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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jun 2 08:19:03 EDT 2011

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with nine of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. I told the Brethren about
traveling to Whitethorne, VA last Saturday morning, in search of a
derailment on the old Virginian. The lead locomotive of an eastbound
coal train hit a mud slide late Friday afternoon, causing it to derail.
The second unit turned over on its side, but there were no injuries, and
no coal was spilled. All I found was the unusual sight of a coal train
in the siding at Whitethorne, with no power attached.

Passed around was the July "Trains" magazine, which is "jam packed" with
Norfolk Southern stuff. Several interesting facts came out while reading
this issue and I passed these on to the Brethren: The coal business is
"booming because of a severe flood in Australia and disruptions around
the globe" and NS is calling 42 locomotives back from storage. They are
leasing another 50 as well. Page 22 has a photo of one of the 100 new
EMD SD70ACes ordered by NS. These are numbered in the 1000-+ series.
These numbers looked sort of odd to us, because the last N&W road
locomotives numbered in the 1000 range were Alcos! There was a
discussion among the Brethren about "Trains" Grand Prize winner of their
2010 Photo Contest...see page 38, "not much" was the general response.
Also passed around for the Brethren to peruse was the Winter 2011 "NRHS
Bulletin" featuring EMD SW1s and some great rail photos from the Pacific

The Jewel from the Past is from April 14, 2005: "Wis Sowder asked how
far was it from Elmore to the Deepwater connection with NYC? 'Slick'
Inge answered immediately 'about 60 miles'. Then he related a story
about an engineer named Middleton who, when he got on the NYC to take
the passenger train on into Charleston, would slow down because of the
foreign territory and lighter rail. Seems he was sort of slowing up
other trains since the passenger trains had priority. The trainmaster on
the NYC called 'Slick' and asked if he could get Middleton to 'step it
up'. After Inge's instructions, he did 'step it up' and even 'clipped' a
car that was crossing the tracks in front of the train. Not stopping for
the accident, he commented later 'I'm gonna run like you said, even if I
have to kill every --- over there'".

For "Show and Tell", I took my latest acquisitions at a local antique
store: A Wabco crossing gate and crossbuck tie bar, and EMD paperweight
of a GP-30, a small flat knife/file from Alco, a gold plated money clip
with a knuckle on it, and the "creme de la creme" a 4-34 short globe
Virginian Railway lantern serial number K-770. The owner of the antique
store bought the lantern from the granddaughter of a VGN brakeman.

This week has been exceptionally hot in Roanoke. When we met at the
restaurant last night, the temperature was in the mid 90s. I asked Wis
Sowder if it was this hot on Bent Mountain, where he lives. He responded
"it was so hot yesterday, I had to feed shaved ice to my hens to keep
them from laying boiled eggs". When I showed the Alco pocket knife to
VGN engineer Raymond East, he asked "When I open it up, will black smoke
come out?"

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon



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