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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Mar 24 08:26:02 EDT 2011

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with ten of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway.

We talked about next Wednesday night being the premier of a new TV show
on the Spike Network called "COAL", that was filmed in McDowell County,
WV. This show deals with the hazards of modern coal mining and should be
interesting to our Virginian Railway group. It airs at 10 PM.

For show and tell, I brought two interesting items. The first was a
photo I took last week of a coal train on the old VGN passing "Sleepy
Hollow" near the Norwich Bridge in Roanoke, as the crossing gate came
down. As a small boy, I sat at this same crossing and watched VGN
squareheads, rectifiers and streamliners bring similar coal trains into
the yard. The photo shows the ballast storage area of NS beside the old
VGN tracks called "Sleepy Hollow". The second item shown was a Brady
Burdge list of surviving Virginian cabooses with VGN and N&W numbers and
their current locations.

The Jewel from the Past is from March 3, 2005: "Someone told of Bernard
'Huey' Long, VGN brakeman from Peterstown, WV asking 'Slick' Inge when
he was first hired, how much was the pay? The rate then was $5 per
shift. He responded 'My God, I would have to cut pulp wood for a week
for that kind of money'. 'Huey' once stole some guard dogs (Doberman
Pincers) and brought them to Roanoke. No one would go near his caboose.
He later took them back to their 'home' but wanted to show everybody
that he could 'borrow' them for a while".

The ebay report this time includes the following VGN items sold: VGN RWY
CO Stock Certificate, 20 Shares for $24.99; Slide of VGN 0-8-0-#248 for
$16.49; Photo of H16-44 for $17.49; VGN Timetable #21 and VGN Operating
Rule Book for $127.77 and a slide of an EL-C pusher set for $15.49.

Passed around was Gordon Hamilton's "Bluefield Daily Telegraph" of
9-4-1911 with the headline "Gigantic RR Merger Forecasted". This was the
story of the possible Virginian-New Your Central merger of 1911. The
paper is quoted as saying "it is believed that this is likely to be
consummated". What if a VGN-NYC merger had gone through....N&W....Penn
Central....Stuart Saunders....NS....CSX....Lloyd Lewis???

From last week, "the six foot" is railroad jargon for the area between
double tracks, even though it may measure more than six feet. Got one
for you to consider for next week: On Okinawa during WWII, US Troops
were closing in on all of the remaining Japanese Soldiers near the end,
and some chose to make a final death charge. They were known as "banzai"
attacks, which was their way to honor by suicide, rather than surrender.
Some accounts of these troops told of their cursing famous Americans by
calling out their names just before the attack. One legend says they
named FDR, Babe Ruth and one other famous American, who has ties to
railroading. Do you know who he was? Wis Sowder, VGN Clerk, served on
Okinawa and remembered accounts of the "banzai" attacks.

Scotty Scott, our resident golfer, asked us if we knew why he always
wears two pairs of pants while golfing.."in case I get a hole in one".
Several of the Brethren have been following a Friday night TV show where
several men and their families traveled to Alaska in search of gold with
little or no previous mining experience. They have already spend
hundreds of thousands of dollars with very little gold found. Glen
McLain asked us where could one ALWAYS fine silver? Under the Lone
Ranger, of course!.

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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