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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu May 26 07:57:49 EDT 2011

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin Twenty" with five of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We signed a get well card
for Bill Spencer, who is recovering from back surgery.

It was with sorrow that I reported to the Brethren the passing of Mark
Fisher, creator of this very web site. Mark's work allowed these "Takin'
Twenty" reports to be communicated to the "Virginian Nation" around the
world. Mark was never able to "Take Twenty" with the Brethren, but they
knew and supported him, especially in his time of need. As we have done
in the past, when one of our own "takes the west bound", a place was set
at last night's dinner to honor Mark, with his photo and a lit Virginian
Railway lantern, glowing during our time together. As with the VGN, Mark
is gone, but not forgotten. I have posted a photo of Mark's Memorial on
his site under "Memorial Photos of People".

For "show and Tell" I took a recently purchased "VGN RWY Classification,
Diagram & Data of Locomotives" booklet issued August 8, 1956. The
Brethren enjoyed seeing all the technical data displayed on their
favorite VGN locomotives. Speaking of VGN equipment, I also brought a
photo I took May 12, 2011, after being given a "heads-up" by an NS
employee. This shot was of the Virginian Railway Derrick #B37, now
Norfolk Southern #540037, being used below the hump at Shaffers
Crossing, to re-rail a car load of steel. As far as I know, this derrick
is the only MAJOR piece of former VGN equipment still in service. I have
posted the photo on this site under "Skip's Photos".

The Jewel from the Past is from April 14, 2005: "I showed the Brethren a
letter I received from Lloyd Lewis, VGN author, who is now teaching in
China, and had asked me to send greetings to them. They remembered
Lloyd's father, William Glen Lewis, Supervisor Telegraph and Signals.
They remembered him as 'Mr. Clean' because he always wore a coat and
tie. 'Slick' Inge said 'many a time when he worked with William, his
small son, Lloyd, was on the motor car tagging along behind him'. Inge
said that 'Lewis was a real problem solver, and that he could be counted
on to get the job done and done well'".

Wis Sowder told the group about cigarette cars from Richmond, being
interchanged at Jarrett from the ACL, and guarded by VGN "cinder dicks"
before they were added to Norfolk bound trains. Wis commented that back
then "almost everybody smoked cigarettes, and the cars were guarded as
if they came from Fort Knox".

I passed on to the Brethren a press release by Norfolk Southern, stating
they have donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross in each of the four
states served by NS that received extensive loss of life and property
from the recent tornados. NS has over 8,300 employees in these four
States: Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia.

The ebay report this time spotllights the value of Virginian Railway
color slides: Original color slide of EL-2b pulling a local train across
the New River Bridge at Glen Lyn in 1959 for $199.50; Slide of VGN #110
in 1957 for $55.99; Slide of EL-2b #127 for $119.50 and a color slide of
VGN FM H16-44 #30 for $287.14!

While doing research for another project, I ran across a great web site
for Roanokers "Old Roanoke". This site has several VGN RWY photos. One
brought back memories for me and the Brethren. From 1957-1959 and again
in 1961, the Roanoke Valley was named the "Dr. Pepper Capitol of the
World", with more Dr. Peppers sold here than any other place. The
Brethren remembered that the Dr. Pepper bottling plant was only a few
blocks from the VGN Roundhouse. The owner of the plant became known as
the "Silver Dollar Man". He sent reps door-to-door and gave a silver
dollar for every Dr. Pepper found in a family's refrigerator. This
solved a mystery that has haunted me for years. When I was a teenager, I
recall my Mom having at least three Dr. peppers "quarantined" in our
"Frigidaire" for days. Now I know why...

Time top pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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