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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jun 9 08:23:07 EDT 2011

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin Twenty" with ten of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. I told them about the upcoming
"African American N&W (and VGN) Heritage Celebration" this Saturday at
the Virginia Museum of Transportation. The Roanoke Chapter NRHS Alco T6
#41, tool car and N&W caboose will provide rides on the Warehouse Lead
to anyone attending this event between 10AM and 4 PM. If you're in
Roanoke, come ride the train!

The ebay report this time contains several Virginian Railway color
slides that were sold: #462 for $20.50; #507 for $20.50; #215 for
$26.00; #905 for $29.50; and #902 for $31.00. An original VGN Safety
First pin with the screw type attachment sold for $150.00!

The Jewel from the Past is from April 21, 2005: "Russell McDaniel
brought a list of facts about the VGN RWY compiled by Mullens General
Foreman A. R. Hearn. He was called 'Randy' by his workers, and was also
known as 'Lightening'. His brother, Harvey Hearn, who served as an
Electric Foreman in Roanoke Shops in the '70s was known as 'Thunder'.
This sheet listed under 'Oddities', that Elmore Yard was the only known
single carrier yard that moved a common product, coal, in from 4 compass
directions, and distributed it out in 4 compass directions. Mr. McDaniel
attended our session last night. I asked him what his last official act
was on November 30, 1959 as Master Mechanic at Victoria. He said that
the trains had stopped coming into the yard and the crews were taken to
Crewe by taxi cabs . He was told to remove all pay roll information from
the files and to "do anything you want to with the remaining stuff". Mr.
McDaniel, being the very conservative man he still is, left them "as is,
including photographs". He remembered working with N&W Master Mechanic
"Dickie" Ferris at Crewe to make the transition for the merger. He was
assigned to Norfolk the next day. Mr. McDaniel told us about trying to
change an air brake rule with the FRA, shortly after the "run away" at
Copperston, and said that the Federal people were giving him the
run-around. He finally "cornered" the Federal leader of the opposition,
and was told "I have unlimited authority to say NO, and absolutely no
authority to say YES"!

Also attending last was Felix Price, Assistant Power Director at
Narrows. It was great to hear Felix and Russell McDaniel discuss working
at the power plant. It came out that "Shack Neal" VGN supervisor at
Narrows, was a friend of both men and Felix's uncle.

Passed around for the Brethren to peruse was the June "NRHS News". This
issue included a 2011 directory of rail attractions in the US offering
discounts for NRHS members. Also passed was a copy of Virginian
Standards Drawings Book "H" "Miscellaneous", which has standards for
such things as inspection hammers, VGN phone boxes, Mail cranes, water
tank spouts etc.

Landon Gregory, retired VGN Dispatcher, who just returned from a long
vacation to Hawaii had a lot to tell us. He brought photos he took while
driving from Roanoke to California, boating to Hawaii and returning.
Landon said that Hawaii has no trains, but a rail museum of former sugar
and pineapple plantations that used small steam locomotives. One very
unusual photo was a BNSF train going around the famous Tehachapi Pass in
California, so trains could operate between LA and San Francisco. Landon
thought he was quite a poker player but pulled out of a tournament after
the first hand on the cruise Ship "Golden Princess". "It was over in
about fifteen seconds". He should have had them play the game of VGN
trainmen..."Knock Rummy".

Then there is this: Please join me in remembering a great icon of the
entertainment community. The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a
yeast infection, and trauma complicated from repeated pokes in the
belly. He was 71. Doughboy was buried in a lightly greased coffin.
Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs.
Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisin, Better Crocker, the
Hostess Twinkle and Captain Crunch. The grave site was piled high with
flours. Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy and lovingly described Doughboy
as a man who never know how much he was kneaded. Born and bread in
Minnesota, he rose quickly in show business, but his later life was
filled with turnovers. He was not considered a very smart cookie,
wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes. Despite being a little
flaky at times, he still was a crusty old man and was considered a
positive roll model for millions. Doughboy is survived by his wife Play
Dough, three children: John Dough, Jane Dough and Dosey Dough, plus they
had one in the oven. He is also survived by his elderly Father, Pop
Tart. The funeral was held at 3:50 for about 20 minutes...

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon



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