet
dissolves, soak that leg for about 30 minutes".....

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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