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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Mar 3 08:27:59 EST 2011

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with seven of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We talked about the
collision last Wednesday in the NS Roanoke Yard at 12th Street.
Destroyed was a former N&W wooden boxcar that was painted in St. Louis
to resemble a "Budweiser" billboard beer car. In the affected VMT
storage line was one of the very last former Virginian Railway coal
hoppers, which seemed to just get a good "shake-down". We talked about
this car in the Roanoke Chapter NRHS Board Meeting on Tuesday night, and
plans are to try to repair, repaint, and re-stencil it in VGN livery if

Passed around for the Brethren to peruse were the Winter, 2011 NRHS
"Bulletin" and the April 2011 "Trains Magazine". The "Bulletin" had a
lot of western lines stories and photos as usual, but also featured an
article on EMD SW1 switchers. The "Trains" is mostly about streamline
high-speed trains.

"Gibby" Davis gave a report on the train show last weekend in Clifton
Forge. "It was mostly CSX and I saw little VGN stuff", he said.

For "Show and Tell" I took a recent gift of some Stuart T. Saunders
stationery with 4-cent envelopes marked "President, Norfolk and Western
Railway Co. Roanoke, Virginia". Raymond East responded when I asked if
President Saunders was a "Friend of the Virginian Railway": "I don't
think he had any friends at all".

The "Jewel from the Past" is from February 17, 2005: "Today I went to
visit VGN Operator Clyde Weatherly at Loyalton Assisted Living, and took
a photo of he and I, that I am posting on this site under 'People'.
Clyde really enjoyed looking at the new book on the Virginian in Color.
He told me about handing up the orders to the ill-fated VGN #800 crew at
JK, just minutes before she blew up near Stewartsville. When he was told
there was a wreck, he searched every train order, even in the trash can,
thinking it was a head-on, and he had messed up the orders. He went to
the scene later that night and told me about seeing the carnage". (Note:
Clyde passed away several days after this interview).

Last week I had an opportunity to see the new train wreck movie
"Unstoppable" starring Denzel Washington. He played a "28 year veteran"
engineer who stepped on a rail on his way to his "5,000 HP" SD-40 in the
opening scenes. The film is based on an actual CSX incident (which
incidentally, I heard they did not make public until AFTER it happened).
This movie was nominated for an Academy Award last Sunday for its great
SOUND, even though the lead units of the runaway were GEs and their
sound in the movie was that of EMDs. We discussed this movie and I
challenged the Brethren to go see it, and see if they could find more
mistakes in it than I could (21 and counting).

The ebay report this time includes (3) 8X10 VGN cabooses for $22.47 and
(9) great VGN slides (duplicates) for $20.65. Those of you who watch
ebay, and look for VGN stuff...heads up, I am putting some choice items
on soon.

In keeping up with past sessions, our friend Eddie Mooneyham, new NS
employee, gave me a current (May 2009) version of the previously mention
NW company issued "Glossary of railroad terminology and jargon". He got
this book recently at the NS Training Center in McDonough, GA. The
Brethren enjoyed trying to figure out what the new words meant and
especially how they would have been "exposed" on VGN tracks. Abe: It has
"CTC" defined as "Centralized Traffic Control". This new thick 21st
Century version of terms has several new ones: "ACRE" is defined as
measured along railroad right-of-way 8' 3" wide by one mile. "CUBING"
means "on the job training" and a "SANDWICH CAR" is "a super-insulated
tank car whose inner tank is supported solely by urethane foam
insulation". I challenge you to figure out the following NS terminology
and jargon sentence: "The DOG CATCHER and DUTCHMAN passed the KISS AND
RIDE and picked up a MUD HOP near the POT SIGNAL for a SKIN LIFT".

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon



More information about the NW-Mailing-List mailing list