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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Fri Oct 8 21:31:20 EDT 2010

I just realized that I mistakenly wrote General Booth, when I should have written Admiral Taussig Boulevard. A short portion of Taussig Blvd. still exists, but the majority was rebuilt as I-564, in the 70's. The Naval Air Station in Norfolk is on one side of 564, and the former Sewells Point Yard is on the other. John

To: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Subject: RE: "Takin' Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren by Skip Salmon
Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2010 23:58:34 +0000
From: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org

Skip, I really do want to Thank You and the Virginian Brethern for confirming what I thought must have been the unloading point for the East Bound Virginian troop trains I saw on the the video," Virginian Vignettes". I had always thought that these trains had taken the military personnel to either General Booth Boulevard, or to the former Hampton Boulevard Army Supply Depot.I hope to retire to my property in Charolette County, Virginia, (in 16 years). I purchased this property in 2003, because it is located next to the former Virginian tracks, now active NS, just West of Abilene. There is a bridge that spans the tracks next to my property, and when watching the Vignettes video, it looks like some of those views may have been shot very near, including Virginian passenger and freight trains. I hope to drive to Roanoke, soon to meet all of you.
Once again Thanks to You and the Brethern. John

Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2010 08:55:23 -0400
To: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Subject: "Takin' Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren by Skip Salmon
From: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with eight of the Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We signed cards for Rufus Wingfield, who is in Friendship Rehab Community, Landon Gregory who had heart surgery on Tuesday, and Raymond East who turns 86 years old today. Landon had to cancel a month long trip to Hawaii for the quadruple bypass on Tuesday and is recovering well today. Raymond East started at Victoria on the extra board as a road fireman in 1951. He moved to the yard in Roanoke in 1955 and became a yard engineer. Raymond served in combat during the Korean Conflict and retired from Norfolk Southern with 36 years service. I recently taped an interview with Raymond in front of VGN #4, the last remaining VGN steam locomotive that is on display at the Virginia Museum of Transportation. He told of firing the switcher at Suffolk and working the peanut plants there.

>From last week, I got several responses concerning the possible unloading of troop trains near Sewells Point during WWII. Retired Virginian Clerk, Robert "Little Abner" Glass, who still lives in Norfolk, said that he thinks "troops were unloaded at an Army Base just west of Sewells Point at Wards Corner". Pete Groom referred to an Army Supply Depot "a bit south of Sewells Point on the water" where troops could have been delivered.

I pasted on to the Brethren a post card from Ronald Mattox with a photo of VGN caboose 342 and "Victoria, Virginia" proudly displayed on the front that read: "The annual reunion of former Virginian Railway Employees and friends will be held on Saturday, October 30, 2010 at the Victoria Restaurant". Plans are being formed for our annual "road trip" to this Gathering.

The Jewel from the Past like my Hamilton 992B, 21 jewel with gold center wheel and Wadsworth case, just purchased on ebay, is from October 21, 2004: "We talked about the 1907 Jamestown Exhibition that the VGN played a key part. Henry H. Rogers had President Teddy Roosevelt dock his yacht, the "Mayflower", conveniently next to the 'under construction' Sewells Point Pier. Slick Inge told a story of Will Rogers docking his yacht "Kanawha" on the Eastern Shore of VA and offering the crew to join him for a meal at the famous Chamberlain Hotel. They refused saying that 'their job was to take care of him and the yacht'. 'Slick' Inge also told about Will Rogers being on a train that stopped at Mullens on a curve. Dr. B. W. Steele had one of the few cars in Mullens, and cleaned it up and set it on a knoll between the tracks and the town. Twain was asked what he thought of Mullens, he said 'if you'll move that d--- automobile, I'll tell you'".

I passed around the November 2010 "Trains" magazine, one of the best that has been published. The theme is "The greatest of yesterday" and covers the 70 year anniversary of the publication. The inside cover is worth the price of one copy featuring Norfolk Southern, "one line, infinite possibilities" with photos highlighting "one line connects our past to our future". The "map of the month" on page 56 includes a "family tree" of NS with a VGN herald standing out! Also this issue has a very nice obituary of former N&W president John Fishwick where NS CEO Wick Moorman said that Fishwick "was a visionary leader and principal architect of today's NS". Also featured in this issue is the NS Research #34 Track Geometry Car. An interesting statistic listed NS as having the least number of stored locomotives at this time of all Class 1 Lines with 88. CSX has 165 stored and UP has over 1200 not in service. How many locomotives did the VGN have at one time?

Also passed around was a flyer that I will give out this Saturday and Sunday at "Historic Appomattox Railroad Festival". The Roanoke Chapter NRHS is providing a train for display, consisting of the Chapter's EMD N&W GP30 #522, N&W Tool Car #1407 and N&W Caboose #518409. NS is moving this train from Roanoke to Appomattox, VA on Friday afternoon and Chapter member, and NS engineer, Percy Wilkins has been assigned engineer for the trip. I will represent the Virginian Railway with displays and the sale of VGN items as a fundraiser for the VGN Station Restoration Project, on the #1407.

While discussing the probability of troop trains being unloaded at Sewells Point, several of the Brethren who worked there "went down memory lane" and recalled other activities in and around Norfolk while working for the VGN at the eastern terminal. Some I can not repeat but I will tell you the term "hoochie coochie" was used frequently...

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon

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