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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jun 24 08:29:25 EDT 2010

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with nine of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We signed a Happy
Birthday card for one of the best friends of the Virginian Railway,
Ernie Hubble. Ernie is the son of Ernest J. "Red" Hubble and the nephew
of John Ransom, John Rufus and Ralph E. Hubble, all former employees of
the Virginian Railway at Victoria, VA. Ernie's Dad "Red" was one of the
first supervisors I encountered on the N&W, when I hired in January
1963, in the Roundhouse at Shaffers Crossing.

I passed around a VGN timecard of Charles Morgan dated November 16, 1955
with the times in and out for a two week period where Charlie got 3 and
1/2 hours of OT. His timecard indicated that provided fuel and water and
turned several VGN steam locomotives during this period. He was probably
a roundhouse employee or hostler who clocked in at about 6:30 but timed
out always less that five minutes after 3 each day.

The ebay report this time for VGN items sold include: A group of VGN
date nails from the Kenbridge area sold for $17.50; a slide of #2134 and
#39 sold for $12.50; a slide of FM #73 at Mullens for $12.50; a slide of
EL-3A #100 went for $48.89 and a 1942 VGN map of the system sold for $18.

I also passed a photo taken recently at the NCMT at Spencer night shoot
showing a scene that was probably repeated many times in the past
highlighting two of the Roanoke Chapter NRHS N&W Powhatan Arrow coaches,
numbers 512 and 1827. This photo has had about 2,000 hits. The site says
its a Southern train, but we know better, and I sent in a comment to
correct this. To see this great Anthony Davis photo go to:

Last week when I mentioned the "Friends of the Virginian Railway" hats
that I have for sale, I got several responses from the readers of this
report. One came from Cameron Miceal Tyre, a freight locomotive engineer
from Largs, Ayrshire, Scotland, United Kingdom. Micheal's official job
title is "Driver Operator (Freight)" and he works for Colas Rail and
pulls trains of shipping containers, steel, and timber. His regular run
at the moment, is Kingmoor Yard, Cumbria County, England to Warrington,
Cheshire County, England, about 117 miles. He lives over the border in
Scotland. His locomotive is a "Class 66" EMD export JT42CWR with a
12-710G3B prime mover,"basically an SD40-2 with updated electronic
controls and a 710 engine all squeezed inside a cowl body". One
interesting answer to a question I asked (What do you call your meal
break, our "Takin' Twenty?) was a "PNB". "This came from the British
Rail nationalized railways days when this was the code on an engineer's
orders which meant 'take your Physical Needs Break'. Nowadays, certainly
in our company, we just call it a meal break and sometimes we get more
than 20 minutes but the minimum we get is still 20".

The Jewel from the Past, like one in W. W. Scott's Hamilton given to him
by his uncle in 1963 is from September 16, 2004: "Charlie Foster,
Roundhouse Foreman, would go to George's Restaurant near the Roundhouse
for a beer each day, after work. He was famous for saying 'the
difference between steam and diesels was that a problem on a steam
engine could be found in about 5 minutes, but it would take all day to
fix it. A diesel required all day to find a problem and about 5 minutes
to fix it'".

Also passed around were the last two Roanoke Chapter NRHS newsletters,
"Turntable Times", for the Brethren to peruse.

The ending to my report last week prompted our good friend Harry Bundy,
who was a personal friend of, and rail fanned with, H. Reid on the VGN,
to send me this story: "The study team had been in Decatur, IL for 5
days and was looking forward to Friday, even though getting home would
require one flight Decatur to O'Hare, and one O'Hare to Roanoke. Prior
to the Southern merger, N&W leased two jets for company use. Mr. Claytor
had to be in Detroit that Friday and the Travel Bureau notified us that
instead of coming back to Roanoke commercial, the Lear jet would operate
from Detroit to pick the study team up and then proceed to Roanoke.
There was this restaurant in Decatur that made a lemon chess pie that
was a 'knock-out'. While we were waiting to board the company jet, the
van from the restaurant drives up and unloads it goods. Now I'm not
saying the jet flew from Detroit to Decatur just to pick up lemon chess
pies; nor am I saying Mr. Claytor was overcome by his importance. Had it
not been for Robert Claytor,I wouldn't have had an N&W job. On take-off,
the tower operator reported 'he'd seen smoke coming from the Lear jet;
would the pilot please circle for a second pass'; the tower operator
noted 'no visible defects'. You see, Mr. Claytor could operate steam
locomotives AND jets, even though the FAA didn't know about it".

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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